Posts Tagged ‘water’

Kidney Stones

The passing of kidney stones is reported to be one of the most excruciatingly painful events one can go through. At times, morphine may be necessary to relieve the pain. There are several reasons why kidney stones may form. And fortunately, they may be easily preventable.

First, the most common signs and symptoms that you may have a kidney stone, or be susceptible to forming one are the following:
1) Pain or burning during urination – because the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder outside the body, is getting irritated
2) Cloudy urine (signifying a possible build-up of calcium) or bloody urine
3) Back pain and “flank” or side pain, especially below the ribs – because the ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, is getting irritated
4) urgency or an excessive need to urinate
5) feeling nauseous or even vomiting

Most stones are made up of a calcium compound known as calcium oxalate. Therefore, consuming foods high in oxalate can be a main contributor. The main foods to consider in this category are spinach, swiss chard, chocolate, soy, and beer.

Another possible contributor to kidney stones is an excessive intake of vitamin D. Fortunately, this is not very common (as most people are considered to be vitamin D deficient) unless you are taking a supplement. Also, consider long exposure to the sun as something that may cause excessive levels of vitamin D. This is because high blood levels of vitamin D will cause your body to absorb more calcium from the intestines and transport it to the blood. Also, if there is no calcium in the intestines, excess vitamin D will increase blood calcium levels by mobilizing it from the bones. This excessive blood calcium will eventually need to be cleared from the kidneys; and may result in kidney stone formation if it is not cleared properly. If you read my article on bursitis, you may remember that essential fatty acids are necessary to keep calcium in solution or transport it out of the blood and (back) into the soft tissues or bones.

Another potential problem would be dehydration. Even if you have normal amounts of calcium in the blood, you may not have enough water to dissolve or dilute the calcium. However, bear in mind that if you are processing calcium appropriately, you should not notice signs or symptoms of kidney stones if you become mildly dehydrated from time to time. Here’s an article that talks about my recommendations for daily water intake.

Other less common types of kidney stones may be from a build-up of calcium phosphate, cystine, uric acid; and struvite which is is caused by an infection. No one should have to deal with chronic health conditions, especially chronic kidney stone formation.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

Source: http://www.metabolics.com/

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By now I assume you know how I feel about consuming unfiltered tap water. If not, you can click here. Well now there is even more proof that tap water can be extremely toxic and harmful to you.

Over 500,000 times!!! You would think the government bodies in charge of these laws…

Actually, I prefer to avoid speaking about the politics of this issue, please read for yourself though.

Here’s the article published in The New York Times.

PS – Don’t forget to question the source of the water used in your morning tea or coffee if you are not making it at home; and bottled drinks as well.

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I treat every patient as the individual they are, and therefore may instruct a patient to restrict certain foods or food groups in order to achieve optimal health. Please note that all foods you eat should ideally be in their whole form; that is, the way they appear in nature. Anything processed is almost always a burden to the system. Also remember to consume many (not necessarily all) foods in their raw, uncooked state. However, raw animal proteins should be avoided as they may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Also, truly organic foods are best as well, because they don’t contain the toxic pesticide residues (or hormones and antibiotics from meat) that conventionally-grown food does. The nutritional content of them may also be superior. I’ll be doing an update on this topic soon, as the research continues to flip-flop.

1) PROTEIN – Eat foods rich in protein about 3 times a day. Generally every meal should contain some protein. These include, beef, fish (if you can locate mercury-free fish), chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, eggs, buffalo, duck, goose, pheasant, or squab. I know, that’s a bit much at the end there, but the point is essentially that animal foods are the richest in protein. If you can manage to get the amount of protein your body needs every day through vegetarian sources, that is fine also. Some protein powders are acceptable, but most sold in health food stores have unnecessary, harmful ingredients. I personally begin almost every day with a protein shake, as it’s quick, healthy, and easy to digest. I’m often not in the mood for animal proteins first thing in the morning. Another general guideline would be to make sure you are consuming 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. Your weight in pounds, divided by 2.2, and then multiplied by 0.9 would equal the number of grams of protein that is recommended. You may need more if you are especially active.

2) VEGETABLES – Eat a wide variety of as many vegetables as you can every day. Also, remember to eat some of them raw. However, I would avoid white potatoes as they are very high in starch and can cause blood sugar imbalances because of the way they are metabolized in the body. Additionally, take it easy on the carrots and beets because they are also high in sugar. Dark, green leafy vegetables are by far your best option. Fresh vegetables are always best; and steaming them with the least amount of water possible is a great way to prepare them. PS: drinking the left over water is also a good way to get all the nutrients from the food.

3) FRUIT – If your blood sugar is stabilized well, limited amounts of fruit should be fine. Do not combine fruits with other food groups if you have digestive problems, because it may compromise your system. Fruits digest relatively quickly compared to other foods, so you don’t want them to sit around in the stomach for longer than necessary, as they may begin to ferment and cause problems in the lower part of the digestive tract. When I find a patient’s problem is primarily related to blood sugar problems, I usually have them lay off fruit for about three months. This is usually a sufficient amount of time to get the blood-sugar handling mechanisms back on track. By the way, I think everyone should avoid fruit juices as they are too concentrated with sugars. The fact that they are natural sugars makes very little difference. At the end of the day, sugar is sugar.

4) FATS – In relation to food (not supplements) I prefer the oils of olive, coconut, and sesame. Butter is also an acceptable source of fat. Additionally, these are the best to cook with as they can sustain higher temperatures than most, if not all other oils before burning, which you definitely don’t want. Avocados and some nuts and seeds contain healthy fats that are acceptable as well; especially walnuts, sesame seeds, and fresh flax seeds. If you need to balance your fatty acid intake relative to a specific condition, you may need to consider a supplement. Avoid consuming trans fats (i.e. partially hydrogenated oils in processed foods) and margarine. Also, vegetable and grain/legume oils like corn, soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower, etc. should generally be avoided as they go rancid quickly, and can cause problems with fatty acid balance. As an aside, everyone does not need more Omega-3’s, you can have an Omega-6 deficiency as well. The concept you should focus on is balance.

5) WATER – By now you should know my take on water. If you don’t, click here.

6) GRAINS – Generally, I would eliminate or avoid all grains. If you “must” better ones to choose from may be quinoa, amaranth, oats (if you’re not sensitive to gluten because of the likelihood of cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains during processing) and brown rice (if you don’t have blood sugar problems). Grains often cause blood sugar imbalances in people which will exacerbate most symptoms. Wild rice is actually a grass and generally OK.

7) SUGAR – To attain optimal health, all sugars and heavily processed grains should be avoided. These include, but are certainly not limited to: cereals, flour-based foods (like breads, pasta, muffins, cakes, cookies, brownies, croissants, etc.), candy, soda, ice cream, etc.. Unfortunately, that 7-grain, 9-grain, 99-grain, or even sprouted-grain bread is almost always a bad idea as well.

Again, these are general guidelines. And please note how I referred to blood sugar metabolism quite often; it is critical for everyone. Appropriate foods that people should be consuming and avoiding will vary by individual; especially as it relates to food allergies and sensitivities, and health concerns. I find that about 50% of my patients’ health concerns are related to the foods they eat. One more thing – alcohol consumption (if OK individually) is generally alright at a rate of twice a week, but not two days in a row. And when you are celebrating, there are no guidelines – that’s what holidays, birthdays, etc. are for. I’ll be discussing the proper “way to eat”, or eating habits soon. Good luck!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Anti-aging sounds like an oxymoron.  I look at it as basically being able to regenerate optimally.  That said, one can certainly reverse signs of aging that have set in due to poor lifestyle habits, hence “anti-aging”.  Our “biological” age can be more important than our chronological age.  Wouldn’t you rather look and feel 10 years younger than you are?  The following 10 tips are in no particular order.  Remember, there are no magic bullets!

1Drink optimal amounts of PURE, CLEAN water!
If you haven’t read my articles on this yet, click here – I don’t want to overstate the point.

2STOP eating sugar AND starches!
Any type of sugar will wreak havoc on your body.  This includes: refined white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, date sugar, beet sugar, evaporated cane juice, concentrated white grape juice, corn syrup, fructose, turbinado sugar, sucanat and more…let’s stop there for now.  Well, don’t forget foods with sugar in them like: pies, cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, soda, doughnuts, brownies, etc..  The list of problems that sugar causes or contributes to is mind-boggling extensive.  I’ll be posting 76 reasons to avoid eating it soon.  OK, some more – I’d also stop eating refined honey, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, and many more devils in disguise.  It’s impossible to overstate this point!!!  By the way, artificial sweeteners can (and often are) worse for the body.  More on that another time.  One more thing – don’t go binging on fruit now.
Starches are basically processed in your body the same as sugar, and therefore have the same detrimental effect.  They include bread (even 99-grain), pasta (even supposed whole-grain), rice (even brown, though some people are OK with it), and potatoes (especially white).

3Detoxify your digestive tract!
This is one of the biggest causes of systemic toxicity that can affect any area of your body and cause premature aging and degenerative diseases.  The most common problems I see are an overgrowth of yeast, bacteria, viruses, and/or parasites.

4Eat your GREENS!
Green vegetables are by far the healthiest you can eat.  Especially dark green, leafy vegetables.  Several good ones are kale, collards, dandelion, and swiss chard.  Greens are loaded with chlorophyll, the “life blood” of the plant, and pigment that gives them their green color.  Human blood gets its red color from the molecule hemoglobin, which allows blood the ability to carry oxygen.  Interestingly, the chlorophyll molecule in plants and the “heme” portion of the hemoglobin molecule in humans are almost identical.  The similarity rests in what’s called porphyrn, a ring of of atoms.  Chlorophyll contains magnesium in the center of the ring and hemoglobin contains iron.  Thus, chlorophyll is known to be an excellent blood builder and purifier.

5JUICE your vegetables!
Juicing is one of the best ways to flood your body with antioxidants and vital nutrients.  What makes juicing more powerful than eating vegetables is the efficient absorption, and the live enzymes because of their raw state.  Of course, eat your veggies too.  Just don’t drink too much green juice in one sitting, trust me on this.

Some individuals need more aerobic exercise (constant and steady – e.g.: jogging, swimming, etc.) than anaerobic exercise (quick bursts – e.g.: weight training, sprinting, etc.).  Your applied kinesiologist can determine which is more necessary, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to do both.  At least 30 minutes every day would be ideal.  Yes, you can over-exercise, I see it all the time – and it’s harmful.

7Restrict you caloric intake!
There are probably hundreds of studies that have shown eating less (more likely, not overeating), will extend your life span.  The mechanism(s) is not fully known.  I would speculate that it has to do with controlling insulin levels, lessening the load on your liver, and preventing your gut from becoming toxic due to undigested, fermenting, and putrefying food.  Remember, you still have to get an optimal amount of nutrients; just do it with more nutrient-dense whole foods.

8Take dietary supplements!
This will ensure that you are taking in necessary nutrients that you may be missing from your diet, for any number of reasons.  Ideally, you will want your applied kinesiologist to determine the exact supplements you require most.  It is much better than a “shotgun” approach.  However, if you’re going to “shotgun” it, read my article on supplements by clicking here.

9Get adequate amounts of sleep!
This is of prime importance!  When you sleep, your body regenerates.  If you are not regenerating – there will nothing to prevent you from degenerating.  The necessary amount of sleep will vary by individual, but go for a MINIMUM of 8 hours each night.  There is more to know about sleep beyond the scope of this article.  Let’s get the amount of time down first.

A study in Norway showed that subjects who found the world most funny were 35% less likely to die during the time the study was run.  Also, people in the study with cancer were 70 times more likely to survive until the end of the study.  Regardless, get some funny movies (with/or without) friends and try it!

Age – doesn’t matter

Health is what you do for your body minus what you do to your body – a quote from one of my mentors that appears to reign true


Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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How much water should you be drinking?

Well, if it’s tap water, none in my opinion – unless of course you are filtering it (or have no other source of cleaner, purer water).  I highly recommend you drink filtered water.  But you know that from my previous article already.

So what’s the right amount of water you should drink on a daily basis?  Eight, 8-ounce glasses, right?  You probably all know, that has been the recommendation for as long as we can remember.  Where did that come from anyway?  I haven’t found anyone how knows, and frankly, I’m not going to look because I completely disagree.

Let’s think about that, though.  Eight, 8-ounce glasses for everyone.  OK, well what if I weigh 200 lbs. and my brother weighs 100 lbs.?  Should we still consume the same amount of water.  Even if we narrow down the weight range; does it make sense that everyone should have the same amount?  Wouldn’t a recommendation based on weight (and activity) be more appropriate.  That makes the most sense to me.  How are prescription medicines dosed?  Well, there really is no standardization I know of. However, “body surface area” which includes measurements of weight and height is often considered reasonable.  So what about for water?

Well, first of all, please avoid listening to a lot of information out there, when it pertains to what we “need”.  What we need can always be construed to the bare minimum.  So tomorrow, you might not need to drink any water to survive (if that’s the “need” I’ve been reading about).  I talk about what can bring out the potential to optimal health.  I am not going to elaborate on comments or sources of information from the “need” point of view, to save us all time.

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for water – our most important “nutrient”.  Not to say that RDA’s of vitamins and minerals are perfectly accurate and even useful (esp. if you’re trying to use a nutrient therapeutically).  Some day we can talk about RDAs, let’s stick with water.  Here is what one of the most prominent source(s) I found has to say about water intake.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reviewed The Food and Nutrition Board’s report.  The report contains these statements in quotes: “The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide.  The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water.  The panel did not set an upper level for water.”  They said that these recommendations represent adequate intake levels.  However, they acknowledged that physically active people or those in hot climates might need more water.  Additionally, they go on to say that 80 percent of people’s total intake comes from drinking water and other beverages (including caffeinated ones), with the rest from food.

Furthermore, the report says: “We don’t offer any rule of thumb based on how many glasses of water people should drink each day because our hydration needs can be met through a variety of sources in addition to drinking water”.  This is quoted from Lawrence Appel, the chair of the panel of the report.  He is a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and international health at Johns Hopkins University.  To conclude, he says that people get adequate amounts of water from normal drinking behavior, other beverages, and food – and by letting thirst be their guide.  Here is another source that I used.

Guess what?  I disagree, partially.

First, to include caffeinated beverages as a source of water intake is a bad idea.  Isn’t it a diuretic you ask?  Well the scientific jury is still out on this one.  Anyway, they say 80 percent of total intake from drinking water and other (perhaps caffeinated) beverages.  Hmmm, so is 10 percent drinking water, 70 percent caffeinated beverages, and 20 percent from food OK?  Not quite from my perspective based on what I see in patients, and myself.  Even if you use a variation of the ratios, I still feel caffeinated beverages should not be included in your total amount of daily drinking water.

Second, you obviously get water from foods, but personally that doesn’t sit well with me either (sorry, no science on that).

Third, even though the report takes into account activity levels and climate; they still don’t address the size of the person.  That’s unacceptable to me, and hopefully to you.  It really seems like a no-brainer.

I do however like the actual number they gave – approximately “91” and “125” ounces daily  – BUT I would say from pure drinking water ONLY.  Generally, I’ll tell patients that a good amount of PURE WATER (not even “lemon” water) is at least half of your body weight (in lbs.) in ounces per day; and sometimes it’s more ideal to drink 1 liter (33.8 ounces) for every 50 lbs. of body weight.  This is what I see works best for my patients and myself.  To re-iterate, for a 150 lb. person, that translates into either 75 oz. or 101.4 oz. depending on which measurement you use.

I won’t go into all the necessary body functions of water, they are too extensive.  And the need for optimal intake is too obvious if you ask me.  One reason is because roughly 60 percent of your entire body is composed of water.  Some functions I would stress though, are: flushing of toxins, transport of nutrients, lubrication of body parts (e.g.: ear canal, nasal passages, throat, etc.), and regular bowel movements.

Another important point to consider is the rate at which you drink water.  If you drink too much too soon, your kidneys will simply flush it out, before it can get absorbed.  So space it out accordingly.  And, I wouldn’t wait until you get thirsty – I feel it’s a bit late then.  Let’s maintain water status, not go refilling it when we’re low.  Also, your urine should be straw-colored or light yellow; not clear or darker yellow.  That would be imperceptible if you are taking vitamin B2 (riboflavin) though, it will fluoresce your urine.  Riboflavin is often in mulit-vitamins and b-complex supplements also.  Lastly, please take note of your physical activity and how much you perspire; as you know, these will certainly increase your needs.

Here’s a good experiment.  If you have dry skin, without an underlying condition (e.g.: hypothyroidism), try and see if increasing your water intake (over several days to a week) solves it.  It works everytime for me, along with chapped lips.

By the way, there are other reasons you may not absorb water properly which could easily go unnoticed without obvious reasons that include (but are not limited to) sodium reserves/intake and adrenal (stress) gland function.  We’ll talk about those situations another time.

I’ll close with this — would you (and your cells) rather be a raisin, a prune, or a grape?

Thanks for visiting and see you soon!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Let’s continue from part 1. The next type of water filter media I’ll discuss is known as Kinetic Degradation Fluxion®(KDF).  This is a patented technology that works by way of biochemical reactions known as oxidation and reduction (or redox) using a copper-zinc media.  Essentially, it works via either copper or zinc transferring one or more electrons to the toxin, in turn causing a chemical reaction that converts the toxin into a different non-toxic compound. For example, when KDF contacts chlorine, the zinc loses one electron (oxidation) and the chlorine gains one electron (reduction).  As a result, potentially toxic chlorine gets reduced to non-toxic chloride ions.  Generally, KDF is used in conjunction with another type of filter, often activated carbon.  In addition to chlorine, KDF helps “filter” (really oxidize or reduce) iron; hydrogen sulfide (toxic and has a bad sulfur/rotten egg odor); metals (lead, mercury, copper, nickel, chromium, and other positively-charged metals); and it may also control bacteria, algae, and fungi growth (which is why it’s often used with carbon filters that “trap” and may colonize bacteria).

Now I’ll talk about another type of water purifier called reverse osmosis.  This works by forcing the water through a semi-permeable membrane while leaving the contaminants behind.  This system requires pressure to push the water through.  That’s why it’s called “reverse osmosis”, because osmosis occurs when natural movement causes a solvent to move from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration.  Reverse osmosis is fantastic at removing many different types of contaminants.  However, it should be combined with a type of sediment pre-filter and carbon filter because some contaminants (that the others can remove first) can clog or degrade the membrane.  OK, so here’s the list of things reverse osmosis can filter: aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chloride, chromium, copper, fluoride, magnesium, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nitrate, selenium, silver, sulfate, zinc, asbestos, chemicals (that cause bad tastes, color, and odor), particulates, general turbidity (or cloudiness from particles), radium, bacteria, viruses, salts, sugars, proteins, dyes, volatile organic compounds, and chlorine and its by-products.  I’m sure there are some others that I may have missed.  Now think about combining that with an activated carbon filter.
Three important caveats: 1) bacteria and viruses can still accumulate and also degrade the membrane; 2) by removing minerals the water becomes acidic, meaning it will have a pH below 7 (our blood is between 7.35-7.45) – however high quality salt can be added to raise the pH, more on pH and why consuming  alkaline-forming foods and drinks is extremely important for health in another article; and 3) it wastes A LOT of water – at least 3-5x the amount of original water that is filtered for drinking, is wasted.

Ok let’s move on.  What do we do about all these bacteria, viruses, parasites, cysts, algae, fungi, and other microorganisms that can be in our water.  Chlorine will not always kill everything.  And there’s even chlorine-resistant bacteria out there.  For these bugs, the best way to kill them is none other than light – ultraviolet light (UV) to be specific.  The UV light damages the organisms DNA, making it’s cells incapable of reproducing/dividing – thus making it harmless or killing it.  Simple as that!  Hmmm, wouldn’t that solve the problem of having to add chlorine to water (which causes the production of toxic by-products).  Of course it would, and ozone (a molecule with 3 oxygen atoms) is another alternative for the job.  Apparently, there are “more than 400 municipal water treatment ozone systems operating in the U.S. alone.”  BY THE WAY, for those of us in NYC – this option (of UV light) has been reported about in 2005, though I don’t know what sort of progress has been made.

Let’s finish with one more – ceramic filters.  These use porous ceramic to literally filter the water through, while leaving the contaminants behind.  They are especially known for filtering microorganisms, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has even created standards for their effectiveness.  Search Google™ for “US EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers” for their report.  So if you get a ceramic filter, make sure it’s stamped with their approval.  These filters most notably remove parasites and bacteria.  It will certainly filter large sediment (that can’t pass through the pores) as well.  However, some manufacturers of ceramic filters are certified to be effective in removing chlorine, lead, turbidity and particulates, and bad taste and odor.  Additionally, these can be cleaned by hand when they clog up – but be VERY careful as simply handing it can clog the pores, rendering them less effective.  They can also break, or get hairline cracks, which will cause particles to pass right through into your drinking water.  Follow the instructions very closely.

Wait, really the last – distillation is by far the best way to remove most (and perhaps all) contaminants that can possibly exist.  The water is basically boiled and the steam is collected which is then converted back to liquid for use.  The contaminants are left behind, not emitted in the steam.  However, that doesn’t mean it produces the best water.  Some people say it can act as a vacuum and draw minerals out of the body.  I haven’t been able to verify that yet.



spring or purified

spring or purified

And, Dr. Masaru Emoto has taken pictures of water from a “pure source” and distilled water.  No comment – see the pictures and make your own judgment please.  By the way, it’s quite tedious and energy consuming to distill water at home.  SmartWater® is distilled, although it has some minerals added back into it.  I like that it’s definitely “clean”.

On fluoride — some companies talk about a separate fluoride-removal filter, but fail to disclose the mechanism it uses.

There are some links at the end of the article if you’re interested in buying a water filter.  I have no financial connection with any of the companies – although I signed up as a “dealer” with EcoQuest® last year. I haven’t renewed my membership this year, but probably will. It cost me $25 to become a dealer, which saved me around $100 on the filter (Living Water 3® with a fluoride and arsenic pre-filter).

If I were you, I would speak with the companies first to make sure the filter meets your needs.  And you may want to call your local municipality to see if they add fluoride to the water – and see if, maybe (hopefully) they use UV light or ozone as a chlorine alternative.

H20 International Corporation
The Water Exchange
Home Water Purifiers and Filters – a source for this article
Doultan USA

I’m sure there are many more – I just happen to come upon these that “looked good”.

PS – don’t forget a showerhead filter!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiologist

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OK, so now what.  You’ve heard about a lot of the dangers of tap water – but we still have to drink water because it’s the most important “nutrient” for our body, aside from oxygen.  So where do we go from here?

There are basically only two practical alternatives to tap water: 1) bottled water and 2) filtered water.  By the way, well water is not out of the woods – it can be, and quite often is contaminated.

There are definitely some great quality bottled waters on the market.  Here are a few brands I personally like: Mountain Valley Spring® (glass), Gerolsteiner® (glass, sparkling), and Smart Water® (plastic).  There are plenty more, but those are my top 3 choices. Please see their sites if you want to learn more about them.

Unfortunately, bottled water presents an enormous environmental hazard. And it’s totally unpractical to drink all of the time.  You can find plenty of information on the environmental impact all over the internet and I encourage you to do so.  Additionally, the industry is not regulated and therefore you need to know your source.  You could easily be buying tap water (it’s been said that 40% is tap water) or water tainted with many harmful chemicals and microorganisms in it.  Based on what I read off of the labels, most bottled water isn’t worth it, although you can usually find a “fairly good” bottled water readily accessible if necessary.

OK, so the other option is a filter.  This is a win-win situation!  Save the environment and save money (compared to bottled water).  There are so many options when it comes to filters.  I’ll discuss one right now.

(Activated) carbon (AC), also known as activated charcoal– Carbon filters contain granules or powdered carbon which acts to absorb impurities from the water it is in contact with.  Activated carbon (one step up from ordinary carbon) has a slightly positive charge to it, which can further help to attract (negatively-charged) impurities.  There are two main variables for how well an AC filter will perform.  First is the amount of carbon.  More carbon means more absorption, just like a large towel will absorb more than a smaller one.  Second is the amount of time the water/contaminant is in contact with the carbon.  The longer the water can be in physical contact, the more will be absorbed.  The size of the contaminant will also be a factor.

Activated carbon filters will also trap or breed bacteria in the filter medium.  Unfortunately, they do NOT kill the organisms.  Therefore, they can build up in the filter creating a sort of breeding ground for bacteria, eventually headed for the drinking water.  This is why it is highly recommended to change the filter often – which can become costly.

Activated carbon filters are also claimed to contain the toxic metal aluminum, which can get into the filtered water.  The only information I found related to this makes the claim look accurate.  Click here for information on the patent of “compacted activated charcoal filter material” (note the words “aluminum oxide” and “aluminum hydroxide”).  Charcoal that has been “acid-washed” is said to contain little or no aluminum.

Lastly, activated carbon from coconut shells (as opposed to coal) is more environmentally-friendly and contains less aluminum.  So ideally, if you go with an AC filter, it should be acid-washed and made from coconut shells.

Here’s what an AC filter is capable of removing and/or reducing: volatile organic compounds (including MTBE from gasoline and other chemicals that cause bad tastes and odors), pesticides and herbicides, chlorine, benzene, trihalomethanes (by-products of chlorine), radon, solvents, and many other man-made chemicals that find there way into the groundwater.

Unfortunately, AC filters alone won’t remove all the contaminants we spoke about – i.e.: toxic metals and fluoride, and perhaps haloaceticacids (more chlorine by-products).  Because the presence of pharmaceutical drugs in tap water is relatively new, I can’t find information on filters effective in removing them.  Although, it’s certainly possible that the filters we’ll discuss can filter drug residues anyway.

Don’t forget, these AC filters need to be changed very often to prevent bacteria build-up, which can get into the drinking water.  And unless they’re acid-washed and from coconut shells, they probably have a fair amount of aluminum in them.

The Brita® Pitcher Filter is one example of an AC filter.  It also contains something called an ion-exchange resin which helps remove copper, mercury, cadmium, and zinc.  Hmmm, what about lead.  Well, the Brita® Faucet Filter is said to have something called zeolite as well, which helps remove lead.
My guess is that these filters are from coal and not coconut shells, nor acid-washed – please verify the specifications with the manufacturer, as I am making no claims.  The above information about Brita® was derived from their website.

Please click here if you are interested in more information on the differences between coal and coconut shell derived carbon material.  And click here for more general information and the source of some information above.  I have no financial connection to any of the brands mentioned, or products sold from any links.

More on other types of filters soon.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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