Paul Bragg. Norman Walker. Herbert Shelton.
I bet you recognize the names of the above three "big gun writers" of the modern natural health and raw food movement. Each of these men advocated a predominantly uncooked vegetarian diet (though Walker allowed cheese and Bragg allowed occasional meat or fish), and each also advocated distilled water as the only kind of water to drink.
It’s amazing to me how blindly most health seekers follow the advice of the above three gurus as well as the advice of modern health writers who use Bragg, Walker, and Shelton as their main sources of truth.
Indeed, if you spend more than about ten minutes reading many modern natural health writers, you’ll quickly learn that all serious health seekers should shun any kind of water other than distilled water. Why? Because Paul Bragg, Norman Walker, and Herbert Shelton said so.
Well, I bought into this commonly-accepted "truth" back in 1993 when I started my health journey, and I continued to buy into it for more than five years before I started to question its validity. I started to question the value of drinking distilled water for the long-term when I finally opened my eyes enough to realize I was relying on information that was, in most cases, more than 50 years old.
Let me say here that I still consider distilled water the water of choice when detoxing or working to heal a serious health challenge. To quote Dr. Zoltan Rona, who feels the same way:
"Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapor condensed. Distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and, because of this, has the special property of being able to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them. Studies validate the benefits of drinking distilled water when one is seeking to cleanse or detoxify the system for short periods of time (a few weeks at a time). Fasting using distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure. Cooking foods in distilled water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value."
I opened my eyes because about two years ago I started hearing from long-term distilled water drinkers who had been consuming only distilled water and who had developed troubles with their hair either thinning or falling out in clumps. I’ve subsequently learned that hair loss is a condition often associated with various mineral deficiencies.
Since I’d been advised by a serious natural health student whose opinions I value very much that distilled water might well contribute to such problems, I started telling people with hair problems that they might try going back to filtered water or bottled water to see if doing so wouldn’t help resolve the symptoms. Interestingly enough, many reported that their hair loss problems improved when they stopped drinking distilled water.
Digging deeper, I started reading more carefully the advice of natural health experts who weren’t necessarily coming out of the raw food and Natural Hygiene schools of health, and I couldn’t find a single one of them who recommended distilled water as the water of choice.
Yes, all of these experts advocated drinking lots of water — at least eight full glasses of water every day — and all of them said a good filtered or bottled water was just fine. For example, I know Lorraine Day, MD, (no relation) doesn’t advocate distilled water and neither does the Iranian medical doctor F. Batmanghelidj, who wrote what I consider the bible on water, "Your Body’s Many Cries for Water."
Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a living foods advocate who writes on page 509 of his book "Conscious Eating," "distilled water is dead, unstructured water so foreign to the body that one actually gets a temporary high white blood cell count in response to drinking it."
Additionally, my understanding of medical doctor Zoltan Rona’s article is that long-term distilled water consumption may well contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Dr. Rona writes, "The longer one drinks distilled water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiencies and an acid state. I have done well over 3000 mineral evaluations using a combination of blood, urine, and hair tests in my practice. Almost without exception, people who consume distilled water exclusively, eventually develop multiple mineral deficiencies."
Given what these health-oriented MDs have concluded about distilled water, doesn’t it make sense to further research the topic rather than relying on opinions formed more than 50 years ago?
If you prefer to ignore what these health-oriented medical doctors have discovered in their active practices, then let’s take a look at the brutally deceptive "organic and inorganic mineral" argument that so many natural health writers use to justify distilled water drinking. (They also mistakenly use the same argument to erroneously conclude that all supplements and all cooked foods are bad.)
Unfortunately, their oversimplification of the organic and inorganic mineral theory and, indeed, their general lack of understanding about college level chemistry and physical laws, calls into deep question the validity of many of their conclusions about health and diet.
The health writers who like distilled water better than a ripe nectarine usually write a lot about the Hunzans, the folks in Pakistan’s Hunza Valley who allegedly live healthfully well into their 90’s and beyond. Interestingly enough, these same writers don’t mention the point that the Hunzans drink a glacial water so full of minerals it’s almost milky in appearance.
If you’d like up-to-date facts about organic and inorganic minerals instead of over-simplifications and erroneous conclusions, visit:
Another point involves alkalinity and acidity. Natural health writers generally agree that the body maintains best health when it maintains a ph leaning to the alkaline side rather than the acidic side, and yet distilled water quickly turns highly acidic, about 5.8 in an open air container. I didn’t understand the chemistry of this important point until I stumbled onto a great explanation by Fred Senese at
Does it still make sense to you to drink eight glasses a day of distilled water that can potentially help to over-acidify the body?
I’d been putting off writing this article for over a year because I didn’t feel that I had all the facts. I still feel the same way, but I also feel confident enough with what I have learned to present my current viewpoint to help others make a more informed decision before investing a lot of money in an expensive distiller that may well contribute to health problems in the long run.
You will note, of course, that the most vociferous advocates of distilled water are also those who sell high-profit margin distillers. They are also the ones who continue to quote Paul Bragg and Norman Walker as the sources of their extensive research.
In closing, I do know tap water isn’t good because of all the chemicals and pollutants and Lord knows what else in it, but I don’t have all the answers as to the best water for human health, so please don’t consider this article definitive.
I trust this article raises some questions in your mind that you can now research in more detail on your own so you can then come to an informed conclusion about what type of water is best for you and your family. I opened my eyes because about two years ago I started hearing from long-term distilled water drinkers who had been consuming only distilled water and who had developed troubles with their hair either thinning or falling out in clumps. I’ve subsequently learned that hair loss is a condition often associated with various mineral deficiencies.
I would STRONGLY recommend purchasing "Your Body’s Many Cries For Water". It is the best book I know of that documents the usefulness of water. Dr. Batmanghelidj is a physician and does an excellent job. If you are a health care professional this book should be in your library.