Gut bacteria and health. Could your tap water play a role?
By Lorraine Marie
Basic rule of thumb: if you smell it and taste it and think “ew,” rethink drinking it…especially if it’s municipally-treated water.
Sure, treated city water dodges the plague; adding chlorine is a cheap g’bye to cholera, dysentery, typhoid, giardia lamblia, and salmonella. And to other nasties like parasites, fungi, various bacteria, viruses, algae, radium, mercury and arsenic. (Sadly, unsafe water causes the death of 1.8 million people annually; 94% of those deaths are preventable.)
To “safely” drink water we’re looking at “don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.” Turning bad water into “good” but not perfect water drives municipalities to use chemical cocktails that include lime, soda ash, sodium hydroxide, carbonic acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, aluminum sulfate, iron III chloride, activated alumina, calcium oxide, sodium carbonate, chlorine, and chloramines. And some add fluoride.
A question we never entertained when this all began: how’s this affect your gut bacteria? A clue: “Recent studies have shown that changes in gut microbial populations caused by chlorine or other chemicals in drinking water influence the development of human colorectal cancer,” quoting PLosOne (7-17-15). Animal studies also show reproductive abnormalities linked to chlorine.
The ideal gut bacteria is 80% good bacteria, 20% bad. The gut is where 65% or more of immune activity takes place. Upset that bacterial ratio and science is pointing to a list of woes:
Startling: Alzheimer’s is also on the list. Sweden’s Lund University, in Scientific Reports,says unhealthy gut flora speeds the development of Alzheimer’s.
For every study showing the link between chemical exposure’s assault on gut bacteria, you will likely encounter “we see the connection; now to unravel the underlying dynamics.” While the science world investigates further, we are forewarned, and able to minimize our chemical exposures as much as possible. This starts not just with diet but with the home water supply. No use killing the friendly bacteria as fast as you install them.
What about fluoride and the gut microbiome? For now, there’s speculation. But a Harvard meta-analysis of 27 fluoride studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health, determined that children drinking highly fluoridated water have lower IQs; fluoride causes neurotoxicity, impacting learning and memory. Could this be yet another case of imbalanced gut bacteria affecting brain function?*
Keep your favorite Science periodical bookmarked to find out more about how gut bacterium affects our brain health. More is being discovered every day.
There’s a Filter for That!
What Can You Do?
Luckily, there are plenty of options for water filters that will not only improve odor and taste, but protect you from the chemicals used to disinfect your water. No need to lug cases of questionable bottled water that fill up the fridge and our landfills. There are easy-to-install, reasonably priced solutions that can save you. In multiple ways. At Highwater Filters, there's a solution just for you.
Make sure you check with your local municipality to find out what they use to treat your water. If they use chloramine, you will want to use a GAC (granular activated carbon) filter that treats that specifically. If they treat with chlorine, you will want to use a GAC for chlorine or a carbon block filter. Many cities add fluoride to the water. If you have concerns about fluoride in your drinking water, we recommend adding a bone char filter to your system.
We realize that it can be a confusing decision to choose the right filter for your needs. We welcome your emails and calls with questions. If we don’t have the answer, we will do our best to find it.
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Last week's Supreme Court ruling (South Dakota v. Wayfair, No. 17-494) may change the way people shop. Large internet companies will now be compelled to charge sales tax on all internet sales in the U.S.
There's a silver lining in the decision. The ruling should encourage consumers to shop in local brick and mortar stores and to purchase from small internet stores like Highwater Filters.
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Nestle, Aquafina, Aqua, Dasani, Evian and other major brands are selling water that does not require testing. And it stands to reason that water sitting in plastic bottles can become contaminated with chemicals that leach from plastic. The sense of security that many consumers feel from bottled water is misguided. That water is not always what you might believe. In fact, more times than not, it isn't.