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Distilled Water vs. Alkaline Water: Pros and Cons

Distilled Water vs Alkaline Water: Pros and Cons

by Peter Lombardi

Quality Specialist, Consultant

> 3 min read


There are contrasting opinions as to what type of drinking water is best for consumption. While some rave about the benefits of mineral-free purified water from distillation, others prefer to absorb nutrients through their drinking water. 

In recent years, serious claims have been made about the health benefits of alkaline water. From regulating the body’s pH levels to preventing chronic illnesses like cancer, advertisements promoting product advantages target consumers frequently.

Although many health professionals argue that regular and clean drinking water is the healthiest option for most people, there are some benefits to distilled and alkaline water.

HERE ARE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT WATER:

What is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is water that has gone through a filtration process. For water distillation, the primary method of filtration involves boiling. When water boils, the vapor is trapped and captured before being cooled and condensed back into water. When the conversion from vapor to liquid occurs, minerals and residue are left behind, creating purer water.

Although you can purchase distilled water in a grocery store, it is relatively easy to make at home. All you need are pots, lids, water, ice, a stove, and time. To fill a gallon container with distilled water, you’ll need approximately 13 hours of distillation time. 

Pros

  • Reduces probability of contracting waterborne diseases: Potentially harmful viruses, disease-causing microbes, and bacteria are often found in water. Distilling water eradicates the vast majority of these, lowering your chances of getting sick. If you don’t have access to clean drinking water, distillation is a useful filtration process. 
  • Lowers consumption of hazardous chemicals: Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates water quality across the United States, there are still certain levels of chemicals that may be present in your home’s water supply. Distillation removes these chemicals. Depending on the quality of your local water supply, distilled water may be healthier than tap water.
  • Reduces probability of contracting waterborne diseases: Potentially harmful viruses, disease-causing microbes, and bacteria are often found in water. Distilling water eradicates the vast majority of these, lowering your chances of getting sick. If you don’t have access to clean drinking water, distillation is a useful filtration process. 
  • Lowers consumption of hazardous chemicals: Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates water quality across the United States, there are still certain levels of chemicals that may be present in your home’s water supply. Distillation removes these chemicals. Depending on the quality of your local water supply, distilled water may be healthier than tap water.

Cons

  • Lack of flavor: A major complaint about distilled water is that it is relatively tasteless. Due to the lack of taste, people may drink less, contributing to dehydration.
  • Mineral deficits: People absorb many essential nutrients, mainly calcium and magnesium, from drinking water. Although you can get sufficient amounts of these materials through diet and supplements, not everyone hits their recommended amounts. Drinking only distilled water can lead to mineral deficiencies. 
  • Contamination: Distilled water is known to pull minerals from items it comes in contact with for balance. This means it can absorb traces of plastic or bisphenol A (BPA), which can be dangerous to ingest. It may also strip your teeth of minerals as you drink.

Why You Should Choose Distilled Water

As long as you’re getting essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins from your diet, drinking distilled water shouldn’t lead to deficiencies in your body. While it generally isn’t necessary to drink every day, there are some advantages to using distilled water.

How Can I Ensure My Drinking Water is Safe?

Cars and household appliances

Certain minerals naturally occurring in tap water can be healthy to drink. However, these materials can deposit onto appliances and surfaces, contributing to wear and tear over time. Therefore, distilled water is frequently used in vehicles and household appliances (e.g., steam irons) to preserve the mechanics. 

Watering plants

Plants need minerals to survive and remain healthy. Although these minerals are in tap water, some plants are more sensitive than others and can suffer from an overload of chlorine, heavy metals, and impurities. Distilled water can be more healthy than tap water.

Laboratory experiments

As distilled water is inert, it is the perfect controlled substance for scientific experiments. Water containing chemicals and organisms can affect the outcome of an experiment, while distilled water won’t influence test results. 

Medical procedures

Purified water is essential in various aspects of medicine. In hospitals, it is used during surgery to sterilize medical tools and even to prepare food. It’s also essential for cleaning medical devices such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device for people with sleep apnea. 

What is Alkaline Water?

All water has a certain pH level that shows how alkaline or acidic it is. The scale ranks from 0 to 14. A pH score of 1 means that water is extremely acidic, while a pH of 13 means it is very alkaline.

Alkaline water has a higher pH level than regular drinking water. At pH level 7, regular water is neutral, while alkaline water has a pH level between 8 and 9. It also contains alkaline materials (e.g., sodium, calcium, and potassium) and negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP).

Although there isn’t much research available, alkaline water proponents claim certain health benefits, including anti-aging, improved colon health, better hydration, chronic illness resistance, and weight loss. You can find alkaline water in grocery stores, health stores, and online stores.

Pros

  • Improved taste: When comparing distilled water vs. alkaline water, the concentration levels of minerals are much higher with alkaline water, improving the taste. 
  • Excellent source of essential minerals: Calcium and magnesium are important minerals for human health. A study in Sweden found a potential link between calcium in water and reduced cardiovascular risk. 

Cons

  • Health claims: Many health claims from alkaline water companies lack scientific evidence, meaning consumers should be cautious.
  • Low stomach acidity levels: Overexposure to alkaline materials can lower your natural stomach acidity, which plays an important role in removing bacteria and pathogens from your body.
  • Metabolic alkalosis: Excess alkaline can cause side effects, including nausea, shaking, vomiting, muscle irritation, tingling, and confusion.

Why You Should Choose Alkaline Water

Practical uses between distilled water vs. alkaline water aren’t necessarily comparable. Alkaline water is best for consumption.

Generally, drinking alkaline water is deemed safe. However, you should only drink alkaline water that comes from a safe place. When ionized and re-mineralized or bought from a reliable source, there isn’t any evidence that people should limit their alkaline intake. The main issues brought up by health professionals revolve around the health benefit claims by alkaline water providers. 

However, you should exercise caution when considering drinking artificial alkaline water. Unreliable sources may contain contaminants and lack a certain amount of healthy minerals. 


The Bottom Line

Drinking distilled water or alkaline water is unlikely to significantly improve or damage your health. The most important factor is that the water you consume is clean and lacks contamination. Whatever water you drink, ensure that it is safe.

If your drinking water lacks certain essential minerals, make sure you’re absorbing these materials through supplements or diet. 

Peter Lombardi

About the Author

Peter is a Los Angeles based water quality specialist, and works as a surveyor for businesses and communities looking to be informed and active about the quality of their water. He shares his expertise with 64 oz. to ensure everything is accurate, and to prevent the spread of misinformation about water contaminants.