by Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc
During nearly 19 years of clinical practice I have had the opportunity to observe the health effects of drinking different types of water. Most of you would agree that drinking unfiltered tap water could be hazardous to your health because of things like:
  • parasites
  • chlorine
  • fluoride
  • dioxins

Many health fanatics, however, are often surprised to hear me say that drinking distilled water on a regular, daily basis is potentially dangerous.
Paavo Airola wrote about the dangers of distilled water in the 1970′s when it first became a fad with the health food crowd.

Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapour 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.

Distilled water is an active absorber and when it comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it acidic. The more distilled water a person drinks, the higher the body acidity becomes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Distilled water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive, in that it tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Notably, carbon dioxide from the air is rapidly absorbed, making the water acidic and even more aggressive. Many metals are dissolved by distilled water.”

The most toxic commercial beverages that people consume (i.e. cola beverages and other soft drinks) are made from distilled water. Studies have consistently shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks (with or without sugar) spill huge amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals into the urine.

The more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases generally associated with premature aging.

A growing number of health care practitioners and scientists from around the world have been advocating the theory that aging and disease is the direct result of the accumulation of acid waste products in the body.

There is a great deal of scientific documentation that supports such a theory. A poor diet may be partially to blame for the waste accumulation.
These and other junk foods can cause the body to become more acidic:
  • meats
  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • fried foods
  • soft drinks
  • processed foods
  • white flour products
  • dairy products

Stress, whether mental or physical can lead to acid deposits in the body.

There is a correlation between the consumption of soft water (distilled water is extremely soft) and the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Cells, tissues and organs do not like to be dipped in acid and will do anything to buffer this acidity including the removal of minerals from the skeleton and the manufacture of bicarbonate in the blood.

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.

Those who supplement their distilled water intake with trace minerals are not as deficient but still not as adequately nourished in minerals as their non-distilled water drinking counterparts even after several years of mineral supplementation.

The ideal water for the human body should be slightly alkaline and this requires the presence of minerals like
  • calcium
  • magnesium
Distilled water tends to be acidic and can only be recommended as a way of drawing poisons out of the body. Once this is accomplished, the continued drinking of distilled water is a bad idea.

Water filtered through reverse osmosis tends to be neutral and is acceptable for regular use provided minerals are supplemented.

Water filtered through a solid charcoal filter is slightly alkaline. Ozonation of this charcoal filtered water is ideal for daily drinking. Longevity is associated with the regular consumption of hard water (high in minerals). Disease and early death is more likely to be seen with the long term drinking of distilled water.

Avoid it except in special circumstances.

Airola, P. 1974. How To Get Well. Phoenix, AZ: Health Plus Publishers.
Baroody, Dr. Theodore A. Jr. Alkalinize or Die. California:Portal Books, 1995.
Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, California:Celestial Arts, 1992; p. 22.
Rona, Zoltan P. and Martin, Jeanne Marie. Return to the Joy of Health, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1995.
Rona, Zoltan P. Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection. Rocklin, California:Prima Books, 1996

Post a Comment

  1. Essentially I agree.
    1) regular water, like from a mountain wells, contains the key minerals - - Calcium, etc.
    2) Toxic chemicals, like pesticides, BPA, others, are not really removed during (heat) distillation; due to a process called steam distillation, those chemicals wind up on the distillate.
    3) Yes, water should be slightly alkaline - - PH around 8.4 or slightly higher.
    4) The real problem is drinking water from plastic bottles; plastic contains a hardener - BPA - that gets into the water, and then affects your endocrine functions ( - - - Endocrine disruption; very bad). PELLEGRINO comes in glass bottles (available at COSTCO).
    Dr. Hans J. Kugler, PhD, President
    International Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
    Author of e-book: LIFE-LONG HEALTH: learn how to Control your Genes to stay Young with Age. Access first 21 pages at

    1. I am not a fanof distilled water, but if you use a steam distilling process that has a vent. the volatile chemicles eilll vent out and not condense into the water. I used to have such a distiller.

  2. Please do not quote a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a source. It ruins your whole article.


  4. Can you believe a medical doctor made this statement? This statement by Dr. Joseph Mercola, a well-known "health expert and nutritionist," can be found on the internet on the first page of search results Googling Distilled Water.

    Jim Jones advocated an early death from drinking Kool-Aid; and his flock of 900 forfeited their lives as a consequence of following his teachings and proclamations. You may consider that shocking or hard to believe, but there are millions of people who will vote for a smooth-talking presidential candidate with a charming, addictive, trusting smile and a basket full of "false promises," yet never bother to invest the time or energy to investigate his beliefs, goals, or background. They would rather accept whatever propaganda the media feeds them.

    After publishing his statement on the internet that drinking distilled water will kill you, Dr. Mercola also dropped the names of two other "doctors," Zoltan Rona, MD, and Pavlo Ariola, ND, who just happened to have quoted him, including many amateur "experts" in their articles, blogs and websites. None of these researchers or writers bothered doing their own research, such as:

    Checking out Mercola's motives behind making such a ridiculous statement about pure water;
    Researching Mercola's premise for stating, "Early death comes from drinking distilled water";
    Seeking the opinions of renowned, respected experts from the science and the medical fields.

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