It’s almost a tie. Around half of our populated regions on planet earth have hard water, the other half, soft water.
‘Hard water’ is water with calcium and (perhaps) magnesium dissolved in it. The term refers to water from your tap.
‘Soft water’ is the opposite. It has little or no dissolved minerals.
Both have their problems, so let’s discuss them first.
Because it carries alkaline minerals, hard water is also capable of depositing these minerals when you use it. Typical problems are calcium encrustation on kettles, glasses, hot water system elements, dishwashers. Even the kitchen tap can block up with calcium!
Also, because hard water is high in calcium, drinking it increases the amount of calcium we get internally. This sounds good.. but without the right calcium management strategy, it can be quite dangerous, with possible CVD, and no advantage to your skeleton.
The WHO has made very clear that demineralised or mineral free water is NOT healthy. The recent scientific study of Israeli deaths attributed to reverse osmosis water demonstrates the problem.
We have a need for set ratios of electrolytes (charged minerals) in our body and lack of them does have a resulting longterm health effect.
People do get confused about what should stay in your water and what should leave, but the above dire result demonstrates that we do need some minerals in our water.
Our water filtration decision, therefore, comes down to:
Maximum contaminant reduction.
Minimum dissolved mineral removal.
Your two choices are reverse osmosis and non-reverse osmosis..
..has been sold as the ultimate filter. While reverse osmosis is effective for removing a variety of contaminants in water, the reverse osmosis membrane alone does NOT remove volatile organic chemical (VOCs), chlorine and chloramines, pharmaceuticals, and a host of other synthetic chemicals found in municipal water. However, some newer, more expensive R.O. systems now have multi-stage filtration media (in addition to the R.O. membrane), such as activated carbon, which does remove chlorine and certain pesticides.
It is seen as the best all round contaminant filter system but as we have seen here it’s now clear that drinking ’empty’ water is a real health risk. (lack of electrolytes)
Vendors offer remineralising cartridges but frankly, most are of very poor quality, do not give a regulated dosage over the life of the filter, and are usually sourced from China.
Reverse osmosis is also a hard install job, the most difficult of all filters to keep replenished with replacement filters, and the hardest to repair. If you buy a quality RO you will most probably be also buying an ongoing contract for filter replacement by a professional who has to come to your home.
.. is your alternative. I’ll keep to the basic points of comparison here because this is a BIG subject.
The standard carbon filter you can buy off the shelf at a big box store is a basic filter and doesn’t come anywhere near an RO for contaminant removal.
It’s usually GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) the cheapest and least effective form of the most common filter material, carbon. Carbon works for chlorine, taste odor and smell, some pesticides and lead, but only for a short time. This is why these filters never show you a life-of-filter test result. Their first day of use is their best and it’s all downhill after that!
More advanced filters may include technologies like activated catalytic carbon, fluoride reduction media, heavy metal reduction media and electro-adsorptive technology to remove viruses, bacteria and cysts.
These cost more, naturally (you really do get what you pay for in filtration!) but give filtration efficiency even better than RO in some areas, without the complexity of installation, support and maintenance. The most important comparison point to RO is that they allow dissolved minerals through, but also remove the nasty ones (heavy metals).
Effects Of Hard Water
The ‘mechanism’ of hard water effects is:
1. Water with dissolved calcium enters a water filter.
2. Calcium comes out of solution and accretes on internal surfaces.
This may be caused by heat, passing through filter media, or a change in pH.
Our Thyroid is located in the anterior neck. It’s one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body that manages sensitivity to other hormones. It’s also responsible for the rate of use from energy sources and protein synthesis. So.. if we are hoping for a long healthy life perhaps it’s worth five minutes to learn what it DOESN’T like.
Our ‘normal daily life gives our poor one-and-only thyroid a hard time. If we feel sluggish, fatigued, anxious, and just can’t lose weight perhaps you can look at getting your thyroid back up to normal power. Unfortunately, there’s no simple on-switch or ‘Booster’ switch.
So.. What are the Things Causing a Sluggish Thyroid?
Water? Yes, modern municipal water. We just learned that over 200 US cities have excess lead in their pipes. Lead is a heavy metal. And as time passes there are many others appearing in our stressed reticulated water systems, including mercury. Frankly, it’s hardly worth listing them because the EPA has identified 600 suspect ‘new’ contaminants that have no known remedial strategy. We can, of course clean up our water, and after the Flint tragedy it’s hard to understand anyone in the USA not having a water filter, especially considering the water technology that exists now to eliminate heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors.
Stress is a major player in damaging our thyroid. (As we know, stress is also heavily acidifying) When we are consistently stressed out, our body produces high levels of cortisol, a powerful stress hormone. naturally, your adrenals are overloaded and the relationship between your thyroid and adrenals go hand-to-hand.
Best thing to do is manage your stress in this situation and use natural herbs, essential oils, or meditation to calm yourself down.
is heavily used in drinking water and toothpastes. It affect our body by slowing down thyroid activity. Studies have shown that medications that contain fluoride actually lower functions of over active thyroids.
What Else? (How long is a piece of String)?
There are many, many environmental factors thatimpact the thyroid gland. Some of these dangerous chemicals are used on a daily basis as well for certain fields of work.
- Pesticides which induces glucuronidation of (T4). This chemical also reduces (T4) half-life.
- Isoflavones which are commonly found in soy products are inhibitors of thyroid peroxidase.
- Potassium Perchlorate – used in explosives such as fireworks, rocket propellant, and vehicle airbags inhibits iodine uptake. This dangerous substance is used all over the U.S. and has been known to contaminate water sources.
- Even cigarette smoke has effects to this due to the thiocyanates of the smoke itself.
With so many toxins bombarding everyone in this modern society we live in, these 3 minutes you took reading this can be converted into one action that will, in my belief, gift you YEARS of health. I never forgot to old saying: “Most people spend more on their health in their last year than in the whole of the rest of their lives.”
Learn more about removing heavy metals from your water here
The UltraStream water filter, water ionizer, water alkalizer and hydrogen infused water system isn’t a one-off product.
It’s an evolution from electric water ionizer to natural, from high cost and maintenance to simplicity and high end filtration. Ian Blair Hamilton is the designer of the UltraStream and is founder of AlkaWay in 2000. He is regarded as an ‘elder’ of the water alkalizer and alkaline diet community internationally.
Take a few minutes to learn the ‘why’ of the UltraStream.
We hear bad stories about supplement quality too often.
To the uninitiated, a January collection of headlines like this might look like a New Year’s roundup of the rough year we just left behind.
In the supplement industry, it’s business as usual—a brand new year off to a rough start.
Some—like the upcoming Frontline expose—are familiar generalized rhetoric, and some are new findings, variations on painful dosage or spiking themes. But one piece of journalism stands out among these: Vox’s “UNREGULATED: The hidden drugs in your favorite supplements.” A familiar headline, but this time, an impressive piece of journalism far beyond the usual.
Julia Belluz and Soo Oh assembled a comprehensive database of 850 supplements that have been ‘flagged’ by authorities.
“This database is by no means exhaustive,” they write, “it only includes products that have been studied or were the subject of safety complaints.” To create the list, they compiled data from the FDA and, they say, the Department of Defense, as well as published studies from scientific journals and court documents.
“Some products in the database may have also been reformulated since they were flagged,” they concede. On the other hand, “Others that are dangerous may never have been tested. Still, it’s the most comprehensive look so far at what may lurk in your supplement bottle.”
The searchable database is also sortable by product, manufacturer, ingredient and data source, as well as groupings within ten claim categories, like appetite suppressants, muscle relaxants or sexual enhancers—with broad summaries of the drugs likely found in each category.
The database is both useful for concerned consumers, and yet another call for the industry to get out from under the “unregulated” label and move beyond voluntary transparency. The upgrade of the FDA supplement enforcement division to “office” is a move in the right direction. The CRN registry aimed at informing regulators of what is in the marketplace will be helpful too, but for now is not consumer facing.
While self-policing is not enough, it’s still better than no policing. Maybe there’s an opportunity for industry transparency efforts to be combined on a single searchable platform—the good news antithesis to the Vox database.
Until then, a good deal of industry transparency will remain in the hands of critics. A sad indictment of the supplement industry and its motives.
Common contaminants found in our drinking water
This toxic element is found naturally in soil and bedrock. Ingestion in high amounts can lead to serious health problems.
Small amounts of salt are natural. Higher levels are unnatural and may indicate a faulty water softener, road salt, septic waste or fertilizer contamination.
A natural part of the microbiology of soils, insects, and warm-blooded animals, coliform bacteria is the primary indicator for the presence of disease-causing organisms in water.
Found naturally in water, but now artificially added. While low levels of fluoride are desirable, excessive amounts may stain teeth.
Interferes with cleaning tasks from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may leave film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. These deposits also collect in household plumbing lines, water heaters and appliances, reducing their efficiency.
A gas dissolved in water. It is easily detected by its rotten egg odor.
Not considered hazardous to health, but when the level of iron exceeds 0.3 mg/l water may leave behind red, brown, or yellow stains on laundry, glassware, dishes and fixtures. The water may have a metallic taste and an offensive odor, or even restrict or clog piping and fixtures.
Houses built before 1985 may contain lead pipes or lead-based solder. Lead can cause serious health problems in young children.
A metal found in rock, which does not occur naturally in its pure form. It is often accompanied by iron and hydrogen sulfide and causes black stains. Evidence of manganese staining is typically found in the dishwasher.
Elevated levels can be an indication of farm chemical or lawn fertilizer contamination, or even septic saturation. Nitrates can pose a serious health risk to infants.
High levels of sulfates can cause odors, leave spots, taste bitter and have a temporary laxative effect.
Ian: There are many, many more now in our water beyond this list. The US EPA tells us that there are 600 identified toxins for which they ahev insufficient data on danger levels.
Then, of course, there are the toxins added by water supplies, including chlorine, chloramines and (see list) fluoride. Chlorine can combine with organics to create even more toxins.
The latest in water-quality instrumentation can now be found right at your grocery store — in the ladies’ section, specifically.
Scientists at the University of Sheffield in the UK placed feminine hygiene products “into streams and sewers around Yorkshire,” They discovered that “tampons are an accurate and cheap way to sample water quality.”
They were aiming to find a low-cost water-quality tester that could help them detect grey-water contamination. One commentator said “The UK has a problem: thanks to bad plumbing and a groaning sewer system, ‘grey water’ — the stuff that comes out of your dishwashers and washing machines — is ending up in rivers, bringing all sorts of contaminants with it,”
The researchers were testing for ‘Optical Brighteners’, an indicator that a stream is contaminated by gray water. OBs are put into laundry detergents “to make your whites whiter. They do this by absorbing invisible UV light, and re-emitting it as a blue-white color. The compounds also tend to stick to fabrics like a leech. If you dip a piece of absorbent, untreated cotton into contaminated water, it should glow under UV light.
With that in mind, the team placed tampons into 16 surface water sewers, tying the tampons to bamboo poles with the oh-so-handy attached string,
3 days later tampons were retrieved and tested using UV light. And yes, they did successfully detect grey water contamination, and determination of a positive and negative result was pretty clear.
The total cost of sampling? An estimated 20 pence/tampon (30 cents in US Dollars), including the cost of the black light.
What was their alternative?
“Fiberoptic cables can be inserted into sewer systems to monitor contamination, but the cost is quite high–up to £9 ($13) per meter of sewer tested. Spectrophotometers can be used to detect contaminants, but they aren’t cheap, and require training and calibration to use reliably. Testing an entire network of drains and sewers in a large urban area would be incredibly expensive in both time and equipment,” the report said.
The bottom line is that England’s waterways are being assaulted in ways Mother Nature never even dreamed of. Gone is the day when a cheap big box store carbon filter suffices for home use, specifically because the UK’s aging water reticulation systems – some parts over a century old – have no infrastructure or available technology to (a) detect contaminants and (b) remove them.
A modern filter has to be a well-armed design, with multiple medias that remove or reduce not just carcinogenic chlorine, but the newly introduced chloramines, fluoride, and a wide spectrum technology to manage all of the other contaminants above. And having purified the water, we can begin to look at the ever-expanding field of water enhancement which includes alkalizing and infusion of hydrogen.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) – another totally scary chemical term – seems to be something the bald eagle likes to consume. recently a study of Michigan’s bald eagle population discovered that they are the most contaminated birds on the planet. Banned flame retardant chemicals were found in their livers.The population of bald eagles in the region is stable, but the PBDE compounds have shown, in other birds, to impair reproduction, development, disrupt hormones, and even cause weird behavior.
I guess the most iconic animal in the United States won’t catch on fire too easily…
Originally, companies started putting PBDEs into furniture cushions, electronics and clothing in an effort to slow the spread of flames if they catch fire. Chemicals quickly built up in people and the earth. Despite a phase-out beginning in the early 2000s, PBDEs are still persistent. They are still found in the air, the dirt and yes, everyone on the planet.
The eagles were probably exposed to chemicals that ended up in water, and then in the fish that they eat. Because they are at the top of the food chain, they naturally tend to accumulate higher concentrations than living things lower down. This also makes them early warning indicators for these types of pollutants.
And who else is at the top of the food chain? That’s right, you and me.
Environmental Health News says: “PBDE concentrations were “among the highest found in liver tissues of any wildlife,” the authors wrote, with one eagle measuring 1,538 parts per billion PBDEs in its liver. Americans have some of the highest levels of PBDEs in their bodies worldwide, with studies of U.S. breast milk finding median PBDE concentrations of about 30 ppb, though the types of PBDEs vary.”
Ian: So.. what can we do when we are already contaminated? For me, I love my life so I’m committed to eating good clean food and as many detoxifying greens as possible. I eat meat to get the widest range of amino acids and I drink high H2 water and use high H2 supplements.
We’ve been going on for years about phthalates, the chemical mixed in with vinyl to make it soft and pliable. We noted previously what it was doing to men; now a new study finds that they are not too terrific for women either.
(From Treehugger’s Michael Graham Richard (@Michael_GR)
Phthalates strike again
We’ve been covering the impact of phthalates for years . They are chemicals that can be found in many soft, bendy plastics that are used in all kinds of household products (shower curtains, PVC flooring, etc, and they also end up in some processed food). Part of the problem is that phthalates additives are not well bound to plastics, so they are continuously released into the air or food or liquid. That’s why bendy, soft plastic tends to age badly and harden, becoming more brittle over time.
As if these chemicals weren’t worrying enough already for other reasons, a new study shows that phthalates might be having an impact on the libido of women by disrupting hormone signalling (they are already known to affect sexual function in men through other hormonal interactions). To figure this out, researchers tested the urine of 360 pregnant women in their 20s and 30s to determine what concentration of phthalates was present in their bodies, and then asked them about their sex drive.
The result? The women with the highest level of phthalates were 2.5x more likely to have low libido than those with the smallest concentration. This was considered statistically significant, and hopefully with more research we can determine exactly what is going on. In the meantime:
[Dr Emily Barrett, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, in New York] recommends that women trying to get pregnant should avoid processed and fast food as the more processing that food goes through the more chance it has to come into contact with the chemicals.
This is because phthalates are endocrine disruptors, and they affect testosterone and, it now seems, estrogen.
This might be another argument in favor of organic food, as these chemicals are sometimes used in pesticides. Even better if there’s no packaging!
Ian: For me it’s just another HUGE reason to institute and maintain my own antitoxin program, including greens, and molecular hydrogen with lots of pure UltraStream water to move those accumulating toxins on and out!
Malic Acid: The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia connection
One of its most significant benefits lies in its ability to stimulate metabolism and increase energy production. This action is linked to the important role it plays in a process known as the Krebs cycle – named after Sir Hans Krebs, a German-born British biochemist.
Krebs won the Nobel prize for physiology in 1953. He described how a complex series of biochemical reactions takes place within the body’s cells to transform proteins, fat and carbohydrates into water and energy. The process needs a constant supply of vitamins, enzymes and chemical agents such as malic acid, in order to keep it functioning properly 24 hours a day.
The Krebs cycle is vital to life. Without it our energy production would literally grind to a halt. It is essential that you have adequate supplies of malic acid in order to promote the efficient functioning of this cycle.
Malic acid plays a vital role in improving overall muscle performance, reversing muscle fatigue following exercise, reducing tiredness and poor energy levels, as well as improving mental clarity. These actions can make it a beneficial treatment for sufferers of fibromyalgia and CFS (both these conditions involve muscle pain, joint tenderness and low energy levels).
According to Dr Jay Goldstein, Director of the CFS Institute in the US, ‘Malic acid is safe, inexpensive and it should be considered a valid therapeutic approach for patients with CFS’.
So alkaline dieters, what do you do with that? I guess what we can say is that malic acis should be incl;uded in our 20% of our 80/20 alkaline/acid food intake!
A six-month study was conducted by scientists working at the Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US, to examine the efficacy of 1,200mg of malic acid plus 300mg of magnesium a day on 24 fibromyalgia sufferers. Half of the patients were given the active treatment, while the other half only received placebo.
At the end of the study, all of the patients treated with malic acid and magnesium experienced significant improvements in their symptoms – including less pain, reduced muscle stiffness and a more positive mental outlook – without any side effects.
Dr Russell, who led the team of scientists, concluded: ‘The data suggest that malic acid and magnesium are safe and may be beneficial in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia. Future studies should use malic acid at this dose and continue the therapy for at least two months’.
A wide range of benefits
Heavy Metal Chelator
In addition to increasing energy levels, malic acid is also an effective metal chelator. It can bind to potentially toxic metals that may have accumulated in the body, such as aluminium or lead, and hence deactivate them, so our risk of toxicity is considerably reduced. Heavy metal overload has been linked to serious problems like liver disease and brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. (Remember, we use KDF, the world’s best heavy metal reduction filter media in the UltraStream.
Malic acid also supports oral hygiene, by stimulating salivation, thus reducing harmful bacteria in your mouth, teeth and gums. It’s an antiseptic, which also helps minimise germs in the mouth, considerably reducing infection risk. That’s why malic acid is commonly used as an ingredient in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
Malic acid also supports good, healthy skin. It is an ‘alpha hydroxy acid’ – a form of fruit acids that similar to those used in many tope end expensive cosmetics for their ability to help exfoliate the skin and act as mild chemical face peels.
Malic Acid: What to take for best results
The recommended dosage for malic acid is 600mg capsules taken one to three times a day before food. There are no known contraindications or toxicity linked to malic acid.
Taking magnesium alongside malic acid seems to have a much more pronounced effect on muscle fatigue. The recommended dosage for magnesium citrate is 140mg capsules taken twice a day.
But.. stay tuned! We are currently processing TGA approval for a VERY interesting effervescent tablet with malic acid and magnesium that creates high hydrogen levels in water!