- Adequate hydration, primarily from water, is critical for the kidneys as it aids in diluting salts and minerals, preventing kidney stones, and assisting in the elimination of toxins. A consistent lack of fluids can cause chronic kidney issues.
- While distilled water is free from contaminants and impurities, it lacks essential minerals found in tap and bottled water. The absence of these minerals might affect the kidneys' ability to filter waste and maintain the body's fluid balance.
- Research on the effects of distilled water on kidney health is limited. Most kidney specialists recommend water containing natural minerals for hydration, given their essential role in kidney function.
- Options such as tap water, bottled mineral water, filtered water, and herbal teas are beneficial. Products like Alerna's Potassium Citrate help maintain appropriate potassium levels, further highlighting the importance of a balanced mineral intake.
- To support kidney and overall health, individuals should focus on a combination of proper hydration and a nutritious diet, consulting healthcare providers for personalized recommendations.
The question of whether drinking distilled water is good for your kidneys is one that has captured the attention of health enthusiasts and medical professionals alike. As our understanding of nutrition and health continues to evolve, it's essential to explore the potential impact of distilled water on one of our body's most vital organs. Distilled water, known for its purity, may seem like an ideal choice, but does it offer specific benefits or pose risks to kidney health? This article dives into the science and practicalities of drinking distilled water, aiming to shed light on its effects on the kidneys.
The Importance of Hydration for Kidney Health
The Importance of Hydration for Kidney Health cannot be overstated. Kidneys are vital organs responsible for filtering waste and maintaining the body's fluid balance. Adequate hydration ensures that the kidneys can perform these functions effectively.1,7 Drinking sufficient water helps in diluting the salts and minerals that might otherwise crystallize into kidney stones. Furthermore, proper hydration aids in the elimination of toxins and waste products, preventing potential kidney damage. A consistent lack of fluids can lead to chronic kidney issues.1 Thus, incorporating enough water into one's daily routine is an essential aspect of maintaining kidney health.
How Does Water Benefit Your Kidneys?
How Does Water Benefit Your Kidneys? Think of your kidneys as a filtering system that cleans your blood. When you drink enough water, it's like giving this system a good flush, helping your kidneys work smoothly. Water helps dissolve waste and unwanted stuff in your blood, making it easier for your kidneys to send them on their way out of your body.1,2/sup> If you don't drink enough, things can get clogged up, leading to problems like kidney stones. So, keep a water bottle nearby, and remember, a well-hydrated body keeps the kidneys happy and healthy!
How Much Water Should You Drink for Optimal Kidney Health?
A general rule of thumb is to aim for 8 cups or 2 liters of water a day.2 But your body might need more if you're very active, or if it's a hot day. Some foods, like fruits and veggies, also contain water and contribute to your hydration. If you're not sure, a good indicator is the color of your urine: pale yellow means you're well-hydrated.3
Different Types of Drinking Water
When selecting water for drinking, many wonder about the options and especially if distilled water is good for the kidneys.4 Let's look at the differences:
Tap Water, Bottled Water, and Distilled Water: What's the Difference
- Tap Water: Often containing essential minerals, tap water is treated to meet safety standards and is generally good for kidney function.4
- Bottled Water: Processed for purity, bottled water is convenient, and quality varies by brand. Most bottled waters are suitable for maintaining kidney health.4
- Distilled Water: Distilled water has had nearly all of its minerals removed. While pure, it lacks the natural minerals found in other drinking waters, which might make it less ideal for regular consumption with regard to kidney health. Some believe that the lack of minerals in distilled water might not support the kidneys' need to filter out waste and maintain the body's fluid balance. It's often used for specific medical purposes rather than daily hydration.4
The Process of Water Distillation
Water distillation is a technique that can create a unique type of drinking water, but is it good for kidney health? Let's explore the process:
- Heating: Water is boiled until it turrns into steam. This leaves behind contaminants and minerals, ensuring that only pure water evaporates.5
- Evaporation: The steam rises, leaving behind substances like salts and other materials that could crystallize into kidney stones.5
- Condensation: The steam is cooled back into liquid form. Since it's condensed from steam, this distilled water is very pure but also lacks natural minerals found in other types of water.5
- Collection: The distilled water is collected, and ready for use. It's commonly used in medical or laboratory settings, but what about drinking?5
While distilled water is incredibly pure, the lack of minerals can make it less suitable for regular consumption, especially concerning kidney health. The kidneys rely on certain minerals to help filter waste and maintain the body's fluid balance.
Is Drinking Distilled Water Good for Your Kidneys?
Kidneys are essential organs responsible for filtering waste and maintaining the body's fluid and electrolyte balance. They require a certain level of minerals to function optimally. Distilled water lacks these natural minerals found in tap and bottled water, which might affect the kidneys' ability to perform their functions effectively.
While drinking distilled water occasionally is generally safe, relying on it as your primary source of hydration might not be the best choice for maintaining optimal kidney health. The absence of essential minerals in distilled water may not support the kidneys' need to filter waste and maintain the body's fluid balance.6
In contrast, tap and bottled water usually contain minerals that can assist the kidneys in their vital functions.8 If you have specific concerns about water quality, kidney health, or dietary needs, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or nutritionist. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual situation.
The Pros of Drinking Distilled Water for Kidney Health
- Purity: Free from contaminants and impurities, distilled water ensures the kidneys are not exposed to potential toxins.
- Control of Mineral Intake: Beneficial for those who need to limit specific minerals due to certain health conditions.8
- Specific Applications: Useful in particular situations where extreme purity is required, such as medical treatments.
Does Drinking Distilled Water Have Any Disadvantages?
- Lack of Minerals: Distilled water lacks essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are typically present in tap and bottled water. These minerals are essential for overall health, including bone and heart health.8
- Taste: Some people find that distilled water tastes flat or bland due to the lack of natural minerals.
- Not Ideal for Kidney Health: The absence of natural minerals might limit distilled water's suitability for daily hydration with regard to kidney function, as kidneys rely on certain minerals to perform optimally.10,11
- Environmental Concerns: If purchased in plastic bottles, it could contribute to plastic waste, impacting the environment negatively.
- Potential Leaching: If stored in certain plastic or metal containers, distilled water might leach chemicals from the container due to its high purity.
- Cost: Distilling water can be energy-intensive and, if purchasing distilled water, it might be more expensive than tap water.
Expert Opinions and Research on Distilled Water and Kidney Health
Distilled water, while pure and free from contaminants, has stirred various opinions in the medical community regarding its effects on kidney health. Some experts emphasize the lack of essential minerals in distilled water, potentially hindering the kidney's optimal function. Others recognize its value in specific medical treatments where mineral intake must be controlled.4
Research on this subject is somewhat limited, with inconclusive findings on the direct impact of distilled water on kidney function. Most kidney specialists lean towards recommending water containing natural minerals for general hydration and support of kidney health. However, individual needs may vary, and a healthcare provider's personalized guidance is often the best route to determining whether distilled water is suitable for an individual's kidney health.
Alternatives to Distilled Water for Kidney Health
If you're concerned about kidney health and considering alternatives to distilled water, there are several options available:
- Tap Water: Typically treated and tested for safety, tap water often contains essential minerals that can be beneficial for kidney function. Filtering tap water can further improve its quality.
- Bottled Mineral Water: Available in various brands, bottled mineral water usually contains a balanced mix of minerals that can be good for the kidneys.
- Spring Water: Sourced from natural springs, this water contains naturally occurring minerals and can be a healthy choice for hydration.
- Filtered Water: Home water filters can remove impurities while retaining beneficial minerals, offering a customized alternative to distilled water.
- Reverse Osmosis Water: This purification process removes contaminants but also some minerals. Remineralization stages can add essential minerals back into the water.
Other Hydration Methods Beneficial for Kidney
- Herbal Teas: Non-caffeinated herbal teas can be a gentle way to hydrate. Some herbs may even have specific benefits for kidney health. 12
- Fruits and Vegetables with High Water Content: Foods like watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges can contribute to hydration, providing water along with essential nutrients.13
- Coconut Water: Known for its electrolyte content, coconut water can be a tasty and hydrating option, though moderation is advised due to its sugar content.9
- Avoiding Excessive Caffeine and Alcohol: These can lead to dehydration, so balancing them with plenty of water or hydrating alternatives is wise.12
- Sports Drinks in Moderation: While these drinks contain electrolytes, they often have added sugars. They can be suitable in specific situations but are usually not ideal for daily hydration.
- Water-Rich Soups and Broths: Consuming broths or soups made with healthy ingredients can be a warming and nourishing way to hydrate.
- Limiting High-Sodium Beverages: Excessive salt can strain the kidneys, so beverages with low sodium content are preferable.14
- Individualized Hydration Plans: Working with healthcare providers to create a personalized hydration plan can help cater to individual health needs and preferences, especially if there are specific medical conditions or kidney concerns.
Importance of a Balanced Diet Alongside Proper Hydration
A balanced diet14 and proper hydration are fundamental pillars of health, working synergistically to support bodily functions, including digestion, metabolism, and kidney health. Hydration aids in eliminating waste and maintaining fluid balance, while a nutritious diet provides essential vitamins and minerals.1,2,12 Together, they ensure that the body operates efficiently and effectively. Products like Alerna's Potassium Citrate,15 which helps maintain appropriate potassium levels, can play a specific role in this balance. By emphasizing both hydration and nutrition, individuals create a foundation for overall well-being and support vital organs like the kidneys.
Click here to find out how Alerna's Potassium Citrate Can Help
Conclusion: The Verdict on Distilled Water and Your Kidneys
Distilled water, known for its purity and absence of contaminants, has been examined for its impact on kidney health. It is important to note that there is limited research on the direct impact of distilled water on kidney function, and most kidney specialists recommend water containing natural minerals for general hydration and support of kidney health.
The lack of essential minerals in distilled water might make it less suitable for supporting the kidneys' optimal function. Alternatives like tap water, bottled mineral water, or filtered water, which contain beneficial minerals, are often recommended.
In the end, individual preferences, needs, and medical guidance should shape one's hydration choices. A combination of proper hydration, a well-rounded diet, and personalized consultation with healthcare providers offers the best path to maintaining healthy kidneys and overall well-being.
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new dietary supplement, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking other medications. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.
- Clark, W. F., Sontrop, J. M., Huang, S. H., Moist, L., Bouby, N., & Bankir, L. (2016). Hydration and Chronic Kidney Disease Progression: A Critical Review of the Evidence. American journal of nephrology, 43(4), 281–292. https://doi.org/10.1159/000445959
- 6 Tips To Be “Water Wise” for Healthy Kidneys. (2015, April 28). National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/content/6-tips-be-water-wise-healthy-kidneys
- Urine Color: What It Says About Your Health. (2021, November 8). Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-urine-color-means/
- Quattrini S, Pampaloni B, Brandi ML. Natural mineral waters: chemical characteristics and health effects. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2016 Sep-Dec;13(3):173-180. doi: 10.11138/ccmbm/2016.13.3.173. Epub 2017 Feb 10. PMID: 28228777; PMCID: PMC5318167.
- Distillation for Home Water Treatment. (n.d.). Bay County MI Government. Retrieved August 24, 2023, from https://www.baycounty-mi.gov/Docs/CitizenCorps/DistillationForHomeWaterTreatment.pdf
- Hydration for kidney health - Kidney Research UK. (n.d.). Kidney Research UK. https://www.kidneyresearchuk.org/kidney-health-information/living-with-kidney-disease/how-can-i-help-myself/hydration-for-kidney-health/
- Popkin BM, D'Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug;68(8):439-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x. PMID: 20646222; PMCID: PMC2908954.
- National Research Council (US) Committee on Diet and Health. Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 14, Trace Elements. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218751/
- Patel RM, Jiang P, Asplin J, Granja I, Capretz T, Osann K, Okhunov Z, Landman J, Clayman RV. Coconut Water: An Unexpected Source of Urinary Citrate. Biomed Res Int. 2018 Nov 1;2018:3061742. doi: 10.1155/2018/3061742. PMID: 30515390; PMCID: PMC6236775.
- Water Quality and Common Treatments for Private Drinking Water Systems. (2011, January 1). Water Quality and Common Treatments for Private Drinking Water Systems | UGA Cooperative Extension. https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B939
- Azoulay A, Garzon P, Eisenberg MJ. Comparison of the mineral content of tap water and bottled waters. J Gen Intern Med. 2001 Mar;16(3):168-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2001.04189.x. PMID: 11318912; PMCID: PMC1495189.
- Top 5 healthy drinks for people with kidney disease. (2021, May 19). Top 5 Healthy Drinks for People With Kidney Disease | American Kidney Fund. https://www.kidneyfund.org/article/top-5-healthy-drinks-people-kidney-disease
- 25 water-rich foods to help you stay hydrated this summer | Prevention | UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2023, June 26). 25 Water-rich Foods to Help You Stay Hydrated This Summer | Prevention | UT Southwestern Medical Center. http://utswmed.org/medblog/hydrating-healthy-foods/
- 6-Step Guide to Protecting Kidney Health. (2016, January 7). National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/sixstepshealthprimer
- Krieger NS, Asplin JR, Frick KK, Granja I, Culbertson CD, Ng A, Grynpas MD, Bushinsky DA. Effect of Potassium Citrate on Calcium Phosphate Stones in a Model of Hypercalciuria. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2015 Dec;26(12):3001-8. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2014121223. Epub 2015 Apr 8. PMID: 25855777; PMCID: PMC4657843. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657843/