Alkaline Water v. Distilled Water: Do You Know The Difference?

by Paul McTaggart

As alternatives to tap water become more and more sought after, new forms of water treatment, filtration and purification are growing ever more popular. Regular readers of our blog will know what alkaline water is, the benefits involved and you can learn more about how to make sustainable alkaline water here. However, another form of water treatment known as distillation has become the focus of increased interest. For some people, these two forms of water purification can cause confusion and we often receive questions from our customers curious about the differences between them.

What is the difference between Distilled Water & Alkaline Water?

Distilled water is the result of the process of boiling tap water and then subsequently condensing the vapour back into water. Whereas alkaline water is water that has been filtered to increase the pH level of the water making it less acidic and adding minerals rather than removing them.

The process of distillation removes all minerals from the water and aims to reduce the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) to 0. This can be a concern, though, because mineralisation in water is an important component for human health.

Lots of people ask 'is distilled water alkaline?', but there are two completely different concepts of water purification and this is primarily based on minerals.

Mineral content in water such as calcium, magnesium and other components protect against deficiencies by providing adequate intake which can often be missing from many contemporary diets.

Refillable Alkaline Water Filter

What are the effects of distillation?

Distillation can have some benefits, however. For people who require a short-term detox, distilled water is required because it removes all minerals and contaminants and reduces the chances of contracting any water borne diseases. However, the fact that distillation removes almost everything from the water means it is not fit for regular human consumption.

The World Health Organisation, in a publication titled ‘Health Risks from Drinking Demineralised Water’, reported that distilled water ‘increased diuresis, decreased serum potassium concentration and increased the elimination of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium ions from the body.’

Further risks associated with distillation were lower intake of essential elements and microelements as well as possible increased dietary intake of toxic metals. On top of these health impacts of distilled water, the WHO also stated that it has been reported to have negative consequences for the taste of the water and has been found to be less thirst quenching.

Research on Risks Involved with Distilled Water

Further findings from the WHO suggest numerous wider health implications of drinking water that has inadequate mineral content. Two epidemiological studies in four South Siberian cities tested the effects of water consumption with varying levels of calcium and magnesium in women aged 20-49.

The levels in ‘City A’ were 3.0 mg/L calcium and 2.4 mg/L magnesium, while ‘City B’ levels were slightly higher at 18.0 mg/L calcium and 5.0 mg/L magnesium. ‘City C’ levels were higher again (22.0 mg/L calcium and 11.3 mg/L magnesium) and ‘City D’ the highest with (45.0 mg/L calcium and 26.2 mg/L magnesium).

The findings showed that women living in cities A and B had more frequent occurrences of cardiovascular changes, higher blood pressure, headaches, dizziness and osteoporosis compared to those women who lived in cities C and D.

Why Choose Alkaline Water?

An alkaline water filter, on the other hand, makes the water slightly more alkaline while enhancing the mineral content. This negates all of the risks involved with demineralisation by ensuring your body’s intake of components like calcium and magnesium is helped by water consumption and not hindered by it. On the contrary to distilled water, the taste is also enhanced and alkaline water has the capacity to enhance hydration even in periods of intense physical exercise. The makeup of alkaline water also means that the electrolyte imbalances in the body which can be caused by distilled water are not possible.

Therefore, it is clear that distilled water is not a healthy long-term alternative to tap water. While in specific cases for short-term detox purposes distilled water may be required, it is not a viable form of drinking water for regular human consumption. This is primarily due to its capacity to demineralise the water, potentially leading to health issues such as mineral deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances and increased instances of the ailments found in the South Siberian cities study.

Alkaline water, on the contrary, can enhance the content of minerals like calcium and magnesium, while still removing all of the unwanted contaminants like heavy metals, odours and chlorine. With an alkaline water filter, you can remove these impurities but keep all of the healthy properties giving you a long-term, sustainable alternative to tap and distilled water.

Refillable Water Filter

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