Knowing how to re-mineralize distilled water is great knowledge to have. There are several reasons why your drinking water might be distilled. It could be part of the purification process to make your drinking water safe. It could be a healthy choice to remove unnecessary impurities that most drinking water has. Whatever the reason, you need to know how to re-mineralize your water so your body will get the right balance of essential minerals and electrolytes it needs to function optimally.
To re-mineralize distilled water, you put in additives like electrolyte powder, mineral drops, or use effervescent tablets containing magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, etc. This allows you to create water that only has the essentials for life, without impurities that your body doesn’t need.
There are many reasons your drinking water may start as distilled. Distillation is a method of purification via boiling to remove bacteria and inorganic materials to produce clean drinking water. Various ways exist to put back the essential minerals humans need to survive. Is re-mineralization necessary, though? Are there side effects, though, to not re-mineralizing distilled water?
Methods to Re-Mineralize Distilled Water
Distilled water is water that only contains only hydrogen and oxygen. It lacks minerals and electrolytes, and other impurities that are included in all non-purified drinking water. There are a variety of re-mineralization processes that can be used on the go or at home. Which you chose might depend on where and why you are distilling your water.
Celtic or Himalayan Salt
Both Celtic and Himalayan salt (Amazon Link) contain over 80 vital minerals in their composition. These are far better options to add to your water than table salt, which is mostly sodium chloride and caking agents. Which to choose depends on your taste.
Himalayan salt (distinctive by its pink color) does have less sodium than Celtic salt, so it might be a slightly healthier option. To re-mineralize your water, just add a pinch of either to your bottle and mix it up. If you have neither of these, get another sea salt as they also have the essential minerals, despite the higher sodium content. If you only have table salt, you may be better off not adding anything at all.
There are a few products in this category, such as Pascalite, which is harvested from the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Such biological clays contain natural minerals that can be added to water without affecting the taste. It can be heavy to carry around, however.
Limestone is how most water comes to contain minerals in the first place. Limestone is a weak rock, and it readily dissolves as water passes over it. So, if you have distilled water and you are in a limestone-rich region, pour your distilled water of some limestone, and it will be full of minerals once again.
Mineral Drops or Tablets
You can always opt for a commercialized product designed to re-mineralize your water. A small bottle is inexpensive and easy to carry in your backpack or have in your cupboard at home. Simply follow the directions and add the number of drops it suggests for the volume of water you wish to re-mineralize. The tablets are generally for larger quantities of water, and the drops are excellent for single-bottle use. Generally, both products have 70-80 minerals in them and have everything you need to stay healthy.
How To Make Distilled Water
Distilling is the process of boiling and condensing to separate components from a liquid mixture. In water, this translates to the water being boiled to create steam. The steam is then siphoned away from the original water solution and condensed back into purified water in a new container. The result, hopefully, is that inorganic material, bacteria, and other impurities remain in the original vessel, and pure water (only oxygen and hydrogen, H2O) exists in the new container.
Such purification is possible because the minerals of sodium, potassium, fluid, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, etc., have a higher boiling point than H2O, so they do not vaporize at the distillation temperature of water (100 °C, 212°F).
Distillation is vital in areas of the world where clean drinking water is scarce, or when you are selecting water to drink in the wild. Distilled water is also used in some systems and appliances where minerals would leave a residue behind, such as humidifiers. For distilled water to be also classed as purified, dissolved solids in the solution cannot exceed ten parts per million. Generally, adequately distilled water is purer than filtered, spring, or tap water.
Is Drinking Distilled Water Safe?
Whether drinking distilled water is safe is a hotly contested issue. It is not a black-and-white matter either, as it depends on where your water is coming from and how much of it you drink, and what else you consume. There are a few things to consider before you can answer this question fully.
During distilling, water is boiled and condensed. Most impurities have a boiling point higher than that of water, so they aren’t vaporized and condensed into the drinking water. However, some pesticides and herbicides are small volatile compounds. As a result, their boiling points are below that of pure water and will remain in the distilled fraction. If distilling is your only method of preparing water, then you will be ingesting these compounds as well. This is why it is wise to incorporate a filter into your water purification process if you can.
If you drink only distilled water that has not been re-mineralized, then you are denying your body of essential minerals it needs to function. Such an argument carries more weight if your diet isn’t compensating for these deficits. Muscles (including the heart) need electrolytes to operate. Without them, signaling in the body will stop. Here’s why we need some of the minerals distilled water lacks. It’s not an extensive list, but it will help highlight what mineralized water has packed inside:
- Calcium is not only essential for maintaining bone density, but it also keeps your heart healthy by keeping your blood pressure low. Low blood pressure severely reduces the risk of a stroke too.
- Magnesium helps regulate body mass and keeps your blood sugar low. It also reduces blood pressure and lowers triglycerides. It will keep your energy up and your muscles functioning properly.
- Potassium regulates the effect of sodium on blood pressure. Sometimes, it can be called the “unsalt.” Like sodium, it is needed for muscle contractions and nerve signaling. Without potassium, the heart won’t beat correctly.
- Sodium is essential to keep the water balance correct in our cells. Too much sodium and the cells will shrink. Too little, and they will swell. Furthermore, sodium is necessary for muscle and nerve function.
Unless your diet is supplying enough of these minerals, you won’t be doing your body any favors.
Conversely, if you keep drinking water because you are thirsty, you could end up suffering from hyponatremia (low sodium concentration in the blood). This is a form of water intoxication, where you consume so much water your sodium concentration is lower than 135 millimoles per liter.
If that seems inconsequential, you’d be wrong. Hyponatremia can lead to death, as demonstrated by the infamous “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in Sacramento County in 2007. During the contest, the winner Jennifer Strange, drank water continuously for hours and died a few hours later. Her cells tried to balance the sodium concentration inside and outside of her cells and burst from swelling in the process.
Drinking too much distilled water because your brain isn’t sending signals to tell you it’s hydrated is a severe issue. Be mindful of your water intake to avoid this if you are drinking only distilled water.
Benefits of Having A Store of Distilled Water
There are advantages to distilling water and saving it for use later. Firstly, the distillation process means that the water should be void of bacteria and pathogens, meaning there is a reduced opportunity for contracting a foodborne illness by consuming it. Further, as the water is free of any source of food, as it’s ideally just hydrogen and oxygen atoms, any residual bacteria or fungi in the water will die.
Like other sources of water, there is nothing perishable about distilled water, so it doesn’t require refrigeration or any other special storage considerations. Just keep the water in sealed containers, and it will be safe for drinking whenever you need it.
If you rely on distilling water for survival, distill as much as you can, when you can. You never know when water might become scarce.
Distilling water can be a lifeline to obtaining safe drinking water. However, the removal of essential minerals and electrolytes that the body needs can be dangerous if they are not replenished through diet. A more reliable method is to re-mineralize distilled water.
Several methods are available that can be applied to a single drinking bottle all the way up to the industrial scale. Distilled water stores indefinitely and having some on hand is vital in some survival situations.
What’s The Difference Between Purified and Distilled Water?
Purified water is a term given to water based on its quality, not on the process that was used to produce it. To be classified as purified water, it must contain fewer than 10 ppm of impurities. Impurities can be anything from heavy toxic metals to naturally occurring calcium.
For reference, naturally occurring mineral water contains around 250 ppm of dissolved solids like sulfate, potassium, magnesium, etc. Distilled water is a solution that has been created through vaporization and condensation. The difference is that all adequately distilled water is purified, but not all purified water is distilled. You can purify water through other processes such as reverse osmosis, ion exchange, ultrafiltration, or a combination of these processes.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse osmosis is a process of purifying water using a semi-permeable membrane. It involves applying pressure to drive pure water to one side of the membrane and retain larger inorganic compounds on the waste side. This process removes substances such as lead, chlorine, nitrates, sulfates, and detergents.
It is a common feature in many household water systems to provide clean water for drinking and cooking. It’s a multi-step process that uses different filters to remove different types of particles, from heavy metals to bacteria. As it is based on size-filtration, and, alas, small molecules that can be hazardous, such as pesticides, may not be removed. They are popular as they can be fully automated, produce refreshing-tasting water, and are reasonably priced.
For more, check out 8 Practical Ways to Purify Water Without Boiling It.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
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