Is water a miracle cure?
If you have been in the clinic lately, you may have noticed our new alkaline water filtration unit upstairs. There is a bit of story behind it that I thought I would share with you, especially given the likes of Bill Gates, Barack Obama and super celebrities like Beyonce are all singing the benefits of alkaline mineral water. If it is good enough for them, is it good enough for us?
I am always very skeptical about the latest health trends and some of the outrageous claims that are made by celebrities and other online influencers. Having spent 9 years at University studying Physiotherapy and evidence based practice, we are trained to be cautious when it comes to any science, let alone those based on personal claims.
However, after struggling with reflux (GORD) for almost 15 years I was put on Nexium medication roughly 12 years ago to reduce and control the heartburn. I tried so many times to wean off it and each time, the reflux came back with a vengeance. Over the past 10 years I also noticed I was requiring an increasingly larger dose to keep symptoms at bay. My GP assured me there was only minimal side effects and long-term use was acceptable. As I hit 40, I really felt it was time to either figure out a way to get off Nexium now, or I was probably stuck on it for good.
After testing a variety of dietary changes and making a little bit of progress, I stumbled onto the concept that perhaps water was going to make a difference. I had just done a water tank change for our family fish tank and 2 days later the fish were dead! I tested the water from our taps using an old pool testing pH kit and discovered the tap water was really quite acidic! Surely this could not be helping my super acidic stomach environment?
Being scientifically trained, I started researching the science behind water, alkalinity and its relationship to reflux. There were some interesting findings, including some quite scientific and some very UNSCIENTIFIC discoveries. Some of the more reliable research was that involving chronic dehydration and the impact on all sorts of critical body functions. Here are just a few of the findings my search uncovered:
- Dehydration can:
- Reduce concentration and ability to focus on a task
- Reduce ability to cope with pain
- Increase injury risk, due to impaired co-ordination
- Reduce attention span in children
- Reduce your learning capability
- Greatly reduce athletic performance, especially endurance sports
These findings were quite extraordinary to me, especially given the cross over into the sports medicine world of linking hydration status and injury risk. No one was talking about this on any of the courses and professional development I had attended to date.
So, I researched the best way to improve hydration levels and started drinking more water. 2-3L per day was what seemed to be recommended for my body weight. The first question to be answered was:
“Does drinking more water change my reflux symptoms?”.
The answer – YES, after 6 weeks of increasing my daily water consumption, I had halved my Nexium dose. I was onto something here.
The next research question was: “Does it matter what TYPE of water I was drinking?”
The answer – also YES. The science around different water is not very concrete, in fact there are not a lot of high-quality studies that I could find to prove or disprove this theory. Keen to test it out on myself I researched mineral and alkaline water systems and found the ZAZEN brand to be reasonable priced, easy to use and ethically focused – so I bought my own system and started drinking!
Six weeks later and I had noticed some even more dramatic changes, the most striking was effectively weaning down from 20mg/day to 5mg a day. Fast forward another 6 weeks and it was 5mg every third day. Today – as long as I drink enough water consistently, I no longer need ANY medication unless I have one too many red wines, and then a Zantac gets on top of it quickly.
I still notice a significant difference drinking the ZAZEN water than drinking tap water. I still don’t know exactly WHY this is, but there are certainly many claims from ZAZEN’s website that look interesting and thought provoking. Take at look at this graphic for example.
Yes of course this information is biased due to the fact it is published by the maker and seller of the water system. I would love to have a sample tested by an independent laboratory. Any chemists out there?
Please don’t consider this formal medical advice and nor am I suggesting this would work for you too, but what I can tell you is hydration matters. It does appear on average we may not be drinking enough water and this now forms part of my general health advice to clients.
We have asked ZAZEN to create a special offer – only for BSPC clients and they have agreed. By using this code balwyn10 you will get 10% off which is not something they normally do and we hope you find that valuable. To take adavantage or for more information, head to the ZAZEN website.
In the meantime, drink up when next at the clinic and if you have a similar story, we would love to hear it.
Yours in health,
APA Titled Sport and Exercise Physiotherapist
(PS a quick foot note…..our Podiatrist, Tom Davey and I were just on an advanced foot/ankle manipulation course last week and guess what? The presenter mentioned how CRUCIAL hydration was for tissue and nerve health and encouraged all of us to drink more water each day on the course!)