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Optimal Health Part 2

December 26th, 2009

IIt’s unfortunate that most of us have been conditioned to breathe “into the chest”. This is not physiologic according to scientific studies. The lungs are divided into three zones, according to blood flow. Because of the inter-relationship of vascular and alveolar pressures and gravitational forces, the lung base receives the most blood flow. It makes sense then to take deep breaths using the diaphragm, with the expansion of the abdomen during inhalation and flattening during exhalation. This allows better interchange of gases. Also, try spending more time in natural surrounding such as parks, fields, forests, lakes and the beach where the air is also rich in negative ions (more on this later).

What about our water? Water, the so-called “elixir of life”, unfortunately, can not make the same claim nowadays. Not with the present state it’s in. Water has always had many uses such as drinking, cleaning, cooking, and even generating electricity. However, let’s concentrate on it’s most common use, which is drinking. The world’s water supply has been contaminated with agricultural, industrial and nuclear waste products. According to Consumer Reports magazine, more than 700 organic chemicals have been identified in drinking water. Thus, there is a need for water treatment. Sad to say, most if not all, municipally-treated water is still inadequately purified. Yes, water treatment does an excellent job of making water germ-free, but it fails miserably in removing toxic metals such as lead, which according to Richard Maas, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental studies, University of North Carolina, Asheville, affects roughly 20% of US households (other world figures, undetermined). Where does the lead come from? Most common sources of lead are lead-containing pipes or plumbing fixtures in your home or much less commonly, from lead pipes in the municipal water system.

Another major culprit is chlorine. Chlorine is placed into water by municipalities in order to purify it. Biologists have referred to chlorine as a xenoestrogen an “estrogen mimicker”. Estrogen is a hormone found in both women and men. It helps women maintain body fat in the areas of the hip, girdle, upper legs, and the chest. Because of its connection to estrogen, chlorine is a dangerous chemical to leave in your water and take into the body.

According to GreenPeace, the most dangerous contribution that chlorine gives to society is in the area of cancer. The risk of cancer increases when extra estrogen (xenoestrogens from the environment) is added to a woman’s stable hormonal environment. Chlorine has been proven to be the number one link to the number one cancer killer in woman, namely breast cancer. Testicular and colorectal cancers have also been linked to chlorine intake. GreenPeace acknowledges that chlorine compounds have been linked to suppression of the immune system and hormonal disruptions leading to declining sperm counts and male and female infertility.

The next question is, how do we get hold of pure water? People have been purchasing bottled water in droves, thinking that it is the best alternative to tap water. However, most water available commercially are just treated artesian/spring water. Then, consider the container that it comes in. Those that come in plastic could be dangerous especially if it’s been exposed to higher temperatures. This makes chemicals from the plastic leach into the water where they function in our bodies as xenoestrogens (again!). Another disadvantage of plastic water bottles is that most of it ends up in landfills, if they’re not recycled properly. Try to purchase water in glass containers if possible.

If these glass water bottles are not available, then look into getting a water purification system. There are different purification systems and these include carbon filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation, ozonation and ultraviolet sterilization. I’ve recently looked into systems that include electrolysis that may create an alkaline form of water as well.

There is also a danger in showering in chlorinated water. Chemists John Ashton and Professor Ronald Laura in a 1989 issue of Nature and Health magazine, have suggested that showering regularly in chlorine-treated water might reduce the oxygen transfer capacity of the lungs. There is a greater health danger from inhaling chlorine gas than from drinking chlorinated water. The amount of chloroform (most common trihalomethane in chlorinated water) inhaled or absorbed through the skin during a typical shower may be six times higher than that absorbed from chlorinated drinking water, according to International Health News. This can in part, be remedied by opening the windows or turning the exhaust system on during a shower. A whole-house water purification system and/or site-specific system (shower, under the sink) can also be used to help eliminate chlorine and other harmful chemicals from our water.