The quality of city water is debated on a frequent basis by both consumers and city water officials alike.  Some of the debate surrounds what is best for the masses versus what is best for the individual.   Fortunately in the USA, there are no apparent problems most of the time with water having pathogens being present.  This is due to the highly efficient disinfectant capability of the municipal water systems.  This is great for the masses, but when it comes to the individual there may be subsequent concerns about the quality of the water they are drinking.  This statement seems paradoxical but comes down to the method by which city water gets disinfected and to what else gets added. Chlorinated water is found in almost all municipal water.  City water is treated with chlorine to kill the bacteria. This is good for killing the bacteria found in raw incoming water sources at the water treatment plant, but there are drawback side effects that may not be so good to the individual later on.  One of these side effects is that chlorinated water can kill the beneficial microflora in your gut.

The technique of purification of drinking water by use of compressed liquefied chlorine gas was developed in 1910. Chlorine is a highly efficient disinfectant, and it is added to public water supplies to kill disease-causing bacteria that the water or its transport pipes might contain. Chlorine has been hailed as the savior against cholera and various other water-borne diseases, and rightfully so. Its disinfectant qualities have allowed communities and whole cities to grow and prosper by providing disease-free tap water to homes and industry.  But it has been so successful that now municipalities are stuck about changing from it even if they wanted to.  Environmental and public safety laws require most to maintain a chlorine residual throughout the entire water main delivery system.  This is to retain some disinfecting properties in the event of groundwater infiltration and other contaminations.  Therefore when individuals consume city water that still has chorine residues in it, there may be enough chlorine left to kill the friendly microflora in the consumer’s gut.

Other things added to municipal water systems that can potentially kill beneficial microflora include sodium fluoride. City water is also present in many beverages which one gets at restaurants. Besides city water, other things can be harmful to microflora.  The drinking of alcoholic beverages also contributes to the destruction of the intestinal flora. Medical antibiotics, birth control pills and many other allopathic drugs can cause damage to the intestinal flora.

Solving the previously mentioned paradox of having clean water for the masses but having something different for the individual is hard to do at the large scale of municipal water treatments plants. But for concerned individuals who wish to have optimal health with viable gut probiotic microflora, there are several options to consider. The most practical solution to the problem is to take chorine back out at the point of use in the home.  An efficient method for removing chlorine, chlorine by-products, and taste and odor problems, is to filter it with granular activated carbon or other suitable chemical-removing filter media.  Another alternative is simply keeping some water in an open container for 24 hours to allow chlorine to dissipate out of the water.  In either case, using a probiotic supplement is going to help put back beneficial microflora into the gut of the consumer that may have lost them due to chlorine and continue to allow for optimal health to occur.

Dr. Dan DuBourdieu
BVPI