The Type of Water to Drink During Chemotherapy

Written by sarah thomsen
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The Type of Water to Drink During Chemotherapy
The type of water chosen during chemotherapy matters. (water drop is falling down and impact with water surface image by Alexander Potapov from

The purest forms of water provide for hydration and waste removal, helping to prevent against fatigue and thirst. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have a more specific battle: they are much more susceptible to nausea, fatigue and illness from diminished immune function, making hydration all the more vital. Choosing distilled water which has been cleansed of impurities will allow for water to hydrate without creating additional risks to the chemotherapy patient.

Water's Role in Chemotherapy

Distilled water is the safest type of water to drink when undergoing chemotherapy. Common contaminants in water may present a risk to chemotherapy patients's weakened immune systems. Bacterial contaminants could cause chemotherapy patients to feel worse by causing nausea and abdominal pain. The bacteria E.Coli, found in unpurified drinking water, can cause diarrhoea, cramps and headaches. Since distilled water has been heated to extremely high temperatures that kill both bacteria, contaminants and many volatile organic compounds, the risks can be avoided by drinking distilled water.

Well Water Contaminants

Beside making chemotherapy patients feel ill, some contaminants hold potential for further harm by enabling cancer growth. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognises three compounds--alpha emitters, beta/photon emitters and combined radium 226/228--known as Radionuclides that could encourage cancerous growths if consumed over time at large doses. These come from natural deposits such as those found in unpurified well water. Some other chemicals which have been found in water and tied to cancer risk are Acrylamide, which comes from herbicides, and Toxaphene, sourced from pesticides.

Why Not Ionized Water?

A huge market has developed for machines which can ionise water. Highly appealing as a "natural, alternative" treatment, the theory behind the claims says that ionised water acts as an antioxidant, which should have an inhibitory effect on the development and multiplication of malignant cells. Since cancer patients are so attentive to any health claims which promise protection from malignancies, it sounds like the perfect solution to rid their bodies of toxins. Still, little evidence exists that ionising water rids water thoroughly of harmful organic and bacterial contaminants.


Since distilled water removes the essential nutrients iron and copper from the water supply, chemotherapy patients should take supplements or consume whole food sources to supply them. According to the EPA, you should contact the bottler to ask for recent testing results when concerned that certain contaminants may be present within distilled water. Beware that BPA can be leeched from plastic bottles and may cause a resistance to chemotherapy treatment. To keep distilled water in its purest state, avoid placing it in direct heat or in the microwave.


Distilled water is available from online retailers and some local grocery stores; check availability by calling your local location. Distilled water doesn't have to be boring--try mixing yours up with organic, fresh-squeezed juices or squeeze your own citrus fruits into it. Decaffeinated coffee or tea made with the water can provide variety while maintaining the health benefits to chemotherapy patients.

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