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The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting and Proper Hydration

The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting and Proper Hydration

Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Humans have been doing so for a variety of reasons: because there was not enough food available, out of religious reasons, and even instinctively when feeling sick. 

So, there is nothing unnatural about fasting. We are well equipped to handle it, and our bodies actually tend to thrive during the periods when we do not eat. There is a long list of health  benefits related to fasting, and scientists have shown time after time that fasting periods can be very beneficial for improving your overall health.

The Science Behind Fasting

Fasting, intermittent or otherwise, tends to have positive effects on your health. First, there is, of course, the obvious weight-loss effect, as we restrict calorie intake and burn fat. This is often one of the reasons why people choose to fast.

But fasting also helps the body fight various diseases and it can improve your well-being even if you are a generally healthy person. This is because when we do not eat for extended periods, the body triggers various metabolic processes which can only happen on an empty stomach. 

The main trigger for these processes is the expended glucose levels in the liver that occur after about eight hours of fasting. Once the liver uses up the glucose it has stored from the food we ingest, the body starts to convert and burn up the glucose that is found in fat cells and muscles.

This is the ‘survival mode’ of the body, which shifts the processes from growth to energy conservation and maintenance. This shift has been observed to have a positive effect on mental health and it prolongs health span.

There are many types of fasting, the most common of which are: 

  • Water fasting, where you drink only water for a set amount of time;
  • Juice fasting, where you drink only fruit or vegetable juice for a certain period;
  • Partial fasting, where you eliminate certain foods or drinks from your diet for some time;
  • Calorie restriction, where you restrict calories for a few days every week; 
  • Alternate-day fasting, where you fast every other day, but eat whatever you want during the non-fasting days. Alternatively, you can eat a maximum of 500 calories on fasting days; and
  • Intermittent fasting, where you alternate between periods where you eat normally and periods where you restrict food intake partially or completely.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a weight-loss approach first popularized in 2012 by Dr. Michael Mosley’s TV documentary Eat, Fast, Live Longer and his book The Fast Diet. Several other authors followed Mosley’s steps, and the trend sparked emerging research-based and anecdotal evidence on its effectiveness.

People started seeing intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight, improve their health, and simplify their lifestyles. And many studies have supported the effectiveness of this method when done properly.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Just like with other types of fasting, intermittent fasting triggers the same metabolic processes in the body which have been reported to improve overall health and longevity.

Dietitian Rachael Link lists the most common benefits of fasting that can improve your health. Looking at matters from a research-based perspective, she concludes that fasting can help with the following:

Promoting Blood Sugar Control

Fasting decreases insulin resistance, which is a state where the cells stop responding to insulin correctly and, in turn, the blood sugar levels rise. As a result of fasting, your body’s sensitivity to insulin returns to normal levels and it can collect and store glucose more efficiently. 

Some studies also connect fasting to a lowered risk of diabetes. Accordingly, some health practitioners utilize fasting as a means to lower blood sugar levels among diabetic patients. However, you should note that the effects in this regard differ between men and women.

Fighting Chronic Inflammation

Researchers have found that intermittent fasting helps to lower and normalize the levels of immune cells, while also controlling proinflammatory cytokine levels. This is especially useful in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.

Improving Heart Health, Blood Pressure, Triglycerides, and Cholesterol Levels

Studies have reported that after several weeks of fasting, the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides decrease significantly. Studies have also observed a drop of blood pressure and even a lowered risk of coronary artery disease.

Boosting Brain Function and Preventing Neurodegenerative Disorders

According to several studies, fasting can also improve the function and structure of the brain. It can increase the generation of nerve cells that improve cognitive function and protect the brain by relieving inflammation. Although the evidence behind these claims is based on animal studies, it is nevertheless a plausible one when it comes to human health.

Helping with Weight Loss

The metabolic boost that the body receives when fasting, as well as the restricted calorie intake, have a direct effect on weight management. During fasting, the levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine increase. This helps the body to release the stored glucose which can be found in fat cells.

Increasing Growth Hormone Levels

The human growth hormone (HGH) plays an important role in the body. “[It’s] involved in growth, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength,” explains Link. During fasting, scientists have observed that this hormone’s levels increased considerably, with some cases exhibiting a five-fold increase in HGH production rate.

Delaying Aging and Extending Longevity

Due to the health processes involved in the fasting period, it is expected that fasting can keep your body younger for a longer time. Some animal studies support these expectations, reporting a delayed rate of aging and increased longevity and survival rates.

Intermittent Fasting Methods

Intermittent fasting is all about timing. It works by splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. When in the fasting periods, depending on the method, you eat very little or nothing at all.

There are many different variations of this type of fasting, the most popular of which are the following:

  • The 16/8 method: Here you fast 16 hours of the day and eat during the remaining 8 hours. It is the simplest method to follow, and it usually means skipping breakfast and eating between noon and 8PM.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: Rather than making restrictions on a daily basis, this method involves weekly restrictions. It is a 24 hour fast where you do not eat anything, and you can repeat it once or twice a week. In this method, people usually stop eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet: This method works on restricting food intake partially. You eat normally for five days and eat only about 500-600 calories for two days.
  • The 6:1 Diet: Similar to the 5:2 diet, this method involves only one day of reduced calorie intake.

When Fasting Becomes Dangerous

Despite the long list of positive effects, fasting is not recommended for every person and situation. For example, people with diabetes or low blood sugar may experience spikes and crashes in their blood sugar levels, which can be very dangerous.

In fact, even healthy people may experience blood sugar drops, especially when they begin fasting. To avoid this, ACE-certified personal trainer Iris Lami suggests taking in more calories from fats during the non-fasting periods. 

Avoid fasting if you are using prescription medications, if you have low blood pressure, or if you have a history of eating disorders. Fasting is also not generally recommended for older adults, adolescents, children, people who are underweight, and women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. 

Regardless of your overall health, it is best to check if you have any underlying health conditions and consult with your doctor, especially if you are planning on fasting for more than 24 hours.

Another risk involved with fasting is improper nutrient intake. As you will be triggering your body’s ‘survival mode,’ it is important to replenish with nutrient-dense foods to maximize the potential health benefits. Go for foods rich in protein, fibers, and healthy fats. Avoid junk food and other high-carb, processed food.

Finally, you need to make sure you stay well-hydrated. Improper hydration during fasting can very easily lead to dehydration and dehydration-related problems. 

The Importance of Hydration During Intermittent Fasting

Do not be surprised if you become dehydrated during intermittent fasting. This is partly because of the fact that around 20-30% of the water we get is from food, and it comes mostly from fruits and vegetables. But another major reason you may become dehydrated is due to the fact that, during fasting, your body will likely be flushing out a lot of water. This can even lead to electrolyte imbalance (which you can combat by simply adding a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water).

Some of the symptoms of dehydration during intermittent fasting may include fatigue, thirst, dry mouth, headaches, slow digestion, and bloating. So, make sure that you stay properly hydrated throughout the day. This will also help you to feel less hungry, especially when you are starting out with intermittent fasting. 

Water is essential for keeping your body cells functioning. It also helps to boost the benefits of intermittent fasting. As the body enters maintenance mode, it starts to cleanse proteins and other structures that have died or become dysfunctional. Without enough water, the body cannot perform the necessary detox efficiently.

This is why you need to take special care to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Most health authorities recommend drinking around 2 liters of fluid every day. However, as Ayurvedic medicine recommends (and many health professionals suggest), we are all born unique, and this means that we all require different amounts of liquids. So, let your thirst guide you for most of the time.

The most important part of the day in relation to drinking water is the morning. Drink at least 500 ml of water after you get up to replenish the lost fluids in your body and boost your body’s metabolic rate. This effect can be enhanced when the water you drink has stronger alkaline properties.

Of course, any liquid intake can contribute to proper hydration (as they all have water), but you should be careful of what you drink during the fasting periods.

What Can You Drink During Intermittent Fasting?

Liquids are important and can be freely taken at any time of the day, regardless of whether you are in the fasting or non-fasting period. And do not worry – it is not only water that counts toward your total fluid intake. However, you should avoid drinks which may raise your glucose levels. 

If you want to sweeten your drinks, stick to stevia, as it does not raise insulin and blood sugar, and it is calorie-free. However, bear in mind that it might trigger a placebo-like insulin response. If you can manage it, the best approach is to simply stay away from sweeteners during the fasting period.

Coffee

Coffee can help to suppress appetite, support fat burning, and reduce insulin sensitivity over time. This makes it a great companion during intermittent fasting, as long as you do not add sugar or exceed the recommended daily dose of 400mg of caffeine.

Herbal Teas

Tea is another great addition to any fast. You can opt for green tea, black tea, oolong tea, or any other tea with antioxidant properties which can further boost the effects of your fast. Try to avoid sweetening it, however.

Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are using apple cider vinegar for its health benefits, there is no reason to stop during fasting. Its potent biological effects, and its ability to lower blood sugar levels, fight cholesterol, and help with weight loss can only add to the effectiveness of the fast. 

Pure Fats

Fats like coconut oil, butter, or even fats from almond milk will not affect your fasting period negatively as long as you keep your calorie intake below 50 calories. Even if you exceed 50 calories, the body should not switch off too many of its current fast-induced processes, but it will likely stop the detox process.

Copper-Infused Water

Copper-infused water can also be a great companion during intermittent fasting. Copper-infused water can supply your body with natural alkaline water, which can help your body thrive. Simply fill up your copper water bottle and leave it overnight. Then, enjoy its benefits with the first sip in the morning.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular fasting methods as it allows more flexibility in how you will arrange your fasting and non-fasting periods. However, avoid eating before going to bed and make sure you stay properly hydrated. 

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers including a qualified medical professional. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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The Raw Water Movement and Copper Water Vessels

The Raw Water Movement and Copper Water Vessels

If you have an interest in Ayurveda or other principles of healthy living, you have likely heard about the raw water movement, which many believe stems from the raw food movement. In this article, we discuss raw water’s health benefits and risks and then discuss how using a copper water vessel can permit you to enjoy many of the same benefits of raw water while avoiding the risks.

What is Raw Water and Its Health Benefits?

Raw water, which some people also refer to as live or unprocessed water, is simply water gathered straight from its source, which is generally a water spring. As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, spring water is a type of water that flows from an underground aquifer and is filtered through rocks before emerging at the surface. Spring water may be fetched directly from the opening of a spring, or through a well. It may be purified, treated, or left in its original state prior to drinking.

In most cases, spring water naturally passes through and becomes filtered by limestone rocks, which are quite soft relative to other types of rocks. The spring water absorbs various minerals as it passes through these soft rocks. Spring water is oftentimes crystal clear, although it may also have a weak tint due to the minerals it has gathered during its journey.

Raw water is said to be naturally alkaline and possesses the right amounts and proportions of essential, health-enhancing elements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. It is also said that raw water contains probiotics that are otherwise destroyed if the water is subjected to sterilization. Additionally, it is claimed that raw water is free from industrial chemicals and does not undergo any water treatment so as to ensure that its intrinsic minerals and nutrients are not removed.

Raw water is said to have a uniquely smooth feel and is characterized by its mildly sweet flavor profile. Many of raw water’s adherents claim that drinking it in its purest form can bring about a range of health benefits that typical tap or bottled water cannot. Those who drink raw water for an extended period claim that they feel and appear much younger and have fewer joint problems. Moreover, many who drink raw water say that it helped them lose extra pounds and makes them feel less anxious and tired.  

Risks of Drinking Raw Water

Raw water adherents maintain that their water is 100% safe for consumption as it is free from industrial additives and contaminants that arguably make tap or bottled water a less healthy option. Adherents note that various chemicals are applied to tap water to make it drinkable, such as chlorine, ammonia and fluoride. They also argue that treatments such as filtration and exposure to ultraviolet light or ozone gas removes the beneficial minerals and healthful bacteria in raw water.

On the other hand, many water safety experts claim that water only truly becomes potable (i.e. drinkable) if it has been filtered and treated. According to these experts, the real danger lies in the pathogens that get transmitted into the water through natural means, such as droppings from birds and various wild or domesticated animals. Springs, being an open water source, are susceptible to an array of disease-causing bacteria including e. coli, legionella and coliforms, which are the primary culprits for intestinal infections such as dysentery, cholera and diarrhea.

There is also a potential risk, albeit a small risk, of arsenic poisoning if the water has been washed over certain types of rocks that are naturally laced with such substances. Arsenic can enter the water stream either through natural earth deposits or through industrial and agricultural pollution. It is worth noting that simple methods such as boiling and chlorine disinfection are not enough to eliminate such substances from the water; a more sophisticated technology, such as reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration, distillation or ion exchange is necessary if a water source is suspected to be contaminated with arsenic.

Copper Water Vessels

If you want to enjoy many of the benefits of raw water while avoiding the potential risks, you should consider storing your water in a copper water vessel, such as a copper water bottle. When you store water in a copper water bottle, the water naturally and safely absorbs very small amounts of copper. This naturally ionizes the water and causes the water to become natural alkaline water.

As a result, a copper water bottle is essentially a natural alkaline water bottle. In fact, the process for making natural alkaline water in a copper bottle is much like the process by which water becomes natural alkaline water in nature. In nature, water can become alkaline by passing through a mountain spring and absorbing minerals. Water stored in a copper water bottle essentially does the same thing as it rubs against the walls of the copper bottle.

For more information on this subject, read our blog post on the health benefits of natural alkaline water, which also explains the manner in which a copper water bottle can help you create your own natural alkaline water.

In addition, copper has the benefit of being naturally antimicrobial, which means that it helps remove bacteria that may be present in your water. For more information on this subject, read our blog post on avoiding bacterial growth in reusable water bottles, which also explains the manner in which a copper water bottle can help eliminate bacteria in your drinking water.

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers including a qualified medical professional. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Optimal Hydration and Athletic Recovery

Optimal Hydration and Athletic Recovery

Whatever your fitness regimen is – morning jogs, burning tons of calories at the gym, or hitting a spin class – keeping hydrated is of paramount importance. Not having enough water before, during or after your workout routine can lead to dehydration, which happens when you lose more water than you take in. Dehydration's effects on your body and performance can range from mild to severe.

The loss of water through sweat produced by exercising makes hydration all the more necessary. But what does it take to be properly hydrated?

Proper hydration is not only necessary during exercise, but before and after as well. Water does a lot of things – it provides lubrication to the joints, transports nutrients all over the body to keep you energized, and, most importantly, regulates your body temperature. Proper hydration means longer athletic endurance and a lower chance of feeling negative symptoms like fatigue, cramps or dizziness while working out.

In this post, we discuss the benefits of proper hydration, dehydration cues to look out for, and ways to ensure optimal hydration and athletic recovery before, during, and after a physical activity.

The Benefits of Proper Hydration

Most people are not fully aware of how proper hydration affects athletic performance. Unlike diet plans and adequate sleep, water is often overlooked and underestimated as part of a good fitness program. Below, we discuss why water is just as important as nutrition and sleep, and why you should start practicing proper hydration for optimum health and athletic success.

Reduces Fatigue

Fatigue is the most noticeable sign of dehydration. Dehydration decreases blood volume, which in turn makes it harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. This hampers the transport of much needed oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body, which in turn makes you feel lethargic and reduces your motivation. Although water does not energize the body in the same way that carbohydrates do, it is crucial to transforming those carbohydrates into energy and transporting them to various parts of the body to fuel your workout.

Aids in Weight Loss

Staying properly hydrated is very important if you are serious about losing extra weight. In fact, not getting enough water can actually have the opposite effect; this occurs because a reduction in water intake diminishes the kidneys' effectiveness. When this happens, some of the kidneys' functions are turned over to the liver. However, when the liver takes over, its efficiency to utilize stored fat as usable energy is consequently reduced. Thus, improper or inadequate hydration can actually mean extra weight gain for you.

Helps Repair and Tone Muscles

Exercise makes muscles stronger by breaking them down and rebuilding them through protein synthesis. However, this process requires sufficient hydration to work properly. If there is insufficient hydration, the process will be hampered and will negatively affect muscle recovery. In addition, water is essential to transporting  needed nutrients to the muscle cells, and, more importantly, in maintaining electrolyte balances. Electrolyte imbalance is one of the main reasons why our muscles get weak and cramp.

Signs of Insufficient Hydration

When you lose more water than you drink, your body becomes dehydrated. Aside from thirst and dark urine color, there are other signs to watch for in order to gauge dehydration. These may include dizziness, nausea, muscle cramping, bad breath, dry mouth and lips, dry skin, minimal to no sweating, and faster than normal heartbeat. Severe symptoms on the other hand are confusion, weakness and loss of consciousness.

You may also try some easy skin testing – pinch the skin at the back of your hand for a few seconds, and then let go. If you are well hydrated, the skin should return to its normal position immediately. If it takes longer than that, then you may need to address your hydration levels.

How to Hydrate Before, During and After Physical Activity

Hydration Before Your Workout

Starting exercise in a dehydrated state can seriously affect your energy levels. It might also cause you to get stiff muscles or cramps. It is advisable to drink approximately 8 ounces of fluid 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise. This will also allow your kidneys to process the liquid and give you enough time to empty your bladder before the exercise starts. Your urine should be pale yellow and not clear.

Drink another 5 to 10 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before the physical activity starts. You should only drink water or nutrient-rich fluids such as non-fat milk, fresh juice or a sports drink. If the exercise will last more than 1 hour, it is advisable to drink a carbohydrate-rich drink to prevent fatigue. Water stored in a copper bottle can offer a lot of help too, as copper ions are known to be excellent electrolytes.

Hydration During Your Workout

Proper fluid consumption during exercise depends on how long the exercise will last. The ideal amount to consume is also dependent on your weight before and after exercise. By knowing your weight, you can estimate how much water to consume to remain hydrated throughout your workout.

For example, assume that you only consumed 8 ounces of water during a 60 minute workout. Upon weighing yourself after the workout, you notice a loss of 2 pounds. As a general rule, you need to drink an additional 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost, which means that your fluid requirement during your workout was actually in the vicinity of 32 to 48 ounces. A helpful rule of thumb is to drink between 6 to 10 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout.

If the exercise is intense or might last more than an hour, ordinary water may not be enough. In these cases, it may be helpful to consume a fluid with carbohydrates and electrolytes so as to avoid decreased performance, dehydration and fatigue. This can also help prevent hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Replenishing electrolytes lost during sweating is also essential. Salt tablets (diluted with water) is always a good solution. Drinking water stored in copper vessels is also a great way to replace electrolytes lost due to sweating.

Hydration After Your Workout

Again, weighing yourself is a helpful way to determine the amount of fluid you need after an exercise session. If your body weight has increased, that means you have overhydrated and need less fluid intake in the next workout.

Thirst is not the best indicator when it comes to measuring dehydration post-exercise. The better way to assess your hydration levels after your workout is to check the colour of your urine. If you have not urinated a few hours after your exercise, or your urine is not pale yellow, you need to hydrate more. It is not advisable to start a new physical activity without ensuring that you have already achieved good hydration levels.

It is also important to replace lost carbohydrates, sodium and electrolytes post-workout. In addition, your fluid consumption should be distributed evenly and continue up to 6 hours after your workout.

Conclusion

The principle of hydration is simple – whatever you put out, you need to put back in. Proper hydration can have a huge impact on your physical and mental performance. Plan ahead and always make sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Lastly, keep in mind that you lose more than just water when you sweat, so it would be wise to level up your hydration strategy by also taking into account your electrolyte and carbohydrate levels.

Our handcrafted water bottles are made from 100% pure copper. When water is stored in these copper bottles it absorbs copper ions which can in turn be beneficial in replacing lost electrolytes. Available in two sizes, our water bottles can assist you in staying hydrated before, during, and after physical activity. 

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers including a qualified medical professional. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Avoiding Bacteria in Reusable Water Bottles

Avoiding Bacteria in Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles are handy tools to quench our thirst on the go and avoid dehydration. They are easy to carry around and reach to when we need a drink. If you lead an active lifestyle, you probably can’t get by without a trusty reusable water bottle.

If you care about the environment, you also know that using a reusable water bottles is the only way to go. Disposable plastic water bottles comprise the highest percentage of waste found in landfills. In fact, in a recent study it was determined that 50 billion plastic water bottles are discarded each year.

In addition, on average only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are recycled, and plastic bottles take between 400 and 1000 years to decompose. Did you also know that it requires three times as much water to produce a plastic bottle as it does to fill it?

In the US alone, 1,500 plastic bottles are opened every second on average. One recent study also found that an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste are floating in the ocean, much of which comes from plastic water bottles.

Reusable water bottles are also much more cost-effective than disposable water bottles. According to Earth Day, the average American buys more than 160 plastic water bottles and spends more than $200 each year. One could save thousands of dollars opting for a reusable water bottle instead.

Although reusable water bottles have many virtues, they do not come without risks. In particular, reusable water bottles can pose health risks caused by the growth of harmful bacteria. Since the nature and function of reusable water bottles involves moisture, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria.

In this blog post, we explain how bacteria can proliferate in reusable water bottles and how you can take precautionary steps so that you can continue using your bottle safely. In addition, we will also explain why the special characteristics of copper make copper water bottles naturally self-sterilizing.

What You Need to Know About Bacteria

Before understanding how to avoid the growth of bacteria in our reusable water bottles, we need to understand what bacteria is and how it thrives.

Bacteria are tiny, single-celled microorganisms that are capable of thriving in different environments. They typically appear in three shapes - round (cocci), cylindrical (bacilli), and spiral (spirilla). One of the means by which bacteria proliferates is through binary fission, which is where a single cell duplicates its DNA and the replicating copies are pushed out of the ends of its cell. Bacteria requires certain environmental conditions for it to reproduce. There must be a warm temperature, moisture, a conducive pH level, and oxygen.

While some bacteria is highly beneficial to the human body, other bacteria can cause serious illnesses. An example of helpful bacteria is lactobacilli, which helps in digestion. On the other hand, an example of a damaging bacteria is salmonella, which can cause food poisoning.

In one recent study, research was conducted to investigate the types of bacteria that grow in reusable water bottles. The researchers took swab tests from reusable water bottles that athletes drank from and found that the reusable water bottles hosted both harmless and harmful bacteria. The harmless bacteria that thrived in the containers included bacillus and gram-positive rods. Dangerous bacteria that grew on the bottles included gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci, which can cause strep and staph infections and can be resistant to antibiotics.

Risks of Using Bacteria-Contaminated Water Bottles

As various studies have shown, reusable water bottles can become environments that are prone to cultivating harmful bacteria. In fact, reusable water bottles that have not been washed for a week have been found to host gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci. When the water you are drinking is highly contaminated by these bacteria, it can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infection, and sepsis, among other infections and illnesses.

Various research has also been conducted to investigate the link between bottled water and pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that is capable of causing diseases in plants, animals, and human. One such study collected bottled water samples after up to 30 days in storage. The results showed a very significant increase in the size of the bacteria colonies. The research also demonstrated that the bacteria were able to increase at a much higher density than they would in other environments.

Another similar study showed the predominance of pseudomonas in reusable water bottles and suggested that outbreaks of diseases caused by bottled waters have more to do with contamination than the quality of the water source. Another study, which had a duration of eight months and tested eight different kinds of bottled drinking water, recovered nine types of pseudomonas from the bottles, among them p. stutzeri and p. diminuta, both of which are harmful bacteria.

Preventing Bacterial Contamination

The best way to minimize your exposure to contaminated water caused by bacteria is to make sure that you are using a water bottle made from the right material. Some materials, such as copper, are far more resistant to bacteria growth than other materials such as plastic, glass, steel, or other metals.

Plastic

Plastic is the most common type of material from which reusable bottles are made. This is likely because plastic is also the cheapest material from which to make water bottles.

Be sure to be careful that any reusable plastic bottle you use is BPA-free. The presence of BPA (bisphenol A) is linked to fatal illnesses like cancer, particularly when the body is exposed to it frequently. BPA has been identified as an environmental toxin which may disrupt the development in humans by advancing the rate of puberty.

Accordingly, if you must use a plastic water bottle, make sure you only use bottles that are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE #4), and polypropylene (PP #5), as these materials are the least likely to leach harmful chemicals. However, these materials tend to be less durable, and can retain odors and stains, and also leak. In addition, plastic bottles tend to be problematic havens for the growth of bacteria, which make them less desirable.

In addition, the environmental harm caused by plastic water bottles should encourage you to consider other options.

Copper

Water bottles are increasingly made from copper, which has been used since ancient times to disinfect and purify water. Interestingly, studies have repeatedly shown that copper bottles actively kill bacteria that comes into their presence through a process known the oligodynamic effect.

In one recent study, researchers inoculated water samples with e. coli, salmonella typhi and vibrio cholerae and stored it overnight in a copper vessel at room temperature. The bacteria was no longer recoverable when the researchers examined it the next day, which was an incredible result compared to water stored in control glass bottles under the same environment (in which the bacteria continued to grow and flourish).

Copper water bottles also have a variety of additional health benefits, including creating natural alkaline water.

Glass

Glass is another common material from which reusable bottles are made. Water bottles are often praised for being able to retain the natural taste of water. However, glass bottles are not a practical choice if you aim to keep your baggage light, and they can also shatter easily when dropped. In addition, glass bottles are poor choices when it comes to avoiding the growth of bacteria.

One recent study investigated bacterial growth in water stored in glass containers. The researchers determined that bacteria could easily multiply on the glass container’s surface and in the body of the water itself. In the result, the researchers concluded that the number of bacteria grew excessively compared to water in natural conditions.

Stainless Steel and Aluminum

Stainless steel is another common type of material from which to make water bottles. Such water bottles are typically made of culinary-grade stainless steel.

While stainless steel bottles are generally more lightweight durable than glass, a study by Stanley determined that stainless steel is vulnerable to the irreversible attachment of pseudomonas aeruginosa. The researchers found that when the bacterial cells came into contact with stainless steel, they irreversibly attached in less than one minute and then began to multiply. Stainless steel bottles are also not very good at resisting the formation of unpleasant odors.

Aluminum water bottles are crafted through fashioning an aluminum puck into a cylindrical shape using a metal press. Aluminum bottles are generally shock-proof and can resist odor formation. However, aluminum insulates liquids poorly, and condensation can form outside the bottle when cold water is stored within it.

Like stainless steel, aluminum can also be unsafe when exposed to hot temperatures. Aluminum is also reactive with acidic substances and must be lined with an enamel or epoxy layer. Unfortunately, researchers have determined that the epoxy layer used in many aluminum bottles contains BPA, which is one of the primary components used when creating aluminum bottles.

One study was conducted to probe the trace amounts of metals in water stored in metal water bottles. The experiment involved testing 132 different brands of bottled water from different countries. Leaching experiments were also conducted. The researchers found that some of the water had an exceedingly high amount of aluminum, beryllium, manganese, and uranium. The researchers also cautioned against certain metal bottles which contaminated harmful levels of toxic trace metals like antimony and thallium.   

Cleaning your Water Bottle

Regardless of the material from which your water bottle is made, you should never allow it to sit around for days without washing it, with the exception of copper water bottles which are naturally self-sterilizing.

Ideally, you should scrub your water bottle daily with soap and water. Bottles with a wider mouth will be easier to reach inside for cleaning. If your bottle has a narrow mouth, use a brush to scrub the inside of your bottle.

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers including a qualified medical professional. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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The Complete Guide to Crystal Elixir and Copper Water Bottles

The Complete Guide to Crystal Elixir and Copper Water Bottles

If you have been following social media, you may have seen Victoria Beckham and others sporting a copper water bottle supplemented with ‘vibrational crystal pods’, which look like tea infusers filled with crystals and stones for a variety of different health purposes, including purposes such as enhancement of energy, clarity, focus or concentration.

The crystal water bottle and 'crystal elixir' trend has been growing for the last few years, and now we are seeing crystals used with copper water bottles. In this post, we discuss some of the differences between crystal water bottles and copper water bottles, canvass some of the science behind their use, and then discuss the manner in which crystals can be used in conjunction with copper water bottles.

Similarities Between Crystal Water Bottles and Copper Water Bottles

Crystal water bottles are similar to copper water bottles in that both of them result in the infusion of water with minerals and tend to increase the alkalinity of water, resulting in natural alkaline water.

In particular, when you store water in a copper water bottle, the water naturally and safely absorbs very small amounts of copper. This causes the water to ionize naturally, when means that the water becomes more naturally alkaline. This was confirmed in a recent study in which scientists examined the effect of storing water in a copper vessel. In particular, the scientists discovered that the water's alkalinity level rose steadily the longer it was stored in the copper vessel.

The same should hold true of crystal water bottles, depending on the nature and quality of the crystals used in the water bottle. When water is stored in a crystal water bottle, it should tend to absorb small amounts of the minerals contained in the crystal, making the water more alkaline based on the same scientific principles that apply to copper water bottles.

Differences Between Crystal Water Bottles and Copper Water Bottles

The key difference between crystal water bottles and copper water bottles is their resistance to bacteria and other microbes. In particular, copper has the benefit of being naturally antimicrobial, which means that it helps remove bacteria that may be present in your drinking water. In fact, in one recent research study scientists found that storing microbially-contaminated drinking-water in a copper vessel for a number of hours resulted in complete decontamination of the water, which included removal of dangerous bacteria such as e.coli and salmonella.

Because copper is naturally anti-bacterial, copper water bottles are naturally self-sterilizing and do not require as much cleaning as other water bottles. In addition, studies have shown that copper water bottles can even help kill air-borne viruses and thereby help fight the flu.

Unfortunately, crystal water bottles do not offer this same benefit, because crystals do not have the same anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties as copper. In addition, the crystals used in crystal water bottles often have tiny crevices and cracks which create perfect habitats for the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Moisture is essential for bacteria growth, so when your water touches the crystal inside your crystal water bottle, the moisture can become trapped in the little crevices of the crystal and give bacteria space to breed and multiply. As a result, crystal water bottles should be used with caution and cleaned very frequently to avoid any adverse health issues.

Using Crystals with Your Copper Water Bottle

Fortunately, some of the health risks associated with using crystal water bottles can be addressed by using crystals in conjunction with a copper water bottle.

In particular, using crystals in your copper water bottle provides you with the benefit of crystal-infused water while also ensuring that there is no bacteria or other microbial growth in the cracks and crevices of the crystals. This is also one of the reasons why copper water bottles are excellent vessels for storing raw water: one can enjoy the benefit of raw water while also mitigating some of the health risks posed by raw water that may contain contaminants.

You can easily, inexpensively and safely use crystals with your copper water bottle. One of the easiest ways to do so is to make a small mesh bag containing crystals which you can leave in your copper water bottle overnight or during the day for several hours.

You can make such a crystal bag for your copper water bottle by obtaining a small sheet of mesh, placing your crystals on top of it, and then lifting the sides of the mesh up and fastening the top with a string. You can then lower the bag into your copper water bottle and tie the string around the neck so that you can pull it out a few hours later. Another method, which was adopted by Victoria Beckam, is to use a tea ball or strainer to hold the crystals.

Apart from naturally making water alkaline and killing bacteria and other microbes, using crystals in conjunction with your copper water bottle can also have other health benefits. Copper is an essential mineral, and copper water (also known as “tamra jal” in ayurvedic medicine, and also commonly known as “copper infused water” or “copper charged water”) can have excellent health benefits. For example, copper acts as an effective anti-oxidant, improves immunity, supports good health, prevents aging, eliminates toxins and free radicals, and stimulates the brain. It is for this reason that copper water bottles have long been prescribed by Ayurvedic medicine. In addition, copper bottles are aesthetically pleasing and convenient, thereby making it easier to adopt healthy hydration practices including mindful hydration.

Choosing Your Crystals and Copper Water Bottle

One important aspect to keep in mind when using crystals with your copper water bottle is that copper is a reactive metal. This means that copper, when combined with certain other minerals or elements, can sometimes create chemical reactions which change the appearance of the copper or have other effects.

This is why, for example, copper tends to patina after being exposed to air and water for an extended period. The patina is the result of a chemical reaction which occurs on the surface of the copper when exposed to water and air. While the reaction is perfectly safe, it changes the appearance of the copper.

Accordingly, you should ensure that the crystals you are using are inert crystals, as opposed to non-inert minerals or other substances. This is an important distinction, because inert crystals are crystals that are relatively non-reactive (like glass), with the result that they should not react adversely with water or copper. Before using your crystals with your copper bottle, you should conduct research and do your due diligence to confirm that they are inert and non-reactive with copper and water to ensure that you are avoiding any negative health effects.

You should also make sure you use a copper water bottle that is made of 100% pure high-grade food-safe copper and does not have any other metals, alloys or lining. Make sure to do your research and ensure that you are avoiding manufacturers who do not sell pure copper bottles. Also make sure to avoid sellers who sell copper bottles that are coated on the interior with a toxic lacquer. Our copper water bottles are 100% pure high-grade food-safe copper and contain absolutely no toxic materials of any kind.

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers including a qualified medical professional. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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