How your drinking water endangers your heart

Portrait of professional black businesswoman.

Over the past few years, there has been a flood of reports of dangerous toxins that could be lurking in our drinking water.

Some reports have listed harmful levels of lead, perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), hormones, pesticides and even trace amounts of prescription drugs.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of what these dangerous substances could do to my body is downright scary. I imagine you’d feel the same.

Unfortunately, the bad news when it comes to toxic drinking water is only getting worse…

A very recent report claims that millions of people are being exposed to a toxin that actually changes the structure of the human heart — increasing susceptibility to cardiovascular disease!

Where’s it coming from?

The toxin we’re talking about is arsenic.

Yup, the stuff you find in rat poison! And it could be in the water you’re drinking on a daily basis.

In fact, researchers say that people are most frequently exposed to arsenic through drinking water in areas where groundwater is contaminated. This includes many rural and suburban communities across the United States.

Arsenic is a naturally-occurring element in the earth — but no less dangerous and one we expect our public water systems to protect us from.

To make it clear how widespread the problem is, it’s important to note that just a few years ago, The New York Times reported that water in parts of the Central Valley of California had been found to be contaminated. The same report found that in the upper Midwest and New England, a belt of arsenic-infused bedrock taints water in the aquifers from Maine to Massachusetts.

Arsenic thickens your heart’s main pumping chamber

While just the thought of arsenic in your drinking water might be scary in and of itself, previous studies have linked exposure to a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Now, research reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, an American Heart Association journal, has looked at the cause behind arsenic’s heart disease link by studying the health of American Indians in Oklahoma, Arizona and North and South Dakota, a population at greater risk of exposure due to the frequent use of wells.

The team measured arsenic exposure through urine samples and assessed the size, shape and function of their hearts using ultrasound. They found that for a twofold increase in arsenic in the urine samples, there was:

• A 47 percent greater chance of thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle);

• A 58 percent greater chance of thickening of the left ventricle in participants with high blood pressure (blood pressure at least 120/80 mm Hg) or who were using blood pressure-lowering medication.

This thickening of the left ventricle causes your heart to work harder, reduces its pumping action, and can further elevate blood pressure.

According to the researchers, these structural heart changes demonstrate the toxic effects of arsenic on your cardiovascular system and show that if you have pre-clinical heart disease, you’re at even greater risk.

They also say that even though the study was performed in tribal populations, the results are likely to be translated to millions of Americans exposed to low or moderate levels of arsenic in their water.

That means us!

Reducing your toxin load

Clearly, arsenic presents a clear and present danger to the health of your heart, making it vital that you eliminate the toxin from your body.

The best place to start, of course, is with your drinking water.

To most efficiently remove arsenic from your water, you’ll need a reverse osmosis filter. This type of system forces water through a semi-permeable membrane that blocks contaminants from entering the water you drink. However, you do need to practice regular maintenance to keep it working like it should.

In addition to using a reverse osmosis filter in my home, I also take a supplement to make sure my liver (the organ responsible for detoxifying the body) is in optimal working order. It delivers:

Milk Thistle — An ancient liver-booster found to help support the elimination of heavy metal buildup, medication residue, environmental pollutants and alcohol. Since arsenic is a heavy metal, this one is especially important.

Turmeric — A 4,000-year-old Indian herb that helps protect the liver from oxidative stress and promotes healthy liver function. It also boasts inflammation-fighting ability to protect the health of liver cells and support their ability to identify and remove toxins from your bloodstream.

Selenium — A trace element that helps promote detoxification.

Schisandra – An ancient Chinese herb that promotes healthy liver function by activating enzymes in the liver cells that produce glutathione — your body’s master antioxidant that detoxifies the body and recycles vitamins C and E, so they can protect cells from free radicals.

The news on water safety in our country isn’t good but you do have ways to protect yourself. Use a reverse osmosis filter in your home and support your body’s liver function so that it can rid itself of as many toxins as possible on a daily basis to prevent buildup.