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Can Chlorine Have a Negative Effect on Positive Bacteria in your Gut?

chlorine's effect on bacteria in the gut

We have talked before about why chlorine may be bad for you — both in terms of consumption orally and inhalation and absorption from showers and baths. In that particular piece, however, we did not address a particular concern that is starting to gain more and more traction.

That concern involves the flora in your intestines and some of the latest research is particularly alarming. In this post, we will explain one more reason why you should be making a concerted effort to remove chlorine from your water supply.

Chlorine is added to municipal water supplies because it kills bacteria and a number of microorganisms. On the surface, this is a very good thing. No chlorine in the water and suddenly a host of water-borne illnesses would become a reality for many people. In many developing world countries, many illnesses are directly caused by the lack of disinfectant in the water supply.

Unfortunately, while chlorine is effective in wreaking havoc on harmful bacteria and microorganisms, it can also be effective in killing positive bacteria. You see, your gut is populated by a whole range of bacteria. Many of these bacteria are actually beneficial. They aid in digestion and they can actually help your body deal with foreign invaders. Just as antibiotics have the unfortunate side effect of killing positive bacteria, chlorine can do the same thing.

What is particularly troubling about chlorine is that it is consumed much more regularly than antibiotics — every day, in fact, if you are drinking water from the tap in most places. Basically, many of us may be operating with a depleted level of gut flora and we may be suffering from increased illness because of it.

It’s hard to find an urban or semi-urban area where chlorine is not used to treat the water. Unless you live in a rural area and have your own water system, you will likely be plugged into a municipal water source. But while you can’t control the chlorine used at the treatment level, you can remove this chemical from the water once it reaches your home. As we have explained throughout the site, this is actually surprisingly easy to do and it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. We prepared a straightforward article to help you get started with water purification if it something new for you. You can check that article out here.

If you have any thoughts on chlorine and some of the newer research being done on its effect on gut flora, please share in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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