IBS much improved after removing CHLORAMINE from my tap drinking water (not the same as chlorine), which is not removed by carbon filters

Hip

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My Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) was Much Improved After I Removed Chloramine From my Drinking Water

Synopsis: If you have IBS, and your tap water supplier puts chloramine (not the same as chlorine) into your drinking water, then simply adding 10 mg of vitamin C to every liter of tap water you consume, which neutralizes the chloramine, may greatly improve your IBS symptoms (chloramine can have adverse effects on the intestinal lining).

Recently I discovered that my local water utility company puts chloramine (as well as chlorine) into the tap drinking water.

Chloramine is a disinfectant (chemical formula NH2Cl) added to the drinking water supply in some areas of the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, in addition to chlorine.

Unlike chlorine, chloramine is not easily removed from your tap water by boiling, nor by letting the tap water stand in an open bottle overnight (aeration). So this means that chloramine remains in the drinking water even when you boil the kettle to make a tea or coffee, and even when you cook food with boiling water.

Furthermore, chloramine is not removed from tap water by the activated carbon filters that are used to remove chlorine; so even if you have such a tap water filter, this will not protect you from chloramine.


Research on the negative health affects of chloramine is scant, though there are many anecdotal reports on the Internet of health problems caused by chloramine in tap water, particularly problems with the skin (some reports given here: 1, 2). Apparently, many people only notice the ill health affects of chloramine when they travel abroad, or when they travel to a different part the country (say on a business trip), where there is no chloramine the water, and notice that while they are away, certain chronic ailments or symptoms they have just disappear.

I had an idea that chloramines in my water supply might be affecting my intestines, and worsening my IBS.

Thus I decided to test my theory that chloramine was exacerbating my IBS symptoms by removing all chloramine from my drinking and cooking water.

You can quickly and easily remove the chloramine from your drinking water simply by adding vitamin C to the water. You just need to add 10 mg of vitamin C to neutralize each liter of water. (Alternatively 20 mg of sodium thiosulfate will also neutralize the chloramine in a liter of water). References: 1, 2, 3, 4.

So all I did was add a very small amount of vitamin C to all the tap water I drink and use for making tea and coffee, and to all the tap water I use for cooking.

Within a couple of days of doing this, my IBS symptoms were noticeably improved, and have remained much improved.

So anyone here who is battling IBS or other bowel symptoms, check to see if your local water supplier is putting chloramine into your drinking water, and if so, consider trying this simple vitamin C neutralization technique to remove the chloramine.

Your IBS / bowel symptoms may be significantly improved within days.

Note: the improvement in symptoms happens fast, within a day or two of removing chloramine, so it does not take long to see if removing chloramine is going to be of benefit for you.
 
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Hip

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By the way, for those concerned about leaky gut syndrome (intestinal hyperpermeability), this study demonstrated that chloramine (monochloramine) can disrupt the epithelial lining of the intestines, likely causing mucosal inflammation, malabsorption and dysfunction of the digestive tract.
 
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Water departments use Cloramine to disenfect water and to the reach the farthest dead ends" water of their water systems far from the pumping stations. It also has been known to destroy rubber gaskets in valves on other water works equipment. The Vitamin C is great workable solution. Conrgratulations.
 

Hip

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I did not know that chloramines can corrode rubber gaskets. Though I read that chloramine can be fatal to fish in an aquarium, and so chloramine must be removed from tap drinking water before you use that water in a fish tank.
 

SOC

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However, you can quickly and easily remove the chloramine from your drinking water simply by adding vitamin C to the water. You just need a tiny 10 mg amount of vitamin C to neutralize each liter of water. (Alternatively 20 mg of sodium thiosulfate will also neutralize the chloramine in a liter of water). References: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Do you know what was meant by "neutralize" in this context? I know chloramine can be broken into chlorine and ammonia, but I'm not sure this is better to drink than chloramine. :confused: Or is the neutralization a more complex process?
 

Hip

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Do you know what was meant by "neutralize" in this context? I know chloramine can be broken into chlorine and ammonia, but I'm not sure this is better to drink than chloramine. :confused: Or is the neutralization a more complex process?
Neutralize means just as you said: vitamin C breaks down chloramine into chlorine (chlorine is in the water anyway) and into ammonia. Both chlorine and ammonia are immediately expelled from water by boiling, so these will both disappear when you boil water for making tea or coffee, and when you boil water in cooking.

And both chlorine and ammonia are also expelled from water by aeration, if you let the water stand overnight in an open bottle or container.

So, if like me, you only drink either mineral water, or tap water that that has a been left to stand overnight or longer (after having put a tiny amount of vitamin C in it neutralize the chloramine), then you will have no ammonia, no chlorine and no chloramine in your drinking water.

Small amounts of ammonia in drinking water are apparently not a problem anyway for human health (ref: 1).


EDIT: More accurately:
Ascorbic acid reduces chloramines to ammonium chloride (Wiseman 1997), or to hydrochloric acid and ammonia (White 1999), depending on the pH of solution.
See post below for more info.
 
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Hip

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TIP: an easy way to add tiny amounts of vitamin C to your tap drinking water before use is using those fizzy effervescent vitamin C tablets that you can often find for sale in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Fizzy Vitamin C Tablets
Fizzy vitamin C tablets.jpg


With a knife, just crumble up a 1000 mg fizzy vitamin C tablet into around 30 or so tiny little chips (each chip will then have around 30 mg of vitamin C). You then just drop one of these little chips into the water in your kettle or saucepan just before you boil the water, to instantly neutralize the chloramine. Or drop a chip into the water you let stand overnight for drinking water. One tiny 30 mg chip will neutralize up to 3 liters (5 pints) of water, so it is very economical.
 

SOC

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Neutralize means just as you said: vitamin C breaks down chloramine into chlorine (chlorine is in the water anyway) and into ammonia. Both chlorine and ammonia are immediately expelled from water by boiling, so these will both disappear when you boil water for making tea or coffee, and when you boil water in cooking.

And both chlorine and ammonia are also expelled from water by aeration, if you let the water stand overnight in an open bottle or container.

So, if like me, you only drink either mineral water, or tap water that that has a been left to stand overnight or longer (after having put a tiny amount of vitamin C in it neutralize the chloramine), then you will have no ammonia, no chlorine and no chloramine in your drinking water.

Small amounts of ammonia in drinking water are apparently not a problem anyway for human health (ref: 1).
Thanks, Hip, for the extremely useful info. The vitamin C addition is very simple, so the only other thing I need to do is leave my filtered water in an open container overnight instead of in a sealed container in the fridge. Easy!

I take the chloramines out of the water for my fish, why shouldn't I do the same for myself? :)
 

Hip

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Great info. My area doesn't appear to have chloramines.

I believe that only around one fifth of all the tap drinking water supply has chloramines added to it. So this problem only affects you if you live in an area of the country where chloramines are added to the water.

If anyone wants to know if they have chloramines added to their water, your water supply company website should state whether or not chloramines are added to your water supply.

In the US, UK, Canada and Australia, I believe virtually all the drinking water supply has chlorine added (which is the primary water disinfectant used in these countries); but some water supply companies also add chloramine as a secondary disinfectant.
 

caledonia

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There is a nearby small town just outside of my larger city that has chloramines. I guess they have their own water supply so they can do it differently if they want. Anyway, like you said, it's easy enough to find out, just look at your water supplier's website.

I found some people with fish tanks discussing chloramines. Apparently it's bad for your fish (but ok for humans???). Hello??? What are these people smoking?
 

anna8

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Thanks hip! You are so knowledgeable!
I usually drink bottle water you can get it really cheap now! But on days when I have run out and feel too ill to get some I've drunk tap water and I do notice a difference! I thought It can,t be the water but I think you are right!
Good info!
 

Hip

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talkin about IBS is suppose you are aware that a low FODMAPS diet will help - google melbourne dietician Sue SHepherd for her books and research if not or FODMAPS
The FODMAPS diet is a new one for me. Interesting, I'll look into it.

However, my IBS has dramatically improved since I started removing chloramine from all my drinking water. I had IBS for around 15 years, without any remission prior to now.

I suffer from IBS-D (IBS whose main symptom is diarrhea). I used to have severe diarrhea 2 or 3 days a week, with milder diarrhea most of the rest of the time. However, since I began removing chloramine from my drinking water, I now only get 1 bout of diarrhea once every say 4 weeks or so — a dramatic improvement.
 
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Allyson

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Hi Hip, yes they have done extensive research into it here and I did 4 weeks on a trial for the Uni - it really showed a difference on a low FODMAP diet
Sue Shepherds books are great

the gist is avoid thngs that are higher in fructose that glucose so avoid apples pears grapes broccoli cauli etc - forgotten the full list; stone fruits are OK, and you can eat those thinks in moderation... eg half an apple. Too much of any food is also bad.. aggravates IBS .
while you't at it a Low GI diet helps too - google Sydney Uniiverstiy glycaemic index

SUe may have written on that too I am pretty sure

Also lactose - free helps me a lot if i can stick to it.....so hard to avoid dairy but i reckon my severe reflux disappears when I do manage to.
 

RustyJ

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I had sudden onset when I took up swimming every morning. However I had mild symptoms throughout my childhood to that time and I could not join the dots. The chloramine/chlorine in tap water is the missing link for me. I started using Vit C and boiling my water after reading this thread. I have noted a significant reduction in IBS symptoms, notably urgency and diarrhea, almost immediately. Chloramines have been used in Queensland tap water since the late sixties.

Two weeks down the track those improvements have been sustained. I have also been able to increase my weight exercises by some 20%, which had been flat lined for years - this has happened in the last few days. I am now lifting more than I have lifted for years (still well below average, though). Haven't noticed any other improvements as yet to OI or PEM. I will add to this thread if further improvements are noted.

There is a little bit of science behind the chlorine toxicity causation theory, particularly testosterone reduction which is problematic for some cfsers.

So the authors collected blood samples from 361 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 and compared those with how frequently they visited chlorinated swimming pools during their childhoods. Boys who'd attended indoor chlorinated pools for more than 250 hours before the age of ten, or for more than 125 hours before they were 7, were three times more likely to have low sperm levels or testosterone than kids who swam in pools disinfected with copper and silver. The chlorinated-pool swimmers sperm and testosterone levels were 20 percent lower than average for children their age, as well. And it wasn't like these children were training as serious athletes. As little as one visit every two weeks was found to have an effect on sperm and testosterone levels.
http://www.rodale.com/swimming-chlorinated-water

Med J Aust. 1995 Sep 18;163(6):294-7.
A preliminary investigation of chlorinated hydrocarbons and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dunstan RH, Donohoe M, Taylor W, Roberts TK, Murdoch RN, Watkins JA, McGregor NR.
Source: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle, NSW.

Abstract
OBJECTIVE:
To determine whether serum levels of chlorinated hydrocarbons are elevated in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

METHODS:
Chlorinated hydrocarbon levels were measured in 22 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control [CDC]); in 17 patients with CFS symptoms whose history of exposure to toxic chemicals excluded them from the research definition of CFS; and in 34 non-CFS control subjects matched for age and sex.

RESULTS:
DDE (1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethene) was detected in all serum samples at levels over 0.4 ppb. The incidence of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) contamination (> 2.0 ppb) was 45% in the CFS group, compared with 21% in the non-CFS control group (P < 0.05). The CFS group had a significantly higher total organochlorine level (15.9 ppb; SEM, 4.4) than the control group (6.3 ppb; SEM, 1.1; P < 0.05). The toxic exposure group also had a higher mean organochlorine level (13.6 ppb; SEM, 6.2) than the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant. DDE and HCB comprised more than 90% of the total organochlorines measured in each of the groups.

CONCLUSION:
The results suggest that recalcitrant organochlorines may have an aetiological role in CFS. There were no significant differences in serum organochlorine concentrations between CFS patients and chronic fatigue patients with a history of toxic chemical exposure. Therefore, exclusion of patients from the CDC research definition of CFS on the basis of a reported history of known exposure to toxic chemicals is not valid. The role of low-level organochlorine bioaccumulation in the development of CFS symptoms requires further investigation.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7565234
 

Hip

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I had sudden onset when I took up swimming every morning. However I had mild symptoms throughout my childhood to that time and I could not join the dots. The chloramine/chlorine in tap water is the missing link for me. I started using Vit C and boiling my water after reading this thread. I have noted a significant reduction in IBS symptoms, notably urgency and diarrhea, almost immediately. Chloramines have been used in Queensland tap water since the late sixties.

Two weeks down the track those improvements have been sustained. I have also been able to increase my weight exercises by some 20%, which had been flat lined for years - this has happened in the last few days. I am now lifting more than I have lifted for years (still well below average, though). Haven't noticed any other improvements as yet to OI or PEM. I will add to this thread if further improvements are noted.
It's great to hear that, Rusty, especially the increase in physical exercise ability.

I also noticed significant improvements in my irritable bowel syndrome symptoms almost immediately. So it seems that as soon as you cut out the chloramines, big improvements in IBS appear within 24 hours.

In my case, I have not seen improvements in other areas of my ME/CFS; it was just my IBS symptoms that improved dramatically (my IBS has virtually vanished since removing chloramine from my water).

I believe it is probably the chloramine, rather than the chlorine, in the drinking water that was exacerbating my IBS. I say this because I was never consuming any chlorine in my water anyway, as I always leave my drinking water to stand overnight in an open bottle: this overnight aeration allows the chlorine (but not the chloramine) to completely off gas out of the water.

And I never had any chlorine in my hot drinks, even when using water straight from the tap, because of course boiling water in a kettle (or saucepan) instantly removes all the chlorine (but again not the chloramine).

So I was ingesting only chloramine in my water, but no chlorine, when I had my IBS.

But soon as I added vitamin C to all my drinking water and to the water I boiled in a kettle in order to neutralize the chloramine, then my IBS vanished within 24 hours, and has remained at bay for 3 months now — the length of time that I have been neutralizing the chloramine with vitamin C.

What I want to do soon, as a test, is to start drinking chloraminated water once again for a while, just to see if my IBS then comes back again. If it does, then this test will provide further evidence for an IBS–chloramine connection.


Interesting reference you provided about the organochlorine link to ME/CFS. Organochlorines are of course the class of pesticides that were widely used before they were phased out and replaced with organophosphate pesticides by around 1990. I know that organophosphates have a well-known link to ME/CFS, but I did not know organochlorines had also been linked to ME/CFS. I also did not know that chloramine is actually classed as an organochlorine compound.


There are more studies on the health effects of chloramine to be found on this webpage.
 

Hip

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Update on IBS Improvements from Chloramine-Free Drinking Water

I have been chloramine-free for just over a year now, and this continues to provide significant improvements in my IBS. My IBS-D was pretty bad: for around half the days of the week, I would have severe diarrhea.

However, since going chloramine-free, I find I rarely get these severe IBS diarrhea days anymore. My digestion is much more regular and normalized since removing chloramine from my drinking water.

On days when my IBS-D was bad, my ME/CFS symptoms would be quite a bit worse, just on that day. In other words, my IBS would impact my ME/CFS. But since I now rarely get bad IBS days, this in turn means that I no longer have days when my ME/CFS is worse as a result.

Going chloramine-free has not really lead to any overall improvements in my ME/CFS fatigue or brain fog, as far as I can see, but it has successfully eliminated those bad IBS symptom days which worsened my ME/CFS on that day.

So for anyone suffering from IBS: you might want to try going chloramine-free, either using vitamin C or sodium thiosulfate as the water purifier. Note that chloramines are added to the water supply in around one-fifth of the country; you'd need to check with your water supplier to see if your area has chloramines added to the water.

What I plan to do at some point is go back to drinking untreated water with chloramines in it, and see if my IBS symptoms return. That would offer more evidence that avoiding chloramines was the actual cause of my improvements in IBS.




At the concentrations found in drinking water, chloramine has been shown to worsen gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori: this in vitro study using rat stomach cell lines found that in gastritis, chloramine inhibits stomach cell growth and chloramine caused stomach cells to die (via apoptosis).

Interestingly, chloramines must be removed from the water used in kidney dialysis machines; if not, these chloramines will get into the blood, where they cause hemolysis (rupturing of red blood cells). Thus kidney dialysis machines are fitted with a filter for chloramines.

The theory is that chloramines in drinking water are broken down by the stomach acids before they can reach the blood. However, it might be possible that for those with weak stomach acids, some chloramines do get through to the blood.



NOTE: I have changed the water purifier method I use for removing chloramines: instead of vitamin C, I now use sodium thiosulfate.

10 mg vitamin C is enough to remove the chloramines in 1 liter of tap water.
20 mg sodium thiosulfate is enough to remove the chloramines in 1 liter of tap water. Ref: here.

Sodium thiosulfate is cheap to buy, and it comes in tiny crystals, each about the size of a few grains of sugar, that weigh around 20 mg per crystal. So it is easy and very convenient to just to pick up a tiny crystal with your fingers and drop it into your drinking water. Every time a make a tea or coffee, I just put some sweetener in the cup, plus I drop in a crystal of sodium thiosulfate to remove the chloramines. So it's easy to do.

One 500 gram tub of sodium thiosulfate costs around $6 and will probably last 10 years.

Sodium thiosulfate appears to be safe to consume in these small quantities: it is used as a food additive to prevent browning and oxidation of food. Sodium thiosulfate is also used as a detoxifier of heavy metals, and as an antidote for cyanide poisoning.
 
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kangaSue

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"NOTE: I have changed the water purifier method I use for removing chloramines: instead of vitamin C, I now use sodium thiosulfate.

10 mg vitamin C is enough to remove the chloramines in 1 liter of tap water.
20 mg sodium thiosulfate is enough to remove the chloramines in 1 liter of tap water. Ref: here.

Sodium thiosulfate is cheap to buy, and it comes in tiny crystals, each about the size of a few grains of sugar, that weigh around 20 mg per crystal. So it is easy and very convenient to just to pick up a tiny crystal with your fingers and drop it into your drinking water. Every time a make a tea or coffee, I just put some sweetener in the cup, plus I drop in a crystal of sodium thiosulfate to remove the chloramines. So it's easy to do.

One 500 gram tub of sodium thiosulfate costs around $6 and will probably last 10 years.

Sodium thiosulfate appears to be safe to consume in these small quantities: it is used as a food additive to prevent browning and oxidation of food. Sodium thiosulfate is also used as a detoxifier of heavy metals, and as an antidote for cyanide poisoning.[/quote] "

Can you clarify that Sodium thiosulfate removes chloramines. I can only find reference on web sources to it being effective for dechlorination where as Vitamin C removes both chlorine and chloramines.
 

Hip

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Can you clarify that Sodium thiosulfate removes chloramines. I can only find reference on web sources to it being effective for dechlorination where as Vitamin C removes both chlorine and chloramines.


Certainly. This document: Chemicals in Drinking Water: Chloramines says:
Chloramines can be removed from water using activated carbon with low flow rates (5 to 10 minutes contact time), followed by residual ammonia adsorption using mineral zeolite media. The use of reducing agents such as sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium thiosulfate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) also removes monochloramine from water. Boiling and aeration are ineffective methods for monochloramine removal.


This document: Water Quality : Chloramines and Aquariums says:
While chlorine can be removed in several hours by exposure to sunlight, it may take weeks for chloramines to completely break down. Chloramines are generally removed by a de‐chlorinating agent (usually sodium thiosulphate).
If pure sodium thiosulphate is used, the recommended dosage is 10 milligrams per litre for every 1 milligram of chloramines (or chlorine) per litre.
High quality granular activated carbon removes chloramines well but its useful life depends on the size and type of carbon used and conditions such as pH, flow rate and contact time.


This document (page 11):
Evaluation of Dechlorinating Agents and Disposable Containers for Odor Testing of Drinking Water says:
Ascorbic acid also reduces chloramines to ammonium chloride (Wiseman 1997) or hydrochloric acid and ammonia (White 1999), depending upon the pH of solution.
Note that ammonium chloride is perfectly safe; it is used to give a salty taste to the salty liquorice popular in the Netherlands and Nordic countries.



Note that chloramines can be manufactured from the reaction of ammonia with chlorine. This reaction produces three species of chloramine: monochloramine NH2Cl, dichloramine NHCl2 and trichloramine NCl3. However, in practice only monochloramine is found in your drinking water, because dichloramine and trichloramine evaporate off.

This document: Removing Chloramines From Water says:
The reaction between ammonia and chlorine produces monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine. Dichloramine and trichloramine are relatively volatile and escape from the water soon after treatment; by the time the water gets to your house or brewery, only monochloramine and some free chlorine remain.