Trend watch – raw water

June 21, 2018By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition

by Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager 

If you thought people spraying themselves with probiotic bacteria was unique, wait until you hear about raw water. Late last year, the NY Times reported on the growing trend of people drinking raw, or “living,” water.

It’s exactly what it sounds like, spring water that has not undergone any purification process so it is literally teeming with life, of the bacterial variety. The idea behind raw water is that during the purification process, important microbes and “friendly” bacteria (AKA probiotics) are lost and that drinking filtered water has contributed to the lack of diversity in the gut microbiome that some functional healthcare providers claim is the cause of a host of diseases.water

However, leaving the “good” bacteria in means potentially leaving the “bad” bacteria in, too, which can lead to illnesses such as diarrhea. In that way, the raw water movement is not so dissimilar to the raw milk movement, which has not been without controversy.

And yet, the raw water movement is seeing some growth. According to the NY Times, “…the off-grid water movement has become more than the fringe phenomenon it once was, with sophisticated marketing, cultural cachet, millions of dollars in funding and influential supporters from Silicon Valley.”

Raw water startups include:

Live Water – Claims to include four primary electrolytes and four “raw water exclusive” probiotics. It is also purported to contain lithium, copper, and silica.

Tourmaline Spring – States their water is from an ancient spring in Maine and not streams, and that they have sold untreated spring water for 140 years. They disclose their water analysis report online.

While this is not a mainstream trend at this time, those in the wellness field, including pharmacists, may be asked about raw water, so it is important to be aware of it and have your personal opinion and advice at the ready. More traditional approaches to gut health include OTC options and dietary supplements such as fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes.

I’ve personally not purchased any raw water products, but I am left wondering how different this raw water is from the unfiltered well water I drink each summer at the family cottage in northern Wisconsin. It, too, comes up from the ground and is quite likely also “teeming with life.”