Water and Gut Health with Dr Dingle

In this opening episode of the Create The Best Water You Can podcast, My Water Filter Founder, Rod visits Dr Peter Dingle to have a chat about how the quality and quantity of the water we consume every day affects the health of our gut and digestive system and overall health.

It is our mission to provide the most comprehensive and up to date information about water and Dr Dingle is a well known Australian academic, who has an extensive experience with this topic.

He is a prolific author and speaker who has written over a dozen books and has given thousands of presentations on health, wellness, and environmental issues.

Dr Dingle's work focuses on the connections between nutrition, toxicology, and the environment, and he is a strong advocate for natural, whole-food diets and the importance of reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in daily life.

He has also conducted extensive research on the links between lifestyle factors and chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. With his wealth of knowledge and expertise, Dr Dingle is a trusted voice in the field of health and wellness, and his work has inspired countless individuals to take control of their own health and well-being.Dr Peter Dingle - Nutritional and Environmental Toxicologist

Below is a transcription of the interview if you prefer to read.

G'day, folks. Rod from My Water Filter here today. I'm very excited today because we're here to have a chat to Dr. Dingle. He's an amazing man. He's got a huge amount of knowledge. It's a pity there isn't a few more people on the planet like him.

First up, just thanks for spending some time with us today. We very much appreciate yourself. We're into water, as you know. Our topic today is going to be water and gut health. We had a little chat on that. So if you'd like to just tell the people a little bit about yourself. If you'd like to get us rolling.

Dr Peter Dingle - Background

A long time ago, I used to be a teacher. I traveled, I came back, become a born again student, and I did my second degree in Environmental Science. I went on to do honours all about pesticide exposure in the home.

So my first insight into our exposure to toxic chemicals, and I was just blown out of the water how little we didn't know. I then went on to do my PhD all about toxins in the home, primarily a chemical called formaldehyde, but all its cousins and relatives and so on.

And then we ran a research team for another 10 years at university looking at all the aspects of the domestic environment and exposure to all of the toxins. So all the way through the air, through the food, through the water, through basically every way we could think of, we were just looking at and building.

Understanding Gut Health and Environmental Toxins

I started getting involved then into general health and then gut health. It's not just the food and the water and all those things, but it's how your body reacts with it.

It's not the chemicals in the air, but how they react with your body, your gut microbiome. I started to put together all my thoughts and ideas over the last 30 odd years, literally, to come to the conclusion that we need to look at every aspect of the things that we come in contact with, the air, our clothing, the food, the water, all of those things to understand why we are so sick today.

We've certainly got some issues. There's no doubt about that. And gut health is a big problem that we've got.

Prioritizing Health and Education

And on the other side of that is what can you do to improve that?
What can you do to turn it around?

And the first thing for me is always about education. I'm a scientist. I love reading scientific journals. People go, Wow, get a life, Peter. Will you get a life? But I love reading them because they're like puzzles.

You read three or four in that area, three or four in that area, three or four in that area, and then you go, WOW, that's where they're all linked together.

And then my second passion is communicating that with the public so they can then take action to do something about their health. Because there is no doubt the single biggest issue confronting Australia one way or another, yes, global warming, but it's also our health linked in with that.

And our health is the single biggest thing that people need to be able to address and do.

We did surveys decades ago of 1,000 people, and we always found that people were able to put off the environment, and they were able to put off their health. At the end of the day, we've got all the time in the world to look after our health. It just has to be the priority.

Your health is your priority. You cannot do anything without good health.

Another thing that comes to mind is, there's no good being the richest man in the cemetery.

I do see some of these people just working, they're working and working, and they should just take a breather and.

They should just go to their health. Nobody has gone to the grave wishing they'd put more hours into the office, or they'd worked a little bit harder, or maybe they'd even written in another scientific journal.

The Issue of Chlorine in Water

Obviously, we're into water, and the big question and the biggest topic that we're asked for and the problem to solve is probably chlorine in the water. You've come across chlorine issues and anything on chlorine?

Absolutely, because when we started doing our work just in the home environment, chlorine was a gas that we obviously had to look at in the air. And one of the major sources, and people don't realize this, is via the shower. 

Because when you're drinking, you're drinking a couple of liters a day. But coming back to the shower, you might be in that shower and you're really stressed.

You come home from work, you're sitting there for five or 10 minutes, or stand there for five or 10 minutes, and you're breathing. 

Liters and leaders and letters of air, which is rich in chlorine, because chlorine forms a gas in hot water and under pressure, which is what a shower is. Brilliant. Almost like a perfect little gas shower.

So our biggest source of chlorine is probably coming, for most people, from the shower.

And then secondary from what we drink, and that goes in the food and other things. We've known about this for 50, 60 years. It's been questioned. Now, I do want to take one step back, though, and say,

Chlorine added to water is essential. Because if we didn't, we'd have all this waterborne disease and we'd have foodborne disease and so on.

We'd have a lot of people like what happens in third world countries when floods or there's a tsunami goes through, and the biggest thing is getting water bottles or water to them urgently.

So getting clean water and chlorine is the simplest single way to do it en masse. It's cost effective, and governments look at that in the end.

However, chlorine in water also poses health problems longer term. And when you consider something like, I describe the shower and or drinking water, and you're doing it every single day from before you're born, what you're getting from mum and so on, right through to infancy, breast milk, right through to young kids, to us as adults, that's a long time that we're exposed to a low level of toxin.

And all the studies overwhelmingly show, first of all, that the chlorine, which is a very interactive molecule, it's what you would call a free radical, most people wouldn't know that. It's an oxidizing agent.

And that's why it kills the bacteria. It kills them, breaks them down, and so on. In the process of doing that, it interacts with anything else that's in there and can produce a whole raft of (hundreds of) potentially toxic chemicals.

You'd look at that list, you'd go, Wow, what's that in?

You'd go, Water.

And that's coming from the interaction of the chlorine with the other molecules and the other atoms and so on, other chemicals in the water to produce that.

And on that side, we know from, again, for the last 50 years, that these chlorinated byproducts contribute to long term chemical exposure and illness.

And that goes right through from birth defects, right through up to your cancers and that, but also long term in terms of causing damage to your organ systems and leading to an increase in the risk of heart attacks and strokes and all those.

In a way, you could look at it and go, Wow, they are linked to so many of these health conditions. Where do we start?"

Health risks of chlorine absorption through the lungs

I know because I've watched other doctors in YouTube videos, and I note one doctor in particular, and he says, when you have a shower and the water goes over 25 degrees, when you hop out of the shower and you're feeling a bit dizzy, it's not because you've had a nice shower in winter, it's because you're half dead.

And I have trouble getting people to understand that, but I appreciate it, and we can look back and listen now.

Look, you're breathing that in. And it's a volatile chemical, which means that it's like moving around a lot and fast. And so it easily absorbed into the lungs, easily goes in.

But even in the lungs, we all have a... Everyone's heard about the microbiome and microbiota.

You've got a lung microbiome.

Of course, you're breathing in lots of chlorine, and therefore you're getting that in there.

And no matter what, whether it's a little bit or a lot, you're doing some damage. You're doing some damage.

The bottom line, we need to get the chlorine out. Yeah, we do. So we need it in the water, in the mass system, but we need to take it out before we consume it.

Fluoride as a toxin and its effects on dental health

The other one, I guess, that we get asked a lot as well is fluoride.

Fluoride, for me is the greatest stupidity. I cannot for the life of me understand fluoride. First of all, if it does work, if it does reduce the risk of dental decay and periodontal diseases, the disease of the mouth and teeth and all that area there, then it's incredibly small. If it does.

But what we do know is fluoride is a toxin. Fluoride causes high blood pressure. Now, a little known fact, unless you go into the journals and you're a bit of a journal sicker like me. But going in there, it causes high blood pressure. But all of these other conditions.

Now, here is the stupidity of it. What we do know is that there are one of two factors that are interrelated.

Sugars and processed foods cause tooth decay. They bring that about by creating an acid mouth. Literally, your saliva is acid because it's a long lecture, but it produces the acidity, and your pH in your mouth is probably five or six when it should be seven or 7.2. So it should be neutral.

And that acidity in your mouth causes the bacteria to grow, and the bacteria then munch on whatever is there, including your teeth and dental enamel and so on, and your gums, and you end up with all these diseases.

So we say, Okay, we know what causes it. Food and sugary drinks, your soft drinks, and we know it's through the acidosis in the mouth.

So why don't we add another acid forming product called fluoride?

If you want to get rid of tooth decay, get rid of the sugary foods. Increase the alkalinity in people's bodies. Check people's saliva.

Every time you go to a dentist or a doctor, they should, Okay, put a bit of spit in there, check your pH. It's going to cost all of five cents each time.

Oh, that's very acidic. We'll have to get you eating more bananas and avocados and veggies.

But that's not what the people want the story as.

They want a technological silver bullet that doesn't work. And there are many countries who have introduced it over 40, 50 years ago, 60 years ago now, and they've removed it now. And they've removed it, one, because it's ineffective, two, because it's poisonous. Three, it's not working. It's just not working.

The funniest, again, the oxymoronic aspect of this is, or paradoxical, I suppose, is the fact that fluoride is linked with something called fluorosis, which is a modeling and a deterioration of the dental material.

You see the brown on the teeth. And the little bits and pieces in them. And this is from fluoride.

That's because they're also adding it to toothpaste. So they got it in the toothpaste, the mouthwashes, the water, and nobody is looking at that, plus that, plus that, plus that, plus that. Total.

Hold on. We're looking at one and doing the studies on that one thing, and no one's looking at that total exposure, which, by the way, was what my PhD was on, all about the total exposure to a particular chemical or chemicals, and looking at all the different aspects of it.

Contaminated Water

I know people who've got fibromyalgia and stuff like that. And anything in the water that would be creating that, do you feel?

When I say a lot of people, virtually everyone who is living a normal 21st century lifestyle is on the brink of being ill. By the time you get to 30 and 40, and for some people even younger, but certainly you start to feel it at 50 and you go, Wow, what is it? Now, you go to the doctor and the doctor say it's ageing. Well, my take on it is different.

Something is wrong with the system, whether it's your overeating, you've got a weight gain, and that's causing all this oxidation, inflammation, acidosis, or you're eating the wrong food, which is causing that you're drinking the wrong water.

The importance of accumulation

And what people don't realise is, again, it's the accumulation of every single little bit over your life.

Now, you may not accumulate, let's say, chlorine, or you may, if it becomes a very complex organic molecule, like carbon tetrachloride or something like that that you find. But you're accumulating the negative effects and the impact it has on your system.

So it's like every single one is pushing you just further towards that edge. And then everyone gets to this age and says, Oh, I wonder why me?

And I go, It's pretty simple. What have you been doing the last 30 or 50 years of your life? Whereas, look, we're all vulnerable to things. And what this is is it just makes you more vulnerable, that onslaught of contaminated water, toxic water.

Which, by the way, means that the food you're growing is contaminated as well. Because the fluoride, in particular, goes on the leaf of the veg, which you then eat. So again, there's another source. It's a vicious circle.

The Importance of pH

Yeah, it is. You're constantly exposed to different sources of it. Yeah, right. It surprised me that you brought up pH a minute ago.

I am no doctor, everybody knows that. But I did used to run aquaculture, marine farms, fish, stuff like that. And everything was relative to pH. But when my mom was sick and they were doing tests on her for years and I was pushing to try and find out what was going on, yeah. There was never any pH tests done, and that just blew me away.

I was like, crikey, in aquaculture, things like that, the first thing we'd be testing for the water is pH. But it's not common in human... It's just not done. And I didn't know about it because I remember getting a science lecture, I think it was in year 10, I understood it and I understood pH.

And then I got to university, did another degree, and then another degree. And then I started to realise that every single thing runs on chemistry, and everything in chemistry runs on pH.

And the pH speeds up or slows down a chemical reaction. And so if you get the right pH, and it varies. So for example, in our stomach, our pH should be about one or two. In our large intestine, this down here, which everyone talks about the microbiota, that should be between three and four. In your mouth, it should be seven-is. So there's a reason why it changes because it alters the chemistry, and therefore, you ready? The micro organisms that can survive here, here, and here.

Now, you said about aquaculture. Every gardener knows that. I had beautiful blueberry bushes one year in a pot. I went and put them in the ground. They died. Within a week, I had three beautiful dead blueberry bushes because they love acidic soils, and I live in an alkaline soil region. And I realised that too late to resuscitate them.

You want the best roses? It's the pH of the soil. The pH of the soil determines the chemical characteristics, how far back the microorganisms that can live in the soil, and the rich of the microorganisms in the soil. And why I'm saying that is because the richer the microorganisms in your gut, the healthier you are.

Some very good aquaculturists would have a saying, treat your water body or your pond as you do your gut. So it's nice to bring it together. Like that. Look, it's all fundamentally linked together through basic biochemistry. Nothing works without that.

The Importance of pH in Digestion

If you have, say, a high pH, which is alkaline in your stomach, your stomach will take four, or five, or six, or seven hours to digest it.

If you've got a lot of acid in your stomach, then it takes one to two to three hours to digest it. The chemical reactions are sped up. Then in the large intestine, the right pH then determines the health of the microorganisms, which then speeds up the transit time. So you've got a healthy gut. You do healthy poos. You've got healthy pH in your gut.

The Role of Enzymes and Microbes in Soil and pH

I just recently did a soil symposium course to get my veggie garden better and learn more about composting and all that stuff. And that's what we came across in their Enzymes, et cetera, in the soil.

And that's what we need, a live, growing garden, not a garden completely knocked down with Round Up this sort of thing. And Enzymes, like you said, Enzymes, literally is the chemical reaction.

And microbes are just little enzyme factories. The microbes in the soil are just worms. Worms are enzyme factories. They're just full of enzyme and breaking things down. But the pH determines how well those enzymes are going to work or not.

The Warburg Effect and pH in Cancer and Disease

There's a bit of a saying that I hear at times, and it goes something like, if your body is acidic, then cancer loves an acidic state. So cancer can thrive. If you're on the other side and you've got a highly oxygenated body and it's alkaline, then cancer won't survive in that state.

Look, that's known as the Warburg effect from... We've known that for about the last 30, 40 years, 80s, so 40 years or so.

And basically, we know that of cancer, but also of viruses and bacteria. They all rely on a slightly acidic pH.

So if the pH in the body is the wrong pH, and for 99 % of the people, it's too acidic, then these negative things, the viruses, the bacteria, the cancers, and generally the inflammation, oxidation, the stress in the body is a lot higher.

Water Quality and the Need for Hydration

Once we get it here, we don't have to consume it. So we can use a water filter of some description, shower filters in the shower, whole house filter, whatever it might be.

Do We Need Reverse Osmosis Filters?

But just staying on the drinking water for the moment. I am getting a little bit scared of the quality of the water that's going to the public as we speak. And we never used to push reverse osmosis water filters much because we were just scared that they broke the structure and that they take too much salt, etc, out of the water. But now that it's getting real bad, the water, I'm thinking that the line has been moved a bit, and maybe we should be looking at reverse osmosis water filters again now.

I'll be honest, I've never been a big fan on their own.

And the simple reason is we don't need water, we need to be hydrated. And the water, along with the molecules and even the water microbiome.

The Importance of Water Minerals and Hydration

But the water minerals. Classic example is calcium in Western Australia, where I live, calcium and magnesium, but also zinc and selenium and iodine and molybdenum and boron, are very low level concentrations, but they're in what's called a colloidal form.

So they're very small amounts of them, extremely small amounts, but easily absorbed into the body.

So when you drink them, they get into your body. Now, when you do reverse osmosis, you remove them all. And I remember this again when I was decades ago, 40 years ago, playing 50 years ago, in fact, playing basketball.

And I'd finish a really hot game on a hot day, and I'd drink two litres of water, and I felt bloated and thirsty because I was drinking water, which had some minerals in it, but it didn't have enough, which is where that whole thing, the research on the original gator aid came from.

The enriching it with a little bit of sugar and a little bit of minerals enabled you to not just take the water in, sorry, not just drink it, but take it in. And in your cells, it draws the water into your cells.

But you need those minerals to draw the water into your cells. So that's where reverse osmosis, which removes those, has really done damage to the water.

So the critical thing is anyone going to use reverse osmosis or any other technique that takes everything out has to be able to put something back in that the body can then use it to literally just be absorbed into the body and then hold on to it.

Filtered Water vs Tap Water

From that, then, what you've been talking about, I'm thinking that would it be fair to say that your thoughts nowadays are that people shouldn't be drinking tap water unless it's filtered? It's a complex question in that if you're caught out somewhere, you're much better off having water than dehydrating.

My message to people is whenever you can, as much as you can, you should be having some filtered water. And again, we talked about chlorine, we talked about fluoride. There are so many other potential toxins in water. And I didn't even touch on pesticides.

Pesticides in Water

But again, 30 years ago, I did a project where we looked at the catchment areas for water, and we were asked to find out what pesticides they are using.

And they had no idea. Nobody, no one in the authorities to this day, still don't, had any idea what was being used, when, where, how, how much was being used, and what were the byproducts.

Because even if you use pesticides, let's say a very typical one, chlorpyrifos, known as an organic phosphate pesticide, it goes into the soil and then the microbes break it down and alter it.

And over a six month period, you got a totally new range of products.

Straight away, it starts happening. And some of these may be more toxic than the original one. And then what is, that is, we don't know.

Lack of Information about how chemicals affect water

And so we had to go back to the chemical company to say, what are the breakdown products going to be?

And they said, we're not allowed to tell you. So there's all these stuff in the water that you don't even know about.

Nobody in the authorities, nobody has any idea whatsoever what is going in the water. And in fact, there are cases where they won't even know what to monitor. They don't know how to monitor it. I don't think that those things get monitored.

Water Quality and Health

We've had conversations with the water board and stuff like that. And obviously, the water board are under the impression that the water that's going out to humans and households is okay.
So no one tests it.

As long as people aren't lying on the streets dying and kicking the bucket within a day or two of it, then it's in a sense ignored. Now, we do know it's causing damage. There is no doubt about it.

The equation of how much then of the costs and benefits. And for anyone who's getting older, in other words, anyone older than 25, they probably need to be considering this.

In fact, even younger, obviously. But looking at what's going in because it has this long term impact, not necessarily accumulation, but long term impact on your health. It'll just build up.

Well, it affects your different organs, your ability of your immune system. We know that your liver is the main detoxification organ. And so your liver, and the enzyme is in that, presumably they're working in the right pH, has to detox them, has to get rid of them, spit them out.

And then it goes through blood around the body and into the kidneys and out the body and so on. So even if it is eliminated, the stress it puts on the liver and have a look around.

And all you got to do is see the increase in the diseases such as non alcoholic fatty liver.

Examples of Environmental Issues

I guess briefly, I have been into some of these catchments where I live in the country. There's pine trees above the around those catchments and things like that. I'm aware of some issues on the East Coast at the moment.

And they do have the statistics of death rates in those communities and things like that because all of the land above the catchment has now been hunted for deer, killing rabbits with baits, killing foxes with baits, all this stuff's going on.

And they're basically run by private companies. I'm sure the government's got no idea. What's going on.

The baits and things are probably very small time, but compared to the pesticide use, it's really simple equation. If it goes into the soil, it's going to go into the water because the water is the end part.

Occasionally, it comes out there during the floods over East, you saw that everything was just going in there. It's going into the water. There is no way in places like Western Australia where there's a lot of groundwater, you put it on top, where do you think it's going to go?

And you can measure levels of DDT, which was banned back in the 60s and heptachlor banned in the in the 80s eas, you can still measure the breakdown product of some of these in water.

30, 40. Years old. Still here today. It's just not going.

But if this stuff is in our water, people are probably going to be needing that to get them out. I'm a real big carbon person myself.

Generally, I'm on the rainwater, and the carbon will take the pesticides and stuff out of the water. But some of these ones are very nasty and they probably do need to get an R0 system to get that out, unfortunately.

So that's where it's a bit of a kicker for both ways, isn't it? We want the best water quality we have, but we need the filtration to get this garbage out. We do need filtration at the end of the day.

And that's what I'm not an expert on. Yeah, we're trying to. It's a big topic. Okay.

Look, that was a great one. Well, look, I think the most critical thing is for people to realise how important water hydration is. And it's no good getting really, really, really, really thirsty and then drinking huge amounts like I did in that basketball scenario.

You've got to consume the water when you get thirsty. And that doesn't mean you got to walk around all day with a bottle. It's just trendy. I just can't understand jogging with a water bottle.

Hydration Isn't Just Water

At the end of the day, though, you've got to keep hydrated. And hydration isn't just water. It's the minerals in water, but it's also the foods we eat. And many of the processed foods we eat are water deficient.

So they're very dry foods rather than your fruits. Let's give you the best example, watermelon. It's called watermelon because you squash it and it's 99% water. And most of your fruit and veggies are 90% plus water with all the minerals, all the beautiful minerals and biologicals in there that your body needs on a regular basis.

Importance of Water for Digestion

And while your body needs it, just as important is your gut, because nothing in your body... You can, by the way, alter your blood pressure by the amount of hydration.

Because if you're very dehydrated and your body your heart has to pump around a really thick, viscous blood, it's going to require a lot more pressure.

And everything in the body relies on water, but everything in the gut also relies on water, all your digestion.

So if you want healthy digestion, have some water. And a lot of people, there's lots of myths, don't drink water with a meal.

Rubbish. I'm sorry, rubbish.

I'm thirsty. You drink it when you're thirsty. And yeah, you don't want to just "gop, gop, gop, gop". Because some people try to go on a diet, a water diet, along with their food. That doesn't work.

But again, the research shows you improve digestion. You eat less if you have it with a little bit of healthy liquid. And that might be a cup of tea. It might be a coconut water. It might be some healthy water, rehydrated water and so on at the end of the day.

Importance of Water for Gut Health

And your gut needs it. Your mouth, I think, produces about one and a half liters of saliva liquid. It's 98%, 99% water. And so for the digestion which occurs in the mouth and protecting your mouth, you need water.

Your stomach, a couple of liters. And that's produced with the hydrochloric acid and the pepsin and some other things in there called chyme, and that all runs on water.

So if you're not digesting, the first thing I tell people to do is how much you're drinking.

Importance of Hydration and Diet

What are you drinking?
What food you're eating, you're eating foods that are moist.
Or you're having dried biscuits, and dried bread, and dried rice, and dry biscuits and dry bread and dry rice and dry all these other things.

No, you need the nuts, the seeds, the veggies, the herbs, the spices, all of those, because not just nutrients, you've got lots of water in them.

And they're also, by the way, got the right pH. Yeah, the foods have. The foods. Absolutely. I try to get across to people, but in the old days, they used to tell people to have the greens to improve digestion, and the greens are slightly acidic.

Anyway, so coming back to your stomach. And of course, one of the best things for constipation is water. Fundamental principle. Water gets everything moving through the digestive system.

And again, going into your microbiota, everyone knows the microbiome or biota in your large intestine, that all runs on water. Survival of the microorganisms runs on the pH and the water. So if you want to look after the gut, and the gut microbiome, drink lots and lots of water.

Brilliant. And that should be showing up in the poops. They shouldn't be hard and rock solid and little nuggets. They need to... I won't go into the detail anyway. They should be moist. And soft. Toothpaste.

The Importance of Structured Water

It's interesting when you talk there because a year or two ago, we did the Hydration Foundation course or event, okay? And in there, there was a lot of doctors involved, and not one of them had ever tested a patient that was 100 % hydrated.

They were all dehydrated. And what came out of that was basically they felt that the top five issues or conditions treated for people that come in like that could all be solved with structured water.

They don't need any tablets. They don't need any diets. They didn't need anything.

All they needed to do was go home and consume good structured water. Healthy water is the fundamental principle. Food you can do without with a month and you lose weight and you can... Water, it's daily. You got to have it. You got to have it every single day and you need to keep replenishing it and replenishing it. Yeah, very good. Nice.


Thank you. There you go, folks. You don't get any better than that. I'm so super excited to have had a chat with this gentleman. He's a brilliant man and a great knowledge.

I hope you have a listen to this and share it with your friends and family and get it out there and take care of your health as best you can. If we can help you with anything water related, just yell out. We're always here for you and we'll do everything we can and we'll always do our best.

It's not just about selling a product, it's just about doing the right thing. Anything we can help you with, let us know. And to you, sir. Very grateful.

Create the best water you can