Archives : 2012 : December

How Much Water Should I Drink? There’s an App for that!

December 26th, 2012

If you are concerned about health and fitness, you are likely aware of the importance of drinking water. Water not only hydrates your body following exercise but it also improves digestion and helps your body remove toxins. There are many other benefits of drinking water as well. Even if you do not engage in regular exercise activities, it is still important that you make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water. But you may find yourself asking, “How much water should I drink”?  Furthermore, your busy lifestyle may prevent you from remembering to drink enough water, causing you to feel dehydrated or tired. Fortunately, technology can save the day!

If you did not have one before, perhaps you just received an iPhone or other mobile device as a gift this holiday season. Applications (apps) are available for nearly every category, including drinking water. One app that is particularly popular is called “Water Your Body”. This app, which was updated a few months ago, calculates the amount of water that you should drink daily based on your current body weight that you enter and your lifestyle (exercise, etc.). It can help you create a customized drinking plan based on the size of container that you are using and you can set your device to remind you to drink water throughout the day. The default alert tone actually mimics the sound of water pouring into a glass.  The app can also track how much water you drink daily and present the information in an easy-to-read graph so that you can analyze your drinking water habits to see if they need improvement.  Most users rate the “Water Your Body” app very highly, claiming that it has really increased their drinking water intake.

By simply drinking the appropriate amount of clean water daily, you can experience numerous health benefits .    If you have a mobile device, you should consider the “Water Your Body” app.  Don’t miss out on an easy way to help improve your health and well-being.



What is Alkaline Water?

December 19th, 2012

If you take a moment to peruse the internet for drinking water topics, you will find many health-related websites encouraging the use of alkaline water for drinking. But you may be wondering, what is alkaline water? Unless you have taken a high school or college chemistry class, this term may be foreign to you. Read below to gain a better understanding of the facts behind this particular health craze.

Alkaline Water Defined

Alkaline water is related to pH. The term, pH, refers to the amount of hydrogen in the water. The pH value can range from zero to 14 with a pH of 7 considered to be neutral. Any pH value below 7 is considered to be acidic and becomes increasingly more acidic as the number reaches zero. This is due to more hydrogen ions being present in the water. On the other hand, a pH value that is greater than 7 has less hydrogen in the water and increases in alkalinity as the number reaches 14. Much of the time, alkaline water is due to the presence of a mineral source like calcium carbonate.

Either extreme on the pH scale is unsafe for consumption. For example, it is common knowledge that we do not drink battery acid (pH=0) or liquid drain cleaner (pH=14) but now many health-conscious individuals are promoting alkaline water as the most healthy beverage to consume. In many areas, drinking water naturally tends to be more alkaline anyway, with a pH ranging from 6.5 to 8.5. But should you purposefully drink only alkaline water?

Benefits of Alkaline Water

One proposed benefit of alkaline water is that it can help to neutralize acid in your bloodstream. Blood is strictly maintained at a slightly more alkaline pH ranging from 7.35 to 7.45. Ingesting water or any other food item, whether it is acidic or alkaline, will not determine your blood pH level. This is because your kidneys serve to regulate the pH of your blood. The kidneys maintain the pH level by excreting more acidic or alkaline substances in the urine. Oftentimes, if you consume more acidic substances your urine will be slightly more acidic with a lower pH but this is not an indicator of your blood pH level. Health experts say that if your blood pH is more acidic, it is not due to your diet but actually indicates that your kidneys are not functioning normally, possibly due to a serious health condition.

While alkaline water does not play a large role in helping to neutralize acid in your blood, researchers are investigating other potential benefits. Alkaline water may possibly help decrease bone resorption which is the process where bone is broken down and calcium is released into the blood. This is a natural process but can become excessive in older adults, leading to osteoporosis. In recent years, several scientific studies have suggested that when people regularly drink alkaline mineral water that is rich in bicarbonate, the level of parathyroid hormone (PTH) secreted by the body decreases. Since PTH is a hormone that causes bone resorption, decreased PTH helps the bones retain calcium. The Mayo Clinic ,however, warns that more research is needed since it is unknown if alkaline water influences overall bone mineral density. Furthermore, these studies were only performed on a short-term basis (four weeks). Long-term benefits of drinking alkaline water are largely unknown at this time.

It is very important to drink plenty of water but, as with any health craze, be sure to research the topic of alkaline water carefully before you decide to only consume this particular type of water.


Mayan Calendar 2012: Should You Prepare for the End of the World?

December 13th, 2012

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, many people are discussing the possible end of the world on December 21, 2012. This supposedly was predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar. Some merely joke about this prophecy while others take it more seriously and seek to prepare for the possibility of the end of civilization as we know it. Since emergency preparedness is a serious issue, whether it is for the end of the world or a winter storm, it is worthwhile to investigate this prophecy a little further.

The Mayan Calendar

The Maya civilization was present from 2000 BC to AD 250. While they were known for their written language, art and architecture, in recent days they have become best known for their mathematical and astronomical calculations. The Mayans tracked lunar cycles to create short, monthly calendar periods while they also used planetary observations to establish longer range time cycles, or the Long Count calendar. For instance, the Mayans calculated that it takes 117 days for Earth and Mercury to complete one orbit and return to their original positions in relation to each other.

While many archaeologists and anthropologists believe that the Mayans only used the calculations to synchronize their sacred rituals with astrological events, many others believe that the Mayan calculations can be used to predict impending astronomical disasters as well. The Maya Long Count calendar is based on units of time called baktuns. Each baktun consists of 144,000 days and on December 21, 2012 the Long Count calendar will presumably have run through 13 baktuns which was a significant number for the Mayans. Many claim the December 21st date is the end of the Long Count calendar which signals the beginning of the apocalypse.

Possible Events on December 21, 2012

There are numerous speculations about the types of apocalyptic events that may occur on December 21, 2012. One possibility is either a planetary alignment, or an alignment of the earth and sun with the Milky Way Galaxy. Many believe that such an alignment will affect the earth’s magnetic surface. NASA denies that this claim because a planetary alignment is not expected to occur for the next few decades. Furthermore, NASA states that an alignment with planets or a galaxy will not affect the Earth in any way. Every year the earth and sun align with the Milky Way without any effects to the Earth.

Also feared by many is an impact by an asteroid or comet. NASA however reports that they conduct surveys for near-Earth asteroids and comets and there are no objects present that pose a risk to the planet Earth. Along with asteroids and comets, there is a rumor of a planet, Nibiru, on a collision course with the Earth. NASA has stated that there is no such planet and that all currently known dwarf planets are on orbits that will never bring them close enough to the Earth to cause a collision.

One final speculation is the possibility of solar flares powerful enough to disable power grids on the earth’s surface. According to NASA, solar flares occur on a regular basis, usually reaching a peak every 11 years. The next maximum solar flare is expected to occur sometime between 2012 and 2014 but its magnitude and timing is relatively unpredictable. The biggest solar flare ever recorded occurred in1859 and actually affected telegraph systems, causing sparks which shocked telegraph operators and set telegraph paper on fire. The following day, bright, multi-colored auroras also could be seen just before dawn by people across the globe. Another flare of this magnitude could possibly damage satellite electronics causing a disruption of radar, cell phone communications, and GPS receivers. The currents from the bright aurora displays of the Northern and Southern Lights may also affect power lines and telephone cables.

Is the End of the World a Possibility?

Archaeologists disagree with the claims that the Mayans predicted the end of the world because they do not believe the Mayans had apocalyptic visions. According to their findings, the Mayan culture was obsessed with cycles of time and believed in new beginnings but not endings. Newly discovered wall writings from the 9th century in Guatemala actually have calendars that go beyond 2012, indicating the Mayans did not believe the world will end just yet.

Experts do agree that the thirteenth baktun that we are approaching was predicted by the Mayans to be a milestone, but probably not an apocalypse. While the Mayans were known to prophesize, their prophecies were more likely to involve events like disease or drought and therefore many agree that these events would be more likely to occur than the end of the world. Interestingly, experts have not been able to agree upon the synchronization of our calendar with the Mayan calendar which means that the precise date of the thirteenth baktun is questionable and while it may actually be December 21st, there is a possibility it may have already occurred or may still lie ahead.

Preparedness is Always Recommended

There are many uncertainties surrounding December 21, 2012. This date could bring about anything from disease to an apocalyptic event to a solar flare that disrupts satellite communications. Or the day may pass without any unusual events at all. It is impossible to precisely predict the extent of a disaster, whether it is an impending winter storm, hurricane, or a prophesized apocalyptic event. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare for potential events far in advance. Review the blogs regarding emergency preparedness information, such as preparing an emergency supply kit. Even if nothing occurs on December 21, 2012, if you have practiced emergency preparedness, you will be adequately prepared for any emergency situation that might arise in the future.


Select Water Filters Now Available in California

December 4th, 2012

Sales of select Berkey water filtration systems are now available to customers in the state of California. For several years, Berkey Water Filters could not be shipped to California residents. This limitation was due to somewhat ambiguous regulations that went into effect January 1, 2010. The regulations were not only vague but the related requirements also made it very costly, if not impossible, for smaller companies to comply with the regulations that were unique to the state of California.

Recently, the state of California further defined the requirements that pertain to this regulation. While certain California regulations still prohibit residential filtration systems that make health –related claims, such as pathogenic bacteria removal, it was recently determined that the regulations do not apply to water filtration systems used in outdoor and sporting applications. The systems that fall under this category and are therefore now available to California residents are:

  • Sport Berkey®
  • Go Berkey®
  • Travel Berkey®
  • Berkey Light™ (with or without LED lights)

Replacement elements will also be available for these systems as well.  Feel free to contact Berkey Filters Customer Service with any questions or concerns.