How Does Chlorine Affect Your Immune System?

fluoridated water

Is there chlorine in your water supply? The answer is almost certainly yes if you live in the US or many other parts of the world. The chlorine is there to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases like dysentery, but it does come with a cost. Chlorine can actually weaken your immune system and leave it unable to fight off a pathogen like Candida.

There are several ways that you can reduce your chlorine exposure. In today’s post I’m going to describe exactly how chlorine can affect your immune system, and just what you can do to prevent this from happening.

Chlorine and your immune system

The idea that chlorine is harmful to us is not controversial at all. In fact both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Disease Control list it as a harmful substance. However, they focus mostly on the effects that large amounts of chlorine can have on the upper respiratory tract.

A less obvious, but equally troubling, side effect of chlorine happens in your intestines. When this powerful disinfectant passes through your stomach and reaches your gut, it can kill off many of the beneficial bacteria that live there. These bacteria help with digestion, regulate the acidity in your gut and form an important part of your immune system. Among other things, destroying that delicate balance of flora can actually weaken your resistance to disease.

An imbalance in your gut flora is also an opportunity for a fast-growing yeast like Candida Albicans. If your colonies of ‘good bacteria’ are destroyed by an external factor like antibiotics or chlorine, there is suddenly less competition in your gut. This provides the Candida colonies with the space and nutrients they need to expand. This intestinal Candida overgrowth can affect your digestion, damage your intestinal walls and further weaken your immune system.

Why is chlorine in your water supply?

More than 98% of US public water supplies are chlorinated, so first let me explain why all that chlorine is in your drinking water. It’s there because chlorine is a powerful disinfectant that kills more than 99% of the harmful organisms and bacteria in your water supply. It kills disease-causing pathogens like cholera, typhoid and dysentery by dissolving their cell walls.

Would it be better for all of us if chlorine wasn’t used? Not necessarily. Public officials have to tread a fine line between preventing disease in our water and using as few harmful chemicals as possible. If the chlorine was removed, it would certainly eliminate some of the negative effects of chlorine on our immune systems. But it would also expose us to harmful pathogens that could result in other health problems.

Of course, although chlorination of our water is generally a positive thing, that doesn’t mean that we actually need to drink the chlorine. By using simple water filters in your home you can enjoy all the benefits of disease-free chlorinated water, while still eliminating your exposure to chlorine.

How can you reduce your chlorine exposure?

There are a number of ways to reduce your chlorine exposure. The first, and simplest, is to buy a filter for your drinking water. You can find them in any hardware store and they are extremely efficient at removing both chlorine and other toxic agents.

You can take it a step further by purchasing a whole-house water filter. This is a unit that filters every drop of water that enters your house. There are a number of benefits to this. For example, it means that you don’t need to buy those small water filters for your drinking water. It also means that taking a shower doesn’t expose you to chlorine (hot showers actually vaporize the chlorine, then we inhale it). And lastly, your clothes won’t contain any chlorine residue from the water in your washing machine.

There are other sources of chlorine too. Public swimming pools and hot tubs are usually heavily chlorinated. If you think your immune system is weak you should consider avoiding them, or at least making sure that you shower immediately afterwards. If you own your own pool, try to keep the chlorine content at the lower end of the recommended range.

Bleach is another source of chlorine, and using it on your clothes can expose it directly to your skin. Try a homemade solution instead. You can soak stains in lemon juice and salt, or just add a cup of lemon juice to a load of whites.

You will never be able to completely avoid chlorine, but reducing your exposure can boost your immune system and help you to beat your Candida. For more tips, check out my Ultimate Candida Diet program – a treatment plan designed to restore your immune system and give your body the very best chance to beat a Candida overgrowth.

A 5-Step Program to Beat Candida

From Lisa Richards

If you're looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out Lisa Richards' new program, the Ultimate Candida Diet.

Lisa's plan is based on the latest research into Candida, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.

What the program includes
A 60-day plan to eliminate your Candida
A clear 5-step timeline
The latest research into Candida
Shopping lists you can take to the store
My 25 favorite Candida-fighting foods
A 10-part email course
Lots of tasty anti-Candida recipes
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  1. Magda says

    Hi Lisa,
    I’m going through the candida detox & diet at the moment, following your programme (my 3rd week now). The progress so far is fantastic, feeling much better already (although beating those sugar cravings is still hard…). One of my key activities to keep fit is regular swimming, so I’d go to a public swimming pool 3-5 days a week for a 30mins swim. I do shower afterwards within the facility. I’ve stopped it for 3 weeks now, but would be keen to start going back say 2-3 days a week. Do you recommend it? Or do you think it could affect the treatment? Many thanks for all the useful information you provide!

    • Lisa Richards says

      Hi Magda, I’m glad that its helping! You should be aiming to reduce your overall exposure to toxins. So if you are taking positive steps in other parts of your life (like drinking filtered water, for example), then you might be OK to use a chlorinated pool. As you suggest, showering after your swim is a great idea. Your body is designed to cope with a certain amount of exposure to toxins like chlorine, but you just have to be careful not to overload it!

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