May 25, 2012
I personally swim 3-4 times per week.The pool I swim in is chlorinated.
I also shower every day, in water that has been chlorinated by the city of Spokane, where I live.
How about you?
How much chlorine are you exposed to?
If you're a swimmer or triathlete, then it's probably quite a bit. If not, you're still getting significant chlorination from simply showering or bathing in your city's water.
Today, I speak with a naturopathic physician and nutritionist, Dr. David Getoff, about how to reduce the risk from swimming in chlorinated pools and drinking chlorinated water. I learned quite a bit during our discussion, and I think you will too.
During this audio interview, I ask David the following questions:
- Why does chlorine get added to pools?
- What type of potentially dangerous things might be happening to the body of someone who is swimming multiple times per week in the average chlorinated health club pool?
- Is there anything that can be done before, during or after swimming to reduce the damage, including nutrition supplements, foods or other strategies?
- Should swimmers use chlorine removing soaps, shampoos and conditioners, and if not, are there better, more natural solutions?
- Are there any types of nutrient, vitamin, mineral or hormone tests that a swimmer specifically should consider getting to see how chlorine may be affecting their body, or how able their body is to withstand damage from swimming in chlorine?
- Aside from a river or lake, are there alternatives to chlorinated pools, and if so, are they easy to find?
- When a swimmer is at home, what type of changes can they make to ensure that the water they're showering in and drinking is as healthy as possible?
In our discussion, Dr. Getoff recommends you also listen to the following:
In addition to Vitamin C, David also recommends the following supplements:
-Vitamin D (this is the one I recommend)
-Vitamin E (he recommends Unique E)
-Alpha lipoic acid (the source I use is Thorne)
For testing your antioxidant levels, David recommends:
–Metametrix ION Panel at DirectLabs
For alternatives to chlorinated pools, David recommends:
At the end of our discussion, David also mention the Price-Pottenger Foundation, and a new education series he is putting out on that website very soon. I'd highly recommend you check that out as well.
Question, comments or feedback about how to reduce the risk from swimming in chlorinated pools? Leave them below!
P.S. My Dad wrote me after hearing this podcast. He mentioned that my great Uncle Bernie placed a structured water unit into the skimmer of his indoor pool, and within a week he went from using four chlorine pucks to one puck, his pump pressure was reduced by more than half, the slime on his tile disappeared, yellow staining on his steps disappeared and on and on and on. E-mail my Dad, Gary Greenfield, if you want more info on the unit he used in his home pool.
82 thoughts on “How To Reduce The Risk From Swimming in Chlorinated Pools and Drinking Chlorinated Water.”
Any links to published studies on the Vitamin C use pre-swimming to assist in mitigating some of the effects of Chlorine pre-swimming?
I’m swimming in a stuffy chlorinated pool a few times a week. Can I take the supplements only when I train or should this be kept up everyday? I’m curious about the use a vitamin c spray too, any recommendations?
I’d keep it up every day, but definitely prioritize on the days that you swim.
Ben, any recommendations for a child taking swimming lessons? I don’t know if we’ll find anything other than chlorinated pools in our area, but obviously it’s important to learn to swim. If we do find a saltwater option, would that be preferable? I know they reportedly generate chlorine, but it seems that if it doesn’t smell like chlorine, hopefully it’s less than a chlorinated pool, right? Anyway, what can be done to mitigate damage from chlorine in a young child (4 or 5 yr old)? I don’t like loading a child up on supplements, but I am concerned about the microbiome and other issues with chlorine. What would you do?
Yes minerals would be FAR BETTER than chlorine but if you must have them exposed to chlorine then please, please, please ensure you get them good antioxidants into their system, a high quality fish oil, etc.
Thanks, Ben. Do you know of good antioxidant options for children that age (4-5 yrs)? Do you have any concerns about the microbiome, or mostly the antioxidant concerns? I would certainly prefer to avoid the chlorine, for sure. But in order to learn to swim for safety/survival reasons, it might become necessary to go with the chlorine if no other option is available. I’m going to keep exploring to see if there is a non-chlorine option locally, but would like to have a game plan in place in case it has to be chlorine.
Yes…dark berries, wild caught fish and dark leafy greens are all good, but for supplements, check this out: https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product/life…
I was wondering why the Alpha Lipoic Acid link is not working. Also, why are many of the links not available on Amazon?
It just needs to be updated. All of the other links are working for me – let me know which one's aren't working for you and I'll get them checked out. Stay tuned for our new Alpha Lipoic Acid link.
Here is the Aplha Lipoic Acid I recommend: http://bit.ly/2fYhBZC
Hi. I don’t have a home swimming pool and my health club’s pool is chlorinated. I sent the club an email asking if they would consider alternatives to chlorine. Also went to a local triathlon forum to find out if there are non-chlorinated pools in my city. If I can’t find any, I may unfortunately have to give up swimming :(
I’ve been cautioned not to open water swim in a local dam due to industrial pollutants. I need to have a copper re-test in 6 months (I was wrongly diagnosed for Wilson’s disease but just need to recheck), so I’m staying off vitamin c or zinc as it lowers copper levels (and may influence my results). Depressing!
Since spring break is around the corner, I advocate water filtration of chlorine pools on which a lot of community pools and resorts use. Chlorine can be a health hazard to the children's pool. Are swimming learning centers know about this?
Thanks for your very informative website. As a middle aged person, who tries his best to keep his fitness levels up, I recently discovered after wearing socks all day, that they leave marks in my skin. I do not believe it is edema, however, if so, studies have said that swimming is a good exercise. The problem of course is chlorinated pools. Could you ask your guest Dr. Getoff what he thinks as an alternative to swimming in indoor pools that have chlorine, salt water indoor pools instead? In my city, there are two clubs that have salt water pools, however, unfortunately, both places do add some chlorine to the salt water. If this then would negate the swimming in the pools, what would his recommendation be, since it is beneficial for some to swim in water, as it is easier on the joints.
Thanks Ben, keep up your good work.
Looking forward to your, or David's response. Further, what if one were only to swim once or twice a week for 15 minutes top, or due to chlorine being added, even in the salt water indoor pools, to avoid swimming altogether?
Saline or ozone would be the better ways to go, Lawrence!
Thanks, however, if there are no indoor pools with Saline, or ozone, what about the question of swimming occasionally. Further, I read that there is a 'swim spray' that apparently gets some of the chlorine off one's body after swimming. However, I thought that chlorine gets right absorbed into your skin. So a spray that contains Vitamin C that on the surface looks great, but to get chlorine off one's body. Ben what's your take on this?
I use the vitamin C spray. It DOES remove the chlorine smell/odor but doesn't mitigate the damage from chlorine!
I honestly never expected those tips. Well, at least I can now take more dips in my fibreglass pool without having to worry too much about the chlorine.
Hi Ben, like your fitness advice but what is with the intense supplementation? Read End of Illness by David Agus and it will get you to take a hard look at the cost/benefits of supplements. The studies show that it is harmful and lessens health outcomes across the board.
Supplements make sense when they're address deficiencies or we're pushing our bodies beyond what would be considered the natural limits. My gut made my life living hell before I discovered enzymes, probiotics and colostrum. And that's just one example. I also tripled my testosterone levels with magnesium, Vitamin D and some other compounds. Consider it better living through science. ;)
Just nonsense, sorry. And can I really see something about magnets in my podcast feed? Hope not….
Do you do these supplements either a few hours before a workout or right after a workout? Should you avoid vitamin C just before a workout?
I do Tian Chi mid morning empty stomach, and Solar Synergy at end of day. NO need to avoid vitamin C before workout, unless it upsets your stomach, which can happen at 1 gram + to some folks.
So if you want to take vitamin C, what is the best way to do so without compromising performance? Did anyone listen to the vitamin C lectures Ben linked to? They were pretty amazing. I work at a pool and am in chlorinated water 4-5 days a week for a good 2 hours each day.
I did listen Kelsey. I do Solar Synergy. 2-3 scoops per day, along with 1 daily packet of Tian Chi.
Yeah, thanks for the cv. Any chance you could answer the question? Show me some supported studies that agree with the content.
Triathletes don’t need a list off self awarded, paid for qualifications, they need facts. Ask Noakes back to review this, no?
Start with the Vitamin C lectures, Andrew…
Grander–a quack or charlatan, you decide.
Man I hope Andrew's ego doesn't die from fact check overload.
I subscribed to this because of the Noakes interview, but who's this Getoff guy? A complete and utter load of rubbish, dangerous stuff and detrimental to performance. Suggest you fact check everything he said. Facts, you know…..
Hi Andrew, here is his current bio:
Title and Job Description: (Full time private practice 50+ hours per week)
Board Certified Traditional Naturopath
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist/Lecturer/Educator/Educational DVD producer
Teaching Faculty Grossmont/Cuyamaca College adult education department La Mesa Ca.
Teaching Faculty The American College of Integrative Medicine and Dentistry
Saddle Brook New Jersey
Private practice in Naturopathy and Clinical Nutrition
Practice became full time 1992 – San Diego, California
Instructor, Grossmont/Cuyamaca College Adult Education Department 1993 – Present. Designed and created Nutrition for Health and Wellness. Now taught three times each year as Attaining Optimal Health in the 21st Century. Average class size is 50+ students.
Formal traditional) Education: B.S. Nutrition and Holistic Therapies. The Union Institute College of Undergraduate Studies, Cincinnati Ohio.
Professional Licenses and Certifications:
C.C.N. Certified Clinical Nutritionist # 3177, Clinical Nutrition Certification Board Inc. Addison Texas 972-250-2829
C.N.C. Certified Nutritional Consultant #93G123848, American Association of Nutritional Consultants 401 Kings Highway Winona Lake, IN 46590 888-828-2262
C.T.N. Certified Traditional Naturopath, American Naturopathic Certification Board #7490 101 East Broadway, Suite 415 Missoula, MT 59802 406-543-6154
Certified Biofeedback Therapist, Natural Therapies Certification Board #1080BF.
507 Old Toll Circle Black Mountain, N.C. 28711
Licensed Naturopath, State of North Carolina #797020
Licensed Traditional Naturopath, License Commission of the Americas #CA 761129
Licensed Nutritionist, State of New York Lic. #003785
Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine # 499 (AAIM)
Diplomate of the AAIM College of Nutrition
Board Certified in Integrative Medicine AAIM board of integrative medicine
Certified Nutrition Coach – Nutrition Coach Certification Board
"NOTE: The State of California does not currently issue licenses in the fields of Traditional Naturopathy or Clinical Nutrition
Various Additional Qualifications:
Was found qualified by the judge and gave testimony as an expert witness in the field of clinical nutrition in a case tried on August 23rd 1999 in the City of Chula Vista, County of San Diego, State of California.
Vice President- Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation
Approved Provider CEU for the California Board of Registered Nursing
International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists
International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
Elected Member – American College of Nutrition
Elected Member – International College of Integrative Medicine
American Association for Health Freedom
American Holistic Health Association
New York Academy of Sciences
American Society for Nutrition
American Association of Integrative Medicine
Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (current Vice Pres.)
National Center for Homeopathy
American Association of Nutritional Consultants
American Naturopathic Medical Association
National Health Federation
National Association of Nutrition Professionals
Presentations and Lectures: (Just a few examples, many others too numerous to list)
Lectures for organizations including : the Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation
San Diego City Schools
Case Management Society of America (nursing)
Grossmont College Adult Center
Paid Lecture – San Diego State University Gerontology Department
Church of Today
Grossmont College staff appreciation day
Guest on countless radio shows on numerous AM and web based radio stations on a continual basis every year.
Host and originator of KFNX- (AM 1100 Phoenix) Your Health is Your Life Weekly radio show for 26 weeks from March 14th through September 5th 2000 (too time consuming)
Designed and presented "Scientific MuscleTesting for Health Practitioners" seminar March 15 & 16th, 2001 Hotel Boulderado, Boulder, Co., and September 14th & 15th Hilton Hotel San Diego
Lecture: by invitation on fluoride issues to the City of San Diego water quality laboratory, Alvarado Water Treatment Facility
Paid day long seminar – Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Tempe Arizona
Paid Lecture – Weston A. Price Foundation Annual Conference
Keynote speaker plus additional 2 hour seminar Acres USA annual conference
Keynote Speaker- Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Annual Conference
Paid presenter-Boulderfest 2005 and Nutrient Expo 2005 Nutritional Medicine Conferences
Paid Presenter- 8 hour seminar Freedom Law School 2009 annual conference
Paid presenter-International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology 2009 & 2010 conferences
Presenter-Cancer Control Society Annual conference 2006
Key note speaker- Nutritional Therapy Assoc. Annual conference March 2010 Vancouver WA
Full Day paid workshop – 2010 conference- American College for Advancement in Medicine
Full day paid workshop 2011 iMOSAIC combined (4 organizations) medical conference
Love it! You tell'em Ben!
Awesome! 🦆 🦆. People with big egos suck, just sayin’ Andrew