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Minerals in Water

Do minerals in water make any difference to health?


This article is adapted from an article written about minerals in bottled water. The article specifically identifies and discusses the minerals that can be found in water. Your water may or may not contain these minerals. I've modified the article from the original by adding this preface and deleting the references specific to bottled water.


Many health practitioners and other professionals will suggest that we do not obtain any minerals from water and that our bodies are designed to derive minerals from food. They then go on to endorse Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water as 'pure' or close to pure and recommend drinking water produced by one of those treatments. The argument goes further still with some saying that reverse osmosis water still has too much total dissolved solids remaining to be absorbed by our cells. Those people suggest the addition of deionizing filters after RO systems to remove any remaining minerals and/or contaminants.

Frankly, from my background as an ecologist, it's my view that when we all lived in some form of hut along the stream we drank that water and that's what our bodies are adapted to. This notion is supported by a plethora of World Health Organization studies which seem to show that people who drink 'hard' water, ie: water with minerals, have a lower incidence of some diseases than people who drink water with minerals removed. It is my preference to drink water containing minerals but follow this link for a more complete discussion of how to make your water healthy.

However, when I did my own analysis of the relationship between minerals in water and health I could find no correlation.

My current thinking is that any mineral content should be low, rather than high, and may or may not affect some aspect of health. Drinking water that is free of contaminants along with a healthy organic diet and lifestyle is the best course for healthy living. I don't think that minerals in water matter at all. What matters is drinking plenty of appropriately filtered water.

Depending on where you live the drinking water will contain numerous contaminants that must be removed. That is far more important than any mineral content.

Hard water can also contain levels of minerals that are too high or water can contain one or several minerals at levels that are too high - and therefore unhealthy - while being deficient in other minerals.

Having said that, I will now let you read the article you came here to read:

 Which Minerals are in Drinking Water?

Article from The Water Connoisseur (edited by me to delete references specific to bottled water):


Local geological strata impart water with different minerals, giving every single-source water a unique set of characteristics. This section describes the most common minerals found and the benefits these minerals can provide.


Magnesium - Mg++

Almost all human cells have some level of magnesium in them, and adults need three to four hundred milligrams of magnesium every day. Magnesium is important for the regulation of muscle contractions and the transmission of nerve impulses, and it activates energy-producing enzymes. Bone structure also relies on magnesium, and it expands blood vessels, which lessens the risk of heart attack. Nervousness, lack of concentration, dizziness, and headaches or migraines may result from magnesium deficiency.


Calcium - Ca++

Adults need about eight hundred milligrams of calcium per day--babies don't require as much, but fifteen to nineteen year olds need significantly more. The many benefits of calcium include stabilizing bone structure, teeth, and cell membranes; ensuring nerve and muscle impulses are properly transmitted; and helping to prevent blood clotting. Calcium also has a balancing effect for numerous skin allergies. Bones decalcify (osteoporosis) and fractures become more likely if a body is not getting enough calcium.


Potassium - K+

Two to four grams is usually a sufficient day's supply of potassium. Children and young people should pay particular attention to their intake, since potassium aides the growth of cells. The pressure of water between cells is regulated by potassium, which also makes sure each cell gets enough food. Potassium has special roles to play in muscle contraction and the formation and conduction of impulses of the heart.


Sodium - Na+

A person's level of exertion largely determines his or her daily requirement of sodium. Normally about three grams are necessary, but severe physical stress can bring the requirement up to fifteen grams or more. The heart's metabolism is affected by sodium, as is the regular contraction of the heart. Today, we rarely have to worry about sodium deficiency: Salt is an integral part of many foods, especially those that are highly processed.


Sulfate - SO4--

Sulfates are the salts of sulfur. They aid the liver in detoxification and help digestion by stimulating the gall bladder. Sulfates in high doses act as a laxative. Fish, meat, and milk contain sulfates, which are an important component of protein. The human body only absorbs small amounts of sulfates, but these amounts are sufficient to stimulate peristalsis by binding magnesium and sodium to water in the intestine. This effect makes mineral waters rich in sulfates, which taste slightly bitter, suitable as "nonalcoholic bitters" after a meal.


Bicarbonate - HCO3-

Present in all biological fluids, bicarbonate is essential for maintaining our bodies' pH balance. The substance is also found in stomach secretions. Lactic acid generated by physical activity is neutralized by bicarbonate dissolved in water; a similar process raises the pH of some acidic foods.


Silica - SiO2

Most adults need between twenty and thirty milligrams of silica daily. [An essential mineral building block, silica is one of the body's greatest energizing nutrients.] Silica reduces the risk of heart disease and may prevent osteoporosis; it also helps tissue repair by serving as an antioxidant. Hair and nails are strengthened by silica.


Trace Elements

The human body needs iron, iodine, copper, fluoride, zinc, and other trace elements as well as minerals. The recommended daily intake is fractions of a milligram for some substances and a few milligrams for others.


adapted from The Water Connoisseur by Michael Mascha

You may see his website here:

Fine Waters


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James P McMahon, ecologist

James P McMahon ecologist

"What's in YOUR Water?"

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