That glass of water treated by reverse osmosis (RO) water purifier in your home is certainly keeping you healthy. But it may also be responsible for filtering out minerals that help assimilate vital nutrients and produce vitamin B-12.
No, it’s not proven. Scientific studies and researches are yet to establish this, but conjectures by physicians point a finger at the consumption of RO water for increasingly large-scale vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause various health problems. Constant back pain, knee pain, fatigue, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, bleeding gums and even nerve damage (in extreme cases) can be caused by deficiency of vitamin B-12. A vegetarian diet is considered primarily responsible for the deficiency and RO water further worsens it.
Apart from helping in the prevention of megaloblastic anemia, which makes people tired and weak, vitamin B-12 is also helpful to the body to keep its nerves and blood cells healthy and make DNA. It is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B-12 contains the mineral cobalt.
Dr Bharat Dave, an honorary spine surgeon at VS Hospital and NHL Medical College, explains the reasons for blaming RO water for vitamin B-12 deficiency. “There is a significant rise in vitamin B-12 deficiency. Many things can be blamed for this including, the environment, increased consumption of RO water and food habits. RO water purifiers wash away minerals including iodine and vitamin B-12. This is the belief of doctors as no proper scientific study has been done to establish this. There is a three to four-fold increase in the number of patients with a B-12 deficiency,” he said.
Dr Sanjiv Shah, director of the pathology department of Sterling Hospital says, “It is my observation that number of cases of blood test for checking vitamin B-12 deficiency has increased.”
Ian: My local Doc confirms the B12 deficiency in his many local vegetarian clients, but few of them have a Reverse Osmosis system. I’m guessing that this is another ‘iceberg’ issue where it will become clear as more focus is given to the possible correlation.