There has been a debate raging for many years amongst water filter professionals. In the one camp is the ‘pure water’ advocates who insist that we are better off drinking the purest form of H2O possible (‘Pure’ meaning devoid even of minerals)
In the other camp, there are the professionals who believe that we should drink water as close as possible to the water our ancestors drank, which, they assert, was never ‘pure’ insofar as it always contained minerals. Yes, It may have been ‘clean’ in the sense that it had none of the 600+ EPA-listed contaminants found in our water supply today, but they believe that drinking from a pristine spring or creek as our forbears must have, would have meant that they would have ingested clean, but mineral-soluble water.
The argument has heightened, most likely because of the escalating interest in the Paleo Diet, which attempts to emulate the diet we ate in paleolithic time. based on the fact that we have not evolved significantly in genetic terms over the last 100,000 years, Paleo diet advocates believe that by eating as close a diet to our ancestors we present the least stress and most health opportunity to the individual. Obviously, this applies to water as well as food.
The first camp, the pure water people, who generally advocate the use of reverse osmosis water filters or distillers, which remove all minerals from tap water, also perpetuate the idea that inorganic minerals in water can’t be ingested because they are inorganic. They add that we get ‘organic’ minerals from food and that is sufficient. For many reasons, but particularly because the organic food movement likes the idea, this belief has caught hold of many people looking for the best form of water filtration. It sounds right so it must be right.
So.. is it true? Are we programmed genetically to only process ‘organic minerals? Absolutely not. The water our forebears stooped to drink carried some organics certainly, but the vast majority of dissolved minerals in spring or stream water are inorganic.
There’s a huge industry worth billions a year that thrives on the fact that we can digest and use inorganic minerals. It’s called the health supplement industry.
Of course, this is one opinion, and the internet is rife with repeated half-truths simply because of the ease of repeating an opinion you happen to agree with. After all, isn’t that what makes Facebook so successful? So we really need to at the very least look for some science, and the biggest science article source in the world is pubmed.com. It’s the hunting ground of millions of truth seekers and yes, it has a number of studies referenced that prove we can absorb and utilize inorganic minerals. depending upon the study you choose to read, anything up to 30% of our daily mineral uptake can be derived from the inorganic minerals in our drinking water. Whether that upper limit is due to the relative scarcity or low levels of inorganic minerals in our drinking water supplies is not countenanced. Saying it another way, if we supplement our mineral-poor drinking water with added minerals over the 6% level, can our water become a more convenient ways of getting our micronutrient minerals?
However a recent find by Rob Thomas of waterfyi.com takes the case for mineralised water a quantum leap further, and it’s sourced from the august World Health Organisation entitled ‘The Health risks from drinking demineralized water’.
The article really finishes off the defence of the first camp mentioned in this article. It says very bluntly that ‘not only does completely demineralised water (distillate) have unsatisfactory organoleptic properties, but it also has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.’
It further states,
‘The potential for adverse health effects from long-term consumption of demineralised water is of interest not only in countries lacking adequate fresh water but also in countries where some types of home water treatment systems are widely used or where some types of bottled water are consumed.’
So it isn’t only applicable to the third world. It equally applies to us.
The WHO’s 2004 report even recommends optimum mineral levels in drinking water.
A minimum of 10 mg/l and an optimum of about 20-30 mg/l
minimum of 20 mg/l and an optimum of about 50 (40-80) mg/l
Total water hardness:
the sum of calcium and magnesium should be 2 to 4 mmol/l
The report continues:
‘At these concentrations, minimum or no adverse health effects were observed. The maximum protective or beneficial health effects of drinking water appeared to occur at the estimated desirable or optimum concentrations. The recommended magnesium levels were based on cardiovascular system effects, while changes in calcium metabolism and ossification were used as a basis for the recommended calcium levels.’
While the RO industry madly seeks to support their old argument, they are also desperately seeking solutions. Unfortunately, the solutions they are coming up with seem to be based on ‘old technology’, when the experience of an industry they have been excoriating for the last decade seems more relevant. The alkaline water industry has been aware of the need for a balanced mix of (specifically) alkaline minerals and until recently sought to supply these by concentrating existing minerals in the water supply using electrolysis. Given the almost infinite variation in mineral mix and levels in drinking water supplies, it comes as no surprise that this has only been partly successful. However, at the same time more advanced alkaline water advocates have been experimenting with mineral donating in-line filters that use the scrubbing effect of reverse osmosis to create a ‘clean slate’ of pure water and then to add minerals as a set mix of beneficial alkaline elements using bioceramic technology from Japan and Korea.
This approach is bearing fruit for both ways of thinking because the use of reverse osmosis rather than carbon-only filtration gives us the ‘pure’ water many of us want, but the added bioceramic mineral donation cartridges create water that is designed so close to the levels in the WHO recommendations that you’d be forgiven in thinking that the designers had read the WHO report and designed the minerals to suit.