Drinking Mineral Water? You May Still be Mineral-Deficient : Guest Author Jim McMahon

Wednesday Apr 25 | BY |
| Comments (16)

Minerals in your water aren’t necessarily the minerals your body needs.

Many people are under the impression that it’s important to drink water containing natural minerals. The logic follows then, and it is a widespread belief, that it’s bad to drink water that has been processed by reverse osmosis because it’s been stripped of its mineral content.

Both of these assumptions are generalizations that may lead the water drinking public down the wrong path, as far as health is concerned.

How Many Minerals Do You Need?
There is evidence to suggest that minerals in drinking water help lower the risk of heart disease. Yet it’s also clear that water can contain too many minerals and is then less capable of hydrating the body by penetrating cell membranes.

As with anything, it’s all about balance.

I prefer to drink water with a low level of minerals—also called a low level of “total dissolved solids (tds)”—between 30 and 200-250 parts per million (ppm). At this level we find the balance between hydration and minerals that your body can actually utilize.

Which Minerals Are Best?
Another issue is which minerals are in your water. The mineral content of your water is a reflection of the ground in which your water dissolved before it got to you. Therefore, mineral content has more to do with local rock formations than with the needs of your body. It will be high in some minerals and low in others. Yet your body has specific mineral needs and works to maintain a balance. Spring water with too much of one mineral and not enough of another can actually throw you out of balance.

For example, several years ago I had my hair analyzed for the purpose of checking my body’s mineral content. I’ve been drinking spring water for 12 years (200 ppm tds). I found my calcium and magnesium levels were high and out of the desired range while I was deficient in six other minerals. None of the six are present in my water. Since I have a good diet, including high raw and high organic, I was shocked by these results!

Many medical practitioners suggest we don’t get minerals from water at all—we get it from food. After this discovery, I modified my diet to eat specific foods containing the minerals I lacked. After two years I tested again. Nothing had changed. I was lacking the same six minerals and remained high in calcium and magnesium.

Minerals Depend on Other Minerals
It turns out that minerals have a relationship with one another. For instance, I was low in both phosphorous and potassium, both of which play a key role in the utilization of calcium. Lacking these could be at least partly responsible for my being high in calcium, regardless of the actual source of the calcium, because my body was unable to utilize it.

So I went out and bought supplements for the same six minerals and took those twice each day for seven months. Then I tested my hair again. These minerals were now in the normal range and calcium was reduced, still high, but coming down.

Since then I’ve stopped supplementing and await new test results to see if my body is holding the new levels or if I must take other actions to balance myself out.

What I’ve Learned
Balancing the minerals in your body is much more complex than we may think. Whatever history you’ve lived until now has affected the balance within your body. The idea that supplementing minerals or drinking water containing minerals will sort this out seems to be contradicted by the testing I’ve conducted on myself.

  1. Drinking spring water, as a generic recommendation, isn’t going to aid your health. However, if it’s contaminant free and has a tds below 250 and a pH of 7.4, then I’d say there’s no better water.
  2. If you’re interested in maintaining a balanced mineral profile in your body, test where you’re at now, whether using a hair or blood analysis. Work with a Naturopath to guide you in taking the appropriate steps to restore mineral balance.
  3. Know what’s in your water either by looking at a local water report if you’re on public water or by testing if you’re on private well water.
  4. Think of water’s primary purpose as hydration. You need to hydrate your body. Appropriately filtered water is the best way to do that. If you can also gain minerals from water, that’s a nice side benefit.

Minerals in water might be nice, but they’re not the most important factor when considering how to treat your drinking water. The level of minerals (tds) and the presence of contaminants are the things to consider when determining whether a simple kitchen filter, a whole house water filter, or reverse osmosis is the appropriate water purification system for the water that’s coming out of your tap. This also holds true for nearby springs. Test it or review an existing test before assuming that it’s good.

* * *

For references used in writing this article visit: Minerals in Water.
Picture courtesy Magda.net via Flickr.com.

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon is an ecologist and owner of Sweetwater LLC. Jim sells water tests and water purification systems to people throughout the country who wish to experience healthy water in their homes. Jim’s unique approach to healthy water is to speak to every potential customer, review their water report with them, discuss their needs and recommend a water filter or water purification system that will achieve their goals. Jim will review your local water report with you or sell you a well water test and then make a recommendation on how to best treat your water to achieve optimal health.

For articles on a variety of topics related to water, visit Jim’s blog at Best Water Purification.


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  1. Sarah says:

    Does reverse osmosis get rid of fluoride? I think Charlotte Gerson says that only distillation does…or is distillation part of the reverse osmosis process?

  2. Ben says:


    I didn’t see any mention of the difference between organic and inorganic minerals. I’ve heard from many in the nutrition field that we cannot absorb inorganic minerals, those that simply dissolved from the soil, rocks, etc. The theory is that plants process these into organic form, which we can then utilize. Thoughts?

  3. Faye says:

    This was interesting. The whole water and minerals topic often confuses me. There is so much to learn and as he said it’s all so complex!

  4. Thanks Kevin for posting this. To answer these questions:

    1) Reverse osmosis will get rid of fluoride

    2)If you look at the studies on my website:
    http://www.cleanairpurewater.com/minerals_in_water.html it appears that inorganic minerals are used by the human body – again, at low levels.

    3) The topic is complex. I can test myself and I listen to the people who call and talk to me every day and am trying to learn all I can….


  5. janet johnson says:

    Yes, I agree with Ben’s comments about the organic and inorganic. Jordan Rubin (founder of Garden of Life and founderof Beyond Organic) gave a short teaching about this. His view is that our bodies cannot utilize inorganic minerals (which are the ones dissolved in the spring water) and that since hydration is the primary purpose of water, it would behoove us to drink water that is the purest – in other words just water and nothing else. Fewer dissolved solids is best.

  6. Jo says:

    Hi-Oh I am so glad you brought this topic up.
    You see in 1978, I unknowingly drank water for
    2 months that had raw sewage seeping in it. As
    of today my health still suffers. In fact, just last week, my Dr. said I still show the
    equivalent of alcohol poisoning by my lipids.
    However, I don’t drink, so he suggested I go to some alternative Dr’s. I had one chelation
    treatment 2 yrs ago and had some sort of reaction. Also tried ozone and after the 3rd one reacted. So I am open to suggestions here.
    Prevention is the best answer, but what if something already happened? We need to save
    the planets water sources NOW.

  7. liz says:

    Hi Jo, I think the best thing to get the effects of the sewerage water out of your system is to do it homoeopathically. There are Bach bowel nosodes that will do that for you, if you consult your nearest friendly homoeopath.


  8. zhetti says:

    Jo, the reactions you are having with chelation and ozone is probably a herz reaction or what they call a healing crisis. It is a good sign that the chelation and/or ozone is detoxing your body. When it stops reacting, you are probably detoxed but continue it for a few weeks to make sure. Check with your alternative drs. You shouldn’t stop the chelation and/or ozone but you might want to reduce the amount for a few days and then return to the prescribed amount.

    You must have a great doctor if he refers you to an alternative doctor. Almost no doctors would do that even if they knew it would help you.

  9. Pete Kruse says:

    Jim McMahon has done a lot since leaving the Bears in 1985!

  10. Frances says:

    I have been listening to Sandi Radomsky who is a Psychotherapist and a Naturopath and she is saying that nearly all allergies are caused by trauma and that allergies will also affect the up take of nutrients. She has had a lot of experience in this field and what she says makes sense. I cant take most supplements as I react to them. I had treatment using Allergy Pathway for my reactions to 95% of food and though its innitially effective it soon wears off and she talks about this as well and has treatments for this using a laser to balance emotional energetic treatment which one can also do on oneself. Look her up on the web page.

  11. Teddy says:

    Ben, you are absolutely correct. According to water professionals, Carlson Wade, Culligan, Donsbach and others, water always has hard, inorganic minerals known as TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) which eventually clog the circulatory system as odes the iron and radiator. The higher the TDS the harder the water. Water rarely, if ever, contains organic minerals. We get those from fruit and vegetables which is truly distilled water with organic minerals. The ancients knew the water secrets. The best water to drink and/or bathe is sun absorbed rain water, or distilled (evaporated and condensed) water which has absorbed the suns rays to become living water which changes the angle of the bond between the hydrogen and oxygen molecules from 105 to 109 degrees to make living water. Thus the oxygen molecule is easily absorbed by the body. This is why the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc. all used surface water for their baths and drinking. The healing stories are incredible.

    Jo, you did good with ozone but you quit too soon, assuming it was ozone produced from a tank of pure oxygen. Ozone/hydrogen peroxide is the most powerful and natural healing modality bar none. There is no anaerobic bacteria, virus, fungi, toxin, poison or heavy metal that can exist in the presence of ozone which is oxygen in tri-atomic state and is God’s or nature’s natural purifier which becomes hydrogen peroxide in the presence of water. The “T” Cells produce hydrogen peroxide (oxygen and water) to kill (oxidize) the pathogens or germs, etc. This is the essence of healing.
    Blue Green Algae from Klamath Lake will also remove toxins, poisons, heavy metals, including radiation.

    By the way, the ancients, including great men as Hippocrates, all taught the way of health is a low protein, high alkaline fresh fruit and vegetable diet. This is what made the Spartans unbeatable contrary to Hollywood filming them chewing on a chicken leg. The Spartans were strict vegetarians.

    Best organic vitamins & minerals are from plants like alfalfa, kelp and all the sea weeds which are perhaps the richest source of organic minerals. Mineral supplements are basically inorganic. Vitamin supplements are isolated fractions of the natural compounds and complexes found in nature in which the body will develop a tolerance in 6 to 18 months. Cashmir Funk who discovered vitamins and coined the word states that we are better off with the vitamin deficiency than from the side effect from the supplement.

    Distillation and reverse osmosis are two different processes.

  12. Janice says:

    I just started doing the Himalayan Salt sole drink. (Dr. Barbara Hendel)
    Have you heard anything about re-mineralization using salt?
    Where can I get a test for mineral levels in the body?

  13. Catherine Penrose says:

    Hey Kevin
    About your friend’s son. Check out going to a well qualified QRA(quantum reflex analysis)
    practitioner. He seems to have a virus in his bronchials, tailbone and R ear. QRA could test exactly what he needs(example of what I would do for my son-approx 12 olive leaf extract for virus, 1/2 t pink salt for kidneys, tocotrienols for cell energy) His entrance & exits of energy are off energetically(L foot, R foot, L hand are off;R hand is on).Left & right kidneys are off.Some traumas causing blockages are his tailbone, nose, left upper quadrant of head, specifically L top, side & crowne of head,his L & R inner thighs(immunizations?),both collar bones. All can be brought “on”. Thought if I was specific enough you might take note and get the right help. Children respond so quickly if you pinpoint target and remove interferences. Love and healing to all.

  14. Velda says:

    I don’t drink mineral water. I have consumed RO water for many years. I am on city water, and really don’t want the stuff that they put in the water to be in my body :). I drink water to hydrate and get minerals and vitamins from other sources. Good article, Kevin. Thanks for the information!!

  15. Nicole (Australia) says:

    Who thought water could be so complex? It would be nice to make everything healthy – simple & easy access! Thanks Kevin

  16. Em says:

    Really interesting. Made me think….I have a Santevia water filter that I pour my tap water into. But I have no idea what’s in the tap water before it’s filtered…should try to find out and make sure my Santevia is taking all the crap out.
    Muchas gracias por esta informacion 🙂

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