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

Wednesday Apr 25 | BY |
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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.

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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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