QUESTION: I appreciate your handling of the question of water filtration by looking at all views. Clearly there is a lot more to know about this subject.
I've been drinking distilled water now for several years. I don't have any reason to believe it is causing health issues for me, but I am having some health issues beginning (turned 65 in June 2017) so am trying to stay on top of things.
I have read many times that naturally occurring minerals in water are not in a form that is absorb-able by our bodies... and that they end up shuttled to our joints where they cause arthritis type problems and/or possibly in our arteries causing heart disease.
Do you have any information about this that might shed additional light on this subject? Thank you.
Lynne, I have found that almost every single health issue I research online is contradictory. And the truth is that I have come across respected professionals on both sides of the issue of whether to drink mineral rich water that is filtered of contaminants or demineralized water that is purified by distillation or reverse osmosis.
So I have had to come to my own conclusions based on my research and personal experience. I am not writing this website to convince anyone of anything. Only to share what I’ve learned.
I also drank distilled water and reverse osmosis water for several years before switching to a water filtration system that does not remove naturally occurring minerals. After several months, a few health conditions cleared up for me. So to respond to your question:
Are minerals in water absorbed or are they deposited in joints and arteries and contribute to health issues?
Excess calcium in our joints and arteries is a real issue, but I do not believe it gets there from minerals in water.
First, I highly encourage you to study my article “Drinking Demineralized Water: The Health Risks.”
This article summarizes some of the results of a study done by the World Health Organization (WHO) and gives a little more insight about the water and mineral balance in the body.
According to this study, the minerals “are usually present in water as free ions and, therefore, are more readily absorbed from water compared to food where they are mostly bound to other substances.”
In other words, naturally occurring minerals in water are more readily absorbed than minerals in food, even though food is a much richer source of calcium and magnesium intake.
As a nutritionist, I can confidently say that people are NOT going to get too many minerals from either food or naturally occurring minerals in water.
The problems associated with too much calcium in the joints and arteries happens for a number of reasons, one of which is mineral imbalance.
Another key reason is calcium supplementation. People who take mineral supplements, especially the type of calcium supplements made from limestone, which do not absorb well in the body (i.e., most of the calcium supplements on the market) are much more prone to having excess calcium in the arteries and joints.
I highly recommend that if people take calcium supplements that they only take food-based calcium products that also contain vitamin D3 and vitamin K2, which are essential co-factors that help deliver the supplemental calcium and minerals to the bones.
A few good products are Garden of Life’s Raw Calcium and Nature’s Way Alive! Calcium Bone Formula.
The other type of calcium supplement that absorbs better is elemental calcium from MicroCrystalline HydroxyApatite (MCHA) found in Jarrow’s Bone-Up product.
The other major factor in this discussion has to do with acid-alkaline balance in the body, which is a critical factor in health.
The natural healthy state of the body is slightly alkaline, about 7.3pH. In fact, our bodies keep our blood pH in this range for survival.
I highly recommend you also read my recent article on “Dehydration and Pain” which explains how acidity can cause pain in the body. If you are experiencing some health changes, I am assuming pain is one of them.
The reason this relates to water is because water can affect the acid-alkaline balance in at least two ways:
I think that in the end, I always look to Nature for answers rather than relying on the contradictory information of experts (including myself, haha!)
The fact is that demineralized water is not found abundantly in nature, except in rain water and ice. Rain water and ice are slightly acidic and are perfect for plants. Most plants do much better with slightly acidic water.
Groundwater and surface water are found most abundantly in nature and usually have a neutral pH or are slightly alkaline because of the naturally occurring minerals from the soil that run off into the water. This is the type of water that is most conducive to human and animal biochemistry.
And I am not saying that distilled water, RO water, or rain water is bad to drink. I am just suggesting that perhaps it is not the best water to drink for long-term use because I believe it can lead to mineral imbalance and higher acidity in the body.
I hope this helps your perspective somewhat, either way.