Yesterday, one of the members of the Living Wonderfully – Health and Wellness Community Facebook Group asked a very good question:
“Hi Michael, the World Health Organization recently put out a report that drinking Reverse Osmosis water is unhealthy. Can you please comment on this?”
I am glad that a member of the group has pointed to the warning from the World Health Organization! Because a human body averages about 60% water, this subject is most pressing!
Even though I address the topic of reverse osmosis (RO) thoroughly in my book; specifically in Chapters 9 and 10, let us just do a quick summation of the pros and cons, and then, you will be able to draw your own conclusion of the type of water you want to put into your body…
Indeed, the reverse osmosis process not only removes contaminants, heavy metals and industrial waste, but it removes between 93% and 99% of magnesium and calcium out of the water! In short, it demineralizes water. That is definitely a con!
There are, however, reverse osmosis systems that actually use remineralizing cartridge to restore pH and minerals. As I do not endorse any product, I recommend that you do a search for the RO system with remineralizing cartridge/filter. You will undoubtedly get many hits. As I cannot speak to the quality of the minerals that such cartridge may contain, you may have to do some homework…
So, what is the alternative to RO water? Water out of the tap? Perhaps, bottled water from the plastic bottles?
None of these may work, as drinking water that has not been treated with reverse osmosis may contain traces of industrial waste and other “stuff” including:
Prescribed drugs – As bad as it sounds, people do go to the bathroom while taking antibiotics and other prescription and non-prescription drugs and hormones.[i] Unfortunately, municipal water processing plant may not be able filter out this type of waste in its entirety.[ii]
This includes hormones!!! Yes, I’m talking about breast cancer causing estrogens in drinking water!!![iii] [iv] [v] Furthermore, many other hormonal goodies and endocrine disrupting chemicals may be lurking in drinking water.[vi] [vii] [viii] I believe that I do not have to go further.
In addition, while drinking from the tap, you may end up ingesting water, which according to studies, may contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria[ix]! “But wait, there’s more; a lot more!”
- Heavy metals[x] [xi] such as mercury, lead, arsenic, etc.
- Fertilizers [xii][xiii]
- Pesticides [xiv][xv]
- Fluoride[xviii] – I talk about the scary aspects of fluoride extensively in chapter 26 of my book
- Chemical solvents and other chemicals[xix][xx]
- Industrial waste[xxi][xxii]
- Residue from personal care products [xxiii][xxiv]
- Disinfection by-products[xxv]
Keep in mind, reverse osmosis does not fully (100%) remove all of the contaminants; small traces of these “wonders” of modern science remain in drinking water.[xxvi] [xxvii] [xxviii] [xxix]The good news is that depending on the RO system, the removal of pollutants, in some studies, is approximately between 76% and 99%,[xxx] [xxxi] which is much, much better than the alternative!
As we saw in the beginning of this article, the water that is treated with reverse osmoses is almost devoid of minerals. On the other hand, if the water is not treated with reverse osmoses, you may just end up ingesting every possible trace contaminant, and even more “health destroying” substances that were not listed. So what is the compromise?
So, besides in the form of a supplement, where do these life-saving substances come from? You get most of them from food! It is imperative that food is used as your All-inclusive Vitamin and Mineral Buffet. Why am I saying most? Well, because when you are out in the sun, you get Vitamin D-boosting benefits. Nevertheless, I digress…
“Most individuals can obtain all the Vitamins and minerals needed to meet the recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes by eating a variety of foods”
(Bellows, Moore, & Gross, 2013) [xxxii]
Your body cannot produce calcium; some of the richest sources of calcium are leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and fish.[xxxiii] Even canned salmon, mackerel, and sardines are loaded with calcium. [xxxiv] There is also calcium in dairy products, but you have already been through that section. If you have not read it, I recommend reading the very controversial Dairy chapter 7 of my book.
As you will read or have read in the “What to eat” chapter in the book, the Living Wonderfully vegetable base or “LW-base” will include most of the Vitamins and minerals that your body requires, some are the very minerals that are missing from the reverse osmosis water. The rest you will get from other foods. That does not mean that you may not be deficient in certain Vitamins and minerals. Everyone is different, and your absorption of Vitamins may be different from someone else’s. You may require an infusion of additional Vitamins from other food sources, as well as Magnesium supplements, but that is a different discussion for different time.
Although we get Magnesium through our wonderful vegetables, there may not be enough of it in the soil even where organic greens grow.
“Magnesium is one of the most depleted minerals, yet one of the most important.”
As such, my family and I supplement regularly with this life-sustaining mineral. You may ask why one needs Magnesium. The answer is simple. Not only does this vital mineral support thyroid function, but also is important for most bodily functions, and is regarded as liver detoxifier and blood cleanser. [xxxvi] [xxxvii] [xxxviii]
Numerous studies show that there is a link between Magnesium deficiency and aging.[xxxix] Furthermore, Magnesium deficiency may contribute to heart failure, heart disease, insomnia, high blood pressure (hypertension,) neurological problems, osteoporosis, fatigue, cramps, and even bowl disease, among many, many other illnesses and diseases. [xl] [xli] [xlii] [xliii] [xliv]
“As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions, cramps, seizures, sudden changes in behavior caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain, personality changes, abnormal heart beat and coronary spasms might occur.”
(Jahnen-Dechent & Ketteler, 2012)[xlv]
Therefore, we supplement regularly, eat an All-inclusive Vitamin and Mineral Buffet, while enjoying the daily routine of drinking water that is treated with Reverse Osmosis. You decide if this type of water is right for you and your family…
*Opinions provided are not by a medical professional. Please consult with your physician