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There is plenty of debate online about reverse osmosis being ‘dead water’ that is bad for your health and can make you sick.
But is there any legitimacy to these claims, or is it just fear-mongering?
So, can reverse osmosis water make you sick?
Generally speaking, reverse osmosis water is unlikely to make you sick, and you are more likely to become ill from drinking non-filtered water with contaminants. When a reverse osmosis system effectively removes harmful impurities in your water supply, your water becomes significantly safer to drink and better for your overall well-being.
Some claims stating that RO water may not be beneficial for health stem from the removal of essential minerals during the filtration process, which is indeed true. Nevertheless, it is likely a safer choice to opt for water free from contaminants, even if it lacks calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.
One important aspect to note is that excessive consumption of reverse osmosis water can lead to accelerated mineral elimination in the body. If you don’t obtain minerals from alternative sources, remineralization might be necessary. In fact, this is our recommendation.
In other words, before your drink the purified water that comes out of your reverse osmosis system, remineralize it with minerals.
Would it be preferable to solely eliminate the unhealthy contaminants from the water while retaining the beneficial ones? Ideally, yes, but with reverse osmosis, this isn’t feasible. However, remineralization offers a straightforward solution to restore essential nutrients to your water prior to consumption.
Although reverse osmosis water does remove most minerals, it doesn’t necessarily mean the water is unhealthy. Your main source of essential minerals is food, with drinking water only contributing a small portion.
This doesn’t mean that the minerals in unfiltered water lack importance. On the contrary, they can be important when dietary intake falls short.
Several meta-studies have demonstrated a correlation between the intake of low-mineral water and negative health outcomes. However, it is important to note that these studies relied on outdated research methods that do not meet current standards.
Another frequently made assertion is that RO water negatively affects the body and damages its mucous membranes because of its low level of total dissolved solids. Substantial evidence shows that low TDS water consumption over prolonged periods causes no adverse health effects.
In Vancouver, BC, municipal drinking water is naturally low in TDS, and most residents have been consuming it for years without any problems.
In 2003, the WHO assembled a panel of experts to evaluate the potential health effects of consuming demineralized water. Their findings indicated that only a handful of minerals in drinking water, specifically calcium and magnesium, might be significant for overall dietary intake. It is worth noting that these minerals can be reintroduced into the RO water post-filtration.
After a quick Google search, numerous websites claim that the WHO has cautioned against consuming reverse osmosis drinking water. But no official announcement on any WHO-managed webpage validates this.
The WHO has provided comments on reverse osmosis water, expressing predominantly positive views and endorsing its usage as a water purification method. However, the organization also proposes the addition of necessary minerals to reverse osmosis water before consumption. Specifically, they recommend incorporating at least 20-50 mg/l (ppm) of calcium and 10-30 mg/l (ppm) of magnesium.
After reverse osmosis filtration, there are various ways to remineralize the water. A straightforward option is to install a post-filter that reintroduces minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, ensuring a balanced pH and a more flavorful taste. For a manual approach, consider supplementing with mineral drops or using sea salt rich in minerals.
If you have any questions about reverse osmosis water making you sick please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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