How Important Are Minerals In Drinking Water?

Every day people ask me about the importance of minerals in their drinking water. I’ve studied this issue and used myself as a test case and come to the conclusion that while minerals in water are important there are several factors that are much more important when choosing a water purification system.

I’ve written on the topic of minerals in water before but it comes up so often that I wanted to rephrase a couple of things. These are my opinions but they are based on science, observation, experimentation, and testing.

First, let me say that drinking water with minerals is beneficial only if they are present at very low levels. This is because the more minerals that present in your water the less hydrating the water is. You can read about that on my website in the article ‘Minerals in Water‘.

Low Levels of Minerals are Better than High Levels

The level of minerals in water is refered to by the term ‘total dissolved solids’ or ‘tds’ in your water quality report. I recommend drinking water with a tds between 30 and 200. At this level of tds there are minerals present but your water is still hydrating to your body.

Second, I think it is important to point out that the minerals present in your water has nothing to do with the mineral requirements of your body. Let me explain:

I have been drinking mountain spring water for 12 years now. When I tested my hair for mineral content some 3 years ago I found that I was deficient in 6 minerals. These included boron, chromium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, and molybdenum. None of these minerals is present in my spring water. Furthermore I was high in calcium and magnesium, which are present in my water.

I tried the use of salts added to my morning glass of water and modifying my diet to add foods rich in the minerals I was lacking. Two years later I performed another test and found I was still lacking in the same 6 minerals. Adding salt to my water didn’t help.

Mineral supplements

So I bought supplements of these minerals and took them with my morning and evening meals for 6 months and then tested my hair again. This time I was balanced in these minerals and my calcium levels had decreased.

You see – the level of some minerals affects internal chemical processes in such a way that it can affect the body’s ability to absorb other minerals.  So it is important that your body’s mineral content be balanced.

The presence of minerals in spring water has to do with the presence of these minerals in the rock and soils that the spring water comes in contact with. That has nothing to do with the needs of your body.

Studies funded by the World Health Organization indicate a correlation between drinking water with minerals and rates of heart disease. So much so, in fact, that the U.S. water industry is taking a look at the topic. I’ve done my own analysis in the US and have not found a link between low tds and heart disease. How important are minerals in water?

Removal of contaminants in water far outweighs the benefit of minerals

But many cities have tds levels in excess of 200 and many cities also have an array of unregulated contaminants such as pharmaceuticals in their drinking water. When this is the case I suggest that the detrimental effects of drinking that water outweigh the benefits of drinking water with minerals.

I advise the concerned individual to purchase a hair or blood analysis and determine the balance within your own body and then supplement accordingly. Don’t rely on drinking spring water to provide the necessary mineral content for your health. The best water purification system will depend entirely on the content of the water coming out of your tap and what you have to do to make it healthy.

Meanwhile, I have stopped my mineral supplementation. I’ll see if my body holds its balance by testing again in a few months.  I’ll let you know what I learn… (note: I’ve been sidetracked on to other issues and have not retested)

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About James McMahon

Studied ecology at the University of Illinois, mountain survival at Eastern Washing University, Deep Ecology at Naropa, River Ecology with The Nature Conservancy and Luna Leopold
This entry was posted in Healthy Drinking Water, Spring Water, Water Purification and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Important Are Minerals In Drinking Water?

  1. John D. says:

    How/where did you conduct your hair or blood analysis?

    Where do you send your water for testing?

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