While the chemical formula of water is as simple as H 2 O, in reality, water is quite the complex liquid. Its composition is influenced by a plethora of factors such as atmospheric interactions, minerals present in the soil, and contact with living and organic matter. The resulting natural water, in its crude state, contains traces of gases, minerals, organic water, and even pathogens. Therefore, no source of ground or surface water has ever been chemically pure H 2 O.
To ensure that the water we drink is indeed safe for human consumption, every country has set maximum acceptable limits on the concentration of dissolved inorganic and organic components in water. These acceptable levels are determined on the basis of a host of factors such as the natural environment, soil conditions, and other community factors.
One might ask, why not eradicate these dissolved components from water altogether? This is because, while certain dissolved components are deleterious to human health, others like dissolved essential minerals (e.g. sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc. are vital for maintaining our overall health.
Certain water purification techniques, however, eliminate these necessary dissolved minerals. Consuming the resulting demineralized water strips us of the added health benefits of these minerals. Experts and the World Health Organization have issued cautionary advice on the adverse health impact of demineralized water.
What is demineralized water?
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a widely utilized water purification technique. Pressurized water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that removes pathogens, impurities, and unfortunately, mineral ions. RO water is thus pure yet demineralized water that is deficient in essential minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and other important dissolved solids.
Conventionally, the use of RO water was restricted to laboratories and industries, however, with a rise in water pollution, the implementation of RO water purification has extended even to the the common man who resorts to RO water filters to purify water for his daily use.
Given this widespread use of emineralized or RO water, it is crucial to be aware of the fact that while RO does provide pure water, it also leaches out necessary minerals that are essential to human health. Consumption of water stripped of natural minerals has adverse effects on our well-being.
Potential consequences of drinking demineralized water on vital body functions ?
Drinking water with a low mineral content i.e. water with low TDS (Total Dissolved Salts) has a negative effect on our body’s homeostasis. Additionally, such a low mineral intake when coupled with mineral loss through urinary excretion results in a further mineral imbalance that has shown to have a detrimental effect on hormone secretion, kidney functions, and bone mineral density.
An increase in the elimination of essential minerals such as sodium, calcium, chloride, potassium ions disturb the blood’s delicate osmotic pressure and create an electrolyte imbalance. Under such conditions, consuming RO demineralized water further deprives the body of necessary nutrition that ultimately causes debilitating symptoms such as headache, tiredness, and weakness, muscular cramps, and impaired heart rate along with a negative impact on hormone secretion, kidney functions, and bone mineral density.
- Cardiovascular, neurological, and developmental impact
Although water is not a major source for calcium and magnesium, research has shown that consuming water that is low in calcium and magnesium is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, fractures in children, preterm birth or low birth weight, certain neurodegenerative diseases etc. when compared to natural water consumption.
- Implications on bone strength, blood pressure, and blood formation
The human body requires certain minerals and micronutrients for its optimum functioning. Sources of such nutrients include natural water enriched with minerals, plants that grow in such water, and animals who consume these plants. Evidence has demonstrated that mineral elements from water are readily absorbed in the body as compared to those from food sources. An increased consumption of junk food that
is inherently devoid in essential nutrient, when supplemented with drinking demineralised RO water has a tremendous negative influence on our health. For example, deficiency of calcium leads to brittle bones, magnesium and potassium deficit contributes to high blood pressure, and reduced iron intake from demineralised water interferes with blood formation.
- Increases risk of chronic kidney disease and gastrointestinal disorders
pH is the value that measures acidity or alkalinity of any solution where six to eight is neutral and lower values are considered acidic. Water obtained from RO filtration process has a low pH value. Prolonged consumption of low pH water has adverse health effects such as increasing the risk of kidney disorders and gastrointestinal troubles.
In conclusion, the Rig Veda clearly describes the properties of good drinking water as: “Sheetham (cold to touch), Sushihi (clean), Sivam (should have nutritive value, requisite minerals and trace elements), Istham (transparent), Vimalam lahu Shadgunam (its acid base balance should be within normal limits)”.
RO purifiers may reduce TDS levels below the recommended values, resulting in a negative impact on human health. People should therefore thoroughly understand the functioning of a RO water purifier and the resulting health implications of consuming demineralised water before deciding on its installation.
Bottled water from reputed brands thus is a healthier and safer choice as it provides you with pure water-rich in beneficial minerals.
Bisleri water passes through a 10 step purification process and 114 quality tests to ensure you get purity in every sip. A symbol of goodness, trust and purity, Bisleri has been a household name for decades. A leader in the beverage category, we’re cited as the most trusted brand across 500 categories in India. Our relentless commitment to quality stands true to our promise of providing safe, pure & healthy mineral water to consumers for the last 50 years.