Do the health benefits of reverse osmosis water outweigh the detriments? We investigated
By Bec Gregory
We spend time and money sourcing the best foods to eat. And there has been a huge increase in demand over the last decade or two for organic, locally grown, and free-from produce. We also recognise the importance of buying locally to support our communities and reduce the carbon footprint of the products we use.
Not so much effort, however, is put into sourcing the best water to drink. Or having the best water purification methods at home. And according to leading hydration coaches such as Isabel Friend, the water you drink is more important than the food you eat!
The most common type of water that people have access to in the West is, of course, tap water. But municipal drinking water contains a cocktail of chemicals. Lead, arsenic, the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, microplastics, pharmaceutical drugs and many other substances are found in tap water at potentially unsafe levels.
Most recently, “forever chemicals” were detected in drinking water sources at 17 of England’s 18 water firms. Apparently, this is even worse in the USA.
What Is Reverse Osmosis Water?
Additionally, the main additive in tap water, chlorine, is a biocide that kills helpful microbes in the body that are vital to gut health. So, one of the biggest benefits of reverse osmosis water is that it’s chlorine free.
Plus, many sources of water have fluoride added which is a classified drug and neurotoxin that has been linked to the development of diseases such as dementia and cancer.
It accumulates in the pineal gland, causing calcification and wreaking havoc on the endocrine system. The pineal gland, commonly called the third eye, is cross-culturally recognised as the centre of spiritual awareness in the body.
Considering the current state of municipal drinking water, it’s important to use a filter. And if you don’t get a filter, your body will become the filter!
In this article we’re putting one at-home water purification method you might be considering under the spotlight: reverse osmosis (RO) water. You’ll discover:
- The pros and cons of reverse osmosis water
- Why reverse osmosis water might be harmful to human health
- The healthiest way to drink water
What is Reverse Osmosis Water?
Reverse Osmosis is a mechanical water purification method. It’s typically used in areas where there’s heavy water contamination, and there are several benefits of reverse osmosis water. For example, it can even desalinate salt water or seawater to make it drinkable.
The purification process involves forcing the water through a semipermeable membrane under pressure, which separates all the molecules. This filters out contaminants larger in size than water molecules, leaving salt and other contaminants on one side and pure water (H2O) on the other.
This sounds great, considering what might be lurking in our tap water. And today, there are plenty of contaminants, ranging from pharmaceutical residues to fluoride. But water in nature is never just chemically pure H2O. It has lots of healthy minerals and ions dissolved into it, plus various essential elements, and different micro-organisms.
What Should Your Water Contain?
Drinking water should never just be pure H20. It should have minerals, salts and other trace elements. In fact, The World Health Organisation (WHO) claims the benefits of reverse osmosis water are reversed by its lack of minerals.
The WHO recommends that drinking water should contain at a minimum:
- 10 mg/L of Magnesium
- 100 mg/L dissolved salts
- 30 mg/L of Calcium
- 30 mg/L of bicarbonate ion.
RO water is a highly processed water that has essentially been stripped of everything. Chemically pure H2O is an aggressive solvent that will leech minerals from its environment. This means that when you drink only RO water, in the long term, it will leech minerals from your body.
For countless generations, our ancestors have consumed complete and nourishing naturally occurring waters. These were rich in minerals, electrolytes, microflora, microbiota etc. We are the first generations to start drinking processed water.
Additionally, naturally occurring waters act as conductors because they have an electrical ionic charge due to the presence of electrolytes. In contrast, RO water serves as an insulator because it doesn’t have electrolytes. So, what does this mean for our health?
Why Our Bodies Need Electrons
Sustaining an excess of electrons in our bodies is crucial. Excessive protons, aka free radicals, cause inflammation, oxidative stress, and damage in the body.
Water that is electrically charged and has an ionic function. Any water found in nature carries antioxidant potential by having a negative ionic charge. This negative charge primarily arises from electrolytes or dissolved minerals. These are no longer present in reverse osmosis water.
In the Czech and Slovak populations, the deployment of reverse osmosis water systems from 2000-2002 presented a unique chance to study health effects. There were reports of health issues, like cardiovascular disorders, tiredness, weakness, and muscular cramps. Those came within weeks or months of drinking only RO water. The results suggested acute magnesium (and possibly calcium) deficiency.
In fact, the World Health Organisation issued a public warning about drinking demineralised water. They expressed concerns about diuresis and heart disease.
The Pros of RO Water
So, what are the advantages of RO water?
- Proven technology that filters out nearly all contaminants. The main advantage of RO waters is that it is one of the safest and most effective ways to remove contaminants from water.
- It’s better for human health and the environment than water bottled in plastic
In fact, a 2019 study found that people who only drink bottled water ingest 90,000 plastic particles along with it. And one of the best benefits of reverse osmosis water is that there is zero plastic in it.
Plastic contains xenoestrogenic chemicals. These mimic or block the effects of estrogen within the body, throwing off the body’s hormonal balance. Recent research strongly indicates that, at specific exposure levels, certain chemicals found in plastic products—like bisphenol A (BPA)—have the potential to cause cancer.
Plus, we all know about the current plastic catastrophe. One-use plastic water bottles pile up in landfills, polluting the environment and entering the ocean and food systems. So, if you have to buy bottled water, make sure it’s artesian water in a glass bottle!
So, RO water is great for those living in areas with bad water contamination.
The Cons Of RO Water
RO water is pretty great, but it does have some cons, too. These include:
- Can waste a lot of water. Some systems manage to retrieve only a small fraction of the water passing through them, approximately 5 to 15%. This means that for every 40 to 90 gallons sent through RO, you might end up with just around 5 gallons of water suitable for drinking. In fact, in 2020 the government of India banned the use of Reverse Osmosis water filters for all water with TDS less than 500 in order to reduce water and energy waste.
- Removes all nutrients. All healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other bicarbonates will be gone.
- Can be costly to install and maintain.
However, there is good news, too!
The Best Kind Of RO Water
Some RO manufacturers are full aware of the information above. And they’ve decided to do something to make RO water the healthiest drink in the world.
For example? Cloud Water Filters bring many of the best benefits of reverse osmosis water systems.
They ensure that they first remove all nasty contaminants from the water that goes through their systems. In fact, Cloud Filters remove 15x more contaminants than the leading pitcher or fridge filters. And with a 96% TDS rejection rate, Cloud easily beats out reverse osmosis competitors.
Then, after your water has been purified, it passes through one final ‘remineralisation’ stage. Healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium are added back into your water. These minerals naturally raise the pH to an ideal 7.5-9.5 range, leaving your water perfectly alkaline and healthy.
Cloud is also twice as fast as its competitors, wastes less water, and is super easy to install. But the best part for us is that of all the water filters we examined, this one by far leaves you with the healthiest water. Which is what you’re after, right?
Just like it’s not healthy to eat highly processed food, it’s not healthy to drink highly processed water for long-term consumption. But the benefits of reverse osmosis water outweigh any detriments where there’s heavy water contamination.
And if RO water is your only or best source of drinking water, you should get a system that adds all the minerals and electrolytes back to it. Or source additional remineralising filters that are compatible with your current system.
In short, by getting the right kind of system, RO water can be the best drinking water around. You just need to know what to look for!
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