Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink Reverse Osmosis Water

May I begin by laying my cards on the table? I think there are times that Reverse Osmosis systems are a good idea. Reverse osmosis has been used to hydrate troops by the U.S. military; it has spelled the difference between life or death for people in famine, flood or war-torn countries during relief efforts; and when camping or traveling in an area with parasite-infested water, or high levels of contaminants, an RO system is a good thing.

"They took the good stuff out?"
“They took the good stuff out?”

There’s A ‘But’, Right?

Right. Here it is. But do I think we should all be drinking Reverse Osmosis water on a regular basis? Not one bit. No way. Here’s why:

1. RO systems push water through tiny pore-like holes. It is filtered to remove any unpleasant or downright dangerous elements from the water. However, the filters aren’t smart enough to only filter out the bad stuff. In the process, beneficial minerals are also removed, which means that you’re drinking demineralized water. Our bodies need minerals. Drinking water that has been stripped of these vital elements can be positively hazardous to your health.

2. How about using RO water for cooking? The news here was a real shock to me. Cooking food in demineralized Reverse Osmosis water means that essential goodness in your food is lost. Magnesium, calcium and other beneficial and essential elements are reduced between 60% and 86%.

3. Reverse Osmosis water doesn’t contain minerals. Therefore, when you consume it, it actually ‘takes’ available minerals from your body. RO water is unstable, and seeks to stabilize itself once consumed, by literally leaching trace minerals from your bones, and teeth. And where do those minerals taken from your body go? They leave your body during urination, along with the RO water.

4. Following research which considered the relative merits of dozens of studies into demineralized water; in 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that water should contain trace minerals in order to ensure good health. The WHO went as far releasing a statement which read that Reverse Osmosis water “has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.” For the WHO report on Health Risks From Drinking Demineralized Water, see here.

So in conclusion, Reverse Osmosis Systems might be great for providing temporary, emergency drinking water; but who wants to deprive their bodies of vital minerals by drinking RO water on a regular basis?

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2 thoughts on “Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink Reverse Osmosis Water

  1. Look, ionized mineral water may be a better water filtration system for certain applications, but please stop trying to scare people on RO water. The Military uses and has been using RO water for over 40 years. Many municipality water is done through RO systems. Am I saying the ionizer system is not beneficial, not at all, and I believe in the ionizing technology for many applications, but not all. To say RO water is dangerous to the health of people is not fair without providing actual peer reviewed studies on that. The truth is what should be revealed, and provide why the ionizer system is better, instead of dragging others through the mud. The concern is now these false statements are scaring Military Personnel into not properly hydrating as they should be, and is causing problems in not just the field, but in base. Hundreds of questions daily is clogging up the information resources for those that have serious health issues needing information and help.

    Could you please link to a peer reviewed study documenting the harmful affects of the RO system, so that it can be reviewed by command if the RO system is depleting minerals from troops? Thank you so much for the requested follow up info, and for all that you do.

    1. Firstly, thank you for your considered comments. We do try to point to the fact that drinking reverse osmosis (RO) water on a short-term basis is frequently necessary and in some cases, life-saving. Indeed, most people would not find that their health is adversely affected by drinking RO water for a limited period of time.

      In the case of municipal RO water programs, the water is likely to be remineralized to stabilize it before use. However, it is the case that RO water that has not been remineralized is devoid of essential minerals, and that can be potentially problematic in the long term. This recent eco-epidemiological study of 13,723 girls and 16,161 boys noted that – among other issues – low-mineral water can retard height growth and increase the possibility of dental decay.

      Alongside the health risks, this report also draws attention to another important issue with demineralized water; that it is corrosive to metal pipes, containers and storage tanks, giving rise to the risk of contamination.

      “RO industry has become aware of the reality that long term consumption of demineralised water is not good for health. They are also trying to find solutions to make their RO filtered water healthy.”

      Dr. Rummi Devi Saini, Associate Professor of Chemistry, S. M.D.R.S.D. College, Pathankot, India

      We absolutely support the short-term use of RO water systems in the field and in emergencies – they can be vital in so many situations. The World Health Organization (WHO) took a comprehensive look at minerals in water and the potential risks of reverse osmosis. Ultimately, we align our view with the WHO statement: that long-term consumption, “has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.”

      We are very happy to answer any questions that you have about the relative merits of a water ionizer and thank you once again for your comments and interest.

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