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How Healthy is Reverse Osmosis Water?

How Healthy is Reverse Osmosis Water?

Over the years our customers have asked us about the Nabropure reverse osmosis water vending machine outside of our stores in Mullumbimby and the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate. In particular, one of the main concerns has been whether water filtered and treated by reverse osmosis may actually have a detrimental effect on our health.

Many years ago, these water filtration vending machines were installed outside of our Stores with the primary objective of providing refillable, high quality, purified water to our community and offering an alternative to buying bottled water. At the time, our Ethics Policy also stipulated that we would not sell bottled water in our stores or support unsustainable water mining processes, such as those impacting our local Northern Rivers community today.

Since then there has been further research and much more information available about the health benefits and detriments of drinking reverse osmosis water. Reverse osmosis uses a partially permeable membrane to remove ions and larger particles from drinking water. This reduces the concentration of particulate matter including suspended water particles, bacteria and algae, reducing the concentration of a range of dissolved and particulate substances.

With its roots in militaristic operations where it was used to create a drinkable water source where high levels of contamination was present, reverse osmosis technology has the ability to remove numerous contaminants from water including nitrates, sulphates, fluoride, arsenic and many other contaminants that are difficult to remove by other treatment methods. However, the 99.99% filtration efficiency rate of this process also means that it removes healthy and important minerals that our bodies need such as magnesium and calcium, in particular.

A few years ago, after analysing hundreds of scientific studies concerning demineralized or reverse osmosis water, the World Health Organisation released a report stating that such water "has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism." (See this LINK for an extract from this report).

Specifically, the WHO Report stated that drinking water with a low mineral content can have a negative effect on our body’s homeostasis and that such a low mineral intake when coupled with mineral loss through urinary excretion may result in a further mineral imbalance. This statement was later corrected by the WHO, who clarified that the majority of healthy minerals needed for health may be sourced from food or dietary supplementation and not necessarily from drinking tap water. There is also research which shows that there may be more detrimental effects from drinking contaminants in tap water leading to a wide array of degenerative diseases and that any inorganic minerals found in tap water may actually be harmful to our health and poorly absorbed by our bodies - see this LINK for more information.

In considering all the research, we believe that the solution is not to avoid reverse osmosis water altogether but instead adding minerals to the water (specifically calcium and magnesium) and ensuring that our diet is rich in essential minerals and nutrients. At Santos Organics we provide a few products and solutions to help remineralise water and ensure that you have enough essential minerals in your diet. The SeaVitalise Ormus Alkaline Liquid Minerals, with its minerals collected from the North Coast of New South Wales is one example of adding minerals to your drinking water. Most prominent of these minerals are gold, silver, copper and the platinum group. We would also recommend having a chat with one of our lovely Naturopaths about how best to add calcium and magnesium in particular (if drinking reverse osmosis water) and other important minerals that may be needed in your diet.

With the progression of ethical and sustainable water extraction practices, our Ethics Policy has also evolved so that we now stock bottled and mineral rich waters produced by a few select suppliers. Hepburn Springs is a family business in Daylesford supporting their local community as well as Antipodes, bottled at the source in Whakatane in New Zealand’s North Island.

With so many amazing, innovative and conscientious water sources emerging our Ethics and Research team also continues to explore the most healthy and sustainable water for our community. Happy World Water Day everyone!