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Mineral balanced drinking water

A mineral balanced drinking water, is water with sufficient levels of elements and ions, as well as optimal ratios. This means that there should be ratios for e.g. calcium 20-80 mg/l, magnesium 10-50 mg/L and a ratio Ca/Mg 2-3.  Since drinking water regulations have so far not been based on the fact that drinking water is a source of minerals. Thus, there has not been any minimum acceptable concentrations of calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate etc presented. There’s also a protection from calcium against lead poisoning, which actually indicates that there should also be a range of the ratio between them, Ca/Pb, as well. Suggested ranges of some elements and ratios are presented in the table, below. More scientific studies are needed before the ranges can be presented with an acceptable certainty, but let’s at least start the discussion. And before we reach that point; let’s stop serving the public completely de-mineralized water, and it should be possible for all inhabitants in a city or municipality, and all consumers of bottled waters to easily find a declaration of the mineral content of water. An educated citizen can then decide for him/herself what arrangements to make considering the personal mineral intake or possible treatment of the water. The following ranges is a first suggestion:

Element

Range

unit

pH

7.0-8.0

Ca

20-80

mg/L

Mg

10-50

mg/L

HCO3

65-250

mg/L

K

5.0-10.0

mg/L

Na

20-100

mg/L

Cl

20-100

mg/L

SO4

20-100

mg/L

F

0.8-2.1

mg/L

Ca/Mg

2-3

Na/K

5-15

 

 

My relation to water.

I think I know how an alcoholic feels when he/she sees a bottle of wine. They want it. For me the view of a lake makes me long for the tender touch of the water on my body. I love the chill it brings to my skin, the burst of my blood in the vessels….. Since my childhood I have been sensitive enough to estimate the hardness, the mineral content of the water in the lake I’m presently swimming in. In the early 1960s’ I suddenly felt that the water in the lake in southern Bohuslän, on the Swedish West coast, which I had been swimming in earlier, was softer than before. The feeling was like cotton on my skin. I was astonished and afraid that something was really wrong. I did not know then that we got a lot of sulfur oxides in clouds from central Europe and Great Britain, which are formed from combustion of oil and coal. The sulfur oxides form sulfuric acid, when dissolved in water. Later the phenomenon was labeled “Acid Rain”.

Later, in the 1970s when my children were born, we were living in Tiveden, a primary rock bedrock area in Southern Sweden, with spruces and pines, gneiss and granite. These are conditions which cause a severe sensitivity against acid rain, since no buffering agents are present, and the pH will decrease to life threatening levels in lakes, soils and streams, very fast. Where limestone is present the sensitivity is low, and the damage negligible. Thus, crayfish almost died out, fry did not develop, trees were damaged, and our well water became acid, pH 5.8, well below the acceptable, pH7. One of the daughters got a severe diarrhea, since her intestinal bacterial flora was damaged by dissolved copper from pipes. Copper was earlier used to kill off bacteria in laboratories, especially in dishes used to grow bacteria. We later installed an alkaline filter, where limestone was added to increase the pH in order to eliminate the copper corrosion, and to add some minerals to the water. Acid well water is low in minerals, but may have elevated levels of toxic metals, like e.g. aluminum. After each re-generation of the filter with new limestone, we all felt a little better, as the tiredness left us for some time. When the time for another re-generation was closing in, we were all kind of down again. If I added crushed multi mineral/vitamin tablets to the food, everybody was feeling a little better.

This the time when I realized the importance of minerals, and minerals from the drinking water. The body needs minerals for enzymes, bone building, teeth, muscles, etc –actually for every function in the body, and water may be one source of minerals. For some people it’s more important than for others, for different reasons, e.g. food habits.

Twenty years later I started my scientific research on acid well water, and the influence on the human health.
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2012

During 2012 I went to three conferences and meetings that dealt with the importance of minerals in drinking water. First I went to Leipzig to meet Andreas Heppe, the head and owner of an industry that produces Chitosan, a product made by treating shrimp and other crustacean shells with the alkali sodium hydroxide, http://www.biolog-heppe.de/. The product eliminates toxic substances from water, and I am part of an EU project to see whether the minerals/mineral balance of the water is preserved or not during the treatment with Chitosan. I introduced Land and Water Resources Engineering at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, prof Prosun Bhattacharya, to the project, and now they are part of it, too. Elimination of radioactive substances, arsenic etc is their task in the project.

The road trip in Europe went on to Prague for a meeting with the co-authors to the IWA (International Water Association) prospective monograph “Drinking water minerals and mineral balance –importance and health significance, precautious principle”, where I am the editor. The aim of the monograph is to extend the focus from standards of undesirable substances and highest acceptable levels of nutrient minerals to basic mineral composition of water/mineral balance. We want a paradigm shift, so that drinking water is recognized as a source of minerals. Thus, we want lowest acceptable concentrations of a number of minerals in drinking water, in addition to the upper limits that already are presented in regulations. Present regulations, see below.

 

 


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