The consumption of low mineral drinking water has been increasing around the world with the shortage of water resources and the development of advanced water treatment technologies. Evidences from systematic document reviews, ecological epidemiological observations, and experimental drinking water intervention studies indicate that lack of minerals in drinking water may cause direct or indirect harm to human health, among which, the associations of magnesium in water with cardiovascular disease, as well as calcium in water with osteoporosis, are well proved by sufficient evidence. This article points out that it is urgent to pay more attention to the issues about the establishment of health risk evaluation systems on susceptible consuming populations, establishment of lab evaluation systems on water quality and health effects for non-traditional drinking water, and a program of safety mineralization for demineralized or desalinated water.
Shu W. – Department of Environmental Hygiene, College of Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China. “Pay attention to the human health risk of drinking low mineral water”. Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine (Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi) 2015 Oct;49(10):853-5. Article in Chinese.
Health Risks From Drinking Demineralized Water
Sufficient evidence is now available to confirm the health consequences from drinking
water deficient in calcium or magnesium. Many studies show that higher water magnesium is
related to decreased risks for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and especially for sudden death from CVD. This relationship has been independently described in epidemiological studies with different study designs, performed in different areas, different populations, and at different times. The consistent epidemiological observations are supported by the data from autopsy, clinical, and animal studies. Biological plausibility for a protective effect of magnesium is substantial, but the specificity is less evident due to the multi-factorial aetiology of CVD. In addition to an increased risk of sudden death, it has been suggested that intake of water low in magnesium may be associated with a higher risk of motor neuronal disease, pregnancy disorders (so-called pre-eclampsia), sudden death in infants, and some types of cancer. Recent studies suggest that the intake of soft water, i.e. water low in calcium, is associated with a higher risk of fracture in children, certain neuro-degenerative diseases, pre-term birth and low weight at birth and some types of cancer. Furthermore, the possible role of water calcium in the development of CVD cannot be excluded.
International and national authorities responsible for drinking water quality should consider
guidelines for desalination water treatment, specifying the minimum content of the relevant
elements such as calcium and magnesium and TDS. If additional research is required to establish guidelines, authorities should promote targeted research in this field to elaborate the health benefits. If guidelines are established for substances that should be in deminerialised water, authorities should ensure that the guidelines also apply to uses of certain home treatment devices and bottled waters.
Frantisek Kozisek, National Institute of Public Health, Czech Republic, World Health Organization – Publication of Nutrient Minerals in Drinking-water meeting report in 2005.
“Results from the early epidemiological studies suggest that sudden-death rates in soft-water areas are at least 10% greater than sudden-death rates in hard-water areas.
If magnesium supplementation causes even a modest decrease in sudden-death rates, a substantial number of lives might be saved.”
—Mark J. Eisenberg, MD, MPH – McGill University
Eisenberg MJ. Magnesium deficiency and sudden death. Am Heart J. 1992 Aug;124(2):544-9.