The age-old debate as to the value of minerals in drinking water has intensified. In the past, the health and water treatment industry (a part of the health industry) have had two opposing ideals as to the value of minerals in drinking water. The health food industry basically says you donít need the small amount of minerals you obtain from water, as they are usually poorly balanced and may contain some harmful minerals. They would say the best way to acquire minerals is from properly grown foods or food based supplements that are chelated. The European mind set is to consume mineral waters in order to obtain trace minerals. Some of the health industry shares in those attitudes. The water industry is like-wise split with the type of equipment which a dealer sells being based on what perspective the dealer takes as to the value of minerals in drinking water. The distiller salesman believes you shouldnít drink water with minerals and he has all sorts of evidence to support his claims. On the other hand the salesman that sells carbon filters exclusively has the evidence to show minerals should be left in the water making his system the best.

As with most things itís not quite as simple as we would like it to be. Some people need the minerals in the water and some are best without minerals in the water but generally it isnít the total package of minerals that one is concerned about but rather one, or a few, of the minerals. Take sodium for example. Lately, sodium is public enemy number one, according to some people, who think sodium-free water is real important. But to the person who works out in the heat and sweats a lot the sodium could be a very valuable mineral in their drinking water. Fluoride is another mineral that lives two lives. As Dr. Jekyl, fluoride can insidiously turn parts of the teeth permanently brown while as Mr. Hyde it can make the teeth more resistant to decay.

Different people have different requirements and it is important for each individual to understand his body, and what he needs and what needs to be restricted. For example, some persons need mineral free water because they are doing a cleanse and the mineral free water will do a better job of cleansing. While other persons need minerals to balance their chemistry or give bulk to control diarrhea.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forces the bottled water industry to comply with the idea that if water has more than ten parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids (TDS) the marketed water canít be labeled as purified water. This enforcing labeling of water below ten ppm TDS gives the connotation that the water is bad for your health if it is over ten ppm and it indicates the FDA has evidence to prove minerals in the water is unhealthy. But no such evidence is given. Water that is less than twenty ppm generally is acidic, has a metallic taste and is very aggressive. Generally the best tasting water is around twenty ppm. Most of the bottled water being sold as spring water runs about twenty ppm not because it is normal for spring waters to run that low in minerals but rather because the springs with water at that range are the ones chosen to be marketed because the taste is more clean and natural.

Enter into this confusion The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners in bureaucracy who are helping promote the idea that there needs to be a certain level of calcium and magnesium in drinking water in order for water to be what they call healthful. WHO entered into this argument when it was proposing standards for drinking water that had been produced from sea water by ultra high pressure reverse osmosis which produces very aggressive water and as a result needed something to bring the ph balance to a more natural level. As with most bureaucratic interference strange inequities come about because of mandates such as the above requirement that water be below ten ppm to be called purified water. WHO is basing its promotion and wishful mandate on the same studies that are used by the carbon-filter-only sales portion of the water treatment industry to prove that it is best to have calcium and magnesium minerals in the water. These studies found that populations with naturally soft water had a higher rate of heart problems than the populations that drank naturally hard water. The conclusion was that calcium and magnesium in the hard water was keeping the heart healthy. It is well known that magnesium is one of the most important minerals for a healthy heart. But no real testing was done to prove or disprove the theory. Opponents to this conclusion say that in naturally, soft, water copper and iron are picked up by the aggressive soft water and has been shown by a Finish study that copper and iron contribute to heart problems. Possibly the lack of calcium and magnesium were not the cause of the decrease in heart problems but rather it is the increase of other trace minerals due to aggressive waters, according to "Soft Water=Increased CVD Risk=Poor Science!" in WATER CONDITIONING & PURIFICATION MAGAZINE March 2006 issue. Another related problem is that the magnesium intake decreased by half from 1950 to 2000 due theoretically to mineral depleted soils, according to the above quoted article. WHO has determined that there should be at least thirty ppm calcium and ten ppm magnesium in the water in order to be healthful drinking water. If things were done according to WHO the lowest TDS purified water could be would be fifty PPM. But any water over about twenty-five ppm is cloudy when frozen giving the indication of contaminants. Bureaucracies run best on confusion. How about passing a law that states that if a person buys water that is below ten ppm they are required to be on double day light savings time? That would be fun, If calcium and magnesium are added to the water then how does the person who shouldnít have minerals obtain the water he needs?

Regulatory intervention in this issue is a serious concern. We have seen in the past with fluoride what a serious consequence it has been to add fluoride to the water supply. One of the big problems is that the FDA will only allow pharmaceutical grade additions to the water and in the case of fluoride how do you obtain a pharmaceutical grade fluoride mineral? The solution was to use a chemical waste that could be made pharmaceutical grade economically and so we come up with the poisonous fluoride to be used in the municipal water supply. What will be the chemical waste they will be adding to water in order to come up with the calcium and magnesium these bureaucrats want added to the water supply?

According to a July 2006 article in WATER CONDITIONING & PURIFICATION MAGAZINE entitled "Calcium and Magnesium in Your Drinking Water" by C.F. Michaud "Between 1957 and 2003, more than 80 research studies were conducted comparing the incidence of CVD (cardiovascular disease) and the consumption of soft water. Almost every one of those studies showed an inverse correlation linking the lack of calcium and magnesium in drinking water and increased CVD (with best correlation shown between magnesium and CVD)." And elsewhere in the same article it was stated, "Calcium and magnesium in water has the same bioavailability as from milk." You donít have to drink water with calcium and magnesium in it but you do need to obtain calcium and magnesium from some source.

Bottle water producers are concerned about providing water that, number one, removes known harmful contaminates such as: chlorine and its derivatives like THM, like chloroform; sodium; fluoride; lead; and a host of other contaminates commonly found in water, plus contaminates that are not commonly found. Also of importance is to have in place a system to remove things we commonly do not have in the water but may be added in the future by terrorist from outside our country or those contaminants placed in the water by the bureaucracy within our government.

Persons need to assess what his or her mineral needs are and go about solving them through the consumption or removing of: mineral water; sea salt; or mineral supplements. Sea salt is probably one of the most worthwhile simple mineral supplementation programs as sea salt has about the same balance of minerals as oneís blood including an abundance of trace minerals. Or possibly those vegetables from a garden rich with minerals because of added compost or other amendments is your choice of mineral consumption.

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