Drinking reverse osmosis water is scientifically confirmed to cause more bodily harm than most contaminants found in tap water. As a result, the World Health Organization issued an RO water warning.
What you will learn in this article...
- The World Health Organization warns against reverse osmosis water
- Why reverse osmosis water is harmful
- Reverse osmosis water causes health problems quickly
- Safe alternatives to reverse osmosis water filters & systems
World Health Organization Issues Reverse Osmosis Water Warning
Everyone knows that Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters or systems excel at removing water impurities, but few are aware that they also remove beneficial minerals. In fact, the reverse osmosis process removes 92-99% of beneficial calcium and magnesium. In addition, it removes an even greater amount of trace elements. So what's the big deal?
After analyzing hundreds of scientific studies concerning demineralized or reverse osmosis water, the World Health Organization released a report stating that such water "has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism."
Consumers have been so concerned with removing as many things from water as possible that they have forgotten to ask if the resulting water improves health or causes health problems. It's assumed that no contaminants equal better health, but there is more to healthful water than a lack of contaminants, as the World Health Organization points out.
Serious side effects in just a few months.
What is alarming is that consuming reverse osmosis water for even a few months can create serious side effects. "The effects of most chemicals commonly found in drinking water manifest themselves after long exposure." However, "only a few months exposure may be sufficient 'consumption time effects' from water that is low in magnesium and/or calcium."
Illustrative of such short-term exposures are cases in the Czech and Slovak populations who began using reverse osmosis water systems at their home taps in 2000-2002 as part of a government program to deal with contaminants. The quick and widespread deployment of reverse osmosis systems in these populations provided a unique opportunity to study their health effects. "Various health complaints suggestive of acute magnesium (and possibly calcium) deficiency were reported within several weeks or months. Among these complaints were cardiovascular disorders, tiredness, weakness, and muscular cramps." Again, these severe side effects appear within several weeks or months.
It gets worse.
Because reverse osmosis water doesn't have enough minerals, it also leaches minerals from the body. As a result, the mineral content of food and vitamins are urinated away. Fewer minerals consumed, plus more minerals excreted, equals serious side effects and significant health problems. In a scientific study performed to see if minerals consumed in food can make up for the lack of minerals in reverse osmosis water, scientists concluded that "reduced mineral intake from water was not compensated by their diets...low-mineral water was responsible for an increased elimination of minerals from the body."
"It has been adequately demonstrated that consuming water of low mineral content has a negative effect on homeostasis mechanisms, compromising the mineral and water metabolism in the body." Consumption of reverse osmosis water "leads to the dilution of the electrolytes dissolved in the body water. Inadequate body water redistribution between compartments may compromise the function of vital organs. Side effects at the very beginning of this condition include tiredness, weakness and headache; more severe symptoms are muscular cramps and impaired heart rate."
What about RO filters that add minerals back in?
Since the adverse side effects of reverse osmosis water were scientifically confirmed, one popular trend is adding minerals back into the reverse osmosis water. On this trend, scientists advising the World Health Organization stated that "possibly none of the commonly used ways of re-mineralization could be considered optimum, since the water does not contain all of its beneficial components. In the case of borderline deficiency of a given element, even the relatively low intake of the element with drinking water may play a relevant protective role."
Recreating natural water with all its minerals and trace elements from reverse osmosis water is practically impossible. So why risk the side effects of reverse osmosis water in any form if healthful alternatives are available?
Our reverse osmosis alternative protects health and tastes better.
Nobody wants to trade one set of health risks for another set of health risks. Consumers filter water to improve their health, not make it worse. Fortunately, reverse osmosis filters aren't the only way to remove a broad range of contaminants.
The Atla Water System is designed to improve health and is certified by a 3rd party laboratory to remove a broad range of contaminants while preserving the beneficial minerals. Plus, Atla is the only premium under-sink filter with technology that imbues water with a lighter and more vibrant mouthfeel. As a result, Atla customers rave about the taste!
The World Health Organization report continues...
Calcium and magnesium are both essential elements. Calcium is a substantial component of bones and teeth. In addition, it plays a role in neuromuscular excitability, the proper function of the conducting myocardial system, heart and muscle contractility, intracellular information transmission, and blood coagulability. Magnesium plays a vital role as a cofactor and activator of more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including glycolysis, ATP metabolism, transport of elements such as sodium, potassium, and calcium through membranes, synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, neuromuscular excitability and muscle contraction.
Although drinking water is not the primary source of our calcium and magnesium intake, the health significance of supplemental intake of these elements from drinking water may outweigh its nutritional contribution expressed as the proportion of the total daily intake of these elements. Even in industrialized countries, diets not deficient in the quantity of calcium and magnesium may not fully compensate for the absence of calcium and, in particular, magnesium in drinking water.
Although drinking water, again, with some rare exceptions, is not the primary source of essential elements for humans, its contribution may be necessary for several reasons. First, the modern diet of many people may not be a good source of minerals and microelements. In the case of borderline deficiency of a given element, even the relatively low intake of the element with drinking water may play a relevant protective role. This is because the elements are usually present in water as free ions and, therefore, are more readily absorbed from water than food, which is mostly bound to other substances.
Since the early 1960s, epidemiological studies in many countries worldwide have reported that water low in calcium and magnesium is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease.
Recent studies also suggest that the intake of water low in calcium (reverse osmosis water) may be associated with a higher risk of fracture in children (Verd Vallespir et al. 1992), certain neurodegenerative diseases (Jacqmin et al. 1994), pre-term birth and low weight at birth (Yang et al. 2002) and some types of cancer (Yang et al. 1997; Yang et al. 1998). In addition to an increased risk of sudden death (Eisenberg 1992; Bernardi et al. 1995; Garzon and Eisenberg 1998), the intake of water low in magnesium seems to be associated with a higher risk of motor neuronal disease (Iwami et al. 1994), pregnancy disorders (so-called preeclampsia) (Melles & Kiss 1992), and some types of cancer (Yang et al. 1999a; Yang et al. 1999b; Yang et al. 1999c; Yang et al. 2000).
Recent epidemiological studies suggest that reverse osmosis water may be a risk factor for hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, goiter, pregnancy complications, and several complications in newborns and infants, including jaundice, anemia, fractures and growth disorders.
When used for cooking, reverse osmosis water causes substantial losses of all essential elements from food (vegetables, meat, cereals). Such losses may reach up to 60% for magnesium and calcium or even more for some other micro-elements (e.g., copper 66%, manganese 70%, cobalt 86%). In contrast, when mineralized water is used for cooking, the loss of these elements is much lower, and in some cases, an even higher calcium content was reported in food as a result of cooking.
The current diet of many persons usually does not provide all necessary elements in sufficient quantities, and therefore, any factor that results in the loss of essential elements and nutrients during the processing and preparation of food could be detrimental for them.
In a multi-city study, women living in cities with low-mineral water more frequently showed cardiovascular changes (as measured by ECG), higher blood pressure, somatoform autonomic dysfunctions, headache, dizziness, and osteoporosis (as measured by X-ray absorptiometry) compared to those of cities with higher mineral content water.
You have a right to question the motives of the World Health Organization.
However, the body of independent scientific evidence demonstrating that low-mineral water causes more severe health problems than water with moderate levels of contaminants is significant. Click the article references below and verify the evidence for yourself. Only you can protect your health.
Article References / Science
WHO Report-Health Risks from Drinking Demineralized Water
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Reverse osmosis isn't the healthful choice they say it is.
The media likes to talk about various types of water contaminants and their ill effects on health. And the media doesn't care if they scare consumers into unknowingly purchasing a water filter that makes their health worse.
Greater than 92% of the United States population has tap water that does not exceed EPA limits on a single contaminant. (Data source: United States EPA, 2022) Reverse osmosis water filters are an over-recommend solution that creates more harm than good.
The Atla Water System is a health-first water filter that considers every aspect of what makes water healthful, not just purification. However, health isn't the only category where Atla beats reverse osmosis—interested in learning more?