Knowledge of some effects of consumption of demineralized water is based on experimental and observational data. Experiments have been conducted in laboratory animals and human volunteers, and observational data have been obtained from populations supplied with desalinated water, individuals drinking reverse osmosis-treated demineralized water, and infants given beverages prepared with distilled water. Because limited information is available from these studies, we should also consider the results of epidemiological studies where health effects were compared for populations using low-mineral (soft) water and more mineral-rich waters. Demineralized water that has not been re-mineralised is considered an extreme case of low-mineral magnesium that are the major contributors to hardness.
The possible adverse consequences of low mineral content water consumption are discussed in the following categories:
- Direct effects on the intestinal mucous membrane, metabolism and mineral homeostasis or other body functions.
- Little or no intake of calcium and magnesium from low-mineral water.
- Low intake of other essential elements.
- Loss of calcium, magnesium and other essential elements in prepared food.
- Possible increased dietary intake of toxic metals.