Health Risk from Low Mineral Water

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Direct Effects of Low mineral content water on the intestinal mucous membrane, metabolism and mineral homeostasis or other body functions

Distilled and low mineral content water (TDS) <50 mg/L) can have negative taste characteristics to which the consumer may adapt with time. This water is also reported to less thirst quenching .Although these are not considered to be health effects, they should be taken into account when considering the suitability of low mineral content water for human consumption. Poor organoleptic and thirst-quenching characteristics may affect the amount of water consumed or cause persons to seek other, possibly less satisfactory water sources.

Distilled water introduced into the intestine caused abnormal changes in epithelia cells of rats, possibly due to osmotic shock. However, the same conclusions  in a more recent study based on 14-day experiments in rats. Histology did not reveal any sings of erosion, or inflammation in the esophagus, stomach and jejunum. Altered secretory function in animals (i.e. increased secretion and acidity o0f gastric juice) and altered stomach muscle tone but currently available data have not unambiguously demonstrated a direct negative effects of low mineral content water on the gastrointestinal mucous membrane.

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. An increase in urine output (i.e., increased diuresis) is associated with an increase in excretion of major intra-and extracellular ions from the body fluids, their negative balance, and changes in body water levels and functional activity of some body water management-dependent hormones. Experiments in animals, primarily rats for up to one-year periods have repeatedly shown that the intake of distilled water or water with TDS < 75 mg/L leads to: 1) increased water intake, diuresis, extracellular fluid volume, and serum concentrations of sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl) ions and their increased elimination from the body, resulting in an overall negative balance.., and 2.) Lower volumes of red cells and some other hematocrit changes 3). Although Rakhmanin et al. (6) did not find mutagenic or gonad toxic effects of distilled water, they did report decreased secretion of tri-iodothronine and aldosterone, increased secretion of cortisol, morphological changes in the kidneys including a more pronounced atrophy of glomeruli, and swollen vascular endothelium limiting the blood flow. Reduced skeletal ossification was also found in rat fetuses whose dams were given distilled water in a one-year study. Apparently the reduced mineral intake from water was not compensated by their diets, even if the animals were kept on standardized diet that was physiologically adequate in caloric value, nutrients and salt composition.

Results of experiments in human valuated by researchers for the WHO report (3) are in agreement with those in animal experiments and suggest the basic mechanism of the effects of water low in TDS (e.g.<100 mg/L) on water and mineral homeostasis. Low-mineral water markedly: 1) increased diuresis (almost by 20%, on average), body water volume, and serum sodium concentrations, 2) decreased serum potassium concentration, and3) increased the elimination of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium ions from the body. It was thought that low-mineral water acts on osmoreceptors of the gastroinal tract, causing an increased flow of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium ions from the body. It was thought that low –mineral water acts on osmoreceptors of the gastrointestinal tract, causing an increased flow of sodium ions into the intestinal lumen and slight reduction in osmotic pressure in the portal venous system with subsequent enhanced release of sodium into the blood as an adaptation response. This osmotic change in the blood plasma results in the redistribution of body water; that is, there is an increase in the total extracellular fluid volume and the transfer of water from erythrocytes and interstitial fluid into the plasma ad between intracellular and interstitial fluids. In response to the changed plasma volume, baroreceptors and volume receptors and interstitial fluids. In response to the changed plasma volume, baroreceptors and volume receptors in the bloodstream are activated, inducing a decrease in aldosterone release and thus an increase in sodium elimination. Reactivity of the volume receptors in the vessels may result in a decrease in ADH release and an enhanced diuresis. The German Society for nutrition reached similar conclusions about the effects of distilled water and warned the public against drinking it (7). The warning was published in response to the German edition of the shocking Truth about Water (8), whose authors recommended drinking distilled water instead of “drinking water. Recent studies also suggest that the intake of soft water, I.e. water low in calcium, may be associated with higher risk of fracture in children (16), certain neurodegenerative diseases , per-term birth and low weight at birth (18) and some types of in cancer . In addition to an increased risk of sudden death, the intake of water low in magnesium seems to be associated with a higher risk of motor neuronal disease, pregnancy disorders (so-called preeclampsia) and some cancers.

Specific Knowledge about changes in calcium metabolism in a population supplied with desalinated water (i.e., distilled water filtered through limestone) low in TDS and calcium, was obtained. The local population showed decreased activity of alkaline phosphatase, reduced plasma concentrations of calcium and phosphorus and enhanced decalcification of bone tissue. The changes were most marked in women, especially pregnant women and were dependent on the duration of residence in Shevchenko. The importance of water calcium was also confirmed in a one-year study of rats on a fully adequate diet in terms of nutrients and salts and given desalinated water with added dissolved solids of 400 mg./L, and either 5 mg/L, of calcium. The animals given water dosed with 5 mg/L of calcium exhibited a reduction in thyroidal and other associated functions compared to the animals given the two higher doses of calcium.

While the effects of most chemicals commonly found in drinking water manifest themselves after long exposure, the effects of calcium and, in particular, those of magnesium on the cardiovascular system are belived to reflect recent exposures. 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-based systems for final treatment of drinking water at their home taps in 2000-2002. Within several weeks or months various complaints suggestive of acute magnesium (and possibly calcium) deficiency were reported . The complaints included cardiovascular disorder, tiredness, weakness or muscular cramps and were essentially the same symptoms listed in the warning.

Source: Research Paper

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