Is RO water good for your health? You might have seen those amazing advertisements about RO water purifiers letting you know it’s safer to drink RO water. However, there are quite a few people who ask about the quality of the RO purifier. People often have doubts like- is RO water safe for health. In this article, you will get to know everything about RO water purifiers. If you read this article with pure attention, I can tell you that you will be in a great position to decide whether you should drink RO water or not.
Here is the first myth:
Myth: Reverse Osmosis Water is not healthy for you
One common misconception in the water purifying business revolves around the reverse osmosis (RO) system. Apparently, most people consider it unhealthy for the body. Now, if you are wondering where this myth comes from, let us answer your question. Most people believe that while removing TDS, pollutants, and impurities, the RO also flushes out minerals. However, the reality is far from this.
- Purified water is about a hundred times better than consuming ordinary tap water.
- Moreover, this cleaner water will not go on to remove vital nutrients from your body. In fact, it purges out inorganic calcium, which is a significant cause of arthritis. Sounds good, right?
- Additionally, boiling water only removes a certain amount of impurities. However, the remaining gets left behind and is consumed, paving the way for multiple diseases.
- RO systems, for this reason, are designed to filter out even the dissolved solids.
Doesn’t that sound like a healthier and better choice?
Why is RO Water good to drink?
The best RO purifiers give you the purest water to drink. They take you one step closer to a healthy living style. Evidence-based research shows that several municipal and underground water systems are primarily polluted. They contain many toxic chemicals, microorganisms, and other particles. Consuming these can result in long-term health hazards. Through purification, you can limit the chances of illnesses; giving yourself a healthier alternative. However, apart from this commonly-known advantage, there are far better reasons to switch to RO.
- Groundwater often gets mixed with chemical waste and sewer, which gives it a foul odor. Purifiers, however, can remove the filthy smell and taste, making it palatable.
- Instead of adding more chemicals like chlorine or softener, you filter out impurities. The process is healthier than most alternates available in the market.
- Pure and clean tap water reduces the need for purchasing bottled water, in turn, saving the cost. It also encourages the eco-friendly stance of reducing plastic wastage in landfills.
- Since the water does not contain lead, it reduces your chances of high blood pressure.
- It helps those on a low-sodium diet by filtering out sodium
Disadvantages of using an RO system
Would you believe that despite having so many benefits, RO water also has a few drawbacks?. As mentioned above, reverse osmosis as a system filters out several tiny particles. Some of these small particles include sodium, iron, calcium, and even magnesium. For a growing child or adult, these are necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy body.
With declining consumption of these, symptomology like muscle cramps and fatigue are quite common. Moreover, without minerals, the water tastes flat and becomes unpleasant. Another thing to note is that RO systems on their own cannot entirely eradicate bacteria and viruses. Some of these microorganisms can pass through the RO membrane. That is one of the primary reasons why most people look for purifiers with a UV filter that does the job well.
Fortunately, the market now has a plethora of options to resolve your concerns. Most RO purifiers come with UV and UF stages that enhance the quality of the output. Moreover, you also have some alternatives to re-mineralize tap water.
WHO Take on Reverse Osmosis
World Health Organization (WHO) is among the most highly reputed organizations in the world. According to them and many other leading water authorities, drinking water from borewell is permissible. Their drinking water standards suggest that a TDS level of up to 300 mg/litre is considered to be best. A reading of 300-600 mg/litre is also good. However, a TDS of 900-1200 mg/litre is considered to be substandard. Lastly, a measure of above 1200 mg/litre is stated to be undrinkable.
According to a 2005 report by WHO, water contributes to our daily intake of nutrients by 20%. Losing up on these vital micronutrients can have a significant impact on our daily living. It can be one of the primary reasons why a large chunk of the population suffers from mineral deficiency. After analyzing research evidence, the WHO expressed its concern over the adverse impact of RO. Consumers of purified water automatically assume that having no toxins means health. However, the lack of impurities does not equate to healthful water.
Here are a few recommended nutrient intakes according to them:
- A minimum of 20mg/l of calcium is suggested. However, the ideal levels would be 40-80mg/l in your drinking water.
- For magnesium, there should be a minimum of 10mg/l in your drinking water. However, the optimum amount is 20-30mg/l.
You can read more about WHO take on Reverse Osmosis here.
How to Make RO Water Safer?
You can make RO water safer to drink by simple steps like adding trace mineral drops, sea salt etc. There are other techniques like alkalization and adding mineral cartridge in the purifier that also does the same job. We have addressed the significant concerns regarding reverse osmosis purifying systems. While there exist a handful of drawbacks, you can resolve the issues with just a few easy steps as mentioned earler. The backlash faced by the brands has encouraged them to upgrade their existing systems. It has led to the innovation of many re-mineralizing technologies. These cutting-edge creations ensure that the purified water output carries the necessary nutrients recommended for your daily intake. Some of the easiest ways to make RO water safer to drink are given below:
Trace Mineral Drops
One great way to substitute for the lost minerals is to invest in store-bought drops. It is a convenient way to add back iron, calcium, and magnesium elements back into your drinking water. The option is quick and cost-effective. The best part is that the electrolyte blends are readily available in markets. As a precaution, we would recommend going for renowned brands to consume a safe and balanced formula.
Sea salt, such as the Himalayan pink salt or rock salt contains approximately 60 trace elements. It is a safer and healthier supplement to ordinary tap water minerals. The notable characteristic is that adding a few pinches won’t make your water salty or unpleasant. While looking for a brand, we suggest one that offers authentic and unprocessed salts. Do not use regular table salt as it does not do the same job.
Most RO systems come with an alkalization stage. This filter-like system contains food-grade minerals. When the purified water passes over it, they get dissolved back into the water. If your purifier does not incorporate this stage, you can buy one externally and attach it to your existing system. It is easy to install and will work as a cost-effective option. However, the Alkalization stage will require regular mineral replacements yearly, or quarterly in some cases. The amount of minerals that get re-absorbed depends on two factors: temperature and pH levels.
If the alkalization stage does not sound too appealing, we have a better option for you. Most markets sell an alkalizing pitcher as a substitute to refill the lost minerals. The pitcher acts as an additional filter while also adding in essential nutrients. This method balances pH levels and replenishes the water with calcium and magnesium. The only disadvantage of the pitcher is that it is costly. However, considering its long-life, we find it worth the investment.
A great way to reintroduce minerals to your purified water is through a mineral cartridge. Like the alkalization stage, mineral cartridges are among the latest innovation. The cartridges contain pure calcium carbonate. Most brands accommodate the system within their purifiers. However, you can also buy the cartridge separately. It is set up between the storage tank and faucet. In short, the system comes to action post the RO purification stage. That ensures no minerals are lost during filtration.
It acts as the post-filtration treatment and adds back minerals like electrolyte drops. The system balances the pH value of the water and in the process, expels any harmful components. The most exciting bit about it is that it does not alter the taste of the water!
Plant and Vegetable Extraction
Extraction from nutrient-rich plants is another source for recovering balanced minerals. It is excellent for health and is 100% natural. However, due to the extraction process, it may be slightly costly. Moreover, the unfamiliar taste may not be likable for many.
Pros and Cons of RO Water Purifiers
- It enhances taste, odour, and aesthetics.
- It removes the hardness of the water.
- Purifier filters out toxic chemicals.
- Reduces the cost of purchasing bottled water.
- RO water in cooking can improve the taste of food.
- The restructured molecule makes the water hydrating, reducing the need for soda.
- It requires regular maintenance owing to the clogging of pipes.
- It also needs regular filter replacements for efficient functioning.
- Low TDS can make water taste bland.
It’s true: purified water does not contain much of the essential nutrients your body requires. However, it is also important to note that neither does ordinary tap water. In reality, there are very few minerals carried through in the water. These lost nutrients can be made up for through a healthier diet or by the use of supplements. Moreover, it is not worth consuming contaminants for these lost minerals. Furthermore, the new and advanced mineralizing technology replenishes the water. It adds back a spectrum of vital nutrients, giving you a substantial experience.
Reverse Osmosis-purified water, scientifically, may not be the best drinking option. However, the cleaner, safer, and healthier output is undoubtedly better than most water sources in India. Passing through the membrane and other filters automatically improves the quality of the water. The end result of it being 100% purer water. Looking at all these advantages, it makes sense to debunk all the false myths surrounding RO water.