Is Mineral Water an Underrated Supplement?

Many of us try to eat an ancestrally-influenced diet, which brings up a question: should we also drink similar types of water as our ancestors? There are a few practical reasons why mineral water makes for an interesting source of nutrients. Unlike food, water is calorie-free. And unlike supplements, you don’t have to remember to take water each day. Plus some people really enjoy the taste of mineral water.

So let’s take a peek into the world of mineral waters and health. The reason we’re focusing on mineral water is that it’s a type of water that contains measurable nutrients, and is thus somewhat less susceptible to pseudoscientific claims (yes, I’m looking at you “alkaline water”).

What does mineral water have that you want?

Minerals, duh! Which ones though? The Cadillac of mineral waters, Gerolsteiner, tested as having 112 mg of magnesium per liter of water and 368 mg of calcium, along with 134 mg of sodium.


The Ford Focus of mineral waters, Poland Spring, has just one milligram of magnesium and calcium per liter, and four times that much sodium! (meaning four milligrams…just showing the power of ratios to deceive) So what do these numbers mean in terms of health benefits or detriments?

Let’s start with magnesium. Magnesium is a PHD-recommended daily supplement, unless you get enough from food. Rather than choking down two horse pills, some people prefer powder, epsom salt baths, or spray. Magnesium has oodles of therapeutic functions outside of its commonly known roles in heart and bone health, extending to bowel disease, migraines, anti-aging effects, and reducing chronic inflammation. Unfortunately magnesium levels have taken a hit from routine municipal water softening as well as lower concentrations in crops.

Most tap water contains negligible amounts of magnesium. So unless you live in Lubbock, Texas (where the tap water has 60 mg/L of magnesium, almost twice as much as any other major US city), bottled waters are the best option for liquid magnesium replenishment. My local Trader Joe’s sells Gerolsteiner and San Pellegrino, and other grocery stores sell Perrier and Evian. The latter two contain very little magnesium, while San Pellegrino has half as much as Gerolsteiner.

Sodium and calcium…eh

High-sodium mineral waters sometimes get a bad rap, even though low salt intake is associated with higher mortality rates. Plus the sodium in mineral water is usually in the form of sodium bicarbonate, which has been shown to actually decrease blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

If you’ve read the Perfect Health Diet book then you know the potential dangers of supplementing calcium. On the other hand, for those who lack leafy greens or dairy in their diets, mineral waters could be a good option. European mineral waters, that is. As might be expected of the land of higher life expectancy, finer wines, longer maternity leaves, and smellier cheeses, European mineral waters tend to have far more calcium (and magnesium) than their American counterparts. Popular European waters such as the aforementioned Gerolsteiner, San Pellegrino, Perrier, and Apollinaris all have between around 100-370 mg of calcium per liter. The higher end of this range would bring a calcium-deficient diet close to optimal levels when drinking 1-2 liters a day.

“Trace” Minerals sound so insignificant

…but they’re not! One of the most important trace minerals is lithium. While high-dose supplementation of lithium may impair immune and thyroid function (these doses are prescribed for psychiatric disorders), an optimal lower dose (but higher than what Americans typically take in through food) is linked to longer lifespans and lower rates of mental illness. Areas where tap water has the lowest lithium levels have higher suicide and homicide rates.

Rather than splitting lithium supplement pills to get small enough doses, one could get low doses of lithium through mineral water. “Lithia waters”, mineral waters high in lithium, were a craze in the late 1800s and early 1900s due to numerous testimonials on their miraculous health benefits. But most mineral waters actually have quite low lithium levels, so you have to look hard to find a water that provides enough to equal very low-dose supplements.

If you can find a brand that has somewhere between 0.1-0.3 mg per liter (or more) of lithium, it may produce some beneficial effects. Gerolsteiner, for example, contains 0.13 mg per liter. It might not take much to produce benefit — microdoses of lithium as small as 0.3 mg per day have been shown to improve cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s patients. Note that diets low in plants and seafoods typically have lower lithium levels, and lithium concentrations in plants varies widely (Texas and western states have much higher lithium levels in soil and water than the rest of the country)

To sparkle or not to sparkle, that is the question

Some people love sparkling water. But in an informal survey (me surveying myself), sparkling water has been found to be difficult to drink in large quantities because it doesn’t go down as smoothly while gulping and makes you burp. That mitigates the ease of using water as a supplement. There’s an obvious way to get around this — just let the water go flat.

20140315_170532Alternately, you can choose a water that is not carbonated (aka “still water”). The problem is that still waters typically have much lower mineral levels than naturally carbonated waters. For example, Gerolsteiner offers a still water that has less than half as much magnesium as its popular sparkling water. Gerolsteiner’s website explains why this is:

“Gerolsteiner takes its mineral water from various sources in the depths of the Volcanic Eifel…It is the natural carbonic acid that allows the water to absorb the valuable minerals and trace elements from the rock.”

Note that a couple California-sourced still mineral waters such as Adobe Springs (also sold as “Noah’s Spring Water”) have magnesium levels comparable to fancy European sparkling waters, and also have that distinctive mineral water taste. But while some people love the taste of mineral water, others find hard water off-putting. To counter this, you can add lemon or let some cut berries infuse throughout it. Classy!

What does mineral water have that you don’t want?

One notable effect of drinking mineral water is a reduction in mean weight of your wallet. To reduce the cost and help with portability, you could try Concentrace, a concentrated little bottle of dried minerals from the Great Salt Lake that has the salt removed. I’m torn between the ease of using Concentrace and the possible dangers of using it. First the good part: you just put a few drops of Concentrace in your water, and it becomes highly mineralized with not just magnesium but a variety of trace minerals. Concentrace may improve joint pain, as shown in this trial of knee osteoarthritis (although this study doesn’t appear to be indexed by Pubmed…hmmm…).

However, be careful with the Concentrace. Tap water is not allowed to have more than 0.01 parts per million of arsenic. The Concentrace instructions say to use a total of 40-80 drops per day, so let’s say you use 20 drops in a glass of water. That comes out to right around 0.01 parts per million of arsenic. Uh-oh?

So is mineral water an underrated supplement?

There’s probably a reason why mineral water springs were highly prized by so many ancient cultures, with people traveling many miles to seek health benefits. In modern times, the World Health Organization has recognized magnesium levels in drinking water to be an important public health issue, due to the possible heart disease benefits of drinking hard water.

We didn’t even get into potential benefits from taking in higher amounts of other trace minerals. Nor did we discuss benefits from higher intake of bicarbonate, which is present in many minerals. Or how about skin hydration benefits, or the ability of hard water to avoid mineral leeching that happens when boiling foods in soft water?

The magnesium and calcium in mineral water is also typically highly bioavailable (even more so when consumed with a meal). All in all, mineral water may be a useful addition for those that can afford it, as it can provide a reliable daily boost to levels of important nutrients.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Average american drinks 5L of sparking water a year.

    Between my GF and myself, we do about 10 a week. Terrible habit!

    And as hangover/rehydration cure it is hard to beat. Also cuts down on wine drinking a bit.

    Try out Ferrale instead.

    • Drink some activated charcoal the night you go out drinking, and youll never get the hangover to begin with.

  2. It isn’t covered much in Paleo literature but what about the impact on tooth decay? Sodium bicarbonate is basic but carbonated beverages are typically acidic. What is the net with sparkling waters? Would you expect flat waters to be basic and carbonated waters to be acidic? And what of carbonated waters which were left open to become flat?

  3. I’d thought that water was the primary paleo source for calcium and magnesium. It is certainly the most digestible. I’ve found that I can make a homemade non-sparkling mineral water for pennies per liter that has a mineral profile that almost exactly matches San Pellegrino. I use Burton Water Salts, available at stores that sell brewing supplies. Add a quarter teaspoon to a liter of water and you have instant mineral water. You could add it to seltzer water if you wanted carbonation.

    • I’ve seen those water salts, but never bought them. As a big-time cheapskate, I thank you for the suggestion!

      • I googled Burton Water Salts and in the first few results I found a thread among beer brewers in which one commenter said this, which seems sensible to me:

        “The problem with that blend [Burton Water Salts] is at the root of your question. Who knows what’s in it and in what proportions? You are just never going to know what the actual numbers of the ions in your treated water are. Individual salts are readily available from homebrew suppliers and are a far better idea than those blends. As you have pointed out, with the individual salts you can know exactly what you are adding and get accurate numbers of your treated water. Those blends are probably a remnant of the old days of homebrewing before a lot of the more specific ingredients were available. I suggest you keep it for emergency use only and buy calcium sulphate, calcium chloride, calcium carbonate and magnesium sulphate as individual salts. With your RO water and these salts you will be able to match up for almost any type of beer.”

        What do you think of another product from the Concentrace people called Mega-Mag 400mg? It’s a liquid supplement containing mag chloride and “72 ionic trace minerals” from Utah’s Great Salt Lake with no added ingredients. Apparently this is essentially a version of Concentrace formulated to be high in magnesium. Presumably you could use less of this than of Concentrace and obtain the same amount of magnesium but, perhaps, without all the arsenic.

        • Looking at some of the trace minerals, Mega-Mag has about 50% more of most of the trace minerals than does Concentrace. So unless they specifically took out the arsenic, maybe it has more arsenic than Concentrace!

  4. Any comment on the mineral content of the Arkansas water Mountain Valley Springs? This is a major brand for US drinkers.

  5. Againstthegrain

    I love Gerolsteiner sparkling water and often buy it by the case at Trader Joe’s in the summer. I specifically choose Gerolsteiner for the magnesium content and taste, plus I can usually still find it in glass bottles instead of plastic. It was a bummer when the bottle size shrunk a year or two ago, but I guess the alternative was a price increase.

    In addition to drinking Gerolsteiner plain, I sometimes mix it with crisp dry white still wine and a couple slices of orange, lime, and/or lemon from my garden for a refreshing homemade, low sugar, low alcohol wine cooler. It’s also nice with organic strawberry slices or other in-season local organic berries. A splash of homemade concentrate of hibiscus flower brewed with mulling spices & orange peel (similar to hibiscus syrup but without or with less sugar) makes a delicious homemade soda.

    However, I’ve also had some concern about the carbonic acid content in sparkling mineral waters – does it have the potential to be as acidic and tooth enamel-eroding as commercial sodas? I’ve been trying to time my sparkling mineral water consumption with meals. I generally avoid sipping on sparkling water for prolonged periods in between meals, just in case.

    • If you package and sell that hibiscus/spice/orange peel soda conconction, I guess I’ll volunteer to taste test.

      Somebody else asked about the dental aspect — it appears that there is nothing to worry about. The pH values I’ve seen vary between 6.2 and 7.2 for high quality mineral waters. This study suggests no detrimental impact on dental health:

      This study shows suggests that mineral waters don’t substantially impact dental erosion:

    • Danielle (?) I look forward to your upcoming beverage cookbook! Love all of your others! 😀

  6. Kamal,
    Nice write up, I had been looking into this since I first encountered it on PaleoHacks and PHD. I had found some decent articles detailing the absorption of minerals from high-content waters, thought you might be interested if you hadn’t seen them already:

    There were some also that showed benefit for calcium oxalate stone formers.

    • I had the first one but not the second — thanks!

      There were a couple super-duper-high magnesium waters that I didn’t include in the article since they weren’t sold in many places. Something like twice as much as Gerolsteiner.

      • Hi Kamal, thanks for the info. Would you please share what those 2 “super-duper-high magnesium waters are that you didn’t mention since they aren’t sold in many places? Thanks.

  7. Heya,

    2 questions
    1. Fluoride in the water & it’s effects ?
    I’m drinking spring water as per Jack Kruse’s recommendation but want peoples opinion.

    2. pH of water, alkaline water, does it matter ?
    Chris Kresser wrote about it on his site but I’m still interested to hear more.

    • 1. Fluoridated water is probably worse than the government says, but better than alarmists say. Studies are mixed. Note that if you avoid fluoridated water than you should also avoid foods high in fluoride — but as always, the dose makes the poison (sorry for the generic answer, it’s just that there are so many studies on fluoride linking or not linking it to different conditions).

      2. Alkaline water, as in the type that is sold by MLM companies using home alkalinizers, is most likely bogus. However, an alkaline diet may be healthy. While I get Chris’s point that the body controls pH in a tight range, I don’t think the studies he cites as proving that foods can’t alter pH fully support his point. Maybe I’ll pull together some studies are write up an article.

  8. What about Liquid Ionic minerals like ‘concentrace’ ? Humic acid?
    Any recommended bottled water brands? Filters for tap water?

    • I think distilling your water is the safest way to go. Although free of disease causing organisms, municipal water supplies and private wells can be contaminated with traces of thousand s of endocrine-disrupting chemicals which are unregulated in America. Bottled water conforms to almost no regulation whatsoever. My preference is to clean everything from my drinking/cooking water, then make sure to get minerals from food and supplements. I’m going to look into the Concentrace Mega-mag….maybe use it less than directed just for a little insurance.

      • Although I don’t practice what I preach (not enough money to do so), I’d ideally get a variety of different water sources to spread out the risk of what you mention as well as a variety of different nutrient profiles.

        I used Concentrace for many months, almost daily, and in my uncontrolled n=1, it may have produced a couple weird symptoms (one was a buzzing feeling in my thumb). However, that could have been from something else. The arsenic level scares me a bit.

        • That’s why I say just use it once in a while if you want. I don’t use a mineralizer of any kind because I don’t trust any particular mix that much, but wouldn’t worry about using Concentrace just once in a while only. The FDA allows literally thousands of chemicals of unproven safety to be used in America, and many of them find their way into water supplies, and have health effect at very low concentrations. If you can remove whatever is in there, it makes sense to do so.

  9. I do wonder about the effect of the sparkling water on tooth enamel- mainly because my teen son drinks a lot of it, and has trouble with thin enamel, although he’s never had a cavity. He doesn’t drink soda or juice, and long ago gave up sour candies and sucking on limes (yes he used to like doing that!), but still has this enamel issue. At his last dental appointment, his dentist said he should stop drinking sparkling water. Darn! Is he really only left with water and milk?

    • There’s a study I linked to elsewhere in the comments that suggests no change in enamel from drinking naturally carbonated mineral water. That being said, since your son doesn’t technically need to drink it, might as well listen try a period without mineral water. (or with water re-mineralized, without carbonation)

    • Gerolsteiner sparkling mineral water is the single best dental therapeutic I’ve tried. My veteran dentist said that I am the only patient he has seen who has remineralized a cavity (since I started drinking the Gerolsteiner).

  10. Confounded N=1 coming up… I had a period whereby I went for about two weeks of drinking nothing but carbonated water (well, apart from wine/vodka) – not for any real reason, I just had a stockpile of the stuff and enjoyed drinking it.

    Well, after a couple weeks I had developed a persistent chest pain – sorta tightness and stuff – there was me thinking damn the vegans were finally right and all this fat I eat is about to kill me. Took another gulp of carbonated spring water and things got worse.

    Eventually I figgered out the connection, and a few hours of not putting bubbly stuff in me all the issues went away.

    I still drink fizzy stuff now and then, but am careful to not have it as a constant thing. Was it the fizz that did it? WHO KNOWS! But my N=1 was compelling enough for me.

    • It sounds like it was just heartburn/GERD. So I guess that was likely due to the carbonation.

      • While that sounds likely, stranger things have happened. My aunt would react to weird foods and drinks for a period of several months, and it turned out that her gallbladder was failing. If only the body gave out twitter updates…”@Ash stop drinking that water it’s hurting me”

        • When I am pregnant, certain types of carbonated water cause me to have heartburn just like Ash described. Gerolsteiner was the worst. I couldn’t even take a couple swallows! San Pelegrino seems to be the one I tolerate consistently — pregnant or not 😉

          • Teresa, I’m not pregnant (!), but everything that you’ve said is true for me too! BTW, I’ve read that you can have temporary GERD-type reactions when pregnant due to the upward organ pressure on the upper GE (I may be saying this not quite right, anatomically), and that may be why for you (not my reason though). Gerolsteiner “burns” my throat on the way down too.

          • Interesting. I was diagnosed with GERD but don’t get GERD reactions from Gerolsteiner unless I drink too much too close to bed (lying down). It probably helps that I have been mostly symptom-free since switching to a more ancestral-type diet years ago.

  11. Great post. Very interesting. I’m lucky enough to live right by a spring. Not sure of the mineral content but it tastes fantastic, which is good enough for me. We fill up bottles once a week and that does us for our drinking water. I think theres a site,, that is pretty good for the US, not so much here in Ireland.
    If you have a good supply of spring water then making water kefir is also a great way of carbonating water, and adding some vitamin k2.

  12. Very good work, Kamal. I’ve been hoping someone might write a post on this for a long time. If the PHD hypothesis is that supplements are needed, partly, because of modern water treatment procedures, then it is only rational and conscientious to explore the question of what sorts of water sources our ancestors would have had access to.

    I have a couple questions, which perhaps you might be able to answer:

    (1) Are you assuming that our ancestors drank primarily from spring-fed sources and mineral-rich ones at that? I find that if I drink exclusively mineral water, such as San Pellegrino, for a whole day, without any tap water, I begin to feel almost dehydrated, as if I’m getting way too much of something, which I then need to flush out. And once I resume drinking tap water, I feel better. This experience leads me to believe that such a mineral-rich water couldn’t possibly be the main or only source of hydration for a people.

    (2) Why should we assume that the naturally occurring lithium carbonate in mineral water is comparable, in terms of its effects on the body and especially brain, to the synthetic lithium orotate? I find that drinking water containing 2 mg of lithium carbonate does not lead to the same sort of (almost) drug-like effect I experience from taking lithium orotate. And I’ve read that some believe that lithium orotate is effective for therapeutic (psychiatric) purposes at much lower doses than lithium carbonate, because the orotate form more easily crosses into the brain.

    A note: Unfortunately, the is on leave, as this was an extraordinary resource. But when it was up, I learned that the Spanish water Vitchy Catalan has one of the higher levels of lithium of any available water at roughly 2 mg per liter.

    • Nightshades are supposed to contain an above-average amount of lithium. And I imagine that seaweeds contain lithium as well. Emily Deans has suggested that one may get plenty of lithium from simply eating a whole foods diet. It seems as though baseline lithium intake would be fairly high in the Perfect Health Diet, given its emphasis on tubers, potassium rich foods and seaweeds.

    • I’m not an expert on this, but do not think water is our primary, or even an important, source of minerals for our bodies. The mineral content of water is important because plants incorporate the minerals into organic compounds, which we then digest when we eat the plants, or the animals that have eaten the plants.

  13. And, you know, if one of the main reasons we need supplements is because of water treatment, then why not just add some of the liquid mineral supplement you mentioned and call it a day? It seems logical.

    • To your above point — while foods can be rich in lithium, it’s not quite ubiquitous like pantothenic acid.

      It does seem logical to add something like Concentrace, but not only do the high(ish) arsenic levels scare me, I don’t imagine that many people drank all their water from sources like the Great Salt Lake. So a variety of water sources sounds better to me.

  14. I really only drink carbonated mineral water these days. Am I getting too much calcium? Should I no longer supplement Lithium?

    • Only a handful of mineral waters have very high calcium levels, but if that’s all you drink it would be worth calculating your daily intake.

      Most mineral waters don’t have enough lithium to necessitate stopping lithium supplementation, but again that depends on your specific brand.

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  16. I filter my water at home and add Himalayan pink salt for minerals. I started with a small amount and worked up to saturation point, or near that. I feel better using this and it tastes great to me after getting used to it. Now, if I forget to salt my water it tastes flat to me.

  17. What do you think about re-mineralizing reverse osmosis (or otherwise highly filtered) water with a mineral concentrate. It is easy enough to find RO water at stores for 50 cents a gallon.

    • In reading up on Concentrace a few years ago, several people on forums did exactly that. Sounds logical to me!

    • RO is the next best thing to distillation. It has the downside of wasting water (no big deal) and also the membrane degrades over time, so you’re never quite sure how well it’s removing toxins.

  18. One popular mineral water, S. Pellegrino, has a fairly high uranium content… not sure about others.

  19. I drink a lot of water each day, it gives me so much energy and really helps me keep my wits about.

  20. I’ve been drinking 1.5L a day of ‘glass bottled’ spring water from a good source for 3yrs now, and my arsenic levels are high. I’m now taking Modified Citrus Pectin to chelate the arsenic. Has anyone had any experience with this supplement? I’m also thinking of changing to RO.

  21. Well said! I love my Perrier weekly and now I’m excited to know that gerolsteiner is the best source! I will be investing and ingesting! To your health!

  22. There’s no sense in fussing about cost, taste, carbonation, or ways to make (unregulated) bottled water pleasing to the senses, when the EPA allows thousands of dangerous chemicals to enter our aquifers. Buy a 1 gallon distiller, distill all your cooking/drinking water with it, and stop wasting your time and money buying, lugging around and disposing of bottles and containers.
    Add a little Concentrace once in a while if you want, for cheap insurance, but make sure to supplement your diet per PHD guidelines to get adequate amounts of minerals.

    • I just want to add that all drinking water is dangerous; either because it inherently is, or because we simply don’t know what it contains. Virtually none of today’s water is what paleo man drank, because he didn’t live in a world filled with man-made, long-lived chemicals.

      • A related thing that pisses me off: I can’t believe humans have screwed up so much that seafood can be dangerous to eat. I mean really, how reckless does a society have to be to manage to pollute a quadzillion gallon body of water?

  23. Interesting article!

    I also looked recently into the amount of different compounds contained in mineral water, and one anomaly that stood out is the comparatively tremendous amount of sulfate in San Pellegrino. Curious about the pros or cons it may have.

    • Some people don’t like the taste of high-sulfate waters, others seek it for health benefits, and others are wary because of speculated detriments (e.g. diarrhea).

      I try to get sulfur from veggies and don’t drink San Pellegrino, so I actually haven’t thought much about getting it from water.

  24. I don’t drink San Pellegrino much (expensive, uranium, etc), but sulfur-rich waters have a similar history as lithia waters — touted for healthful properties. Both are fairly rare as well. Tap water varies in sulfate content quite a bit.

    As far as how much sulfur water can contribute to a typical diet, that is something I’ll look into. Interesting question!

    • Mineral water would obviate the need for silicon supplementation too, no?

      • The most delicious of all waters is Calistoga, which comes from a volcanic region in northern California. If I recall, its silica content is 120 mg per liter.

        Do you know how much silicon is in the ConcenTrace?

        It appears that ConcenTrace would provide sufficient boron.

  25. Thanks for all your comments and post. So, what would your recommendations be? I am confused about which brand and how much is best to drink. Many thanks!

    • I kind of purposely stopped short of a recommendation. Personally, I don’t drink any one brand all the time, or drink mineral water all the time.

      There was a period of a few weeks or months where I tried Concentrace to see if it had any effects, and I’ll do that type of thing with different foods/waters/supplements.

      Mostly I avoid waters that have high levels of potentially bad stuff in them. Concentrace might have too much arsenic, so I shied away from that eventually, San Pellegrino might have too much Uranium, etc. Rotating waters is good, just like eating a variety of foods is good, to reduce risk.

      • That’s very prudent advice. One reason I’ve been drinking Mountain Valley is that it seems to have very little “bad” stuff in it, compared to other waters. I hope that I’m right.

        Thank you for alerting us to the uranium issue in SP. I’m going to switch over to Gerolsteiner for sparkling.

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  28. What about the high levels of fluoride in many mineral waters?

    I have long been aware that fluoride, regardless of the form (fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluoride, even “natural” calcium fluoride) is not a necessary component of the human diet. Too much fluoride in ANY form can lead to dental and skeletal fluorosis, impair cognitive function, and even cause infertility in men and women. Both Stalin and Hitler used fluoride to CAUSE mental retardation and sterility amongst their political opponents.

    I got curious as a result of this article and looked up the typical fluoride levels in several of the waters mentioned here. Both San Pellegrino and Gerolsteiner, for example, contained fluoride levels of about 0.65 mg/l. This is as high (or even higher in many cases!) of the levels of fluoride added to many municipal tap waters in the U.S.!

    So if we begin taking in large amounts of these mineral waters, depending on where you live, you may even be increasing your intake of fluoride quite a bit. I don’t see any benefit to fluoride at all and try to do everything I can to lower my exposure to it. This includes refusing fluoride treatments at my dental appointments, making sure I avoid any drugs and supplements known to contain forms of fluoride in them, making sure I drink only waters with low levels of fluoride in the (natural or otherwise), and now, after finding out how high the fluoride content of some of these mineral waters can be, I will be more careful to research the brands I buy (if I do at all).

    On another net, make sure if you do buy mineral waters you buy the stuff In glass bottles ONLY. Sure it costs a bit more, but BPA leached from plastic bottles is no joke! Don’t let the FDA tell you otherwise.

    • I agree completely about fluoride being not only unnecessary, but more importantly, detrimental to health. I’m sure there are many toxic substances we can ingest that will coat our teeth with a film which inhibits bacteria, but how sensible is a cure that’s far worse than the disease? (which of course isn’t a disease at all but an indication of diet problems).
      When I operate my water distiller I place a sachet of bone char in the outlet spigot above (upstream of) the regular activated charcoal sachet. Bone char adsorbs fluorine well.

      • Incorrect about bone char removing fluoride. Otherwise though, I’d say you’re right about everything else.

        Here’s a link to what I’ve found on bone char and fluoride:

        The say of bone char, “While new Bone Char cartridges are claimed to reduce fluoride by up to 90%, in controlled laboratory tests we found that after only 50 litres (10 gallons) fluoride removal dropped from 80% to 50%. And, after just 100 litres fluoride removal was only 25%.

        This means in order to remove fluoride at anywhere near an effective rate a Bone Char cartridge would need to be replaced at least every week. This is neither practical or cost effective.”

        • No, not incorrect. I use bulk bone char, which costs 30-some dollars per 5 pounds. I make a sachet of it from fabric which housed my ‘activated charcoal’ sachets that I use in may distiller spout, and I replace both sachets every month, or about every 30 gallons of water.
          That should be removing the sodium fluoride pretty well, and is not cost prohibitive.

          • Everything that I have read (and the above is just one example that points to it, but there was more), seems to point to bone char working great at first, but only for very short period of time (a few days) before it’s effectiveness began to drop exponentially which meant it had to be replaced constantly.

            A good RO filter will last ya a good long while before it needs replacing. And even at a MUCH higher initial investment, over the long-term, it should actually wind up being significantly cheaper. Plus it’s versatility for removing the other things carbon can’t shouldn’t be underestimated.

          • Filtering effectiveness depends on the nature of the filter medium, its surface area exposed to the water, and the contact time. A filter or an RO system in which pressure forces water through media or against a membrane has a disadvantage of short contact time in the case of the media and buildup of contaminants in the case of the RO unit.
            Using bone char and charcoal after distillation, where the already very clean water trickles by gravity at slow speed through the carbon, and replacing the carbon regularly as I outlined, works well without the downsides of the other methods.

  29. Drumroll, while your RO unit is giving you a gallon of drinking water for every 8 or 9 that go down the drain, and, according to you, lasting a long time, here are a few things that are also happening within it.
    The main thing is not how long its water flow lasts, but how long it helps you last.

  30. What do you think about DIY mineral waters? this guy seems to have the formula down.

    • Admittedly there are so many confounding factors that this is crappy science, but Norwegians have one of the world’s longest average lifespans.
      If low mineral content of water is hurting them, it’s at least not glaringly obvious.

  31. Nice, our local brand has 170mg/L of magnesium and 6.2 mg/L of sodium. And at around 30 cents per liter.

  32. Gerolsteiner makes my mouth drier. Could it be feeding pathogens?

    • Interesting — some people say the reverse, that sparkling water helps their dry mouth. pH probably isn’t the issue since saliva buffers acids and bases in the mouth, but Gerolsteiner is probably pretty close to neutral anyway.

      Since the water isn’t in the mouth for a long time, it would have to be feeding pathogens in the gut. Mineral waters don’t tend to have nutrients in high quantities that would preferentially feed pathogens, at least that I know of. But I’ll look into it and see if anything comes up.

      • I had a pretty good bowel movement today, so maybe it’s that, more water in the bowels. *shrug*

        • drinking something with salts will do that irrespective of bacteria. The salt draws water from the intestinal lining and the cilia get moving, etc.

  33. Weekend Link Love | Homesteaders Hangout - pingback on March 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm
  34. Mineral water and gelatin are easy ways to get some Paul recommended nutrients.

  35. Bit confused. Can you advise me on how much water (mineral water) we should drink a day if we follow the PHD diet? And when to drink: before, after, during meals?

    • While I don’t think mineral water is at all a required part of PHD, you could replace some portion of your fluid intake with mineral water.

      So that would mean drinking it at any time. I tend to get a variety of fluids (just like Paul recommends getting a variety of plant foods). So some kombucha, some regular/filtered water, some green tea, some different brands of mineral water, some mineral water with fruit infused in it.

      Regarding type of mineral water, as long as it’s relatively high in minerals I need more of (like magnesium) and low in minerals I likely don’t need more of (like uranium), then it’s all good.

  36. Hi Kamal,

    What about kidney stones and carbonated water?

  37. Hi Kamal,

    That’s good news but I’m wondering if water carbonation causes kidney stones. Or do the minerls offset that?

    • Yeah, I don’t think it’s the carbonation per se that causes kidney stones — phosphoric acid in sodas could be play a role, and carbonated mineral waters sometimes got lumped into the same category as sodas.

      The minerals are hypothesized to combine with extra fluid intake to reduce kidney stone risk, with the carbonation not being a big deal. Lemon juice in mineral water is even better, to provide some citrate to help combat stones by binding to calcium.

  38. Kamal,
    Have you seen any of the info on magnesium salt swimming pools? I’d be curious if you had heard of it and your opinion.

    • Jesse, I’m not an expert but was just looking into info about those recently for a friend whose favorite exercise is swimming but wants to avoid chlorine as much as possible. From what I read, the salt in the pool is a source of chlorine, so less chlorine needs to be added to the pool in order to produce the minimum chlorine residual required by law for public pools. Anyone correct me please if I’m mistaken.

  39. I used to drink mineral water to supplement my daily magnesium intake.

  40. I recently joined a magnesium advocacy group, and someone there is recommending homemade “magnesium water” — magnesium bicarbonate. It is made with milk of magnesia and club soda or seltzer water.

    Can anyone here tell me whether Paul has ever commented on this?

  41. There is another unknown water which has more benefits than Gerolsteiner water, it comes from a small island in Italy called SARDINIA. The water is San Martino, full of minerals knonw in Sardinia as a “magic” water as it helps to cure a lot of deseas.
    You should try.

  42. I’m pregnant and my midwife is suggesting that I guzzle a gallon of water a day. I’ve been having very early contractions and she is concerned that I am not drinking enough water. However, I think that I have a history in my past pregnancies of flushing minerals out of my body and ending up magnesium deficient (I have tried every type of oral magnesium and I cannot tolerate oral magnesium supplements). I was considering adding something like Concentrace to my water, but with the arsenic that you mention, do you think this would be safe for a pregnant woman (even if I use less daily than recommended).

  43. Thanks, Paul! I’ll give it another shot 🙂 It really makes my intestines rumble…very painful. I have magnesium oil to rub into my skin, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  44. They believe arsenic is essential. It will probably be like selenium, they thought it was only a poison, now it turns out to be incredibly important(fifty percent reduction in overall cancer!)

  45. I would like to know the real fact of how perrier water can affect when diagnosed with osteoporosis.

  46. Like Ellen above, I’m also interested in making my own mag/carbonate water. Any comments on this type of water?

  47. We live near Flowing Well park in Carmel, IN. There are 4 taps set up with water constantly flowing from them. People come constantly to fill their jugs. Would this be a really good source for me?

  48. to much I just wanted to order minerals for my home water that is too filtered so it tastes bad.

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