WaterStillar systems distill water. Is it safe to drink distilled water? Are minerals in water important? Is distilled water perhaps the most healthy choice? Are there different kinds of distilled water? Does water have properties that can not be measured? Could one kind of water be good for some and not so good for others?
The answer to the above can probably all be answered with a “Yes”. Understanding water is a highly complex matter and scientific work is ongoing. Some say that minerals in drinking water are important to public health, whilst others say that a balanced diet will give you all you need and that the minerals in the few liters of drinking water have no greater meaning.
The uptake of minerals through water and food can be quite different. According to WHO, enteric absorption of minerals from drinking water is determined by several factors including the intrinsic properties of particular chemical species that are present, physiological conditions of the gut environment, and exogenous factors related to the meal/diet in which the minerals are ingested. Accordingly, waterborne selenium (selenite, selenate) is passively absorbed at somewhat lower efficiencies (60-80%) than the selenoaminoacids in foods (90-95%) that are actively transported across the gut. The inorganic oxidized iron in water will be absorbed at very low (<5%) efficiencies similar to that of non-heme iron in plant foods (ref WHO nutrients in water p.4).
We assume that we all can agree that water is important; that toxic substances in water are bad; that pollution caused by water is bad; that taste is individual; that we get wiser every day and that there are no simple answers to complex matters. WaterStillar’s offer is distilled water, just like rain.
At WaterStillar we will not tell our customers what composition of minerals – if any – is the healthy choice. Just as WaterStillar will tell not customers what great tasting water is.
Upon intake of minerals over long periods, our bodies even adapt to them. In Europe, people drink water containing up to 300 ppm natural minerals (hard water) for thousands of years. Thus, their bodies adapted to these minerals and they can drink it without health effects. This water would probably be hard to enjoy for Koreans whose groundwater is more around 30 ppm minerals (ref. IWA publishing).
We offer clean, non-aggressive, pH-neutral water with no harmful substances whatsoever in it and then we simply recommend you to remineralise or add flavours/ bubbles to your drinking water according to your likings, conviction or knowledge.
Yes, we sell mineral cartridges (with calcium and magnesium), but professionally we cannot tell any customer to remineralise or not. What we can say is that if the uptake of calcium is a problem for people with a balanced diet, then perhaps more vitamin D is the answer.
Our current drinking water regulations focus on maximum allowed levels of bacteria and toxins. However, with regard to mineral balance, it is just as vital the levels of minerals are properly regulated with regard to both maximum and minimum levels, and to the ratios among the various elements. Safe re-mineralised water provides a win-win situation for public health – people are protected against harmful elements in the water while being provided with the balance of vital elements which go a long way towards promoting well-being and longevity.
Browsing through the scientific literature on this subject it seems that answers can go in either direction. One extreme is that the minerals in drinking water are not important for most people since we get the minerals we need in a well-balanced diet. Another extreme is that if we do not get calcium and especially magnesium in our drinking water, there is a weak risk for certain cardiovascular problems to occur.
A study in Asia comparing hard to soft water reported an increased risk of mortality from esophageal cancer in relation to the use of soft water, colon cancer, coronary artery disease or gastric cancer (ref. WHO nutrient in drinking water p.61). For other minerals like fluoride, it can be healthy for the tooth to have small concentrations in water but above a certain level teeth or even skeleton fluorosis could occur (ref WHO Nutrients in water p.ii). On the other end, increased concentrations of iron or copper could lead to an increased risk of heart attack (ref WHO nutrients in water p.7). Unlike recent popular opinions, there is no danger of cell death due to osmotic shock while drinking distilled water since it will mix with minerals taken in the body before cell contact. A permanent uptake of distilled water combined with unilateral nutrition could, however, lead to electrolyte deficiency in the body (Ref. spectrum.de).
It is possible to buy mineral mixtures to add to your drinking water. Thousands of minerals, salts, trace elements etc and it is not our business to know what is the correct, useful or needed. Fourteen mineral elements are established as being essential for good health; these elements in combined form affect bone and membrane structure (Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Fluoride), water and electrolyte balance (Sodium, Potassium, Chlorine), metabolic catalysis (Zinc, Copper, Selen, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum), oxygen binding (Iron), and hormone functions (Iodine, Chromium). Thousands of further minerals, salts, trace elements etc and it is not our business to know what is the correct, useful or needed (ref WHO nutrients in water p.4).
However, if you are interested in having minerals in your water, it’s always fine to add them back in after distillation. This way, at least you know that there is absolutely nothing in your water other than H2O and the minerals you added in. Just make sure the minerals you add are in a chelated, bioavailable form.
Drinking water recommendations (WHO and EU)
Awareness of the importance of minerals and other beneficial constituents in drinking water has existed for thousands of years, being mentioned in the Vedas of ancient India. In the book Rig Veda, the properties of good drinking water were described as follows: “Sheetham (cold to touch), Sushihi (clean), Sivam (should have nutritive value, requisite minerals and trace elements), Istham (transparent), Vimalam lahu Shadgunam (its acid base balance should be within normal limits)” (ref. WHO nutrients in drinking water p.148)
On the less literary but scientific side, it seems like an impossible task, but WHO and EU have worked out guidelines on the quality of water intended for human consumption) concerns the quality of water intended for human consumption. Its objective is to protect human health from adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption by ensuring that it is wholesome and clean.
In WHO’s latest paper from 2005 on the matter, it is stated that “There is a need for more precise data on the impact of fluid composition and intake, including water and other aqueous beverages, on nutrient intake under a broader range of physiologic and climatic conditions for sensitive population segments in order to more precisely evaluate the importance of minerals in drinking water on mineral nutrition”. Later in the same section it states: “Studies on the mineral nutritional content and adequacy of world diets should be conducted so that adequacies and inadequacies can be documented and possibly mitigated.”
In other words: We do not have proof that minerals are needed in drinking water. They might. They might not.
Suggested desirable ranges macro mineral nutrients
Calcium 20-80 mg/L
Magnesium 10 -50 mg/L
Bicarbonate 100-300 mg/L
Sulfate 20-250 mg/L
Flouride 0,8 – 1.2 mg/L
TDS 10-500 mg/L
How much of the recommended daily intake then come from drinking water? Well, that depends on the quality of the water you drink, how much your drink, your activity level and body weight. In the below table you can see the % of a recommended daily intake of 2 liters of drinking water for an 70 kgs adult (ref: Rosborg 2005). Variations are very high, but many are in the range between 0 and 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Conclusions are not easily made here, but the indication is that drinking water with minerals does not play a major role in a diet, the bulk of your daily requirements for nutrients are found in the food you eat.: