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Why Reverse Osmosis Water May Be Bad for Kidneys

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

In this fast-paced world, it’s challenging to keep up with every bit of information coming your way. You might have installed a Reverse Osmosis system knowing that it’s the safest water filtration system in the world, but now you hear drinking RO water has negative health effects!

So, what’s the truth behind those claims? There’s no doubt that RO systems can effectively kill 99% of harmful germs and contaminants. But during the filtration process, they also eliminate the necessary dissolved minerals from natural drinking water.

And drinking this demineralized water for a long time might have some negative effects on animals and human organisms, according to the World Health Organization. Let’s dive deeper into this topic and determine why consuming RO water may be bad for your kidneys and overall health.

Why Reverse Osmosis Water May Be Bad for Kidneys

How Reverse Osmosis System Might Cause Serious Negative Side Effects

Drinking Reverse Osmosis treated water might have adverse effects on your body by eliminating beneficial minerals from drinking water, leaching even more minerals consumed with food, and extracting organic compounds while cooking.

Here are the details of what RO water does to the natural fresh water and your body:

1. Demineralizes Regular Drinking Water

As you might know, surface water is actually a pretty complex liquid, and it contains germs, contaminants, and various organic and inorganic components.

Reverse Osmosis units feature 3-stage RO filters to remove all types of contaminants, microplastics, viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, and other microscopic components from your tap water.

What you might not know is that these water filters also remove around 92 to 99 percent of beneficial components like calcium and magnesium. Since the absorption of these essential minerals is directly related to your kidney, consuming this low mineral water might have a definite adverse effect on your kidneys.

2. Leaches Minerals from Your Body

Another issue with the RO system is that the Reverse Osmosis process turns pure water into low TDS water. TDS or Total Dissolved Solid indicates the salt concentration of a water supply, and it’s expressed as ppm or mg/L.

The World Health Organization states that the TDS of pure water should be between 300 and 500 ppm. A TDS level lower than 50 might cause bodily harm to humans and animals.

The purified water of an RO system has a TDS level of 6 to 8 ppm, which is way too low than the ideal value.

That’s why the RO water might leach salts and minerals from your body. As a result, the minerals you consume will be urinated away from your body. And this can eventually affect your vital organs, causing various adverse health effects.

3. Causes Loss of Essential Elements While Cooking

When you use RO water for cooking, it might cause the loss of some necessary dietary elements. The total percentage of this loss might be as high as 60 percent for calcium and magnesium, 86 percent for cobalt, 70 percent for manganese, and 66 percent for copper.

On the other hand, if you use mineral water instead, the loss of such elements will be much lower. This lack of essential elements increases the risk factor for many different diseases.

Effects of Reverse Osmosis Water on Kidneys and Overall Health

Reduced mineral intake through water and food has many negative effects on the human body. It directly affects our body’s homeostasis increasing the risk of chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and neurological disease, gastrointestinal disorders, etc.

Below we have listed all the possible negative impacts of Reverse Osmosis water on your body. Let’s have a look.

1. Increased Risk of Gastrointestinal Disorders and Kidney Diseases

Natural water has a pH level of 6.5-7.5, which is ideal for our body. The Reverse Osmosis system brings down the pH level lower than 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Consuming water with such a low pH level might cause chronic kidney diseases.

Prolonged use of such water also causes gastrointestinal troubles such as chronic gastritis, permanent digestion issues, gastric and duodenal ulcers, etc.

One might argue that we consume acidic foods every now and then; it doesn’t harm our body. Here you need to understand that drinking 2-3 liter of acidic water daily isn’t the same as occasionally eating acidic fruits and vegetables.

2. High Blood Pressure and Brittle Bones

Our body requires enough minerals and micronutrients to function optimally. We obtain these elements from water and food.

Studies have shown that minerals present in water are readily absorbed by our bodies, while those coming from food take more time in general.

According to WHO, drinking water should contain 30 mg/L of beneficial calcium, 10 mg/L of magnesium, 30 mg/L of bicarbonate ion, and 100 mg/L of dissolved salts. As you know, Reverse Osmosis water eliminates most of these essential minerals.

Therefore, various health complaints arrive in just a few months of consuming RO-treated water.

For instance, deficiency of calcium results in brittle bones, reduced potassium leads to high blood pressure, and iron deficiency impacts blood formation.

3. Cardiovascular, Neurological, and More Bodily Harm

The elimination of sodium, calcium, potassium and chloride ions might cause inadequate body water redistribution. As a result, drinking RO water increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, preterm birth, low birth weight, and fractures in children.

Some more common side effects of drinking demineralized water include headache, tiredness, muscular cramps, weakness, impaired heart rate, negative impact on kidney functions, bone mineral density, and hormone secretion.

Will Remineralizing Reverse Osmosis Water Solve the Problem?

Remineralizing RO treated water will solve some of the problems, but it’s not optimum. In this process, some essential minerals like calcium and potassium are added back to the water after the filtration process.

Will Remineralizing Reverse Osmosis Water Solve the Problems

This might prevent many of the health issues related to drinking demineralized water, but the recreation of natural water, including all its minerals, is practically impossible.

Lastly, keep in mind that, Reverse Osmosis (RO) system is the most reliable option to purify water, and the risk factors might not apply to everyone. If you’re healthy and fit, the lack of minerals in RO water might not affect you at all.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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