RO systems can effectively eliminate up to 99% of contaminants and impurities from water. Nevertheless, during the filtration process, they also remove the necessary dissolved minerals in natural drinking water.
There are claims that drinking demineralized water for long periods of time can negatively affect your kidneys and overall health. While water that is low in minerals certainly tastes different, it’s unlikely to damage your kidneys.
Effects of Reverse Osmosis Water on Kidneys and Overall Health
Ultimately, reduced mineral intake through water is very unlikely to have any effects on the human body.
If you have heard that it can mess with the body’s homeostasis and increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and neurological disease, gastrointestinal disorders, etc, please refer to extensive, peer-reviewed research publications that debunk these claims at the core.
That said, let’s look at some of these claims:
1. Reverse Osmosis Demineralizes Regular Drinking Water
Even though it may not seem like it, water is actually a pretty complex liquid. It contains contaminants, and various organic and inorganic components.
Reverse osmosis units typically feature 3-stage RO filters that remove all types of contaminants that are found in tap water. However, 92 to 99% of healthy minerals such as calcium and magnesium are also lost in the filtration process. So, the claim that reverse osmosis removes minerals from water is actually true.
The bottom line is that we shouldn’t only rely on drinking water to fulfil our recommended dietary mineral allowances in the first place. Simply put, the amount of minerals we get from water consumption is pretty negligible when compared to our daily nutrition intake.
In a nutshell, losing the mineral intake from reverse osmosis drinking water is not ideal, but it’s not by any means bad for the kidneys.
2. RO Water Leaches Minerals From Your Body
The reverse osmosis process turns pure water into low TDS water.
People may thing this is harmful in the long run because the World Health Organization states that the levels of water should be anywhere between 300 and 500 ppm TDS for optimal use and consumption.
And while it would be best that your drinking water meets these criteria, exactly how harmful can the lack of these minerals be? Is RO water leaching salts and minerals from your body in order to balance itself out, thus affecting homeostasis? The answer is no. There hasn’t been any proof of this occurrence, and there’s plenty of evidence pointing otherwise.
3. ALL Essential Minerals Are Lost in the Process
While this is true—minerals are lost—the nutrition that you get from water will not make a difference in your overall health and well-being, as we already pointed out. So, by all means, dip that spaghetti bowl straight under your RO faucet.
Will Adding Back Minerals Improve the Water?
If you still want healthy minerals in your water, remineralizing RO-treated water is the way to go. During this process, minerals such as calcium and potassium are added back to your water, which improves its overall taste.
Relying exclusively on RO water will not prove damaging for your body and health in the long run. Reverse osmosis systems stand as some of the most reliable options when it comes to water filtration.
If you’re healthy, fit and have a rich diet, the lack of minerals in RO water will have no effect on your kidney whatsoever.