According to Dr. John Sorenson, a leading authority on mineral metabolism.
Research on heart disease and cancer shows a healthy water is hard and moderately high in TDS (total dissolved solids). Why do people purchase these de-mineralized or water softening systems? Usually their thinking goes something like this. "I know I should drink water, but it's so polluted with chlorine, chemicals and toxic metals, that it's not safe. So I'll get rid of these harmful things and all will be OK."
Not really. Creating a "healthy water" means removing the harmful agents but keeping the beneficial minerals. "Minerals in drinking water are more easily and better absorbed than minerals from food," according to Dr. John Sorenson, a leading authority on mineral metabolism.
Purifiying devices remove everything from the water, harmful bacteria and beneficial minerals. This stripped water cannot sustain life even in a fish bowl. All fish require minerals to prosper, and if allowed to live in these types of water will perish. If this type of water is ingested for long periods of time, it can leach out valuable body minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. Mineralized water is needed for all cellular functions and if there are no minerals in your drinking water your body will rob the minerals from somewhere in your body to satisfy its needs. One can take mineral supplements to replace them however, it is not easy to replace the minerals in our bodies in the same form that we lost them. References: (5) , (7) , (22) , (44) , (46) , (50)
That water is a basic necessity of life is nothing new, but Finnish health researchers reported Thursday that drinking hard water can actually help people avoid early death from cardiovascular disease.
"There are regional differences in the chemistry of the ground water that correlate with the incidence of heart disease," Pekka Puska, director general of the Finnish National Health Institute, told AFP.
"The study shows that the softer the water is, the more heart disease there is," he added.
While researchers have been aware of this phenomenon for some time, most studies done so far have been very general, Puska said.
The new research is the first detailed survey, covering 19,000 incidents of heart attacks across Finland, and then linking them to geochemical data of the drinking water in the communities where the incidents had occured.
Whether water is hard or soft depends on the quantity of mineral salts, typically magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, aluminum, fluoride and iron, dissolved in it.
Normally hard water is described as containing more than 250 parts per million (PPM) of mineral salts, while mineral water typically has 500 PPM.
Research from the west and south of Finland, where the drinking water is hard, found far fewer incidents of cardiovascular diseases than was the case in the north and east of the country, where the drinking water is soft, Puska said.
The researchers did not single out which of the minerals contributed to the effect, Puska said.
There's reason to believe hard water is actually good for you. The UK's Drinking Water Inspectorate claims that "there is evidence of less heart disease in hard water areas than in soft water areas, although not all studies find this link." A study by Lacey and Shaper in 1984 concluded:
New results based on changes that have taken place in water hardness and in cardiovascular death rates between 1961 and 1971 in the county boroughs of England and Wales indicate a significant trend for men, in the direction of decreasing cardiovascular mortality with increasing hardness, but no trend for women. The trend in male mortality appears to be specific to cardiovascular disease. The results are similar to those of the earlier study and support the hypothesis of a weak causal relationship between the hardness of drinking water and mortality from cardiovascular disease.
A 1980 National Research Council report claims that drinking water with high dissolved calcium and magnesium content can be an important source of these minerals in the diet.
Drinking hard water may protect against heart disease, researchers have claimed.
Researchers from the Geographical Survey of Finland looked at 19,000 men who had suffered heart attacks.
They found for every unit increase in water hardness, there was a 1% decrease in the risk of having a further attack.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers said the findings explained regional variations in heart attack rates.
They said the differences of up to 40% between areas could not be explained solely by lifestyle or genetic factors.
The team looked at men aged between 35 and 74, who had had an initial heart attack in the years 1983, 1988, and 1993.
It is not implausible that water hardness might affect disease rates Professor Jeremy Pearson, British Heart Foundation
They also examined national geological survey data on water hardness and trace elements, divided up into 10 by 10 kilometre grids.
Hard water is any water which contains an appreciable quantity of dissolved minerals
The researchers looked at measurements levels of calcium, magnesium, fluoride, iron, copper, zinc, nitrate and aluminium from almost 12,500 groundwater samples.
They suggest higher fluoride levels were protective, with every one milligram of fluoride per litre of household drinking water was associated with a 3% decrease in the risk of a heart attack.
But for every microgram of iron per litre, risk increased by an average of 4%, and for every microgram of copper per litre of water, it increased by 10%.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers, led by Dr Anne Kousa, said: "The large geographical variations and changes in the incidence of heart attacks in Finland cannot be explained by individual lifestyle or genetic factors alone.
"Environmental exposures must also contribute to the development of the disease."
But Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, told BBC News Online: "There have been several studies going back more than 35 years examining the relationship between incidence of coronary heart disease and hardness of local water supplies, with inconsistent results.
"It is not implausible that water hardness might affect disease rates, since it relates to the levels of trace elements that may be important for nutrition. However, the contribution of drinking water to the total intake of these elements is usually low."
He added: "This study concludes that the incidence of acute myocardial infarction is significantly lower in areas of the country where water is harder.
"However, it is clear that any effect that there might be is small by comparison with the well-known major risk factors, such as poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking and high alcohol intake."