Health and Water: Much More than Plain H2O

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Water coming from anywhere in nature will contain traces of different dissolved components, like gases, minerals, and organic matter of natural or anthropogenic origin that impact its quality. Especially minerals, which are essential to the correct function of our bodies.

Water covers most of the surface of the planet, and it is also the main component of the human body, taking part in physiological processes and contributing to good health. Water is the carrier of nutrients and substances in the circulatory system, but it also enables the excretion of waste and toxins, apart from lubricating, and structurally supporting tissues and joints. 

But water is much more than the H2O we all know. The water we consume can come from rain, snow, ice, mountains, lakes, or the sea. Water coming from anywhere in nature will contain traces of different dissolved components, like gases, minerals, and organic matter of natural or anthropogenic origin that impact its quality. Especially minerals, which are essential to the correct function of our bodies. 

Drinking Water: A Source of Essential Minerals 

The importance of minerals inside our water has existed for thousands of years. The Vedas of ancient India defined the properties of drinking water, with a desirable presence of certain components that have shown to be essential for the human body [1].  

Indeed, 14 components have been pointed out as essential for human health. In some cases, they are added in the course of fresh water treatment [1] by a process called water remineralisation.

Remineralisation takes place when the content of dissolved minerals in water is too low for essential components, such as calcium and magnesium. The importance of this step comes from the adverse effects that the absence of certain minerals has in our bodies, and their presence at the correct concentration is so important that the World Health Organization has standardized the mineral content in water through several reports [1]. 

Remineralisation takes place when the content of dissolved minerals in water is too low for essential components, such as calcium and magnesium. The importance of this step comes from the adverse effects that the absence of certain minerals has in our bodies, and their presence at the correct concentration is so important that the World Health Organization has standardized the mineral content in water through several reports [1]. 

The Consequences of a Low-mineral Intake 

The contribution of mineral intake through drinking water depends on water consumption, which is flexible according to behavioural and environmental factors. However, the health consequences of a low mineral intake have been identified by research, and they vary from increased morbidity, to reduced immune system defences, and impaired physical and mental development [1]. 

However, dissolved minerals in water go beyond calcium and magnesium alone. About 14 elements have been demonstrated to be of elevated importance for human health, and function in different ways within our bodies. Some of them function as simple ions (as cations or anions) or by bonding with other elements, such as organic molecules and intact proteins. These 14 elements are essential to maintain bone and membrane structure, water and electrolyte balance, metabolic catalysis, oxygen binding and hormone functions [1]. 

The intake of these minerals is essential to keep an optimal health, given that the human body is not capable to produce them, thus their intake from foods and water is necessary to keep optimal health conditions [2]. 

Mineral Composition and Water Classification 

The presence of minerals in water is a factor that allows to classify it into different categories. Sorting out the water according to the mineral content is used to identify the health properties of each type. In this instance, the predominant element will define the final natural water characteristics, and distinguishes the different sorts, namely bicarbonate mineral waters, sulphate mineral water, chloride, calcic, magnesiac, fluorurate, ferrous and sodium-rich mineral waters [2]. 

The benefits of each type of natural mineral waters are shown in Table 1. 

Table 1: Characteristics of the main natural mineral waters, the content of the main mineral and their benefits for human health [2]

 

characteristics-of-the-main-natural-mineral-waters

 

Essential Minerals in Drinking Water 

Mineral-rich drinking waters may provide an important contribution to the total required intake in some population groups and subgroups [3]. Minerals within our bodies can be sorted into two different categories, macronutrients, present in the human body in modest quantities, and micro-nutrients, which are essential trace elements for some biological functions [2]. 

The classification and some basic functions of essential minerals in drinking water are shown in Table 1. 

Table 2: Minerals present in drinking water and their function within our bodies [2]

 

minerals-present-in-drinking-water-and-their-function-within-our-bodies

 

The Difference Between Spring and Tap Water 

The main difference between these spring and tap water is that mineral, or spring water, comes from natural reservoirs, and unlike tap water, the former is not subject to chemical processing. On the other hand, tap water must contain an established amount of minerals, and the bottling process takes place right at the source [4].

Before tap water gets to our households by pipes, public water suppliers transport water from the source to the treatment plants, where it is subject to treatment and chemical disinfection before being fed to the grid. Part of the treatment involves adding minerals, like calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, zinc, and potassium [4], with the objective to reach the recommended mineral content.

Mineral content of water is regulated by different instances around the world. For instance, in Europe, the Commission Directive 2003/40/EC establishes the list, concentration limits and labelling requirements for the constituents naturally present in mineral waters, particularly those that might pose a risk on public health. The list is shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Natural constituents of water and maximum limits according to the COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2003/40/EC [3].

 

natural-constituents-of-water-and-maximum-limits

 

In BOSAQ we ensure that the water you consume is packed with the essential minerals that your body needs to function properly. Our personalized bottled Source Zero. Water allows you to count on nature-friendly and locally- sourced water to ensure a nutritious hydration while on the go. 

 

References 

[1] World Health Organization, ‘Nutrients in Drinking Water’, World Health Organization, 2005.

[2] S. Quattrini, B. Pampaloni, and M. L. Brandi, ‘Natural mineral waters: chemical characteristics and health effects’, Clin. Cases Miner. Bone Metab., vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 173–180, 2016, doi: 10.11138/ccmbm/2016.13.3.173.

[3] P. MARAGKOUDAKIS, ‘Water’, EU Science Hub – European Commission, Jun. 20, 2017. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/health-knowledge-gateway/promotion-prevention/nutrition/water (accessed Sep. 07, 2020).

[4] ‘Is mineral water more healthful? Benefits and side effects’, Apr. 09, 2019. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324910 (accessed Sep. 07, 2020).

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