Do you treat your drinking water with reverse osmosis?
If so, then you may be interested in remineralizing it to improve its taste and quality.
Reverse osmosis is often used as a treatment for drinking water because it can effectively remove harmful chemicals and impurities. Unfortunately, the process also removes many beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium – two important elements that are necessary for good tasting water and overall health. One way to restore these missing elements is through remineralization. This article reviews five ways you can restore the taste, quality, and healthful attributes of your RO treated water.
Continue reading to learn how to remineralize your reverse osmosis drinking water.
What Minerals Do Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove from Water
Reverse osmosis is a very effective treatment method that removes dangerous contaminants like lead, chromium 6, and arsenic from drinking water. One undesirable byproduct of RO treatment is that it also removes beneficial minerals that taste good and support healthy bodily functions. In the following section, we will review what reverse osmosis and why it removes healthful minerals.
The reverse osmosis process
Reverse osmosis is a multi-stage filtration process that uses pressure to force water through an ultra-fine membrane. The process works via osmosis – a filtration process that moves water from a concentrated solution to a more dilute one through an osmotic membrane. The membrane has ultra-small pores that only allow water molecules to pass through, while holding back contaminants and impurities like arsenic or fluoride.
The end result is clean drinking water with very low mineral content – which can make it taste flat or stale. In addition to complaints about the taste of RO water, it is also very aggressive and corrodes pipes and plumbing fixtures.
Beneficial minerals removed by reverse osmosis water filter
Reverse osmosis is very effective at removing ions from water. This includes many of the bad things that we don’t want to drink, but it also includes many of the good things that we want to keep in our water.
The following major beneficial elements are filtered out of drinking water by reverse osmosis:
Reverse osmosis also removes copper, zinc, selenium and fluoride from drinking water. These elements aren’t necessarily thought of as essential minerals or health additives, but they aren’t considered “contaminants” or “impurities” either.
Drinking water reverse osmosis filter worth considering
I installed this RO filter in my kitchen because I have low levels of lead and PFAS in my tap water. This filter removes all of these contaminants to below the laboratory detection limit. It gives me and my family comfort knowing our drinking water is safe.
You may want something like this for your home.
Is Drinking RO Water Bad for Your Health
If reverse osmosis is a water purification method, why does it also remove the healthy minerals I need from my drinking water?
As with all things in life, it is possible for something to have both positive and negative attributes. Reverse osmosis is no exception. This is why I include a Pro’s and Con’s section in many of my articles.
Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective and reliable methods for removing dangerous contaminants from drinking water. It can treat water contaminated with lead, arsenic, chromium 6, PFAS, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and many other dangerous chemicals. It is also used to remove nuisance compounds like chlorine, fluoride, bad taste, and odorous compounds.
On the flip side, it also removes beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium – two elements that are necessary for good tasting water and normal metabolic function.
Reverse osmosis removes the beneficial minerals in our drinking water. Is this bad for our health? The jury is still out on this question.
Many people express concerns about drinking water that lacks minerals and other elements. They cite:
- Reverse osmosis water is low in calcium and magnesium, two essential minerals that are necessary for good health.
- Distilled water (water with no ions) is very aggressive and can leach minerals from our bodies. This can lead to health problems like osteoporosis, tooth decay, and other issues.
- Cooking with RO water can leach minerals and vitamins out of the food.
- High cost associated with RO systems replacement filters
It is important to note that these concerns have not been verified through rigorous testing or studies. There are varying opinions on both sides of this issue.
What the experts say
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report titled “Health Risks from Drinking Demineralised Water“. This report is often cited by people who claim that drinking RO water is bad for you, but the WHO doesn’t actually make this claim. They instead focus on the risks to people who have poor nutrition and drink demineralized water. This isn’t the same thing as a healthy person with good eating habits drinking from a reverse osmosis water filter.
The WHO also notes that most people get the essential minerals from the food they eat and not from drinking water. One challenge they point out is that magnesium may be difficult for some populations to get from their diet because of what they eat. Regardless of your thoughts on this matter, this is an important topic that each of us needs to consider.
The problem with RO treated drinking water
Water that has been deionized – which is what reverse osmosis does – has several undesirable characteristics. People who drink RO treated water point out the following.
Bad taste: RO water lacks taste for most people. Others complain that it tastes off or like plastic. This is because reverse osmosis removes all of the dissolved minerals and other elements from the water – including those that give it flavor.
Stale taste: Reverse osmosis also removes chlorine and other chemicals that can contribute to a stale or flat tasting drinking water. It’s a little ironic that the absence of the “chemical” smell and taste of chlorine can make water taste bad!
Leaches minerals from your body: Without essential minerals, reverse osmosis water might leach minerals from your body over time. This is a particular concern for people who already have poor diets or eat foods that don’t contain many essential minerals.
Aggressive water: RO treated water is also aggressive and can corrode copper pipes and plumbing fixtures.
Despite these issues with RO water, it is important to note that reverse osmosis is one of the most effective water purification methods we have. It can remove lead, arsenic, and a host of other contaminants from drinking water.
I point this out because we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. In other words, despite these drawbacks associated with reverse osmosis, it is important to remember that it also does a lot of good – namely, it removes dangerous contaminants that make our water unsafe to drink.
Remineralization – Why You Should Remineralize RO Drinking Water
Most experts agree that adding minerals back into RO treated water can help it taste better and address some of the concerns people have about it.
Benefits of remineralizing reverse osmosis water
Adding minerals back to reverse osmosis treated water has several benefits. They include
- Improves the taste
- Eliminates the plastic or earthy flavor
- Reduces corrosivity of water
- Restores some of the water’s lost health benefits
What minerals should I add back
Before we start adding everything that we removed from our water back again, let’s review which minerals are important and what they do.
The two most important minerals we need are calcium and magnesium. They have a big impact on the taste and quality of drinking water as well as the aggressive corrosion of pipes.
What are these elements?
Calcium: Calcium is a mineral that’s essential to the integrity of bones and teeth, and it plays an important role in other important functions. It helps maintain normal heart function; it modulates the myocardial system muscle contraction; and it helps with blood coagulation. can decrease excitability or increase it depending on what your body needs at any given time!
Magnesium: Magnesium is an important mineral that plays many roles, including being involved in some of the body’s most basic functions. Magnesium helps regulate and activate over 300 enzymes with other molecules such as ATP for energy production or to transport sodium potassium and calcium through cells’ membranes; it also aids in the production of proteins and nucleic acids.
The WHO notes that, in addition to calcium and magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium ions are essential to normal and healthy bodily functions. These trace minerals are all important for human health and should be added back into our drinking water.
How to Remineralize Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water
Now that we know which minerals to add back into our RO water, let’s discuss how to do it. Here are the top 5 methods for remineralizing your drinking water that has been treated with reverse osmosis.
1. Remineralizing water filter system
One of the most convenient and effective ways to remineralize RO drinking water is by using a filter that can do it. These filters are designed for this purpose and usually contain calcium and magnesium. Some include other trace minerals, but there is not standard mix of minerals that are added back to RO water.
These devices are called “filters”, which is a bit of a misnomer because they add minerals rather than filtering them out. They are cartridges that are designed to work with a specific reverse osmosis system. The cartridges are filled with media that slowly dissolves as water flows through it, releasing the minerals into the water.
Whether you have a whole house reverse osmosis unit or an under-sink water filter system, you can easily remineralize RO water for your family.
This is a popular way to remineralize reverse osmosis drinking water, because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any additional equipment or special knowledge. You just replace the cartridge in your RO system with the remineralizing filter and you’re done!
This reverse osmosis filter system includes everything you need to purify your water and add back the minerals it removes. It is certified to NSF/ANSI 58 for reverse osmosis systems. This unit has a module that remineralizes the treated water and adjusts the pH to an alkaline level.
Are you considering reverse osmosis remineralization? Most RO filter manufacturers offer remineralization filters. Some call them alkaline filters while others call them remineralizers. This allows you to keep the RO filter system you have without having to do some complicated plumbing to install an after-market filter.
Most alkaline filters raise the pH, which is beneficial because reverse osmosis typically reduces the pH of your water.
Check out this video about RO water remineralization.
2. Alkaline water pitcher
A great way to improve the taste and quality of your RO drinking water is by using an alkaline water pitcher. These devices are part of a larger trend toward adding alkalinity to drinking water. Many people believe that drinking remineralized water improves their health, and this trend has resulted in an entire product line.
If you have a reverse osmosis filter an alkaline water pitcher can add missing minerals to your water. This improves the taste tremendously. It can even contribute more minerals for those who want to remineralize their RO water on their own terms.
There are alkaline water pitchers that add calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals to drinking water. To use one of these devices you simply pour RO filtered tap water into the pitcher and wait for it to become alkaline!
It’s important not to confuse an alkaline pitcher with a reverse osmosis filter because they have different purposes. The reverse osmosis filtration system removes minerals, whereas alkaline water pitchers add them back.
A pitcher that adds minerals to your drinking water is a great option for those who want the convenience of remineralizing reverse osmosis filtered tap water without any additional equipment or special knowledge. It’s also much more affordable than buying bottled mineralized waters.
There are many different brands and models of alkaline water pitchers, so you can find one that fits your needs.
This pitcher filter uses activated carbon to remove contaminants from your drinking water. It also adds important minerals and raises the pH to 9.8 for the optimum alkaline quality.
3. Alkaline water bottle
If you’re on the go and want a simple way to achieve your ro remineralizing goal, you can use an alkaline water bottle. These bottles work in a similar way to the pitchers, but they are smaller in size and meant to be portable. You add your RO water to the bottle, and it adds back calcium, magnesium, and some other trace minerals.
Alkaline water bottles come in many different sizes and shapes. Some have built-in filters that add minerals back into your drinking water as it sits in the bottle. Other bottles come with powders that you add when filling the bottle, and they dissolve as the water sloshes around.
These devices allow you to remineralize your RO drinking water on demand wherever you happen to be! They are easy-to use and portable, so anyone can benefit from one of these alkaline water bottles.
Check out this 40-ounce water bottle. It produces alkaline drinking water with a pH up to 9. The vacuum insulated stainless steel housing keeps water cold for 24 hours.
4. Trace mineral drops
A simple way to add back the missing minerals in your drinking water is by using trace mineral drops. These are vials of liquid that you add to your water. They contain a mix of minerals that can help improve the taste and quality of your RO water.
A bottle of mineral drops can treat as much as 200 gallons of water. They are a little pricey – some bottles cost as much as $42. If you shop around, you can find some that are less than $20 a bottle.
There are many different brands and types of trace mineral drops, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing them. Some drops have added flavors that can improve the taste of your RO water.
Others are unflavored and meant to be added directly into drinking glasses or bottles without any special preparation. Trace mineral drops work quickly, so you’ll notice an improvement in just a few hours.
These drops can remineralize your RO treated water and raise the pH to an alkaline level of 9. The Alkazone drops add potassium and calcium to your drinking water – key minerals to improve its taste.
The problem with drops is you have to add it to every glass of water you drink and every pitcher of water you fill up. If you’re cooking, you have to remember to add it to your pot. This can be inconvenient for some people.
Despite the inconvenience, using mineral drops is an affordable and easy-to use method, making them great for anyone who wants to remineralize their RO water.
5. Mineral salts
Another option you can use to remineralize your drinking water is mineral salts. This isn’t table salt.
Mineral salts are a special kind of sea-salt which contains many of the minerals that reverse osmosis removes.
One popular mineral salt used by RO filter owners is Himalayan Sea salt. It is reported that Himalayan Sea salt contains as many as 80 trace elements. You can either add a tiny pinch to every glass of water or else add around a quarter of a teaspoon to every gallon of water.
There are other mineral salts available as well. You can find these in health food stores and specialty kitchen shops.
You may add a tiny pinch to every glass of water or, alternatively, approximately a quarter teaspoon to each gallon of water. One disadvantage of using mineral salts is you’re adding salt to your water. For people looking to limit their sodium intake, this is not a good solution.
This is the Himalayan Sea salt I use. It has a high purity and tastes great.
Discussion of pH versus Alkaline
Many manufacturers sell alkaline filters or conditioners for the RO systems. The word alkaline creates a lot of confusion with consumers because most people equate alkaline with high pH (also known as basic).
We all learned about pH in high school chemistry. Something with a low pH is an acid, and something with a high pH is basic.
Adding the word alkaline – which is also used to describe something with a high pH – creates a lot of confusion.
Alkalinity is a measurement of the concentration of all alkaline substances dissolved in the water. Total alkalinity is primarily bicarbonate and carbonate. When acid is added, these alkaline compounds neutralize some of the acid. In simpler terms, total alkalinity is a measurement of the water’s ability to resist change in pH.
Final Take on Remineralizing RO Water
Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that removes contaminants from the drinking water. It also removes beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium. Many people complain that RO treated water has a bad taste, and some are concerned about what the absence of minerals means for their health – although most experts agree that it’s safe to drink RO water.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can add these minerals back to your drinking water. You don’t need to switch to bottled water. RO remineralization helps to reintroduce some of these important elements back into your drinking water so it can be healthy and delicious again. Check out our blog post on 5 ways to remineralize reverse osmosis drinking water.