Which kind of water has nature provided for us to drink?
Can we cover our daily mineral requirements with tap water or mineral water? Can our organism effectively use the minerals in drinking water or mineral water? We want to get to the bottom of these questions and look at the biological and physiological metabolic processes.
Minerals in drinking water and in food: The fine difference
Spring water and river water are only very slightly mineralized, whereas rainwater is, or should be, practically free of minerals. Drinking water with a high mineral content has only been taking place for a few decades. Industrialization has created technical processes to tap water reservoirs stored at depth. Thus, it is basically not “natural” and species-appropriate to drink mineral water or to enrich drinking water with minerals.
Water contains minerals in the form of so-called mineral salts, also known as anorganic minerals. For the minerals in drinking water to be used effectively in the metabolism at all, they must be present in a form that is available to the body.
Basically, minerals are divided into:
- anorganic compounds
- organic compounds
Solid foods contain mainly organic minerals in the form of protein compounds (chelates) and natural sugars. The absorption of these organic substances is much easier for the body than that of the inorganic salts. However, even if we could easily absorb the minerals in drinking water, the amount contained in it is very small compared to other foods – so small that normal tap water as a source of minerals or mineral water is not sufficient to meet our daily needs!
The intake of minerals
In assessing which minerals are most suitable for the human organism, it has been rare to distinguish between
- the function = the use of minerals in the body and
- the “transport packaging” = the absorption of the minerals into the body
The findings of recent years show that the intake of minerals has little to do with how these substances are used in the body and in what form they occur there. A small example: If you are iron deficient, eating iron chips will do you no good. What you need is iron in an organic compound that the body can use effectively.
To investigate the importance of drinking water as a source of minerals, Prof. Dr. Helmut Heseker of the University of Paderborn examined 216 German drinking waters and 234 mineral waters for their calcium, magnesium and sodium contents as part of a national consumption study. The following minerals in drinking water were analyzed:
The calcium content of German drinking water (tap water) averages 73.5 milligrams, while mineral water contains 117.0 milligrams per liter. According to this study, the bioavailability of calcium from drinking water is 35% on average. To meet the daily calcium requirement of 1,000 milligrams per day, a person would have to drink at least 8.5 liters of mineral water. If the bioavailability is taken into account, the required drinking quantity is even more than 20 liters. The situation is even more extreme with ordinary tap water: Between 13.6 and 38 liters would have to be drunk to cover the daily calcium requirement with tap water.
The situation is similar for magnesium. To cover the daily magnesium requirement of 400 milligrams with water, a person would have to consume 10 to 19 liters of mineral water or 37 to 70 liters of tap water. Not surprisingly, mineral water contains an average of only 40 milligrams, and tap water only 10 milligrams of magnesium per liter.
Conclusions of the national consumption study by Prof. Dr. Heseker: “The importance of such beverages (meaning drinking and mineral water) as sources of minerals is clearly overestimated. Minerals are predominantly absorbed with solid foods. A varied, mixed diet ensures that the body’s requirements of essential vitamins and minerals are safely met.” According to Prof. Dr. Heseker, the bioavailability of minerals from water is as high as 30 to 40 %.
What does the term “bioavailability” mean?
Bioavailability is the degree of release of a proportion of active ingredient that can be detected unchanged in the bloodstream after a certain period of time. Does bioavailability of 30 to 40 percent automatically mean that 30 to 40 percent of the minerals dissolved in water are actually metabolized by the cell?
The U.S. “vitamin pope” Dr. Earl Mindell emphasizes that the ability to metabolize minerals is due to their property of being available to the body in organically bound form. In Dr. Mindell’s opinion, the intake of minerals should take place via the plant-based diet.
According to Dr. DeWayne Ashmead’s 1985 study, “Intestinal absorption of metal ions and chelates,” it also appears that the body can absorb chelated, or organically bound, minerals better than inorganic minerals. Magnesium bound to amino acids, for example, would be assimilated 1.8 times better than inorganic magnesium carbonate, 2.6 times better than magnesium sulfate, and 4.1 times better than magnesium oxide. Consideration of other minerals yielded similar results.
Water with a high mineral content, such as that from a medicinal spring, cannot meet the body’s mineral requirements and in the process creates another problem: Minerals that the body cannot use must be excreted again, putting a strain on the buffer systems and kidneys. If the kidneys do not function properly, the “unusable” minerals are stored in different tissues.
Larger quantities of inorganic minerals in drinking water also give the water an unpleasant metallic, sometimes salty taste, which has a negative impact on food and beverages. This is particularly evident in mineral and table water that has been left open for a long time: Once the carbon dioxide has dissipated, the water often tastes stale and unpleasant and no longer quenches thirst.
What are the best sources of minerals for our organism?
A balanced, diversified diet with a large regional share of salads, vegetables and fresh fruit is optimal. For cooking and drinking, use water that is free of pollutants, pure and low in minerals. Just like the water from Aqua Naturalis, thanks to modern filter technology you always have drinking water of the best quality in your house.
With a balanced and broad-based diet, the body normally builds up a store of all vital substances, from which it covers its needs. This body’s own store is automatically replenished as soon as the appropriate minerals are offered in the diet. Trust that your body will get all the substances necessary for its maintenance and health in an optimal way from a rich food supply.