Bottled Water Shocker: Is It Really Bad for Your Heart?
As far back as the 1960s, scientists noticed an interesting connection between water and heart disease. It appeared that if you had “hard” water—that is, water containing lots of minerals, the kind of water that ruins the heating element in your water heater and creates a scaly buildup in your teakettle—you were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
They couldn’t explain why, but it was an effect they saw over and over again: the “harder” your water, the lower your risk of heart problems. In fact, more than fifty studies scattered over nine different countries show this effect. More investigation revealed that this was partially due to the high magnesium content of hard water. Since then it’s been repeatedly shown that the higher your magnesium intake, the less likely you are to suffer a variety of heart problems including:
- Coronary artery disease.
- Cardiac arrhythmia.
- Or sudden death.
There’s also some evidence that calcium too plays a protective role, possibly due to the synergy of calcium and magnesium. And of course dietary calcium protects against osteoporosis. Unfortunately, in the U.S. most people are extremely low—and often clinically deficient —in magnesium. And even though half the processed foods we eat today are “calcium fortified,” we still don’t get enough of it either.
Now, here’s the thing that you will never, ever hear discussed in mainstream medical circles, or even by nutritionists: a big chunk of our dietary calcium and magnesium used to come from our drinking water. But not anymore. And that just might be breaking our hearts.
De-mineralized water: a growing public health threat
What you will hear is that you should get your daily magnesium from food—especially nuts, leafy greens, and seafood. (And if that sounds like what the typical American is likely to eat, I will personally eat my hat.) If you find an extremely open-minded doctor, they might grudgingly admit that taking a magnesium supplement won’t hurt you. But—they’ll never recommend one. And they certainly won’t say “drink more water.” Instead they’ll prescribe a handful of drugs.
You’ll also hear from many sources that water can’t possibly be a good source of dietary minerals. The forms of minerals found in water, we’re told, are inorganic ones that we can’t absorb.
Horse hockey. This is simply not true.
I’m not sure where this idea comes from, but I’ve seen it parroted on sites across the internet. The truth is that many minerals occur in water in a highly bioavailable form. That is, a form easily absorbed by our bodies—sometimes more easily absorbed than those that come from food. According to the World Health Organization, these readily absorbed minerals include:
(Sodium, chloride, and fluoride may occur naturally, but are often added during the water “treatment” process.)
Other bioavailable minerals include:
- And manganese.
Some studies, in fact, have found that magnesium naturally present in water is absorbed 30% faster—and better—than the magnesium found in food. Drinking water, these studies say, can also provide more than one third of the calcium we need each day. So what are we, in our mineral-deficient society, doing?
We’re stripping all the minerals out of our water, of course.
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink
This demineralization is due almost entirely to the bottled water industry and its cousin, home water filtration. Back in the 80s, if you’d told us that in we’d soon be paying as much for drinking water as for soda or milk—and that we’d be doing it willingly, when we had perfectly good tap water—you’d have been laughed at. After all, the U.S. had—and still has—some of the safest drinking water in the world in spite of our pollution problems.
Yet today, Americans buy more bottled water than they do milk and—even more surprisingly—beer. Why is that a bad thing? Because not only is it sold in plastic bottles that leach chemicals into the water, most bottled water is stripped of all its natural minerals. Not just calcium and magnesium and their associated health benefits, but all its minerals including trace minerals like selenium. This has a huge impact on the quality of the water. It robs us of an important dietary source of many essential minerals.
But that’s not the biggest problem. Water which has had the minerals removed becomes “hungry,” for want of a better word. When it’s lost its natural minerals, it will leach out the minerals of anything it comes in contact with—including your body. Demineralization changes the pH of the water, making more acidic. Acidic water attracts minerals already present in your body and holds onto them so that they’re eliminated in your urine. So if you’re drinking acidic bottled water, even if you take a calcium and magnesium supplement you might be flushing it down the toilet.
Bottled water is chemically different than tap water
And here’s the thing: more than half the brands of bottled water out there—including the biggest-selling brands like Dasani and Nestle Pure Life—are nothing more than tap water.
Most bottled water comes from municipal water supplies. It then goes through so many processes that it barely resembles water any more. These processes include reverse osmosis and sometimes distillation. Both remove all the minerals from the water and actually change its molecular structure.
Molecules of water that has gone through these processes are physically larger than natural water molecules. They don’t hydrate as well. And that means—you guessed it—that we’re more likely to buy another bottle of water because we’re still thirsty. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s absolutely intentional.
Back in 2000, Pepsi’s vice president bluntly stated that, “The biggest enemy [of bottled water] is tap water.” And a Gatorade spokesperson said, “When we’re done, tap water will be relegated to irrigation and washing dishes.” (Pepsi manufactures Aquafina—from tap water.) Nestle, which owns the third biggest selling brand of water, has publicly stated that it doesn’t believe clean drinking water is a right but a privilege. So the food giants set out to make us afraid of drinking from our taps.
And it’s worked.
Today most of us would no more drink straight tap water than we would raw sewage. But here’s the truth: If you have municipal water, it’s probably safer and better for your body than bottled water. Municipal water quality is monitored by the EPA, and there are standards it has to adhere to. Guess who “monitors” bottled water?
The FDA. And we all know how safe FDA regulation is.
Should you filter it? Probably—but not with a pricey reverse osmosis system. Reverse osmosis demineralizes, yet still doesn’t remove much of the stuff we don’t want in our tap water. A carbon block filter is a healthier—and less expensive—choice. So don’t buy the bottled water baloney. Turn on your tap and treat yourself to a heart-healthy dose of minerals instead.
NOTE: Get FREE access to my special “ What’s In Your Water?” Guide: Your Only Resource to Gauging the Quality of Your Tap Water and How Bottled Water Brands Compare today only, click here now...
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