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What the WHO says about drinking water

The World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to promoting health as “a state of complete physical, mental and


You need to get 10 – 20% of your daily needs for calcium and magnesium from the water you drink ~WHO

social well being”. To achieve this goal, WHO researches nutrition, hydration, toxic chemicals, stress, and many other things including drinking water that affect your health. Because water is necessary for health, the WHO embarked on multiple studies to examine the effects of the kind of water people drink on their overall health. These studies looked at what effect the minerals in water had on health, and found that for good health, you need to get some of your daily needs for calcium and magnesium from the water you drink.

Nutrients in drinking water

The WHO concluded that there are only two minerals in natural water at high enough concentrations to make a meaningful contribution to health: Calcium and magnesium. While there are other minerals present in drinking water, such as potassium, these other minerals aren’t usually at high enough concentrations to affect your health. It is because of this finding, that the Life Ionizers blog has concentrated on the calcium and magnesium in alkaline water as being primarily responsible for the health effects of ionized alkaline water.

The difference between the calcium and magnesium in ordinary water versus ionized alkaline water

Note: The WHO study evaluated municipal water supplies. This information is provided to clarify the differences in chemistry between ionized alkaline water and plain water.

Plain water has calcium bicarbonate and magnesium bicarbonate in it. Ionized alkaline water has calcium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide in it. When dissolved in water calcium and magnesium become cations: Charged particles. Cations have a negative charge. Bicarbonate and hydroxide ions are anions, they have a positive charge.

Bottom line: The main difference between the chemistry of ionized alkaline water and plain water are the types of anions found in each water. Plain water has bicarbonate anions, ionized alkaline water has hydroxide anions. The hydroxide ions in alkaline water make it easier for your body to absorb the minerals in your water than the carbonate ions in tap water does. This is one of the reasons alkaline water is better for your health than regular water

Magnesium in drinking water: Greater contribution to heart health

The WHO concluded that the magnesium in drinking water is the mineral in drinking water that’s likely to have the most beneficial effect on heart health. Calcium also showed benefits, but the evidence wasn’t as clear-cut as it was for magnesium. The WHO found that people who drank hard water had significantly less cardiovascular disease than people who drank softer water.

The WHO also found that magnesium and calcium from drinking water may be effective in reducing blood pressure for people with high blood pressure. The WHO found evidence that calcium and magnesium deficiencies are widespread, and that these deficiencies may be linked to heart problems and high blood pressure. Based on their review of available research, the WHO concluded that higher levels of calcium and magnesium are correlated with lower levels of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Other health benefits of calcium and magnesium

The WHO also noted that there is limited but suggestive evidence that getting sufficient calcium and magnesium from drinking water may reduce your risk of :

  • Stroke
  • Kidney stones
  • Mental decline in the elderly
  • Weakened bones

Are you getting enough calcium and magnesium in your water?

Based on multiple studies, the WHO suggests that water with a minimum hardness of 20 to 30 mg/L calcium, and 10 mg/L magnesium is recommended for good health. But there is a problem: The calcium and magnesium bicarbonates in drinking water can be hard to absorb.

Calcium and magnesium in alkaline water easier to absorb

Some research shows that the hydroxide minerals in alkaline water are easier to absorb, especially for people who have digestive issues that make it hard for them to absorb calcium and magnesium. Research on drinking alkaline water for bone health suggests that these easier to absorb hydroxide minerals may be the reason there is a link between alkaline water and bone health.

WHO: Fluoride levels in water should be reduced

High levels of fluoride in drinking water causes skeletal fluorosis, a crippling disease that causes weak and deformed bones. Because of this, the WHO suggests that fluoride levels in drinking water should be between .1 and 0.3 mg/L. But fluoride levels in US water supplies are allowed to be much higher. The EPA allows fluoride in concentrations up to 4.0 mg/L – 13.3 times higher than WHO recommendations. In fact, it is a well-documented fact that fluoride levels as low as 2 mg/L can still cause dental fluorosis – spotting and discoloration of teeth. The WHO does suggest that fluoride levels as high as 1.5 mg/L may be helpful in areas where risks for tooth decay are high. But for developed countries that have broad public access to toothpaste, the WHO concluded that fluoridating drinking water has little or no benefit to public health.

Free fluoride filters with purchase! If you have fluoride in your water and you purchase a Life water ionizer, we will provide you with our fluoride/heavy metals filter at no charge.

Is your water healthy to drink?

Minerals in tap water hard to absorb: Most public water sources contain adequate levels of calcium and magnesium for good health, but there’s still a problem: Many public water supplies get their calcium and magnesium from dolomite – a naturally occurring rock. But those minerals are in the form of carbonates which are hard for your body to absorb. Carbonate minerals require stomach acid to break them down, or your body can’t absorb them. Your stomach doesn’t make stomach acid when you drink water, so those minerals never get absorbed by your body.

Water ionizers fix the absorption problem by converting the carbonate minerals in water into hydroxide minerals. The body readily absorbs these hydroxide minerals. These easy to absorb minerals may be why alkaline water is better for your health than regular water. Studies show that the calcium in alkaline water is easier for the body to absorb, even for people with digestive problems that make it hard for them to absorb calcium!

What about fluoride? Any health benefits from fluoridated water exclusively benefits children. There is no benefit to adults from fluoridated water whatsoever. So if you live in a home without children, it’s safe to eliminate fluoride from your water altogether. Eliminating fluoride from your water may help protect you from skeletal fluorosis, and may reduce your risk of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Toxins may be present in your water that make it unhealthy to drink. It’s best to review the annual report that your local water utility files with the EPA annually to find out what toxins are in your water supply, so you can get a filter system for them. Life Ionizers will do this work for you, click here for a free water quality analysis

Drink the healthiest water on the planet. Call us today at  877-959-7977 for a free, no obligation water quality consultation. Our experts are ready to answer your questions.


World Health Organization, . “Nutrients in Drinking Water .” WHO | Nutrients in drinking water. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 5 Jul 2013. <>.

Ong, Choon. “Minerals from drinking-water: Bioavailability for various world populations and health implications.” WHO | Water Sanitation Health. World Health Organization, 17 Aug 2004. Web. 4 Jul 2013. <>.

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