Is Demineralized Water Safe Drinking Water?

Low TDS drinking water.In my last blog post I looked at whether or not a reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system is the right technology for your homes or office. Towards the end of the post, I promised to look further into whether or not demineralized water is safe drinking water. Research clearly shows the negative health effects of consuming water produced by reverse osmosis (or distillation) which is classified as demineralized. Skip down a few paragraphs for the full story.

If you really need the power of reverse osmosis, I highly recommend the Everpure ROM II or ROM III RO systems which you can learn more about here. Special requirements might include flouride or sodium reduction, total dissolved solids (TDS) issues as well as more challenging chemical contamination like arsenic, radium, nitrates and nitrites, etc.

Is demineralized water worth it?

  • Can you remineralize water produced by distillation or reverse osmosis by installing in-line cartridges or adding a pinch of Himalayan sea salt? Yes. Does it reproduce what Mother Nature has created over thousands of years? Probably not.
  • Can you use stainless steel plumbing and glass containers to avoid metal leaching and acidification by carbon dioxide absorption? Yes. Is is still a good idea to drink highly aggressive, demineralized water? Most health experts say no.
  • Should you use demineralized water for cooking, making coffee or preparing baby formula? The experts clearly say no, it's not safe drinking water. What then do you use for cooking? Unfiltered, chlorinated tap water that may contain contaminants like VOCs, THMs, Lead and Mercury?
  • When you add the negative health effects of demineralized water to the discussion points in our last blog about RO including the high cost, installation challenges, maintenance requirements and high volume of waste water produced, is it really worth it?

What Type of Water Filtration System Would I Recommend?

After working with a long list of water treatment technologies and applications for over 15 years, I believe that except for truly extenuating circumstances and water sources, a combination of carbon block and ultrafiltration (UF) technologies, certified to NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 standards is the right tool for making most municipal tap water into safe drinking water. That’s why I’ve trusted both my workplace and family’s water to the Everpure line of water filtration systems from industry leader Pentair, My favourite is the Everpure H-300 because of it's ability to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including THMs.  Click here to see if the Everpure H-300 Water Filtration System from Elua is right for your home or office.

What is demineralized water?

As you might guess by the name, demineralized water (also referred to as deionized water) is almost completely free of minerals such as Magnesium, Calcium and a long list of other naturally occurring, dissolved minerals. Demineralized water is generally defined as having between 1-10 mg/L (ppm) of total dissolved solids (TDS). By contrast, spring or mineral waters have TDS levels of between 50-300 mg/L. While the term “demineralized water” sounds innocent enough, is it safe drinking water? Many authorities have gone on record to state that drinking it will adversely affect your health. One of those authorities is the World Health Organization (WHO) which produced a report in 2004 titled “Health Risks From Drinking Demineralised Water”. In it, they state the following:

“It has been adequately demonstrated that consuming water of low mineral content has a negative effect on homeostasis mechanisms, compromising the mineral and water metabolism in the body.”

Why would consuming water with a lower mineral content have a negative effect on our health?

The WHO breaks up the answer into 5 categories:

    •  Direct effects on the intestinal mucous membrane, metabolism and mineral homeostasis or other body functions.
    • Little or no intake of calcium and magnesium from low-mineral water.
    • Low intake of other essential elements and microelements.
    • Loss of calcium, magnesium and other essential elements in prepared food.
    • Possible increased dietary intake of toxic metals.

To explain in simpler language, demineralized water isn't the safest drinking water for you health for these 4 reasons:

  1. Negatively effects various aspects of our biology,
  2. Does not provide minerals essential to our health,
  3. Strips foods of essential minerals when used for cooking, making juice, baby formula, etc.,
  4. Attacks metal surfaces such as copper and lead plumbing and fittings, tanks and even bottles, dissolving metals and other impurities into the water.

While the title gives away his opinion about whether or not demineralized water is safe drinking water, Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc states the following in his article “Early Death Comes With Regular Drinking Of Distilled Water.”

"During nearly 19 years of clinical practice I have had the opportunity to observe the health effects of drinking different types of water. Most of you would agree that drinking unfiltered tap water could be hazardous to your health because of things like parasites, chlorine, fluoride and dioxins. Many health fanatics, however, are often surprised to hear me say that drinking distilled water on a regular, daily basis is potentially dangerous. Paavo Airola wrote about the dangers of distilled water in the 1970’s when it first became a fad with the health food crowd."

Is pure, demineralized water safe drinking water?

While demineralized water produced by reverse osmosis or distillation may be as close to pure, molecular H2O as possible, most medical professionals agree that it is not natural nor healthy and the pros often outweigh the cons. What’s interesting is that current drinking water regulations are centered around ensuring safe drinking water by the removal or reduction  of harmful contaminants. There are no regulations to ensure safe drinking water from the viewpoint of what minerals important to our health are left in the water that we drink. Historically, industry has pushed and developed technologies to strip water to its core, believing “pure” water to be, by default – better. However, as we all learn at some point in our lives, more does not necessarily mean better. Many leading experts and organizations, including the WHO are starting to look more closely at the importance of leaving naturally occurring minerals in our drinking water. One of these experts is František Kožíšek, M.D., Ph.D. with the Polish National Institute of Public Health. Dr. Kožíšek’s report “Health Significance of Drinking Water Calcium and Magnesium” is one of the most thorough and eye-opening discussions on the topic of minerals and safe drinking water published to date. Our bodies have evolved over thousands of years drinking water with a wide variety of dissolved minerals, most of which play very important roles in our overall health, many of which we are just now starting to understand. Reverse osmosis and distillation strip away these natural occurring minerals, creating a highly aggressive, unstable form of water that has been proven to have a negative effect on our health for a wide variety of reasons.

What are the potential health consequences of drinking demineralized water?

The WHO Report “Health Risks from Drinking Demineralised Water” concludes in part that:

"Sufficient evidence is now available to confirm the health consequences from drinking water deficient in calcium or magnesium. Many studies show that higher water magnesium is related to decreased risks for CVD and especially for sudden death from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). This relationship has been independently described in epidemiological studies with different study designs, performed in different areas, different populations, and at different times.

In addition to an increased risk of sudden death, it has been suggested that intake of water low in magnesium may be associated with a higher risk of motor neuronal disease, pregnancy disorders (so-called preeclampsia), sudden death in infants, and some types of cancer.

Recent studies suggest that the intake of soft water, i.e. water low in calcium, is associated with a higher risk of fracture in children, certain neurodegenerative cardiovascular diseases, pre-term birth and low weight at birth and some types of cancer."

At Elua, great tasting, safe drinking water is at the heart of our philosophy. How do you define "safe drinking water"?


  1. I work in northern Alberta at a froth treatment facility. Nothing but demineralised bottled water or a water cooler that uses 5 gallon jugs of unlabeled water. I try to drink about 4-6 litres a day. Should I just drink from the water cooler? What would be the health defects of drinking this amount(40-60 litres over my ten days)

    • Great questions! Many reputable sources have shown that demineralized water is not the best thing for your health. If it were me, I’d try to avoid it. However, before jumping to an alternate source, I’d make darn sure I knew what it was, where it came from, who produced and bottled it, when the water cooler was cleaned and sanitized last, etc. By law, all bottled water for sale must be bottled and labelled according to Health Canada regulations. If your employer is producing and the bottled water on site, that may be a different scenario but local health regulations would still apply. There are actually provincial regulations pertaining to employers providing water to employees. I hope this helps.

  2. Is the deminiralised water suitable for plants, as I store the condensate drain pipe water from my AC units and water my little garden. How does it effect plants? Any research on this ? Also, in one of the south american countries, the government is using large Hoarding surfaces on highways, to absorb and condense humidity in air and have the drinking water outlets below them from this source as the poyable water is scarce in that country. Is it safe?

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry – I do not have any information about demineralized water and plants. Hopefully Google can help you out. :-)

      Yes, there is a growing variety of water generating systems on the market today that condense water from humid air. Once the water is created, it should undergo additional treatment to ensure it’s safety. What kind of treatment might depend on the quality of the air the water is being pulled from.

  3. Hi, With regards to remineralizing demineralised water you said, “Does it reproduce what Mother Nature has created over thousands of years? Probably not.”. Would you the remineralised water be safe and how would it be different to what mother nature has produced. I am currently looking at some filtration systems e.g. berkey and others which keep the minerals. Is the mineral intact water from these systems good or bad?

    • Hi James,

      I’m not sure if I fully understand your question but will make a few comments. My comment about “remineralized water” was referring to water which has been stripped of its original minerals through reverse osmosis or distillation and then remineralized through the use of a product or system which adds minerals back into the water before being consumed. There are a few products on the market that do this, either as a stand alone product or part of a complete water filtration system, but I’ve yet to see one that we can get behind and support and which does anywhere near the same job as Mother Nature. If anyone out there has found a high quality, reputable remineralization system or product, please share.

      When you are looking at water filtration systems which do not strip out the natural minerals, systems such as the Everpure H-300 that we offer, the water they produce is not considered “remineralized”. When choosing a water filtration system which leaves in all the natural minerals found in the original water supply, there are a number of factors that will go into choosing the systems that is right for you. The following blog post might help you with your own decision.

      Home Water Filtration Systems, The 10 Commandments

      All the best,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

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