It’s almost a tie. Around half of our populated regions on planet earth have hard water, the other half, soft water.
‘Hard water’ is water with calcium and (perhaps) magnesium dissolved in it. The term refers to water from your tap.
‘Soft water’ is the opposite. It has little or no dissolved minerals.
Both have their problems, so let’s discuss them first.
Because it carries alkaline minerals, hard water is also capable of depositing these minerals when you use it. Typical problems are calcium encrustation on kettles, glasses, hot water system elements, dishwashers. Even the kitchen tap can block up with calcium!
Also, because hard water is high in calcium, drinking it increases the amount of calcium we get internally. This sounds good.. but without the right calcium management strategy, it can be quite dangerous, with possible CVD, and no advantage to your skeleton.
The WHO has made very clear that demineralised or mineral free water is NOT healthy. The recent scientific study of Israeli deaths attributed to reverse osmosis water demonstrates the problem.
We have a need for set ratios of electrolytes (charged minerals) in our body and lack of them does have a resulting longterm health effect.
People do get confused about what should stay in your water and what should leave, but the above dire result demonstrates that we do need some minerals in our water.
Our water filtration decision, therefore, comes down to:
Maximum contaminant reduction.
Minimum dissolved mineral removal.
Your two choices are reverse osmosis and non-reverse osmosis..
..has been sold as the ultimate filter. While reverse osmosis is effective for removing a variety of contaminants in water, the reverse osmosis membrane alone does NOT remove volatile organic chemical (VOCs), chlorine and chloramines, pharmaceuticals, and a host of other synthetic chemicals found in municipal water. However, some newer, more expensive R.O. systems now have multi-stage filtration media (in addition to the R.O. membrane), such as activated carbon, which does remove chlorine and certain pesticides.
It is seen as the best all round contaminant filter system but as we have seen here it’s now clear that drinking ’empty’ water is a real health risk. (lack of electrolytes)
Vendors offer remineralising cartridges but frankly, most are of very poor quality, do not give a regulated dosage over the life of the filter, and are usually sourced from China.
Reverse osmosis is also a hard install job, the most difficult of all filters to keep replenished with replacement filters, and the hardest to repair. If you buy a quality RO you will most probably be also buying an ongoing contract for filter replacement by a professional who has to come to your home.
.. is your alternative. I’ll keep to the basic points of comparison here because this is a BIG subject.
The standard carbon filter you can buy off the shelf at a big box store is a basic filter and doesn’t come anywhere near an RO for contaminant removal.
It’s usually GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) the cheapest and least effective form of the most common filter material, carbon. Carbon works for chlorine, taste odor and smell, some pesticides and lead, but only for a short time. This is why these filters never show you a life-of-filter test result. Their first day of use is their best and it’s all downhill after that!
More advanced filters may include technologies like activated catalytic carbon, fluoride reduction media, heavy metal reduction media and electro-adsorptive technology to remove viruses, bacteria and cysts.
These cost more, naturally (you really do get what you pay for in filtration!) but give filtration efficiency even better than RO in some areas, without the complexity of installation, support and maintenance. The most important comparison point to RO is that they allow dissolved minerals through, but also remove the nasty ones (heavy metals).
Effects Of Hard Water
The ‘mechanism’ of hard water effects is:
1. Water with dissolved calcium enters a water filter.
2. Calcium comes out of solution and accretes on internal surfaces.
This may be caused by heat, passing through filter media, or a change in pH.
It’s pretty simple really. Most water supplies are already alkaline.
So why are you paying premium dollars for bottled alkaline water – in plastic?
Yes, we’ve all accepted that drinking alkaline water was good for us and the metastudy we have on our website proves it.. but no-one asked about the water they already drink from their home tap and whether drinking $5 worth of bottled water (sent from Italy to Australia or America) a day will actually restore our alkaline balance.
So here’s the truth. It won’t! The best way to restore the alkaline minerals used up by our bodies in counteracting our acid overload is simple. Replace them in quantities sufficient to restore balance.
Sounds so simple, and it is. Yes, alkaline water will help, as will alkalizing foods, but for my money, taking the actual minerals in their original form is the obvious answer. That’s why every morning I take a glass of UltraStream water, and add a teaspoon of Alkaline Booster. That way I have my molecular hydrogen and my alkaline minerals aplenty.
Take a look at this video as I explain in full.
Common contaminants found in our drinking water
This toxic element is found naturally in soil and bedrock. Ingestion in high amounts can lead to serious health problems.
Small amounts of salt are natural. Higher levels are unnatural and may indicate a faulty water softener, road salt, septic waste or fertilizer contamination.
A natural part of the microbiology of soils, insects, and warm-blooded animals, coliform bacteria is the primary indicator for the presence of disease-causing organisms in water.
Found naturally in water, but now artificially added. While low levels of fluoride are desirable, excessive amounts may stain teeth.
Interferes with cleaning tasks from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may leave film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. These deposits also collect in household plumbing lines, water heaters and appliances, reducing their efficiency.
A gas dissolved in water. It is easily detected by its rotten egg odor.
Not considered hazardous to health, but when the level of iron exceeds 0.3 mg/l water may leave behind red, brown, or yellow stains on laundry, glassware, dishes and fixtures. The water may have a metallic taste and an offensive odor, or even restrict or clog piping and fixtures.
Houses built before 1985 may contain lead pipes or lead-based solder. Lead can cause serious health problems in young children.
A metal found in rock, which does not occur naturally in its pure form. It is often accompanied by iron and hydrogen sulfide and causes black stains. Evidence of manganese staining is typically found in the dishwasher.
Elevated levels can be an indication of farm chemical or lawn fertilizer contamination, or even septic saturation. Nitrates can pose a serious health risk to infants.
High levels of sulfates can cause odors, leave spots, taste bitter and have a temporary laxative effect.
Ian: There are many, many more now in our water beyond this list. The US EPA tells us that there are 600 identified toxins for which they ahev insufficient data on danger levels.
Then, of course, there are the toxins added by water supplies, including chlorine, chloramines and (see list) fluoride. Chlorine can combine with organics to create even more toxins.
About half of a group is ischemic stroke patients were found to be dehydrated when they arrived at the hospital, a Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Stroke Center team reported—and they did poorly compared to the patients who arrived hydrated.
Presenting a study at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in Nashville, Tenn., Mona Bahouth, MD, a Johns Hopkins Hospital stroke fellow, said that the report suggests all stroke patients should get fluids.
The problem is that rehydration poses a risk of hypervolemia, which can put stress on the heart and cause fluid to back up in the lungs.
In the study, Bahouth and colleagues followed 168 patients admitted with ischemic stroke. They found that stroke condition worsened or did not improve in 42% of the dehydrated group, but that only 17% of the hydrated group worsened or did not improve.
The patients’ progress, or lack of it, was tracked with MRI scans, and NIHSS scores.
Discussing the results, Bahouth said it is already known that about 60% of stroke patients are dehydrated, and that the condition may in itself cause strokes. “When patients don’t drink enough water, their blood gets sludgy,” she said. That could mean that as it travels through the brain, this thicker blood flows slowly and can back up in narrowed or blocked blood vessels.
“The beauty here lies in the simplicity of this potential treatment,” she said, “Rehydration is cheap and can be given to people even in the most remote locations.” But that does not mean these patients should be told to immediately drink water after the onset of a stroke. That could lead to choking.
The research also did not resolve the question of whether the patients’ dehydration signaled other medical conditions that could have contributed to their tendency to have poorstroke outcomes.
Still, Bahouth added, in general, “as people get older they tend to avoid drinking enough water, partly because they don’t want to have to use the bathroom as often—particularly if they have a disability.” That reluctance to drink water could be contributing to stroke risk, she said.
The study found that dehydration in the group of patients followed was not linked to race, gender, ethnicity or diabetes status. Patients with kidney disease were not included in the study.
Ian: Hmmm. I relate to the bit about getting older and not wanting to pee so often.. but I made the choice. Pee more and drink enough. And yet the underlying question is whether consistent hydration supports stroke immunity.
From all we read.. especially the comment about sludgy blood – means to me that hydration is incredibly important!
We could take this question much farther. Your salt ratio relates to your ability to hold water. And then we can look at the effect of changed pH on the effect of water. I had the experience for most of my life of bloating with tap water or bottled water, but as soon as I began drinking high hydrogen alkaline water this all changed.
Just one other point I picked up.. I had never heard of hypervolemia. Obviously it only applies when someone is dehydrated and attempts fast rehydration, but surely a better answer is a daily program or target of hydration?
We are glad to be selling a natural water Ionizer like the UltraStream.
We sold electronic units for 12 years, (since 2000) and only when the Australian water supply (in the last few years) began to increase calcium levels, did we recognise the problem inherent in the design of the electronic system.
An electronic water ionizer separates out and concentrates the alkaline minerals in the water.
A natural system does not.
When your source water is high in calcium, and it passes through the electronic system, it concentrates and changes from a dissolved state to a suspended state. In this crystalline form it’s ‘sticky’ and adheres to surfaces. We’ve all seen taps and kettles with this white layer of calcium.
In an electronic water ionizer this ‘clogs up’ the chamber and the pipes from the chamber. It can be alleviated by weekly or bi-weekly flushing of acid water, ( a pain in the butt and a big water waster!) but an indication of its prevalence is that most electronic water ionizer vendors exclude users in hard water areas from warranty.
Unfortunately many buyers learn of this exclusion only after buying their expensive electronic system.
So a test that checks the hardness of your water is about the best insurance against this long term and very expensive mistake many people have made in their eagerness to get the benefits of ionized water. This (under) $20 test includes 2 test strips and tests for hardness, free chlorine, total chlorine, pH and nitrates. It’s from the world renowned LaMotte Laboratories.
pH is another factor that dramatically affects the performance of an electronic water ionizer because performance relies on the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. pH indicates the presence of dissolved alkaline minerals, and generally speaking, lack of pH means means the electronic water ionizer has to work very hard to give a good amount of molecular hydrogen, which, after all, is why you buy a water ionizer. Too high input pH will also guarantee the unit will begin clogging up and lose efficiency almost immediately.
If you order a test from AlkaWay we’ll also send you a coupon for the value of the test to reward you for being a clever buyer. You can use the $20 coupon against your order of the UltraStream Natural ionizer.
Coming soon: Test you water ionizer’s molecular hydrogen ability with a simple reagent.
YES, PLEASE SEND ME A TEST KIT TODAY!