“Healthier” Reverse Osmosis Systems

The debate over the benefits and faults of Reverse Osmosis systems has been raging for years. For me, the issue is about creating better drinking water, but I understand the passion behind the debate because there is so much money at stake within the industry.

Our source water is getting more and more polluted and public funding for safe water continues to disappear. People are rightfully questioning the government position that our drinking water is safe. Drinking a glass of water from your tap today won’t make you sick overnight, but the cumulative effects of drinking contaminated tap water over time is very unhealthy.

My Meeting with a Large Reverse Osmosis Water Company

I had the good fortune to be contacted recently by a large retail chain of stores that sells RO water and RO equipment to the public. They found my blog and asked me to talk to them about Antioxidant Filters. I was impressed with the knowledge and experience of the people at the meeting. I was also impressed with their responsible attitude towards serving their customers.

The participants in the meeting were supporters of the benefits of water ionizers as they had all tried ionized water. However, the feedback on the electric water ionizers was that they were too expensive s, and they are not compatible with RO systems.

The people at the meeting asked to describe how and why the Antioxidant Filters perform so well with RO systems. They “got it” right away as soon as I explained how natural ionization works as opposed to electrolysis. It was simple to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Antioxidant Filter by testing the water with pH drops after it has passed through both the RO system and through the Antioxidant Filter.

It became instantly obvious to me at the meeting that there is a huge business opportunity available to those in the RO industry who understand that they can contact previous customers and upgrade their RO systems to provide “healthier” water.

Reverse Osmosis Systems: The Good

Reverse Osmosis systems were originally created for commercial purposes to remove salt from water and they are very effective in that regard. RO systems also remove many other contaminants from water, which means that they can be very beneficial in situations of unsafe water supply. In disaster situations where sanitation is compromised, RO systems can be life savers. For those that receive their drinking water from wells, lakes, or runoff, RO systems can remove harmful bacteria and other dangerous contaminants that may be present. Gone are the days when we can take clean water for granted, so RO systems definitely have a useful function in our world.

Reverse Osmosis Systems: The Bad

There are a number of arguments against RO systems, but the primary concerns are that the systems remove good stuff (essential minerals) from the water and that the systems make the water very acidic. Both concerns are real and important. There are other minor negatives to RO systems, but they are more of an inconvenience thing as opposed to real issues.

The RO System Rebuttal

The RO industry has been claiming for years that the body doesn’t absorb inorganic minerals found in water, so the argument that RO systems removed healthy minerals is redundant. After my meeting with the RO water company, I decided to do some research. The amount of information on the internet in support of RO systems being the best solution for drinking water is staggering. However, the information is completely biased and is not based upon facts, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Your body absorbs minerals such as Magnesium and Calcium from water

Contrary to what the Reverse Osmosis industry claims, your body does absorb minerals from water. I will limit my discussion for brevity reasons to a discussion of Magnesium and Calcium, two of the most important minerals in our bodies. Intuitively, you should know that our bodies can absorb minerals from water as our species has somehow managed to survive for thousands of years despite the fact that magnesium and calcium (which the body is unable to produce on its own) are not always available to everyone.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/520182-can-the-human-body-absorb-the-minerals-in-water/#ixzz1XPWOy4nO


The US government’s National Institute of Health says:

“Tap water can be a source of magnesium, but the amount varies according to the water supply. Water that naturally contains more minerals is described as “hard”. “Hard” water contains more magnesium than “soft” water”. The quote comes from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.

Livestrong tells us:

In general, minerals already dissolved in water are more bio-available than solid forms, although many factors affect absorption within the small intestine, such as pH levels, health of the mucosal lining and the presence of other nutrients, as noted in the text, “Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism.” A French study published in a 2002 edition of the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that the absorption and bio-availability of magnesium in magnesium-rich mineral water was almost 60 percent in healthy male volunteers.

In comparison to absorption of minerals in water, supplemental forms are not absorbed as well. According to a review article published in a 2002 edition of the “Geriatric Times,” supplemental magnesium absorption ranges from about 30 to 41 percent and depends on age, intestinal health and type of magnesium supplement. You can check out the full article at:

Wikipedia informs us about the body’s ability to absorb Magnesium hydroxide. Wikipedia says “Magnesium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Mg(OH)2……..Magnesium hydroxide is a common component of antacids and laxatives… all of magnesium hydroxide that does dissolve does dissociate. Since the dissociation of this small amount of dissolved magnesium hydroxide is complete, Magnesium hydroxide is considered a strong electrolyte.”


GoAskAlice, Columbia University’s Health Internet Service (http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/5403.html) tells us: “What we do know is that your body does absorb the calcium in hard water, and utilizes it the same way it would if it came from any other food source.”

I was surprised to learn from Livestrong (http://www.livestrong.com/article/440087-how-does-the-body-absorb-calcium/#ixzz1X0YyYKZX) that:

“Plant-derived foods that contain the chemicals oxalic acid or phytic acid inhibit calcium absorption by binding the mineral in your intestines. Bound calcium cannot be absorbed. Foods that contain a high concentration of oxalic acid include spinach, collards, radishes, beet greens, amaranth, carrots, lettuce and sweet potatoes. Concentrated amounts of phytic acid are found in nuts, seeds, beans and whole-grain products”.
I also learned that your body can’t absorb Calcium without the presence of Magnesium.


Like so many things we read on the internet or hear from sales people with a vested interest, the stories are not necessarily based upon facts.

RO systems do remove healthy minerals from water along with a myriad of unhealthy contaminants. I have spoken with many individuals that have suffered from calcium leaching due to drinking RO water. At the same time, I have also spoken to many people who have consumed RO water for many years that are perfectly healthy if they take Calcium and Magnesium supplements.

There appears to be a symbiotic relationship between RO systems and Antioxidant Filters that use Magnesium as their primary ionizing medium. RO systems are superior purifiers that will extend the filter life of the Antioxidant Filters. The balanced minerals found in Antioxidant Filters replace the minerals that are removed by RO systems and add other essential minerals that the body absorbs. The Antioxidant Filters also provide the wonderful health benefits of alkaline and antioxidant water that are not possible with the use of a Reverse Osmosis system on its own.

It looks like the RO guys that brought me in to the meeting are on to something very powerful. I applaud them for their forward thinking and initiative

3 Responses to “Healthier” Reverse Osmosis Systems

  1. Wow, Rob, what a great report!

    This knocked my socks off:
    “Plant-derived foods that contain the chemicals oxalic acid or phytic acid inhibit calcium absorption by binding the mineral in your intestines. Bound calcium cannot be absorbed. Foods that contain a high concentration of oxalic acid include spinach, collards, radishes, beet greens, amaranth, carrots, lettuce and sweet potatoes. Concentrated amounts of phytic acid are found in nuts, seeds, beans and whole-grain products”. It seems to me that it blows away a lot of the ‘alkaline food’ theory we have accepted, and also punches a big hole in the raw green food people’s argument. If green foods like spinach, Popeye’s power drink of choice, binds calcium, then we have a whole lot of people out there following the alkaline diet or vegetarian diet that have a future without the full complement on bone.

    Not a very nice legacy of an ‘ethical’ diet.

  2. Forgot to mention… we’ve been putting antioxidant filters on the output end of RO’s for years, mainly because there are vast areas of the planet where the water just isn’t suitable for ionizers. By purifying the water with RO then passing the water through an antioxidant filter like the AlkaStream people get excellently filtered antioxidant, ionized alkaline water.

    However I am at a loss to understand the approach of some electronic water ionizer sellers who attempt to sell an RO, then a mineralising cartridge, then an electronic water ionizer on the end of all that! Very Heath Robinson. Just imagine the poor owner trying to work out which filter is doing what!

  3. First off, thanks so much for all the great information Rob! :) I had read elsewhere that RO systems remove the minerals that cause water to be hard– but from what I’m gathering here, you’re saying that the minerals in hard water need to be removed with an anti-scalant or softener prior to going through an RO system, or those minerals can damage the RO system, is this correct?

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