Distilled Water VS Mineral Content

Distilled Water VS Mineral Content

By J. Anthony Letorney

The hottest issue concerning distilled water is the absence of inorganic minerals. Many people are led to believe they are losing out on essential minerals by drinking distilled water. This issue of inorganic minerals in drinking water has been a controversial subject among physicians, nutritionists, the bottled water industry, and many health experts. The debate doesn’t seem to revolve around what minerals are needed for the body, but rather on drinking water being a source of them. But first, let me briefly describe the two types of minerals: inorganic and organic.

Organic minerals come from plant life. Plants convert the inorganic minerals in water to organic through the photosynthesis process. Thus, food consists primarily of organic minerals. Inorganic minerals are commonly found in water. Water defined as “hard” usually refers to the calcium and magnesium that is present. These minerals are commonly found as deposits on the bottom of tea kettles and shower heads and as stains in the toilet, bathtub and sink.
The debatable factor is whether the inorganic minerals found in water have any nutritional value that the body’s cells and tissues can absorb. These inorganic minerals are from dissolved rocks and stone. Many qualified health professionals believe only organic minerals from food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, are absorbed into the body’s cells and tissues. Here’s what some experts say about the minerals in water:

“The body contains 19 essential mineral elements, all of which must be derived from food.” Paul C. Bragg, N.D. Ph. D.

“The body can use only organic minerals. It is physiologically impossible for your body to use an inorganic mineral…Anyone who knows biochemistry and physiology knows this to be true. When you drink water containing minerals, they are inorganic. They have no more virtue in the body than if the soil or rock itself were eaten.” Harvey Diamond, Author

“Water is not a deliverer of minerals for the following reason: minerals as they are found in the ground –or spring water-cannot turn polarized light and as a result of this cannot or hardly enter through the cell membranes. That produces an over-osmotic pressure outside the cell membranes and a minor-osmotic pressure inside. That means too little water in our cells to keep a healthy balance.” Franz Morell M.D.

If you feel that minerals are important to have in your drinking water, then the sensible approach is to go back to the basics: common sense. To do this, we must find out what the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is for minerals and what quantities our bodies need daily. Then compare this with actual results of the mineral content in tap water.

Table 1 was compiled by Dr. Duane D. Nowlin, president of Spectrum Labs in New Brighton, MN. According to Nowlin, this table shows the primary beneficial minerals in water – calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. The results of the analysis show how many gallons or 8-ounce glasses of St. Paul, MN tap water a person would have to consume to meet the daily mineral requirements of the RDA.

As you can see, a person living in St. Paul would have to gulp down an outrageous amount of water to obtain their daily allowance of these minerals. Moreover, according to the RDA all pregnant and lactating women need an additional 400 mg of calcium, 400 mg of phosphorus, and 150 mg of magnesium daily. That means they would have to guzzle almost twice as much to benefit from the minerals in tap water. In essence, pregnant and lactating women would have to drink over 250 8-ounce glasses a day for their phosphorus!

I was so intrigued by Dr. Nowlin’s study that I became curious about the mineral content of the water in my own city of Boston, MA. See Table 2 for the results. As you can see, the St. Paul study is not an isolated case. Try this on your own water supply and you will be startled with the results.

With the ever-growing concern about chemicals and pollutants in our water supply these days, is one willing to accept these to absorb a scant amount of minerals? Is it worth the trade off to ingest all the minerals in our drinking water along with lead, fluoride, arsenic, nitrates, trihalomethanes, herbicides, pesticides, PCBs or other contaminants that could be present in our drinking water? Water produced through the distillation process will virtually eliminate all of these nasty problems, including the inorganic minerals.

Clearly, water is not the answer for our mineral supply. Ask anyone from what source they obtain their calcium and I’ll bet that 9 out of 10 say milk or dairy products. A few will answer orange juice, but practically no one will say water. Ask anyone from what source they obtain potassium, and I’ll bet virtually everyone will reply bananas.

Since water varies from place to place, so does the mineral content. This is another reason why water is an unreliable source for minerals. Let’s take calcium for example. In St. Paul, one would have to drink 169 8-ounce glasses of water to meet the daily requirement versus some one in Boston consuming 676 glasses a day. It is far easier to drink a few glasses of milk to achieve the same end result, as we shall soon see.

In another study, from Dr. John Kirshmann’s Nutrition Almanac (see Table 3, page 3), a comparison of the average daily mineral intake from tap water versus a normal three meal diet is presented.

Common sense should prevail in this debate. On average, over 95% of minerals are ingested daily through fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, grains, nuts and dairy products, while less than 5% is ingested from drinking water. Amazing isn’t it? What’s even more amazing is that one glass of whole milk alone will contain more minerals than a whole day’s supply (2.6 quarts) of tap water!

Here’s a look at the major food sources for minerals:

  • Calcium – dairy products, soybeans, seafood, leafy green vegetables
  • Magnesium – green leafy vegetables, milk, meat, nuts, seafood
  • Phosphorus – seafood, poultry, dairy products, meat beans, grain
  • Iron – red meat, beans, nuts, raisins, poultry
  • Potassium – all foods especially meat, vegetables, milk, dates, figs, seafood, bananas

The fact remains that there are minerals present in our drinking water. By looking beyond the issue of whether they are beneficial or not, one must ask him or herself if they really want to consume physically impossible amounts of tap water to obtain their daily mineral requirement or to simply eat various foods which are abundantly mineral rich? The answer is simple enough – don’t worry about a mineral loss by drinking distilled water. The minerals our bodies need are largely met through the foods we eat, not in the water we drink.
The Book of Health – Volume I, (A complete guide to making health last a lifetime), edited by Ernst L. Wynder.
Fit For Life II, Living Health: The Complete Program by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.
Massachusetts Water Resources, Authority Waterworks Division – Water Quality Section, 1991.
Nowlin, Duane, Dr., Spectrum Labs Inc. New Brighton, MN.
Nutrition Almanac, Tap Water Statistics, Dr. John Kirschmann.
The Shocking Truth About Water, Paul C. Bragg, N.D., PhD.
Water-Nutrition-Bio-Electronic according to the “Vincent Method”, Franz Morell, MD.

Table 1


Required for Daily Allowance
RDA St. Paul Gallons 8 oz. glasses
Calcium 800 mg 20 mg/l 10.5 168
Magnesium 350 mg 8 mg/l 11.6 186
Iron 10 mg .03 mg/l 88 1,408
Phosphorus 800 mg .01mg/l 21,136 338,176


Table 2


Required for Daily Allowance
RDA Boston Gallons 8 oz. glasses
Calcium 800 mg 5 mg/l 42.2 676
Magnesium 350 mg .8 mg/l 115.5 1,848
Iron 10 mg .05 mg/l 53 848
Phosphorus 800 mg .02 mg/l 10,560 168,960


Table 3


Mineral U.S. National Average (in tap water)
Calcium 44mg
Phosphorus less than 1 mg
Magnesium 11 mg
Iron less than 1 mg
(above quantities are based on drinking 2.6 quarts of tap water daily)
Average Diet for One Day with Milligrams (mg) of Each Mineral
Calcium Phosphorus Magnesium Iron
1 glass orange juice 54 26 19.8 0.5
2 slices whole wheat bread 46 104 36 0.5
1 cup Cream of Wheat 13 110 8 1.4
Milk (whole) 8 oz. 291 228 33 0.12
1 hamburger patty 22 354 38 6.1
French fried potatoes 26 172 1
Milk (whole) 8 oz. 291 228 33 0.12
Fish (baked Flounder) 8 oz. 26 440 68 1.8
1 cup lima beans 55 293 5.9
Lettuce salad 15 17 5 0.4
1 medium banana 12 39 49 1
1 slice whole wheat bread 23 52 18 0.5
DAILY TOTALS 874 2063 307.8 19.34