REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER – A POOR PRODUCT
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© February 2013, The Center For Development
Please do not drink reverse osmosis water because:
1. It is very low in minerals
2. Due to #1 above, it is yin in macrobiotic terms
3. It does not seem to hydrate the body as well as other types of drinking water.
Reverse osmosis or RO, for short, is the most popular water filtration method on planet earth because it is the least expensive method of purifying water. It removes most chemicals and minerals from the water. However, it is not good water for drinking at all! RO involves passing water at high pressure through a plastic membrane with tiny holes in it. Most substances are too large to pass through the membrane and remain behind. The design includes a way of back flushing the membrane to prevent excessive buildup of solid matter on the membrane.
RO units also usually contain carbon pre- and post-filters. The pre-filter extends the life of the membrane by removing larger particles and certain chemicals. The post-filter further purifies the water, removing chlorine and other gases that may pass through the filter. These must be changed every six months or less, or the water quality becomes even worse.
How and where RO water is sold. RO water is often labeled as drinking water, purified water, and I have even seen it intentionally mislabeled as distilled water. The fine print usually says “distilled using reverse osmosis”. However, this is a lie. RO water is never the same as distilled. The latter involves boiling the water and condensing the steam, leaving the solid matter behind. So one must read labels carefully.
RO is used in most commercial drinking water purification plants, and is sold at “water stores”, and in supermarket and sidewalk water machines. It is also sometimes used at bottling plants for soda pop, juices, beer, teas, prepared coffees, canned foods with water, and many other drinks. While RO membrane technology continues to advance, enhancing the amount of water that can be produced per hour and lengthening the life of the membrane, so far it is still horrible junk water. Here is why:
PROBLEMS WITH REVERSE OSMOSIS OR RO WATER
1. RO water, in general, does not hydrate the body well. This is unfortunate and sad, but we see it over and over again. I do not know the reason, but this is a consistent clinical finding with our patients. The plastic membrane must damage the water in some way. The result is a type of dehydration, even though a person is drinking plenty of water. It is confusing for people, and confusing for practitioners as well. This is the “bottom line”, as they say. If drinking water does not hydrate the body well, it is no good, no matter how clean, clear, tasty or healthful it may appear.
2. Altered spin and moment. I don’t know exactly how the plastic RO membrane damages the water, but I speculate that it changes the spin and moment of the water. Another possibility is that deuterium particles (heavy water) passes through the membrane easily. Lighter water that is bound to contaminants is stopped. The effect may be to increase the weight of the water, an undesirable change.
3. The water is extremely yin in Chinese medical terms. This occurs because it lacks minerals and because it is contaminated with plastic from the RO membrane. The yin quality is extremely harmful and must be avoided.
4. Plastic residue from the membrane always seems to find its way into the water and then into the body. This adds a toxin to the body, even though the water is quite pure in other ways.
This plastic residue is far, far worse than the possible plastic residue that occurs due to buying spring or other water in plastic bottles. This is very important because many people drink RO water to avoid drinking plastic chemicals. In fact, they are actually ingesting more plastic residues and chemicals, not less, than if they just bought spring water at the supermarket. Most spring water at the supermarket does not have a lot of plastic residue, despite what some health “authorities” claim. Most of these authorities are selling water filters, by the way.
5. RO also produces an extremely mineral-deficient water. This is a critical problem with it. Most people today, if not all people in the Western nations, at least, are very mineral deficient to begin with. Drinking RO water for any length of time greater than a month, perhaps, makes this situation worse, and the longer you drink it, the worse the problem becomes.
An even worse problem with drinking mineral-free water such as RO, or distilled water, for more than a few months is that it will inevitably begin to leach vital minerals from the body. This is a property of mineral-free waters. It is sometimes called a “hungry water”.
This is a type of chelation process, in which the mineral-free water tends to attach itself to some minerals and flush them out of the body. This can be extremely dangerous, especially for today’s already malnourished bodies. This is the same reason I do not recommend any type of chelation therapy. It always leaches some beneficial minerals out of the body. For more on this interesting topic, read Chelation on this website.
6. There is evidence from a our patients that RO water damages the third chakra, which is also very dangerous. I don’t fully understand why this occurs, but it may have to do with the lack of minerals in the water, or the plastic compounds it contains, or its yin qualities.
7. RO water is has a more acid pH. The acid pH is less of a problem in my view, but some people believe it is not helpful today when most bodies are too acidic to begin with. I agree with this, although I suggest strenuously avoiding artificially alkalinized water produced by the many alkaline water or ionization machines that are sold today. This water is very yin, which is one it main problems. It is also contaminated with platinum, a deadly metal, that is used to alkalinize the water. It is also generally tap water, basically, which is junky, in general, containing toxic metals and hundreds of toxic chemicals as well that are not filtered out by the carbon filtering system or others these machines have. More on this topic is found in the article Water For Drinking.
8.There is no simple way to test the quality of the water. As the membrane and filters age, they often clog up, and the tiny holes in the membrane often become a little too large. This leads to even poorer water quality. A simple meter that measures TDS (total dissolved solids) is not a good measure of purity, as it just gives a general measurement of solids in the water. For example, it does not reflect the presence of some toxins.
Carbon filters in RO systems can harbor many bacteria and viruses. Manufacturers suggest replacing the carbon filters at specified intervals or after a certain number of gallons have been produced. However, these are just averages. Other than the taste, it is most difficult to assess the cleanliness of the carbon filters.
9. A relatively minor problems with RO is that discarded plastic RO membranes pollute the landfills. The polycarbonate plastics degrade very slowly. Filled with toxic substances, they represent as source of long-term pollution. Extremely high-temperature incineration, which is gaining in popularity, is a good form of disposal of the membranes.
9. ADDING MINERALS TO REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER (OR TO ANY DRINKING WATER) IS USUALLY EVEN WORSE.
Some people I speak to tell me they are aware that RO water lacks minerals, so they add salt, potassium, electrolytes or other mineral preparations to the water. In my experience, this is also dangerous and stupid. The reasons for this are:
Š It is hard to know which minerals to add, and salt is among the worst thing to add. Commercial preparations such as electrolyte solutions and others often do not contain optimal mineral levels for each person. Often they are totally incorrect, in my experience. For example, adding sea minerals to water may detoxify the body a little, but is a dangerous practice, long term, because the high sodium content unbalances the minerals in the body and competes with the absorption of other vital minerals. Drink salt water, as sailors know, can kill you.
Š Toxic metals. Most mineral preparations are not pure enough and many, such as coral calcium, can contain some toxic minerals as well.
I find it best, by far, to obtain minerals primarily from cooked vegetables. This is usually the best source. Other mineral supplements that are excellent are kelp, 10-12 ounces of carrot juice or a little fresh green juice, raw dairy products, a quality sea salt in your food, but not in your water, and dried vegetable capsules like Juice Plus and Endo-Veggies from Endomet Labs.
Mineral sources I do not prefer include:
1. Most green powders and green superfoods if they are in powder form, as they become rancid quickly in some cases. Also, you must drink them in smoothies that are terrible food combinations. For more on this topic, read Raw Foods And Juices.
2. Green powders or superfoods if they contain a lot of spirulina, blue-green algae or chlorella, as these appear to be somewhat toxic. Barley grass and wheat grass, although not as good dried as fresh, also seem to be excellent sources of minerals.
3. Salads. Raw vegetables do not allow the body to absorb enough minerals from them, so I find it is much better to eat mainly cooked vegetables.
4. Fruits. These do not contain nearly enough minerals, and the balance of the minerals in fruit today is incorrect in some way. I do not know exactly why, but they are not working well in people’s bodies to re-mineralize the body.
5. Fruit drinks such as the juice of Acai, goji berry, pomegranite, noni, mangosteen, or camu camu berries. While these are high in minerals and anti-oxidants, and other nutritious substances, they are quite yin. A very small amount daily is good, but more than this will make the body very yin and is quite harmful, in fact.
6. Sea mineral preparations, or land-based fulvic or humic minerals, also sometimes called colloidal mineral supplements. These are unbalanced and toxic, for the most part, and don’t seem to work well, although they contain many minerals. they are better than nothing, but not optimal.
Bypassing the RO membrane on a home water filtering system. Many people have an RO filter on their home or just their sink. If you wish to use this system for carbon filtration, it is fairly easy to bypass the RO part of your filtering system, in most cases. This will allow you to keep using the carbon filtration part of the system, which is fine.
The procedure is to open up the cylinder or container on your filtration system that contains the RO membrane. Then remove the RO membrane, and close up the container tightly. In most cases, this is all you need to do.
An alternative method is to remove the small tubes or pipes going to the RO membrane container and simply bypassing the RO part by re-connecting the tubes in a different way. Either of these methods should work okay.
WHAT WATER TO DRINK, WHEN AND HOW MUCH
The type and amount of water one drinks is an essential aspect of everyone’s health and healing. Improper drinking water ruins many excellent nutritional balancing programs, and always ruins your health.
Here are the problems with drinking water that I encounter on a daily basis:
1. Not drinking enough water. All adults must drink at least 3 quarts of water daily, with no exceptions. It you are over about 250 pounds, you may need more.
2. Drinking the wrong kinds of water. These are explained below.
3. Ingesting substances that dehydrate the body. These are caffeine in any form, sugars of all types, and alcohol in any form.
Sugars includes fruits, juices, fructose, rice syrup, honey, agave nectar, sweeteners, coconut water or coconut crŹme and all other sweet foods and beverages of any type. The only juice allowed on a nutritional balancing program is 10-12 ounces of fresh or store-bought carrot and green juice or 1-2 ounces of wheat grass juice daily.
Please pay attention to this factor very carefully.
I find that the best type of long-term drinking water is a good spring water. It is fine to buy this is plastic bottles from the supermarket. The plastic does not cause problems with the water or with your body.
In most cities, you may also have spring water delivered to your home in recycled plastic bottles or maybe in glass bottles, perhaps. Look in your phone book for companies that deliver bottled water. It is not usually any more costly than buying it yourself at the supermarket.
Another option is to get spring water directly from a local spring. A list of springs is available at WWW.FINDASPRING.COM.
Carbon-filtered tap water appears to be the second best type of long-term drinking water. A carbon block filter is better than a simple carbon filter such as that found in a Brita filter, for example, although any carbon is better than none. Be sure to change the filter often.
However, do NOT drink water that is filtered by a deionization resin, or filtered by reverse osmosis. Also, do not use a spinning machine to “vitalize” your water. Also, DO NOT DRINK ALKALINE WATERS. These methods are harmful, in our experience. For more on alkaline waters, read the article entitled Alkaline Waters on this site.
Steam-distilled water is excellent for a short time to remove some toxic substances from the body. It acts like a chelator, however, so one must exercise care. We use it only for a few months at the beginning of a nutrition program, and perhaps for a few days to up to one month during a healing reaction. If used for longer, however, it tends to leach vital minerals from the body.
Reverse osmosis water is mineral free, but rarely hydrates the body adequately. Avoid reverse osmosis water for drinking and even for cooking. This means to also avoid popular types of water that are called “drinking water”, “purified water” and some bottled waters such as Dasani, Aqua Fina and many others that are prepared by reverse osmosis.
Also, avoid all alkaline waters. Short-term use is okay for a few months. More than this tends to make the body more yin, an undesirable effect of alkaline water intake of any kind. Also the platinum used in the plates in the machine may leach a little platinum, a very toxic metal.
Cautions with “drinking waters” and ”purified waters”. Be sure to read the label on drinking water in the supermarket carefully. Sometimes the fine print will show that drinking water that is labeled as “distilled” is really made by reverse osmosis. This is not acceptable water to drink on a regular basis, as it will not hydrate the body adequately and is harmful in other ways as well.
Home distillers. Another caution is to avoid the use of most home water distillers. I am not sure why, but these do not work as well as the distilled water that can be purchased at supermarkets and elsewhere. It may be because the commercially distilled water has pre- and post-filters that remove more volatile organic chemicals. In contrast, home distillers often simply boil the organic chemicals and then cause them to recondense in the purified water, and this is not healthful.
Also, avoid all designer or special kinds of water. Most are either tap water that is treated with reverse osmosis and then minerals added back, or some is even worse, with very unbalanced forms of minerals added. Few are healthful and none that I have seen is worth the cost.
Also, avoid adding minerals to drinking water. In my experience, this often worsens the product. The problem is that minerals in water are complex, and just adding a solution usually does not produce a balanced and healthy product.
Plastic water bottles. Some object to the plastic bottles in which spring and distilled water is sold. While it is unfortunate to use these materials, the plastic does not seem to interfere with nutritional balancing programs at all. It is far worse is to drink tap water laden with chemicals, or reverse osmosis water that does not properly hydrate the body.
A few ideas to avoid buying water in new plastic bottles. In many cities, the problem can be overcome by having spring water or distilled water delivered to your home. The cost is about the same and the bottles used are older and recycled. Another solution in a few areas is to find an excellent spring and fill up your bottles – plastic or glass – directly from the spring. A list of these springs is available at WWW.FINDASPRING.COM.
For much more on drinking water, read Water For Drinking on this website.