Reverse osmosis is the best method for purifying drinking water at home.
A reverse osmosis system removes almost all contaminants from water including sediment, chemicals, heavy metals, and microorganisms.
Most of the stuff an RO system removes is bad and potentially dangerous for your health. However, it also removes healthy minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
Problems with Drinking Demineralized Water
While there is no consensus among health experts regarding the effects of drinking demineralized water, there’s some concern about long-term consequences.
The WHO has outlined several potential health effects of drinking water stripped of almost all minerals.
They include damage of mucous membranes in the intestines and a negative effect on various bodily functions as a result of reduced intake of crucial minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
Demineralized water, when used in cooking, can also reduce the mineral content already present in food, reducing your overall mineral intake even further.
There’s also the issue of acidity. Demineralized water tends to be slightly acidic because it lacks mineral ions, the main contributors to water’s alkalinity.
Acidic water is generally regarded as less healthy than alkaline or pH balanced drinking water.
Even if you are not concerned about the potential health effects of drinking demineralized water, the tastes may put you off, especially if you are used to drinking tap water or bottled mineral water.
The lack of minerals gives the water a flat unappealing taste.
So should you just stop drinking RO water?
Certainly not. You can still enjoy peace of mind drinking safe RO purified water while still getting your daily dose of recommended minerals.
Research on the effects of drinking demineralized water is ongoing. Drinking mineral-free RO water doesn’t you’ll have any deficiencies. Many health experts agree that as long as you are eating a balanced diet, you should get all essential minerals from food.
But some people, such as those with certain health conditions, may face increased risks from drinking demineralized water. As always, it’s best to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about drinking demineralized water or manually adding minerals back to the water.
How to Re-Mineralize RO Water
1. Buy an RO System with A Mineral Filter
The easiest way to remineralize Reverse Osmosis water is to let the reverse osmosis system do it for you.
Basic RO systems have five stages: 3 pre-filters, RO membrane, and post-filter.
Some premium RO systems have an extra stage consisting of a mineral filter. As water passes through, the filter adds back small amounts of healthy minerals.
Most RO systems with a remineralization filter only add back calcium. Others add calcium and magnesium while others can add up to 5 healthy minerals.
The mineral filter ensures you get great healthy mineral water.
On the downside, you’ll have to pay a bit more to get an RO system with a remineralization filter.
Additionally, the filter may not meet all your mineral intake needs. If the filter only adds calcium, you may still have to use one of the methods listed below to add other important minerals.
Note: Remember to replace the mineral filter after the manufacturer-recommended period (3-6 months for some systems, 6-12 months for others).
2. Add a Mineral Filter to Your RO System
If you’ve already bought an RO system without a mineral filter, don’t worry, you can still add one.
Most RO system manufacturers provide a mineral filter as an add-on accessory you can connect to your system later on.
Note that most of these mineral filters are compatible with any standard under-sink RO system that accepts 10” inline filters. But check the size of fittings before you order.
3. Add Trace Mineral Drops
You can also remineralize reverse osmosis water easily and quickly by just adding a few mineral drops at any time.
Also called electrolyte blends, trace mineral drops contain mineral concentrates. To use them, add a few drops to your drinking water (check label for exact number).
You may find it easier to first collect RO water in a large bottle or pitcher then remineralize it at once rather than adding drops to each glass of water you take.
This bottle by Trace Minerals Research is one of the most popular on Amazon.
If you prefer plant-based minerals, Tropical Oasis sells a well-reviewed 16 oz. Bottle with 74 essential minerals.
4. Add Mineral Salts
Another option is to add a pinch of mineral-rich salts such as rock salt, Dead Sea salt, or Himalayan salt.
Do not use table salt since it’s mostly just sodium. Too much sodium in drinking water is unhealthy.
5. Add Green Powders
This is another good option to remineralize reverse osmosis water if you prefer minerals from plants. Green powders or green blends contain a mixture of various fruits and vegetables, providing you with minerals, vitamins and plenty of other nutrients.
You can add the powder to your RO drinking water or use it in food, smoothies, and tea.
This 8.5 oz. tin by Nested Naturals contains concentrates from more than 30 fruits and vegetables. It is certified organic and is non-GMO.
6. Use an Alkaline Water Pitcher
An alkaline water pitcher has a mineral filter at the top that adds a variety of healthy minerals to your drinking water.
Their main downside is that they are more expensive than mineral salts and trace mineral drops, especially considering you need to replace the filter cartridge regularly.
But they are great for those who’d love the convenience of re-mineralizing water simply by pouring it into a pitcher.
As I mentioned, experts are not sure about the long-term effects of drinking demineralized water.
If your diet is good and you don’t have a major health condition, you are probably safe to drinkRO water as it is.
But to err on the side of caution, consider one of the above methods to re-mineralize your drinking water.