Mineral water and health
Man has known about mineral water’s therapeutic properties since ancient times. In antiquity, temples were built by mineral water springs, where the sick were treated just as they are today – through diet, exercise, baths and drinking of water. Natural mineral water can correct imbalances in the body from both inside and outside.
Geological mineral waters usually have a specific therapeutic effect that depends on the chemical makeup of the water and the physical properties.
– Thus, for instance, water with high iron is used to treat anaemia and menstruating problems.
– Waters high in hydrocarbonates help moderate the pH of stomach acid.
– Water high in sulphides and chlorides is indicated for disorders of the digestive system, bile ducts and urinary tracts, liver and kidney.
– Water rich in iodine and bromine is advised for certain heart and joint conditions.
– Water high in silicates has anti-inflammatory properties.
– Mineral waters rich in radon have applications as markers for hypothyroidism, stimulating lipid metabolism, and chronic joint diseases.
– Sodium is a key element in the body’s fluid equilibrium, acid-base balance and neuron function. In hot weather and physical exertion, the body’s sodium demand increases sharply. The body loses fluids, which has an influence on loss of other minerals, such as magnesium and potassium.
Low-sodium in the case of mineral water is water with less than20 mg per litre, and high-sodium mineral water is water with a content of over 200 mg/l. Usually, people are cautioned against high sodium intake. This may be too categorical, as sodium in mineral water does not exist in the form of sodium chloride but rather bound to other minerals or bicarbonate.
In such a form, the bicarbonate promotes excess free sodium. Bicarbonate is not a mineral but a component in good natural mineral water. In particular, mineral water that has penetrated through limestone is rich in bicarbonate.
– Potassium is useful in lowering high blood pressure, and it is important for skin health and stimulates kidneys to rid the body of waste products. Potassium is found in some extent in nearly all mineral waters.
– Magnesium is a bio-element with an important function, and mineral waters help satisfy demand for it. Magnesium helps to regulate heart function and circulation, and calcium and vitamin C metabolism. A mineral water high in magnesium has a concentration of at least 50 mg/l.
– Certain mineral waters stand out for their higher calcium levels. Calcium is one of the body’s building blocks and is the most important mineral in the body in terms of quantity.
Calcium regulates blood clotting, helps fight infections, relieves allergic reactions, and has an effect on nerve and muscle function. It is a catalyst in metabolic processes. High calcium would be a mineral water with a content of at least 150 mg/l.
– Of water’s other indicators, mineral water’s pH is also measured (usually between 3-8), temperature of consumption (20 ˚C for cool waters, under 45 ˚C for hot), weak radioactivity from radon and the water’s hydrostatic pressure.
– As mineral water is a source of a number of microelements, special attention should be devoted to them, as the body often needs far smaller quantities of these elements. A high fluoride level in mineral water is considered to be 1 mg/l and up. High-iron mineral waters contain over 1 mg of iron per litre. Excessive intake of these elements is unhealthy.