Purified Water vs. Mineral Water: Making the Best Choice for Optimal Health

Mineral Water, Distilled Water, or Reverse Osmosis Water: Which Is Best for Health?

As a microbiologist, I am often asked which type of water is best for health: mineral water, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water? It’s a complex question with no easy answer, but I believe that pure water with no added minerals is the best option. In this article, I’ll discuss both sides of the debate and explain why starting with pure water and adding your own minerals is the way to go.

What Is Mineral Water?

Mineral water is sourced from natural springs and bottled at the origin. It gets its name from the minerals and trace elements that are naturally present in the water. These minerals can include calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, among other perhaps less desirable minerals such as sulphates. The presence of these minerals gives mineral water its distinct taste and composition.

How Minerals Enter the Water

Mineral water obtains its minerals through a natural process as the water travels through layers of rocks and soil. As the water moves through the underground aquifers, it comes into contact with various geological formations. During this journey, minerals and trace elements present in the rocks dissolve into the water, enriching it with these substances

The concentration and composition of minerals in mineral water can vary depending on the specific geological characteristics of the water source. Different regions and springs may have unique mineral profiles, which contribute to the distinctive flavors and properties of the water.

Why Minerals in Water Can Be Harmful to Your Kidneys

While minerals are essential for our overall health, it’s important to understand that consuming excessive amounts of minerals through water intake can be harmful, particularly to our kidneys. The kidneys play a crucial role in maintaining the body’s mineral balance by filtering out waste products and excess minerals from the bloodstream.

kidney stones as evidence mineral water vs purified water

When we consume water with high mineral content, such as mineral water, our kidneys have to work harder to process and eliminate these minerals. Over time, the constant strain on the kidneys from processing excessive minerals can lead to potential complications and imbalances in the body.

One specific concern is the risk of kidney stone formation. Kidney stones are crystallized deposits that can form in the urinary tract, including the kidneys. Certain minerals, such as calcium and oxalate, which are commonly found in mineral water, can contribute to the formation of kidney stones when consumed in excessive amounts. This is especially true for individuals who are already predisposed to kidney stone formation.

Furthermore, the presence of high mineral content in water can also impact individuals with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease or certain types of urinary tract disorders. In these cases, healthcare professionals often recommend avoiding water with elevated mineral levels to reduce the strain on the kidneys and maintain proper health management.

It’s worth noting that the potential harmful effects of minerals in water are more pronounced when consuming large quantities of mineral-rich water regularly over an extended period. Moderate consumption of mineral water is generally safe for most individuals, but it’s important to be mindful of your overall mineral intake from various sources, including food and other beverages.


Mineral water is sourced from natural springs and contains minerals and trace elements that occur naturally in the water due to its contact with geological formations. While minerals are essential for our health, excessive consumption of minerals through water intake, such as mineral water, can have negative effects on our kidneys. The strain on the kidneys from processing excessive minerals can lead to complications, including the formation of kidney stones. It’s crucial to maintain a balanced mineral intake and be mindful of the potential risks associated with consuming water with high mineral content, particularly for individuals with preexisting kidney conditions.

What Is Distilled Water?

How a Distiller Operates: Nature’s Purification Process

A distiller operates in a manner similar to nature’s purification process, replicating the natural water cycle. Just as nature evaporates water from oceans, lakes, and rivers and condenses it into clouds, a distiller follows a similar principle.

diagram of a simple water distiller

The distillation process begins by heating the water in a boiling chamber. As the water reaches its boiling point, it vaporizes, leaving behind impurities, contaminants, and minerals. The resulting steam rises and travels through a condensation coil, where it cools down and transforms back into liquid form. This condensed water is collected as purified water in a separate chamber, free from impurities and minerals.

Benefits of Distilled Water over Mineral Water

When it comes to health benefits, distilled water offers several advantages over mineral water:

  1. Purity: Distilled water is one of the purest forms of water available. The distillation process effectively removes impurities, including bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants that may be present in the water. By eliminating these potential health hazards, distilled water provides a clean and safe drinking option.
  2. Mineral-Free: Unlike mineral water, which contains varying levels of minerals, distilled water is mineral-free. While minerals are essential for our body, we typically acquire them through our regular diet. Drinking mineral-free water allows us to have better control over our mineral intake and ensures that we’re not consuming excessive amounts that may disrupt our body’s mineral balance.
  3. Reduced Risk of Kidney Stones: The absence of minerals in distilled water can be particularly beneficial for individuals prone to kidney stones. Excessive mineral consumption, especially calcium and oxalate, can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. By opting for distilled water, which lacks these minerals, individuals can potentially reduce the risk of kidney stone development.
  4. Improved Detoxification: Distilled water plays a vital role in the body’s natural detoxification processes. It serves as a neutral and effective solvent, helping to carry toxins and waste products out of the body more efficiently. With its purity and lack of impurities, distilled water can optimize the body’s detoxification capabilities.
  5. Versatility and Application: Distilled water’s purity and lack of minerals make it a versatile and valuable resource for various applications beyond drinking. It is commonly used in medical settings, laboratories, and pharmaceutical industries due to its high quality and reliability. Additionally, distilled water is ideal for use in humidifiers, irons, and other household appliances that require water without minerals to prevent mineral buildup.
  6. Neutral pH: Distilled water typically has a neutral pH, which means it is neither acidic nor alkaline. This neutrality makes it suitable for individuals with specific dietary requirements or those seeking a neutral pH water option.

It’s important to note that while distilled water offers numerous benefits, it’s always advisable to maintain a balanced diet and obtain necessary minerals through food sources. However, for regular hydration and certain applications, distilled water can provide a pure and health-conscious choice.

In conclusion, the distillation process mimics nature’s purification process by evaporation, condensation, and the removal of impurities. Distilled water offers several advantages over mineral water, including purity, absence of minerals, reduced risk of kidney stones, improved detoxification support, versatility, and neutral pH. By choosing distilled water, individuals can enjoy the benefits of clean, mineral-free water and support their overall health and well-being.

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water?

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water?

Reverse osmosis (RO) water is a type of purified water that is created through a process known as reverse osmosis. This method of water purification has gained popularity worldwide due to its effectiveness in removing impurities, contaminants, and dissolved minerals from water.

Reverse osmosis works by using a semipermeable membrane, which acts as a barrier that allows water molecules to pass through while blocking larger particles and impurities. The membrane has extremely small pores that only permit water molecules to pass, effectively filtering out contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, chemicals, heavy metals, and dissolved solids.

Why Is Reverse Osmosis the Preferred Method of Water Purification Worldwide?

Reverse osmosis has become the preferred method of water purification worldwide for several reasons:

  1. High Purity: Reverse osmosis is highly effective in removing a wide range of impurities, including microscopic particles, bacteria, and dissolved minerals. It can eliminate up to 99% of contaminants, ensuring that the resulting water is of high purity.
  2. Versatility: Reverse osmosis can treat various types of water sources, including tap water, well water, and even seawater. Its versatility makes it suitable for both residential and commercial applications.
  3. Improved Taste and Odor: By removing impurities and chemicals, reverse osmosis enhances the taste, odor, and overall quality of water. It provides a clean and refreshing drinking experience.
  4. Health and Safety: Reverse osmosis effectively eliminates harmful substances such as lead, arsenic, chlorine, and other potentially hazardous contaminants. This makes the water safer for consumption, reducing health risks associated with contaminated water.
  5. Cost-Effective: Although the initial installation cost of a reverse osmosis system can vary, the long-term benefits outweigh the investment. The system requires minimal maintenance and provides a reliable and continuous supply of purified water, reducing the need for bottled water purchases.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Function?

Reverse osmosis operates on the principle of creating a pressure difference across a semipermeable membrane to force water molecules through while trapping impurities. Here’s a simplified explanation of the reverse osmosis process:

  1. Pre-Filtration: The water first goes through pre-filters to remove larger particles, sediment, and chlorine, protecting the reverse osmosis membrane from potential damage.
  2. Pressurization: The water is then pressurized using a pump or the water supply pressure. This pressure is necessary to push the water molecules through the semipermeable membrane.
  3. Reverse Osmosis Membrane: The pressurized water is directed to the semipermeable membrane. This membrane has extremely small pores that allow water molecules to pass through while blocking impurities, contaminants, and dissolved minerals.
  4. Permeate and Reject Streams: As the water passes through the membrane, it separates into two streams. The permeate stream contains the purified water, which is collected for use. The reject stream carries the concentrated impurities and is diverted away.
  5. Post-Filtration: In some cases, the purified water may undergo post-filtration to further enhance its quality by removing any remaining tastes or odors.
reverse osmosis installation diagram

Reverse osmosis systems designed for home use are typically compact and can be installed under the sink or in a small area. They don’t require significant space, making them suitable for residential settings.

Why Is Reverse Osmosis Generally Chosen for Home Water Treatment?

Reverse osmosis is often chosen for home water treatment due to its effectiveness, convenience, and the ability to provide purified water directly at the point of use. Here are a few reasons why reverse osmosis is popular for residential applications:

  1. Comprehensive Purification: Reverse osmosis can effectively remove various contaminants, including dissolved minerals, heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, and microorganisms. This ensures that the water is safe and clean for drinking and other household uses.
  2. Space Efficiency: Reverse osmosis systems designed for home use are typically compact and can be installed under the sink or in a small area. They don’t require significant space, making them suitable for residential settings.
  3. Convenience: With a reverse osmosis system, homeowners can have a continuous supply of purified water directly from their tap. There’s no need to purchase bottled water or rely on other filtration methods.
  4. Customizable: Reverse osmosis systems can be customized to meet specific water treatment needs. Depending on the quality of the source water and individual preferences, additional filtration stages or post-treatment options can be added to enhance the water quality further.

By utilizing reverse osmosis for home water treatment, individuals can enjoy the convenience, peace of mind, and health benefits of having access to clean and purified water right at their fingertips.

In summary, reverse osmosis water is purified water produced through a process that utilizes a semipermeable membrane to filter out impurities and dissolved minerals. It is preferred globally due to its high purity, versatility, improved taste, health benefits, and cost-effectiveness. Reverse osmosis is commonly chosen for home water treatment due to its comprehensive purification capabilities, space efficiency, convenience, and customization options.

The Debate: Which Is Best for Health?

There is a lot of debate about which type of water is best for health. Some people believe that drinking mineral water provides health benefits due to the presence of minerals. Others argue that the body can obtain all the necessary minerals from food, and that drinking water with added minerals is unnecessary.

On the other hand, some people prefer distilled or reverse osmosis water because they are very pure and free of impurities. They believe that drinking water with impurities or minerals can be harmful to health.

My Perspective as a Microbiologist

As a microbiologist, my focus is on the quality of the water itself, rather than the presence or absence of minerals. In my opinion, pure water with no added minerals is the best option. This is because adding minerals to water can actually lead to imbalances in the body’s mineral levels.

The body has a complex system for regulating mineral levels, and drinking water with added minerals can disrupt this system. Additionally, many people already get all the necessary minerals from their diet, so drinking mineral water may be unnecessary.

Furthermore, waters primary function is to carry nutrients into the body and to transport toxins out. Pure water will be able to perform both of the essential tasks better if it is not already carrying a load of gravel with it. Minerals in water are not much different than gravel, just smaller. Minerals need to be assimilated by a plant before being consumed by humans.

Instead, I recommend starting with pure water and adding your own minerals as needed. This can be done by adding a small amount of mineral-rich salt or using a mineral supplement. This allows you to control the amount and type of minerals you are consuming and ensures that you are not disrupting your body’s natural mineral balance and avoiding a very painful bout with kidney stones.


In conclusion, the question of which type of water is best for health is a complex one. While some people prefer mineral water for its added minerals, and others prefer distilled or reverse osmosis water for their purity, my perspective as a microbiologist is that pure water with no added minerals is the best option. By starting with pure water and adding your own minerals as needed, you can ensure that you are getting the minerals you need without disrupting your body’s natural mineral balance.

purified water, distilled water, reverse osmosis water

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