Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Minerals From Drinking Water

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Minerals From Drinking Water

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Charlie W. Palmer
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You may be wondering if an RO filter actually removes minerals from your home’s water supply. Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to be discussing in this article.
For those that might not be aware, RO (Reverse Osmosis) is a process that utilizes a semipermeable membrane to remove contaminants, virus’ and bacteria from water.
Whilst it’s true that it’s very effective at removing harmful contaminants from water, let’s explore if it removes minerals too.

What Exactly Are Minerals in Water?

Minerals in water are naturally-occurring chemical elements or compounds that are found in water. They can be dissolved in water or present as suspended particles.

The quality of water is determined by the presence of different minerals in it. These minerals can come from a variety of sources, including rocks and soil, and they can have different effects on water quality.

Minerals are important for the human body and play a role in many physiological processes. Some minerals, such as sodium and chloride, are essential for the body to function properly. Others, such as iron and magnesium, are needed in small amounts for the body to maintain health.

Water is a vital resource for all life on Earth. It is essential for human health and well-being, and it plays an important role in the ecosystem.

Does RO Remove Important Minerals from Drinking Water?

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a filtration process that removes impurities from water by forcing it through a semipermeable membrane. An RO system removes minerals, including calcium and magnesium, from drinking water. While this can be beneficial in some cases, it can also lead to water that is too “soft” and devoid of important minerals.

What minerals does reverse osmosis remove from water?

Reverse osmosis removes a variety of minerals from water, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, fluoride, chloride, sulfate, and phosphate.

What is the impact of consuming “soft water”?

“Soft water” is simply water that has been treated to remove minerals that can cause hardness.

While soft water is not harmful to consume, it can have some impacts on your health. For example, soft water doesn’t provide your body with calcium or magnesium, which if you’re not eating a balanced diet, could potentially lead to deficiencies in these healthy minerals. However, it should be noted that these trace minerals are found in foods that one would/should eat on a daily basis, so it’s not a major concern.

There is a myth that soft water can make it difficult for your body to absorb other minerals and nutrients, which can impact your overall health… However, this has been shown to not be true.

If you are concerned about the impact of soft water on your health, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

What’s the Risk of Consuming Soft Water to Human Health?

Many people believe that soft water is actually healthier for you than hard water. This is because soft water does not contain the same levels of minerals and other contaminants that can be found in hard water.

However, the one key concern with soft water, as explained by PennState Extension, the water softening process exchanges the dissolved calcium and magnesium compounds for a higher sodium (salt) content, adding 7.5 milligrams of sodium to each quart of water per gpg of hardness removed. This isn’t ideal for someone on a low sodium diet.

An RO water system is known for removing harmful bacteria and virus’ from your home’s tap water, so this is one of the benefits over conventional municipal water.


In conclusion, RO water treatment does remove trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, fluoride, chloride, sulfate, and phosphate. However, one will simply be able to get these minerals from a balanced diet, alongside supplementation (if necessary, for example for someone with mineral deficiencies).
However, it’s important to speak with a trained healthcare professional before deciding on whether a reverse osmosis system is ideal for your needs, especially if you’re consuming the water on a regular basis.
As of 2010, the World Health Organization is still undecided about the evidence on whether soft or hard water is more ideal for the body in terms of consumption, with them stating:
“Although there is some evidence from epidemiological studies for a protective effect of magnesium or hardness on cardiovascular mortality, the evidence is being debated and does not prove causality. Further studies are being conducted. There are insufficient data to suggest either minimum or maximum concentrations of minerals at this time, and so no guideline values are proposed.”
With that being said, if you live in an area whether there are high levels of bacteria, virus’, chemicals or minerals in the water, one can always use a reverse osmosis water system to filter out these contaminants, and then re-mineralize (if there’s a lack of minerals after re-testing the water) using calcium and magnesium salts (as mentioned in the WHO PDF)

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