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Why Reverse Osmosis Water is Detrimental to Your Health

September 7, 2015 by Kangen Singapore in My Blog with 0 Comments

Water is one the most essential ingredients to maintaining good health. Approximately 70% of an adult body is composed of water. In fact, by the time you experience moderate thirst, your body has almost lost 1% of its total water content.

Many of us from developed countries have heard of “drink 8 glasses of water a day”, yet we don’t pay much attention to the quality of the water we ingest, mainly because the devastating effects of poor hydration are slow and chronic.

With all the health scares of “toxins in the water”, consumers demanded the purest water they could get, and corporations rushed to fill the demand. A popular method to purify water is a process known as reverse osmosis. Yet beyond the high cost of owning a reverse osmosis water purifier in your house, new evidence suggests that using a machine may also cost your family’s health.

Here are a few interesting facts about water that many people don’t realise:

  • Water is an excellent solvent. Yes, this means it is capable of dissolving impurities, debris and toxins, but this also means that it can dissolve useful minerals and nutrients.
  • Severe dehydration can pose deleterious effects on all bodily systems.
  • It’s commonly believed that when drinking water, “the purer the better”. However, just because it’s a common belief doesn’t mean it’s true. Osmosis works both ways, and the minerals in your water is actually important for your body to maintain homeostasis (balance). Drinking demineralised water will actually cause your body to lose important minerals.

While it’s foolhardy to simply drink water from any source you can find, excessive treatment of water can also be harmful.

What Exactly is Reverse Osmosis?

In a nutshell, reverse osmosis aims to recycle water so that it is free of impurities. It does this by using applied pressure to reverse the process of osmosis. Scientifically, osmosis is the movement of water molecules through a semi-permeable barrier in the direction that will equalise the solute concentrations on both sides.

To understand this concept, imagine you have two characters who frequently hang out together, Bobby (your cell) and Robby (the water you drink). Bobby starts off with $100, and Robby starts off with $200. When they hang out together, they agree to even out the amount they have, so $50 flows from Robby to Bobby (osmosis) so that they both have $150. In this situation, Bobby is happy because he has gained $50, just as your cell would absorb minerals.

However, let’s say Bobby has $100 and Robby only has $50. Through osmosis, Bobby has to give Robby $25 to equal out the amounts they have so they both have $75. In this scenario, your cells (Bobby) are losing crucial nutrients to the water you drink (Robby). It gets even worse if the water you drink is pure and devoid of any minerals. If Bobby had $100 and Robby had $0, through osmosis Bobby would have to give half his money to Robby, and be left with only $50.

Osmosis is a natural process that happens even outside of your body, but as you can start to see, drinking pure water devoid of minerals is not the best idea for your health, yet this is exactly what reverse osmosis seeks to achieve.

The Problem with Reverse Osmosis

It’s scientifically established that reverse osmosis is a highly efficient way to purify water, but not many pay attention to the fact that it also gets rid of the minerals that are beneficial for health. Reverse osmosis can filter out up to 99% of the magnesium and calcium in your water, two very important minerals necessary for your body to function optimally.

To illustrate the severity of the problem, in 2000-2002, Czech and Slovak populations began installing reverse osmosis-based systems in their home taps. Within several weeks or months, various complaints were reported, including cardiovascular disorders, tiredness, weakness or muscular cramps were reported. These were all symptoms suggestive of acute magnesium deficiency.

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that there were significant health risks from consumption of demineralised or low-mineral water. Researchers focused on two major issues:

  • What possible adverse effects may be associated with drinking demineralised water?
  • What are the desirable, minimum concentration of minerals in water that are required to meet health and technical considerations?

In the late 1970s, the WHO commissioned a study to provide information so they could set guidelines for desalinated water. The final report, published in 1980, concluded that “completely demineralised water…has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism”.

Another study conducted showed that even supplementing your body with nutrition from food may not be enough to make up for the loss of minerals through drinking demineralised water.

In summary, the side effects of drinking demineralised water are as follows:

  • Exposure to water low in magnesium and calcium contents for even a few months may put you at risk of cardiovascular disorders tiredness, weakness and muscular cramps.
  • Malnutrition may result because demineralised water increases diuresis (urination) by an average of 20%. Studies also showed increased loss of minerals from the body when consuming demineralised water.
  • Drinking demineralised water especially after exercise can lead to hyponatremia, a condition where sodium in your blood becomes dangerously low. This is why experts recommend drinking isotonic drinks during and after exercise instead of plain water.
  • Studies in many countries all over the world have shown for about 50 years that water low in magnesium increases the incidence of cardiovascular disease compared to water high in magnesium.
  • Food prepared with demineralised water was found to lose up to 60% of magnesium and calcium content and even more for some other microelements.

The Characteristics of Optimal Drinking Water

Now that we’ve established that drinking pure water is not optimal, here are the 5 characteristics of optimal drinking water.

  • Mineral Content – Naturally occurring minerals not only improves the palatability of water, it also promotes health and wellness by minimising the risk of drastic biochemical changes in the body. Treating water using reverse osmosis completely disrupts this balance.
  • Free of contamination – The most common forms of contaminants include: microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungal products, dirt, impurities, heavy metals, synthetic chemicals, radioactive agents and additives like fluoride, chlorine and lye. This is the one area that reverse osmosis does very well at: The removal of contaminants.
  • Alkaline – Pure water has a neutral pH of 7. However, as many biological processes in our body produces acidic end-products, alkaline water with a pH of 8.5 – 9.5 is ideal.
  • Antioxidation – Research has shown that oxidative stress caused by free radicals can contribute to chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurological and pulmonary diseases. The strength of the antioxidant is measured in Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP). The lower the number, the stronger the ORP. Kangen water is easily able to reach an ORP of -400. Antioxidants help your body to detoxify and neutralise the effects of oxidation.
  • Micro-clustered Water – Unbeknownst to many, water does come in different sizes. Water molecules are all made up of two hydrogen and one oxygen molecule (H2O), but water has a tendency to cluster together. Through ionisation, it is possible to create water molecules that form in smaller clusters. Smaller clusters of water travel through the body more easily and aids your body’s detoxification processes.

While Singapore obtains much of our water through reverse osmosis in our NEWater plants, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) remineralises our water. This draws a balance between purification and mineral content, and water from our taps are generally safe for drinking. However, for the best water quality, kangen alkaline water produced by our Kangen SD 501 is highly recommended. While alkaline water ionisers are most commonly advertised for producing alkaline water, the benefits of owning a kangen water machine goes far beyond that.

The Kangen SD 501 readily produces alkaline antioxidant water with an ORP rating of -400 with a pH of between 8.5 and 9.5, much higher than any bottled or tap water. It also forms micro-clusters in water so that it is more easily absorbed by your body to aid in detoxification.

To experience first-hand the benefits of kangen water, sign up for a no obligation 30-day free trial!


  1. Kozisek, F. (2005). Health risks from drinking demineralised water. Nutrients in Drinking Water, 148-163. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientsindw.pdf
  2. Rosborg, I., Kozisek, F., & Ferrrante, M. (2015). Health Effects of Demineralization Drinking Water. In Drinking Water Minerals and Mineral Balance (pp. 119-123). Springer International Publishing. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-09593-6_7
  3. Kožíšek, F. (2003). Health significance of drinking water calcium and magnesium. National Institute of Public Health, Prague. http://www.szu.cz/uploads/documents/chzp/voda/pdf/hardness.pdf
  4. Yang, C. Y., Chiu, H. F., Chang, C. C., Wu, T. N., & Sung, F. C. (2002). Association of very low birth weight with calcium levels in drinking water. Environmental research, 89(3), 189-194. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12176002

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