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Make your own Mineral Water

Hundreds of active and healthy centenarians live in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. This is one of the world's biggest "blue zones", where a large percentage of people enjoy remarkably long lives. Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has studied the lifestyle of these long-lived people, attributes their longevity to their physical activity and the fact that they drink hard water, i.e., water high in calcium and magnesium which helps to maintain strong bones.

By contrast, it is estimated that approximately 28 million people (1 in 9 or 10.29%) in the United States have osteoporosis and an additional 18 million have low bone mass. Many of these cases could be caused because the drinking water is too pure and does not have enough minerals to maintain equilibrium of the mineral ions in the bones. The situation is aggravated by the use of domestic chemical water softeners which substantially reduce the content of calcium in drinking water.

mineral water

Calcium equilibrium was described by Professor B.E.C. Nordin in an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

Calcium intake, absorption, and excretion make up the 3 components of the calcium paradigm. To remain in calcium balance, net absorbed calcium (the difference between dietary intake and fecal output) has to equal calcium losses in the urine and through the skin. If that is not achieved, the calcium balance becomes negative and the difference between intake and output is drawn from the skeleton to maintain the (ionized) calcium in the extracellular fluid. Sooner or later, probably in a matter of days, this requires bone breakdown and the development of osteoporosis.[5]

Calcium (Ca++) intake is important at all ages, but the need is higher during childhood, fetal growth, pregnancy, and lactation. Epidemiological, animal, and clinical studies show that the occurrence of osteoporosis decreases as the dietary calcium intake increases. A diet that is fortified in calcium may reduce the rate of age-related bone loss and hip fractures, especially among adult women. In spite of this knowledge, nutritional surveys indicate that more than half of North Americans consume inadequate levels of calcium and, on average, adult women consume only 60% of the required daily calcium intake. Many foods, such as orange juice, are now fortified with calcium, but naturally bioavailable calcium is found almost exclusively in milk, milk products, and water. Drinking water may be a significant source of calcium, and calcium-rich mineral water may provide over one-third of the recommended dietary intake of this mineral in adults.[1]

Epidemiological studies also suggest that increased dietary intake of magnesium (Mg++) reduces the occurrence of schemic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias, and sudden death. Increased levels of magnesium in drinking water are associated with decreased occurrence of cardiac disease. The majority of the U.S. population consumes less than the daily magnesium requirement, and many individuals ingest less than 80% of the recommended level. Magnesium is found in foods such as nuts, green leafy vegetables, cereals, and seafood. However, magnesium in water is highly bioavailable, and is absorbed approximately 30% faster and better than magnesium from food.[1]

 Mineral Water Recipes:

 Recipe 1: Calcium/Magnesium water
  • 1 liter filtered tap water
  • 1/8 tsp. magnesium sulfate
      (epsom salts)
  • 1/8 tsp. calcium chloride

 Recipe 2: Alkaline Magnesium water
  • 1 liter filtered tap water
  • 1/8 tsp. sodium bicarbonate
      (baking soda) 
  • 1/8 tsp. potassium bicarbonate
  • 1/8 tsp. magnesium sulfate
      (epsom salts)
Measuring Spoons

NOTE: Calcium Chloride should not be combined with the bicarbonates because calcium carbonate precipitates. The sodium bicarbonate becomes sodium chloride (table salt), and potassium bicarbonate becomes potassium chloride.

Ca++ + 2 HCO3- → CaCO3 + H2CO3
H2CO3 → H2O + CO2

Measure carefully. Make sure that the spoons are level and not heaping. If you cannot find a measuring spoon set with 1/8 teaspoon, you can double the recipe. Use two liters of water and the more common 1/4 teaspoon measure. It is advisable to filter the source tap water with a water filter pitcher to assure that the water does not have heavy metals such as lead. Mix all the ingredients until the mineral salts are completely dissolved.

All these ingredients are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The bicarbonates make the water alkaline and can increase the pH of body fluids. The molecular weight of these compounds can be used to calculate the amount of each mineral in the recipe.

Molar mass of CaCl2 = 110.984 g/mol (36.112% Ca by weight)
Molar mass of MgSO4·7H2O = 246.475 g/mol (9.861% Mg by weight)
Molar mass of NaHCO3 = 84.007 g/mol (27.367% Na by weight)
Molar mass of KHCO3 = 100.115 g/mol (39.053% K by weight)

Since 1/8 tsp of each ingredient weighs approximately 0.6 grams (600 mg), the amount of each mineral can be calculated by multiplying the percentage by weight in the molar mass of the compound times the weight used in the recipe, e.g., 600mg × 0.27 for sodium. NOTE: The composition of home-made mineral water also depends on the minerals present in the water before addition of these mineral salts. Check with the water commission in your area to obtain an analysis of the minerals in your local water source. For example, the tap water in Washington, D.C. [4] has the following average concentrations of minerals in mg/L: Ca 38.9, Mg 10.3, Na 20.5, K 3.3.

 Mineral Composition of the Water

 Recipe 1: Calcium/Magnesium water
 Calcium    Ca++ 216 mg/L
 Magnesium    Mg++     59 mg/L

 Recipe 2: Alkaline Magnesium water
 Magnesium    Mg++     59 mg/L
 Sodium    Na+  162 mg/L
 Potassium    K+ 234 mg/L
 Bicarbonate    HCO3- 798 mg/L

For comparison, the table below lists the mineral compositions of several commercially available bottled waters in North America and in Europe. The mineral content of the Calcium/Magnesium water recipe above is similar to that of European waters with moderate mineral content, such as San Pellegrino from Italy. The European waters with a high mineral content are high in sodium and have a salty taste.

Adding Carbonation
Many mineral waters are effervescent when they emerge from the ground. The fizzines is due to dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) which forms bubbles as the water is decompressed from a high underground pressure to the atmospheric pressure on the surface. You can make your mineral water effervescent using a soda siphon and carbon dioxide cartridges like the ones illustrated here. Once you have prepared the mineral water recipe, pour it into the soda siphon, and plug in the carbon dioxide cartridge following the manufacturer's instructions. The soda siphon with the carbonated water may be kept in the refrigerator until ready for use.

Soda Siphon for seltzer water
Soda Siphon and Carbon Dioxide Cartridges

Mineral Content of Some Commercially Available North American Bottled Waters (mg/L) [2]

North American WatersCa++ Mg++ Na+
Spring waters   
  Adobe Springs, Calif3965
  Alhambra, Calif114
  Arrowhead, Calif2053
  Black Mountain, Calif2518
  Caddo Valley, Ark3632
  Canadian Spring, Canada1132
  Carolina Mountain, NC605
  Clairval, Canada20713
  Cobb Mountain, Calif524
  Crystal Geyser Alpine, Calif0613
  Deer Park, Me111
  Georgia Mountain Water, Ga200
  Great Bear, NY113
  Hawaiian Springs, Hawaii636
  La Croix, Wis37224
  Mount Olympus, Utah823
  Mountain Valley, Ark6883
  Naya, Canada38206
  Ozarka, Tex1815
  Poland Spring, Me023
  Pure Hawaiian, Hawaii000
  Pure Spring Water, Ga4940
  Sierra, Calif000
  Sparkletts, Calif5515
  Talawanda Spring, Ohio003
  Talking Rain, Wash220
  Utopia, Tex76178
  Zephyrhills, Fla5274
Mineral waters   
  A Santé, Calif41160
  Calistoga, Calif71150
  Canada Geese, Canada2821036
  Crystal Geyser, Calif83160
  Lithia Springs, Ga1207680
  Mendocino, Calif310130240
  Montclair, Canada812475
  Montellier, Canada33340
  Vichy Springs, Calif15748  1095

Mineral Content of Some Commercially Available European Bottled Waters (mg/L) [3]

European WatersCa++Mg++Na+
Low mineral content (less than 200 mg/L of Ca++, Mg++, Na+)
  Abbey Well, United Kingdom543645
  Acqua di Nepi, Italy722632
  Acqua Fabia, Italy124515
  Acqua Panna, Italy1553
  Aqua-Pura, Engalnd53727
  Ballygowan, Ireland1141615
  Boario, Italy124416
  Brecon Carreg, United Kingdom48176
  Bru, Belgium232310
  Buxton, United Kingdom551924
  Chiltern Hills, England10418
  Claudia, Italy1042256
  Cristalp, Switzerland1154020
  Crodo Lisiel, Italy6026
  Evian, France78245
  Fiuggi, Italy1556
  Font Vella, Spain26512
  Fonter, Spain35711
  Glenpatrick Spring, Ireland1121512
  Henniez, Switzerland111199
  Hella, Germany5148
  Highland Spring, United Kingdom39159
  Levissima, Italy1811
  Perrier, France145414
  San Benedetto, Italy43258
  San Bernardo, Italy1211
  Spa Reine, Belgium413
  St. Michaelis, Germany43421
  Strathmore, United Kingdom601546
  Tipperary, Ireland372325
  Thorspring, Iceland618
  Valvert, Belgium6822
  Vera, Italy34132
  Vichy Nouvelle, Finland701101
  Viladrau, Spain1629
  Vittel Bonne Source, France91207
  Volvic, France1069
  Voslauer, Austria57375
Moderate mineral content
        (between 200 and 750 mg/L of Ca++, Mg++, Na+)
  Apollinaris, Germany89104425
  Aproz, Switzerland454678
  Badoit, France200100160
  Contrex, France467847
  Crodo Valle d'oro, Italy510512
  Fachingen, Germany11362500
  Ferrarelle, Italy4082350
  Franken Brunnen, Germany1984252
  Gerolsteiner, Germany364113129
  Hassia Sprudel, Germany17636232
  Vittel Hépar, France57511813
  Passugger, Switzerland2862446
  Pedras Salgadas, Portugal1329550
  Peterstaler, Germany21649215
  Pracastello, Italy1644628
  Rippoldsauer, Germany24837150
  Robacher, Germany25612840
  Romerquelle, Austria1466513
  Radenska, Slovenia21797470
  Salus Vidago, Spain7810660
  San Pellegrino, Italy2045747
  Sangemini, Italy3221921
  Valser, Switzerland4365411
  Vichy Original, Finland100110220
  Vittel Grande Source, France202363
High mineral content (more than 750 mg/L of Ca++, Mg++, Na+)
  Kaiser Friedrich, Germany54  1419
  Krystynka, Poland17660900
  SaintYorre, France3071108
  San Narciso, Spain5391120
  Uberkinger, Germany26171180
  Vichy Celestins, France10091200
  Vichy Catalan, Spain3381133

  1. Arik Azoulay, Philippe Garzon, Mark J Eisenberg, Comparison of the Mineral Content of Tap Water and Bottled Waters, J Gen Intern Med. 2001 March; 16(3): 168-175. [link]
  2. von Wiesenberger A. The Pocket Guide to Bottled Water. 1st ed. Chicago: Contemporary Books; 1991.
  3. Green M, Green M. The Good Water Guide. London, England: Rosendale Press; 1994.
  4. Patuxent and Potomac water filtration plants Tap Water Analysis. [link]
  5. BE Christopher Nordin, EDITORIAL: Calcium absorption revisited, Am J Clin Nutr, Vol. 92, No. 4, 673-674, October 2010 [link]

© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora