Mineral water comes from natural underground reservoirs and springs (1).
It can be high in several essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Therefore, drinking mineral water may offer some health benefits.
This article discusses what mineral water is, its potential health benefits, and how it compares with other types of water.
Unlike other types of water, mineral water is bottled at its source and contains natural minerals and other trace elements (1).
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mineral water must have no less than 250 parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids — or minerals and trace elements— from the source. Adding minerals during bottling is not allowed (1, 2).
As its name suggests, mineral water can contain high amounts of minerals and other naturally occurring compounds, including magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate, sodium, sulfate, chloride, and fluoride (1).
The types and amounts of minerals depend on where the water comes from. As a result, the health benefits and flavor of mineral water varies greatly.
Finally, while tap water can provide some minerals, bottled mineral water is generally higher in these compounds (4).
Mineral water is bottled directly at the source and generally contains higher amounts of essential minerals than tap water. The source of the water affects its mineral composition, potential health benefits, and flavor.
Due to its unique composition of minerals and organic compounds, natural mineral water may offer some health benefits.
Adequate calcium intake is important for bone health at all stages of life, as it aids bone development and maintenance (5).
Mineral water has been shown to be a good source of calcium. In fact, studies have shown that your body can absorb calcium from mineral water as effectively as — if not better than — calcium from dairy products (6, 7).
One study in 255 postmenopausal women found that those who regularly drank calcium-rich mineral water had significantly higher bone mass density than those who drank water with lower levels of calcium (8).
A recent study associated drinking water high in magnesium and calcium with significantly lower blood pressure levels (13).
Given that mineral water can be a good source of both of these nutrients, drinking it may help lower blood pressure levels, especially in people who have elevated levels (14).
One 4-week study in 70 adults with borderline high blood pressure found that drinking at least 34 ounces (1 liter) of natural mineral water per day significantly lowered blood pressure levels (14).
However, a review of 20 studies looking at mineral water’s effect on blood pressure found inconsistent results. Therefore, more studies are needed to better understand the relationship between drinking mineral water and blood pressure (15).
Carbonated mineral water may also protect against heart disease.
Two studies in postmenopausal women found that drinking 17–34 ounces (0.5–1 liter) of carbonated mineral water per day significantly reduced levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol (16, 17).
The magnesium in this water may also benefit heart health, as one study associated higher levels of magnesium in water with a decreased risk of dying from heart disease (18).
While promising, more long-term studies are needed to determine how drinking mineral water affects measures of heart health.
Magnesium-rich mineral water may also help prevent and treat constipation.
Research has shown that magnesium draws water into the intestines and relaxes intestinal muscles. Combined, this makes stools softer and easier to pass (19).
A 6-week study in 106 people with functional constipation found that drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of magnesium and sulfate-rich mineral water per day significantly improved bowel movement frequency and stool consistency (19).
Natural mineral water can provide important minerals that support both bone and digestive health. While this type of water may also help lower blood pressure and support heart health, more long-term studies are needed.
While the long-term health effects of microplastics are still unknown, early animal and test-tube studies suggest that these small particles can accumulate in your body and increase inflammation (23, 24).
Finally, sparkling mineral water is more acidic than regular water, and the exposure to acid may damage your tooth enamel.
While research is limited, one study found that sparkling mineral water damaged tooth enamel only slightly more than regular tap water — and was 100 times less damaging than sugary soft drinks (25).
Drinking mineral water is generally considered safe, and the sparkling version has been shown to only slightly damage tooth enamel. However, there are concerns about microplastic toxicity from drinking mineral water from plastic bottles.
Mineral water is bottled directly at the source and often contains essential minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium.
While the exact mineral composition depends on where the water comes from, drinking mineral water may have several health benefits.
However, there are other ways to obtain these minerals. Thus, choosing between tap and mineral water should be determined by which type you like best.
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