We tend to ask this question, but the real one is whether we know the right answer...?
That is why I am going to develop this topic and find a suitable reply.. Let’s start by explaining how a water particle is built – it consists of 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom.
If we are considering only one water particle (H2O) – all elements are alike. However, if we compare two water particles which have been saturated by different elements, those particles will not stay the same. In my professional career, I have often heard that “water is just water – it’s wet and there is nothing to discuss”. I have to say that this kind of reasoning is far from being correct and, moreover, it may lead to a number of medical problems.
Water is of major importance to all living things – when it comes to adults, 60-70% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 75% is responsible for the body weight of children and up to 80% of newborn babies. Without water our bodies would not work properly as it carries nutrients for human cells. What is more, water is responsible for metabolic processes which could not happen otherwise. It is believed to be diluent. It means that nutrients, hormones, enzymes and other substances are dissolved in water and carried further. Water is responsible for maintaining the right and stable temperature of our bodies. In addition, it must be said that it would not be possible for our bodies to produce new cells and tissues without water. Those four functions of this life-giving fluid clearly show that either a human being or any other organism cannot survive devoid of water.
In the light of all those facts about water and its key functions in our bodies, we should be careful and choose the water we drink responsibly. In order to do this, we ought to know the rules which regulate Polish water market. These are:
- The law of 25 August 2006 on the safety of food and nutrition
- 466th Regulation of the Minister for Public Health of 31 March 2011 on the natural mineral water, spring water and bottled water
- 565th Regulation of the Minister for Public Health of 13 April 2006 on the field of study needed for determining medicinal properties of natural raw materials and climate as well as their assessment criteria and a certificate confirming those healing qualities.
Nowadays, in Poland there is such a classification of water based on the level of its mineralization:
- low-mineralized / fresh water (up to 500 mg),
- medium-mineralized (501 – 1500 mg),
- high-mineralized (more than 1500 mg).
There is different division concerning still water with natural contents of CO2 and sparkling water (saturated with CO2).
Every time we buy water, we should read its label carefully. Labels are full of important information about the water we are going to drink – we can learn what cations and anions are placed there and what is its mineralization
Unfortunately, sometimes information placed on labels is not as precise as we would like it to be and, therefore, it does not give us a full picture. In order to be sure, we should also check whether the product is properly certified when it comes to: microbiological testing, physicochemical analysis and natural radioactivity measurements of water. Those tests should be done in an accredited laboratory twice a year. Gathering all those information would give us certainty about:
- the precise content of water along with the number of mineral salts and measurements of pH,
- information about any heavy metals, pesticides, nitrite, nitrate, radioactive elements (radium, radon, uranium) as well as alfa/beta radioactivity.
Thanks to all the information, we would be able to say what is the real quality of the water we choose and whether it is really beneficial for our health.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that the vast majority of Polish producers of water do not give their consumers any valuable information and insight into such research. That is why we cannot be 100% sure that the water we drink is healthy. As consumers, we have a full right to request all those information so we should take advantage of it. Our health is at stake.
Last but not least, there are such producers who mark the name of the source, which is a violation of law due to the 466th Regulation of the Minister for Public Health of 31 March 2011 on the natural mineral water, spring water and bottled water, 2nd Chapter, §7 point 3. According to this rule: “If a trade name of natural mineral water is different from the name of the water supply this water is taken from, the name of this place has to be printed with a font at least 1,5 times higher and wider than the biggest font used in the trade name of this product”.
So now you are wondering what water you should drink on daily basis.
I have been discussing water issues with a number of most distinguished practitioners: nephrologists, diabetes specialists, cardiologists, neurologists, endocrinologists and even pediatricians and dieticians. Everybody agreed what an important role water plays in our bodies. They also shared an opinion that drinking water should consist of electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Water cannot be devoid of sodium and potassium due to the fact that both of them are responsible for proper functioning of a potassium-sodium pump. When we sweat, our bodies lose both of those electrolytes. Their deficiency may lead to hyponatraemia and as a consequence, even to death. Sportsmen as well as diabetics are often affected by hyponatraemia. It can also affect people suffering from nausea and diarrhea.
Hyponatraemia is caused not only by sudden dehydration, but also a state when a person does not drink fluids without or with little sodium. Such water dilutes our biological fluids which causes even higher deficits of sodium in our bodies.
For many years, the media and huge companies which offer low-sodium water (about 40 mg/l sodium, which is almost none) have been informing us how crucial it is to drink their water because sodium does more harm than good. According to them, especially people with certain disorders or diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cardiac issues and nephrolithiasis should choose low-sodium products. However, in her study from August 2016, dr Zofia Konopielko said about Jantar Water: “Those patients should be worried more about eating three slices of ham, crisps, hamburgers, bread from their bakers or drinking Coke Light”. WHO claims that in normal conditions, an adult should intake about 1500 mg of sodium daily (which equals about 5 grams of salt). That is why it would be most beneficial to choose water which has about 100-200 mg/l of sodium.
Even if we claimed that excessive intake of sodium is harmful, it would be impossible for an ordinary man to cross this border, as we normally drink about 2 litres of liquids in 24 hours and in such an amount, the percentage of sodium is minor. We have to remember though that according to the Ministry of Public Health, low-sodium water is the one which consists up to 200 mg/l of this element. Dear readers, if you are healthy and your kidneys are working well, sodium will not pose any threat to your health as it is going to be removed easily.
We have to remember that most interferences in a chemical structure of water stop it from being pure. The consequences of such interferences are simple – the producer who does it cannot name his product “water” but “an aquatic beverage”. It is stated in the official rules. However, as you may guess, the reality is often different. Why do such practices happen? Their main aim is to improve the quality of water or eliminate harmful substances from a certain product.
What about water which contains higher amount of calcium? As long as it goes hand in hand with the right amount of vitamin D and vitamin K (D – the right concentration is 30-50 ng/ml [75-125 nmol/l]), there is nothing to worry about. These two vitamins cause calcium to be absorbed well. Nevertheless, if their level is too low, it may influence calcium to accumulate in a skeletal system, which can lead to calcification of veins and arteries. If such a state lasts for a long time, it can be very dangerous as it might finish with vasoconstriction, and finally, death..
Does water’s pH affect our bodies in any way? The majority of waters sold in Poland have precise information about pH printed on their labels. This note must also be given in all aquatic products in Western Europe. What is so important about pH that consumers need to know? pH specifies reaction. If it is below 7 – pH is acid; over 7 – pH is alkaline. Blood’s pH is usually between 7,35 and 7,45 and it means that the water we drink should have pH of 7,2-8,0. It is better to choose still water because CO2 present in sparkling water causes acidification and its pH decreases below 7.
Most waters in Poland have acidic pH. It is not recommended to drink such water if your body is acidified or has problems with excessive gastric acid. In such a case, we should choose alkaline water whose role is to remove acids from our bodies. In his study from January 2016, prof. dr Michał Nowicki wrote about Jantar Water: “During intense physical exertion human’s metabolism is more effective, which makes our muscles release acids. That is why drinking water with high amount of hydrogen carbonates is really beneficial and it may improve stamina and make the body accustomed to longer effort. Not only that but alkaline water’s positive properties can be used in many disorders connected with digestive system (especially gastrointestinal system)".
Let’s choose water which does not contain any heavy metals, pesticides, nitrites, nitrates, radioactive elements (radium, radon, uranium) or alfa/beta radiation. All of those substances have a harmful effect on our health. Besides, their emergence equals environmental pollution. Some part of them appear in natural world conditioned by geological structure of some rocks.
Why is it worth to choose Jantar Water?:
- it is medium-mineralized,
- as chloride-sodium water it quickly and effectively hydrates the body,
- it has a proper level of sodium, potassium and chloride, which keeps a water and electrolyte balance. It is crucial especially during physical exertion,
- it is characterized by an excellent potassium/sodium ratio (it is close to a recommended electrolyte levels in plasma concentration testings),
- it supports functioning of a sodium-potassium pump,
- it contains HCO3 hydrocarbons that are great for athletes as they improve the absorption rate of calcium and magnesium,
- it has alkaline 7,4 pH – it counters the effects of acidification,
- it does not contain heavy metals and pesticides,
- it does not show any isotope concentration of radium, radon and uranium,
- it does not have alfa/beta radiation,
- it does not contain any chemical substances and preservatives.
The article’s author is Michał Fijałkowski. It comes from Harmonia Magazine – May/June 2017 issue, “Czy woda wodzie równa” (“Does water equal water”).
Michał Fijałkowski – sociologist, healthy lifestyle and healthy food aficionado, Managing Director in Jantar Mineral Water, JANTAR Wody Mineralne Sp. z o.o., Kołobrzeg.