For most people, there is very little correlation to soft water and health. Contrary to the water filtration process, water softeners do not improve the healthiness of the water. However, there is no substantial evidence to prove soft water poses a serious health risk either. So drinking softened water isn’t necessarily such a major health concern. If you have any concerns about the purity of your drinking water, you should test it.
Water softeners use ion exchange to turn hard water into soft water. This prevents the costs and damages associated with hard water. Hard water causes scale build-up which leads to clogged pipes, damaged appliances, and increased heating costs. Water softeners solve this problem by replacing the “hard” calcium and magnesium ions which cause scale build-up with less intrusive sodium ions.
Soft water and health: Mineral deficiency
Removal of these minerals may have a negative relationship between soft water and health. The calcium and magnesium content in hard water may protect the heart and bones. Naturally, soft water is generally acidic when the body works best with slightly alkaline water. Cells, tissues, and organs do not like this acidity. To buffer it, they may remove minerals from your bones (which are already lacking the extra calcium provided by hard water) and the manufacture of bicarbonate in the blood. People who drink purified water consistently may develop multiple mineral deficiencies. Minerals supplements may reduce this deficiency but may not be has nourished in minerals than if they didn’t drink softened water.
Soft water and health: Increased sodium intake
Another possible detrimental effect of soft water and health is that sodium or salt would lead to a higher risk of heart and pressure problems. However, for most people, sodium is already in our everyday diet, especially in highly processed foods which can have up to 20x more sodium than softened water. In softened water, the salt content is but a fifth in semi-skimmed milk.
Water softeners should NOT be used in the following situations:
In mixing infant formula powders; softened water could affect its fine nutritional balance
Anyone on a low sodium diet due to complications with health problems such as hypertension.
Testing for sodium levels
If the level of sodium in your water is a concern to you, contact your local water department or contact an independent testing laboratory. There are testing kits available to order online too.
To protect your home from the complications of hard-water, you may want to consider water filtration.
A whole house water filter will prevent scale-build up and protect your pipes and water appliances without removing nourishing minerals that occur naturally in water.