What is Mineral Water? How Can Mineral Water Help You

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What is Mineral Water?

Bottled water is a thriving industry, with over $11 billion in sales per year. A segment of this industry is dedicated to mineral water, which contains an assortment of naturally occurring minerals and trace minerals. Although similar, both spring and artesian well water both can come from underground sources, just like mineral water. But that does not necessarily mean they have the composition that would put them under the mineral water category. Due to its unique composition, mineral water has been praised for its health benefits for centuries,

Classifying Mineral Water
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies mineral water as any water containing at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids. The water must also come from an underground source with no minerals added after it is pulled from the source. In addition, the water must be bottled at the source, not shipped and bottled elsewhere. This is the American standard that isolates mineral water from spring water or other types of naturally sourced water.

In Europe, the standard for mineral water is less accurate, with no specific level of total dissolved solids required for mineral water classification. Instead, mineral water can be any water that is naturally sourced and bottled at that source. It is more akin to the spring or artesian water in the U.S.

Types Of Minerals
Mineral water can contain as many as 100 different minerals, available from natural underground springs from all over the world. Since each source may have a different mineral composition in the earth, mineral water will vary in composition, depending on the underground spring from where it originates. Some of the minerals that are commonly found in mineral water include:

  • Magnesium. Some bottled mineral waters contain as much 600 mg of magnesium per liter, which is above the Recommended Daily Allowance of about 400 mg for adult males. Others contain only traces.


  • Calcium. Although most mineral water contains only a small amount of calcium, it is present in most bottled brands.


  • Iron. One study showed that the iron in natural mineral water, ferrous sulphate, has a high absorption rate by the human body.


  • Zinc. There are small traces of zinc in mineral water. However, since the body only needs a small amount per day, the FDA regulations state that bottled water should not have more than 5 mg of zinc per liter.


  • Potassium. Potassium is also only found in small traces in most mineral waters, with most having less than 10 mg per liter.


  • Sodium. One issue with some bottled mineral waters is high levels of sodium. One brand from Germany has over 400 mg per liter.


Since the U.S. Standard is 250 parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids to be labeled mineral water, there are varying levels. Between 250-500 ppm is considered “light” or “low content” mineral water, where brands containing 1550 ppm are considered high content mineral water. Content levels, the concentration of various minerals and the types of minerals in the water are all variables that depend on the source of the mineral water.

Unless bought in the U.S., many bottled waters labeled as “mineral” in other parts of the world may, by FDA standards, be only spring waters. However, all will contain some minerals and trace minerals in their composition. Without a chemical analysis, the exact composition in any given bottle is impossible to determine.


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