I'm addicted to mineral water. Could I OD?
February 15, 2006 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm gotten really addicted to mineral water. Are there any health risks, especially if that's all I drink?

I've always had problems remembering to drink enough water, but of late I've gotten really hooked on the sparkling mineral kind. I've been drinking it every day, about 1-2 liters, to the point that i don't really drink normal water much anymore at all. Other than the mounting expense & diva-ish connotations, is there anything wrong with this habit? Do you think this could have any negative effects on my health?
posted by octavia to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
AFAIK, bottled waters are not required to have the EPA drinking water standards which are required of all municipal and public water supplies. This doesn't mean anything goes but I would take my chances with any tap water that is even given a little extra filtration rather than bottled waters of unknown provenance. Also depending on whose views you subscribe to, the use of fluorine in public drinking water is good for you. Or at least your teeth.

I don't think your at risk of dying but as with anything, don't overdo it. Get a Brita filter and enjoy some tap water on occasion.
posted by JJ86 at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2006

My dentist once told me that the bubbles in mineral water were bad for one's teeth. I can't find much about that on-line, but this article seems to say that it isn't a big deal.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:59 PM on February 15, 2006

Can you tell the difference (how it is made, found) between mineral water, club soda, seltzer? main thing you need to watch out for: no floride, which, in most parts of the country, you get in tap water...good for preventing cavities
posted by Postroad at 4:17 PM on February 15, 2006

Seeing as I once learned (before I actually liked bubbly water) the word for water without bubbles in several European languages... I'm guessing you'll be just fine. "Still Water" as the norm seems to be an American thing.
posted by togdon at 4:29 PM on February 15, 2006

If all the water you drink sits in plastic bottles for a long time, you may be ingesting some toxic chemicals. I don't have any great links to offer on the subject, but it's something to check out.
posted by scarabic at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2006

I once read that too much carbonation in your diet can lead to osteoporosis...but in my googling to find that article for you I came across a few people who seem to disagree. So, take it with a grain of salt.

Other than that, nearly everyone in my (Austrian) family always has a bottle of mineral water in their fridge and nobody has OD'd yet.
posted by ebeeb at 4:42 PM on February 15, 2006

Carbonation makes water somewhat acidic, which could help demineralize your teeth, leading to cavities.

The only real issue is that you are probably paying more for water than you do for gasoline. Which is not to say I reccommend drinking gasoline instead.
posted by Good Brain at 4:51 PM on February 15, 2006

IANAD, however, kidneys will need some regular water to help flush out all of those minerals. I imagine you would eventually get kidney stones.
posted by snsranch at 4:52 PM on February 15, 2006

I saw something on the web or on TV recently suggesting if you drink a specific brand of mineral water for a long period, it may have high concentrations of something, which build up over time, which is bad.

As you may be able to tell I'm going from memory. Sorry I couldn't find anything with a quick search, but I did dig up an interesting link by a guy who doesn't like mineral water. The thrust of his argument re: health seems to be that mineral water is not regulated as strictly as tap water.

You may consider refrigerating and/or filtering tap-water to get pretty much the same thing for a fraction of the cost.
posted by MetaMonkey at 4:57 PM on February 15, 2006

Check the label on the bottle for sodium content. You may be surprised by how much sodium there is in some mineral waters.
posted by tomble at 5:02 PM on February 15, 2006

Good Brain: Locally, still water costs more than sparkling, with sparkling costing 99¢ per litre, and still water costing $1.09 for a 20 oz. (Gas station prices). At that rate, it's about 3.78 per gallon of sparkling water, which isn't that much over the 2.38 per gallon unleader 87 octane.
posted by klangklangston at 5:03 PM on February 15, 2006

Regarding fluoride, I don't think that would be an issue unless you don't use fluoride toothpaste.
posted by moira at 5:14 PM on February 15, 2006

It's better for you to be drinking 1-2 liters of mineral water daily than not drinking water at all. There is likely very little to no harm in drinking mineral water, but much more harm in drinking too little water. The minimum amt of water a body requires is 2 liters/day. I'd be glad you're getting that amount drinking mineral water.
posted by cahlers at 5:16 PM on February 15, 2006

Drinking mineral water will not give you kidney stones. From the article snsranch linked:

"scientists do not believe that eating any specific food causes stones to form in people who are not susceptible"

Further: Kidney stones are linked to hereditary disorders like "renal tubular acidosis" (not necessarily hereditary), "Cystinuria and hyperoxaluria," "Hypercalciuria," "hyperuricosuria which is a disorder of uric acid metabolism, gout, excess intake of vitamin D, urinary tract infections, and blockage of the urinary tract"

Other causes: diuretics, "have a chronic inflammation of the bowel or who have had an intestinal bypass operation, or ostomy surgery," "struvite stones can form in people who have had a urinary tract infection. People who take the protease inhibitor indinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection, are at risk of developing kidney stones."

Lastly, kidney stones, while a remitting problem, are usually immediately amenable to urologic removal, and some medicines, depending on the cause, may prevent further stones from developing.

So. Nothing about mineral water, which is simply carbonated water, which is water + carbon dioxide, which your own body produces in more than sufficient quantities for acid-base buffering of the blood as a byproduct of metabolism.

So I'd say indulge your mineral water delightfulness...the only caveat being that, as CO2 changes into HCO3- (H+) in water (an acid), it can eat the enamel off your teeth. So brush them with the above-mentioned flouride toothpaste at least twice a day. Don't forget to floss. And see your dentist in Feb and Nov. One last thing. It may not be the best if you have GERD or acid reflux, as the acid (duh) will make it worse.
posted by gilgul at 5:58 PM on February 15, 2006

gilgul, excellent! In fact, this totally backs you up! Drink away octavia!!1
posted by snsranch at 6:56 PM on February 15, 2006

I once read that too much carbonation in your diet can lead to osteoporosis

That's been shown to be linked to carbonated sodas with caffeine, not just any carbonated drink.
posted by apple scruff at 7:06 PM on February 15, 2006

snsranch--nice pickup! A website and institute devoted entirely to magnesium! Kooky!

BTW-if the thread starter or anybody else is a calcium oxalate kidney stone former, check with your primary medical doctor.

As far as the study goes--intruiging. However, the study had 40 participants only. Despite the robust mixed between and within subjects design and the also robust measures, the study was not double blinded. I am no expert in magnesium metabolism (or kidney stones!) but if I was, I would need to see more evidence, simply because this was not a randomized controlled trial, and has a fairly low power given its low numbers of participants and seeming lack of statistical analysis (no p-values?). And because its kooky.
posted by gilgul at 7:18 PM on February 15, 2006

You can make your own seltzer and be certain that you are only drinking water and CO 2. This will not affect your health, unless it is giving you gass.

Club soda and some mineral water can have a fair amount of sodium. This tastes great, but you should talk to your doctor about this.

IANAD, but read a lot of medical literature at work. Water is great for you, but bottled water is not always great for the environment. Try making your own seltzer. Think of it as an hommage to the 3 Stooges.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:21 PM on February 15, 2006

Water is great for you, but bottled water is not always great for the environment. Try making your own seltzer.
Or at least buy it 2L bottles and transfer it to smaller/portable reusable water bottles. The notion of buying and disposing of a half a dozen 12oz plastic bottles every day is horrifically inefficient and unfriendly to the environment.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:20 AM on February 16, 2006

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