What is a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter?
A reverse osmosis water filter is actually a lot more of a straightforward water purification system than it sounds. In fact, in terms of water filtration technology, reverse osmosis systems use one of the most basic methods around.
Remember those science classes where you would filter dirty water by pouring it through a sieve and a layer of tissue or cotton ball? A reverse osmosis water filter uses the same basic principle to produce ‘clean’ drinking water.
But with a system so basic, you should be cautious about relying on a reverse osmosis machine for your drinking water supply.
How Reverse Osmosis Works
All reverse osmosis systems work the same way and they all have the same basic components. This means that the central piece of tech (however basic) at the centre of a reverse osmosis water filter is a semi-permeable membrane.
The process is simply pushing the water under pressure through this physical membrane. The result is that the ‘solute’ (waste) is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the ‘pure solvent’ (drinking water) is allowed to pass to the other side.
This works by the membrane being “selective” by not allowing large molecules or ions through the pores but allowing smaller components of the solution (such as the solvent) to pass through the membrane freely.
This can remove many types of molecules and ions from solutions, and is used industrially to desalinate salt water into a drinking water product. Beyond that, reverse osmosis is good for recycling, wastewater treatment, and can even produce energy. Notice how I didn’t say it’s good for the production of healthy drinking water? That’s because it isn’t.
What a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Removes
There is obviously a stark difference between healthy, mineral-rich water and saltwater or wastewater. So while a reverse osmosis filter may be a useful process when treating highly polluted, impure waters, the same can’t be said when it comes to drinking water. To achieve healthy, mineral-rich drinking water, you cannot take the rather crude reverse osmosis approach of filtering everything out of the water aside from the water molecules, as what you end up with will be far from healthy.
Reverse Osmosis water filter brands, such as ESP Water Products, claim that they produce the healthiest water as their products have the highest quality filter system, but when the central filter system in a product is a semi-permeable membrane, we have a problem.
A huge contributor to a water’s health-boosting ability is antioxidants. Natural antioxidants in water are created when ions combine with hydrogen after a water has either been energized by the sun’s rays or through electrolysis in a water ionizer. What is formed are called hydroxyl ions; nature’s natural antioxidant. An antioxidant is something that combats oxidative stress, and hydroxyl ions do this by neutralizing cell damaging free radicals.
So the hydroxyl ion is a biologically important molecule, vitally important in water to make it healthy to consume. But guess what? These biologically important molecules don’t make the trip past that semi-permeable membrane in a reverse osmosis water filter. And that’s not all that gets stripped out.
The Reverse Osmosis Water Filter and Demineralised Water
So good at taking everything and anything out of water is reverse osmosis, that it’s no wonder brands that try to sell products based on it call their water ‘Pure Water’ or ‘Zero Water’.
But as we know from above, water being completely free from all other molecules aside from H2O is not exactly a good thing. But as well as antioxidants, a reverse osmosis water filter will also strip the minerals out of drinking water too.
Studies prove that the average human body will absorb anywhere between 6% to 30% of its daily requirement of essential elements from tap water. And in a world where our soil is virtually devoid of nutrients from too many crops and not enough recovery time, and where our diets do little to substitute these missing minerals, it is very important to our long term health that we ingest calcium and magnesium from drinking water. Drinking water that has been completely stripped of all good minerals will lead to a deficiency in vital nutrients and minerals to the body.
So clearly, any water that has zero antioxidants and is demineralized on top is not what you could seriously call healthy. A type of water filter that produces water with the opposite properties of reverse osmosis water – water that is antioxidant and mineral rich – is a water ionizer.
To your health,
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