It has often been observed that although we, as a society, have many tools and extensive technology at our fingertips, we do some very stupid things. Or, at least, that’s how it often appears.
Case in point – we have, in fact, known for years that the addition of magnesium to the municipal water supply (drinking water) has not only yielded significant health benefits, but also that the softening of water – and, therefore, depleting of minerals – is detrimental overall in regards to public health. Now, when I say years, I mean that in big, bold print… as in there are studies from the 1960’s (and probably before that) that specifically state these conclusions.
For example, a 1960 U.S. study on cardiovascular disease mortality and treated water supplies concluded, “Softer water was associated with higher death rates.”
And then, in a 1966 study published in The Lancet, it was stated, “A comparison has been made of cardiac lesions found in a very soft water area (Glasgow) and in a very hard water area (London) in two comparable series of medicolegal necropsies—men who had died from an accident and men who had died suddenly and unexpectedly from ischæmic heart-disease….. The findings in both these series suggest an increased susceptibility of the myocardium in the soft-water area.”
Obviously, the correlation between mineral-depleted drinking water and cardiovascular conditions has long been a point of interest. But one also has to wonder that if this has been such a long running, and repeatedly studied, issue why have we not seen what would be assumed to be the logical conclusion? More plainly spoken – why are we still softening water and not adding sufficient minerals back following the purification processes?
I won’t stop there, of course, since two studies certainly don’t make a case… or not a strong one, at least.
First, let’s rewind a little and consider this from a foundational point of view. Prior to municipal water supplies, filtration, and the recycling of dead and contaminated greywater, all of our fresh water was obtained from sources that ran underground, over rocks, through the earth and soil… all the while collecting a bounty of minerals from these sources. At the same time we were drinking this mineral-rich water, we were also consuming mineral-rich foods, because obviously this was prior to the industrial farming era and our soils still contained a wealth of nutrients.
Fast forward to today – a day when our water is mineral-poor, but chemical-rich, and our food sources often fair little better – and it really shouldn’t come as a shock that community health as a whole is looking rather grim.
And yet! And yet we continue to perform similar studies concerning mineral content in drinking water and health ramifications with practically the same results. Perhaps the only difference is that, in recent years, these studies have become much more decisive and strongly worded than the hemming and hawing of decades past. A study from 2012 in the Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences paints an alarming picture with a solid argument:
“A lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases has been observed in areas with hard water. However, numerous debates and controversies prevailed over time. Some scientists had been trying to correlate cardio-protective factor of hard water while others were working on the toxic factor of soft water with this geo-selective predisposition to cardiovascular events. Now the factor unanimously agreed upon can be concluded as Magnesium. The proofs in favour of Magnesium(Mg) come from studies reporting sudden deaths in areas with Mg deficient drinking water, low myocardial Mg content in sudden death cases, cardiac arrhythmias & coronary artery vasospasms being precipitated by Mg deficiency and intravenous Mg reducing the risks of Arrhythmias & deaths immediately after Acute Myocardial Infarction.”
Although these studies have been focused mainly on the implications for heart health, other conditions have seen a vast improvement simply from the addition of magnesium to drinking water. Included amongst those, surprisingly enough, is lung cancer. In another 2012 study, this one geared specifically towards research on magnesium, the results showed that “there is a significant trend toward a decreased risk of lung cancer in women with increasing Mg levels in drinking-water.”
But wait, we can’t stop there! Let’s throw in few more benefits – decreased risk of esophageal cancer, protective effect against the risk of prostate cancer development, protective effect on the risk of dying from diabetes mellitus, a protective role against hip fractures, decreased risk of cerebrovascular disease, decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and countless more.
It may be hard to imagine how something as simple as magnesium could have such overwhelming impact on public health… but there it is. It’s just that important. The question still remains – if we are so very aware of the plenitude of benefits – of the number of lives that could be saved – why are we not being more proactive about correcting this on a municipal level? Even more, why are we instead adding things like sodium fluoride, a toxin known to cause excessive loss of magnesium, into our drinking water instead?
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