Is Calcareous Water – Healthy or Unhealthy?
Many people ask themselves this question. Because the trend to prefer tap water to comparatively expensive bottled mineral water is becoming more and more prevalent. But the lime content of drinking water often raises questions. We therefore clarify the question of whether drinking calcareous water is really unhealthy, whether it is harmful to drink the “hard” water and whether calcareous water has any effect on health at all. We also show which substances in drinking water are really harmful and why a water test is recommended by experts. To not forget to drink water in time use apps: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=reminder.drink.water
What is Calcareous Water?
The lime content of tap water is called hardness. From which lime concentration the water is considered “hard”, “soft” or “medium” and what this means for household appliances, we have already summarised in detail for you in this article. In this article, we specifically address the question of whether water containing lime is unhealthy or even harmful to the human organism.
Is it Harmful to Drink Limy Water?
For many people, tap water is a good alternative to bottled mineral water. On the one hand, you save yourself the trouble of lugging crates around. In addition, it is much cheaper than mineral water in direct comparison. However, very few people are really sure whether their own tap water is suitable for drinking. Apart from contamination by heavy metals or microbiological pollution, which by the way mainly takes place in the in-house pipes, the lime content in the tap water is also a factor that still makes many people reach for the bottle. But is hard water harmful and therefore really a reason to drink mineral water instead?
The answer: Even “hard” water, i.e. tap water that is harder and therefore has a higher lime content, can be drunk without hesitation.
Is Lime in Water a Danger to the Heart?
There is a widespread misconception that drinking water containing calcium favours calcification of the arteries. But this is definitely not the case, experts agree. The absorption of calcium via the water and the calcification of the coronary arteries are therefore not related – for example Prof. Dr. med. Klepzig in a contribution for the website of the German Heart Foundation.
No. While smoking, persistently high blood pressure and obesity are typical risk factors that can lead to heart disease or clearly promote it, calciferous water is not a trigger for heart disease.
Is Hard Water Harmful?
The difference between “soft” and “hard” water can often be recognized by its taste. However, apart from this aspect, where personal taste is decisive, hard water does not have a more harmful effect on the organism than soft water.
Lime consists of magnesium and calcium. These two minerals are essential for the human body. For example, calcium is important for building bones and teeth and magnesium plays an important role in muscle and bone health. Accordingly, water containing lime can even be seen as a sensible food supplement.
By the way, a common misconception: arteriosclerosis, colloquially known as “calcification”, is often erroneously associated with the consumption of hard water. In fact, this disease, in which harmful deposits in arteries become a problem, is mainly caused by certain fats that we ingest with our food.
What Does Hard Water do to Skin and Hair?
The hardness of the water also affects the skin and hair. For example, it is quite possible that hair appears brittle and rough after washing with very hard water and dry skin becomes a problem. Here it makes sense to use appropriate care products.
Do We Need Calcareous Water to Stay Healthy?
Scientific findings show that we take in the main requirement of magnesium and calcium through foods such as milk, bananas or some vegetables. Only a fraction of the minerals contained in water are actually metabolized by the body. However, this surplus is not harmful – it is excreted by the organism.
To actually cause problems, much higher amounts of lime than magnesium and calcium would have to be absorbed. This could lead to the organism not being able to excrete the unusable amount due to the high concentration. However, it is almost impossible to absorb such quantities via our drinking water.
Determine degree of hardness: How can you measure lime in water?
In most cases, information on the hardness of the water can be found on the website of the local water supplier. It may also be worth asking there to find out the lime content of your own drinking water.
On the annual water bill, homeowners can usually also find the degree of water hardness. In order to measure how calcareous your own tap water is, you can buy indicator strips at the pharmacy.
The IVARIO water test also measures the exact hardness of the water, in addition to 16 other important test parameters.
Consumers can easily have their water hardness tested with this simple laboratory test and thus gain clarity and certainty about their own water hardness. In addition to the water hardness, you can also find out whether your tap water is contaminated with heavy metals and bacteria. A drinking water test not only protects your household appliances, but also your own health.
Should Calcareous Water be Filtered?
From a health point of view, it is not absolutely necessary to filter water containing lime. However, there are various arguments that may be in favour of filtering calcareous water. These include the protection of appliances and fittings, for example. This is because limescale deposits stubbornly and can clearly reduce the service life of washing machines, coffee machines and similar appliances. Lime deposits are also annoying on bathroom and kitchen fittings. To counteract these two factors, however, the water would have to be filtered before it reaches the fittings or appliances. This is only possible with a correspondingly high effort, so that this alternative tends to be rather uninteresting for many households and regular descaling of appliances and fittings is preferred instead.
Answer: Not from a health perspective. However, a water filter can improve the taste of tap water.
So what can be done about water containing limescale?
If the lime content is particularly high, the taste of the water can also suffer. In addition, the water becomes somewhat turbid. If consumers do not want to use this water for drinking, table water filters are a good idea. However, you should pay close attention to the quality of the appliance. Various tests in the past have shown that table water filters can become a breeding ground for germs and pathogens.
You can read more about water filters in our article:
“Water filters – What are they really good for?”
Conclusion: Calcareous Water is not Unhealthy – But Caution is Still Necessary
Experts recommend having your own tap water analysed for bacteria, germs and pathogens as well as heavy metals such as lead or copper. This is where dangers lurk much more often than the consumer generally thinks. This is because old pipes in particular (e.g. made of lead), but also dead pipes, maintenance errors and various other problem areas can cause problems and damage health in the long term. This is especially true, but not only, when babies or small children live in the household.