Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Minerals? 

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Does reverse osmosis remove minerals_RO remineralization for healthy minerals

Aside from food, you can actually get minerals from drinking water. During RO water filtration, most of the minerals present in the water are eliminated because they are too big to pass through the semi-permeable membrane [1]. Thus, people get worried that they are losing out on essential minerals from the water treatment process.

In this post, we will discuss how does reverse osmosis remove minerals, including what minerals are taken out of the water, why we need them, and what you can do if you want to use RO but want to remineralize the water. Let’s dive in! 

What Healthy Minerals Does Reverse Osmosis Remove?

As an effective purification technique, reverse osmosis (RO) has become a top choice for in-home water treatment. Reverse osmosis is so efficient that it can remove up to 99.9% of harmful contaminants from our drinking water. Unfortunately, this process removes the beneficial minerals as well. These are the healthy minerals you can get from water:


Calcium is an essential mineral for the development and maintenance of strong bones as well as many other bodily processes. Your body needs calcium for muscles to contract and for your nerves to transmit signals from your brain to every area of your body. 


Magnesium is essential for producing protein, bone, and DNA and for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, blood sugar, and blood pressure.


Potassium is required for nearly all physiological processes in the body. This includes keeping your kidneys and heart healthy, contracting and relaxing muscles, and transmitting signals throughout your nervous system.


Sodium plays an essential role in the transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction and relaxation of muscles, and regulating the body’s fluid and mineral levels. In some cases, lower sodium levels might be desirable for those with high blood pressure or hypertension.


Zinc boosts the body’s immune system, making it better to ward off harmful microorganisms. It is also required in the synthesis of proteins and DNA. Zinc is also essential for normal growth and development during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and adolescence [2]. Additionally, zinc promotes wound healing and is required for a normal sense of taste.

Organic Minerals vs. Inorganic Minerals

Organic minerals were once living or are still living and can bring cells to life. These are also made of carbon, and their electrons spin in the same direction as those of a human body. In addition to forming an ionic bond with the body, these cells can be easily broken down into materials that aid bodily function, like tissue repair.

Inorganic minerals are never living since they lack carbon and cannot support cell life. These chemicals are essentially toxic to the body. As a result of their strong bonds, these substances are difficult to break down. And their electrons spin the wrong way, out of harmony with the rest of the body.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Minerals From Water? 

Reverse osmosis water filtration systems can remove the vast majority of the minerals from water while significantly enhancing its quality. 

This system uses pressure to force water across a semipermeable RO membrane, which allows for the elimination of contaminants and certain minerals. Since minerals are denser than water, reverse osmosis can filter out harmful substances while allowing pure H2O molecules to pass. Over time, the membrane needs to be cleansed which requires a small amount of waste water that is drained away.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Minerals From Water_Reverse Osmosis Mineral Removal Process Diagram Infographic

Keep in mind that while reverse osmosis successfully removes up to 99.9% of all contaminants, including minerals, from drinking water, the excess of most of these minerals can actually cause harmful effects on your health [3]

Does Reverse Osmosis Water Cause Mineral Deficiency 

Although some minerals may be lost during the reverse osmosis process, it is doubtful that this will have a negative effect on your health. Minerals included in water are in fact not a significant factor in daily mineral intake. Instead, it is advised that you should obtain your minerals from a balanced diet or supplemental sources. 

“Food is the principal source of both calcium and magnesium.”

World Health Organization (WHO)

If you are wondering if reverse osmosis can cause dehydration, the answer is no. Reverse osmosis only depletes the mineral content of your water, like calcium and magnesium, which are essential for the human body.

Furthermore, reverse osmosis water will likely not be bad for your kidneys. The lack of minerals in RO water won’t harm your kidneys if you’re otherwise healthy, physically active, and eating a balanced diet.

What Effect Does RO Have On Water pH Level

The acidity of water is quantified by its pH value. The pH of water can range from acidic (below 7) to alkaline (above 7).  

Water purified by a reverse osmosis system has a lower pH than water that hasn’t been treated. Since carbonic acid is formed when water reacts with carbon dioxide in the air, the pH of water that has undergone reverse osmosis is reduced. After reverse osmosis, water often ends up with a pH of 5 to 7. People who drink water purified by reverse osmosis note a distinct crispness or a metallic flavor.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Minerals_PH Alkaline Water Diagram

When compared to regular tap water, alkaline water has a higher pH, and it is believed that it can reduce the amount of acid in the blood. The health benefits of alkaline water include, according to some, a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, more study is required to confirm these claims.

How To Remineralize Reverse Osmosis Water? 

Adding minerals (remineralization) to RO water can be done in a few different ways. You can do it by

  1. Use a reverse osmosis system that comes with a reverse osmosis water filter
  2. Purchase a separate remineralization filter for your RO system
  3. Add essential mineral drops to your RO water
  4. Add fruits and vegetables to your RO water
  5. Add natural Himalayan salt to your RO water

FAQs For Reverse Osmosis Essential Minerals 

How to add minerals to RO water naturally?

Adding mineral salt is the solution. Substituting natural salt, like Himalayan salt, for regular table salt is preferable because it retains all beneficial trace minerals lost during the RO purification process.

Is it bad to drink RO water?

Using a RO system to purify your home’s water supply is the safest option. Even though reverse osmosis filters out hard minerals, it eliminates many other contaminants that could harm your health.

Does reverse osmosis remove calcium and magnesium?

Yes, it can. Aside from calcium and magnesium, reverse osmosis Systems will remove typical chemical contaminants such as sodium, chloride, copper, chromium, and lead. It may also reduce arsenic, fluoride, radium, sulfate, potassium, nitrate, and phosphorus.

What are the drawbacks of RO filtration systems?

  1. A lot of water is wasted in RO water filtration
  2. Filter replacements are costly
  3. Whole house RO systems are expensive
  4. RO systems have detailed installation requirements 

Article Sources

Freshnss uses only the highest-quality sources to support the facts used in our articles including: government organizations, independent studies, peer-reviewed journals, and lab testing results. Read our editorial review guidelines here to learn more about how we verify and fact-check our writing to keep our content reliable, accurate, and trustworthy.

  1. Ultrafiltration, Nanofiltration, And Reverse Osmosis, Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF)
  2. Drugs & Supplements: Zinc, Mayo Clinic
  3. Reverse Osmosis And Removal Of Minerals From Drinking Water, International Water Association (IWA)
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