The Effects of Drinking Hard Water

Last Updated on: August 16, 2022

Hands in small waterfall

Water is essential in almost every facet of the western daily lifestyle. We need water to drink and prepare food, we use it to cook and as an ingredient in many dishes or sauces. We use water for cleaning; cleaning the home, clothes, and ourselves. We could barely run the average household without water for more than a day.

Drinking water, however, may be the most crucial use of water in our lives.

A high percentage of people worldwide consume what is called “hard water.” Hard water is water which is unfiltered and contains a high concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium. You can usually tell if water is hard if hands feel slimy after washing them or if glassware washed in the water does not appear crystal clear after washing. (1)

Hard water is formed in the earth as mineral deposits change the pH level of water. The acidic water then can dissolve calcium and magnesium into the water making it “hard.” (2)

Some people blame hard water for causing diseases and weaknesses in the human body. However, there are opposing studies which show how hard water could help the human body.

Here we will explore both the positives and negatives of hard water.

The Positive Side

Various groups of scientists found that the hardness of drinking water, specifically the calcium and magnesium in hard water has positive effects on those with cardiovascular diseases. (3, 4, 5)

The increased calcium content in hard water has been shown to decrease the risk of various types of cancer. (6, 7)

A Taiwanese study found that increased levels of calcium in municipal drinking water could decrease the risks of cerebrovascular mortality. (8)

Another study found that increased intake of magnesium decreased the risk of diabetes and recommended people find ways to add magnesium into their diets. (9)

Drinking hard water with higher levels of calcium can increase the strength of bones and their density. (10, 11)

The Negative Side

Scientists found that hard water could increase the risk of atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) in children. The studies were conducted in Japan and in the United Kingdom. (12)

A buildup of calcium has been known to cause kidney stones in the human body. One study recommended that people who are prone to kidney stones should choose soft water to protect themselves from consuming too much calcium. (13)

Excessive dietary calcium can cause issues in the male reproductive system which results in a loss of fertility. (14)

Is Hard Water Worth the Risk?

We always recommend consulting with a healthcare professional for your individual circumstance. We have shown here how many studies have shown how hard water can decrease the risks of diseases. However, there are also inherent risks to consuming hard water. 

Because there are so many conflicting studies we recommend that in most cases it is better to act with caution. Choose soft water and install filters in your home like the Echo RO™ system. Then work with a doctor to decide if you need to increase your intake of magnesium and calcium another way.


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