The Surprising Effect Hard Water Has on
Your Health

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February 15, 2017

By Susan Callahan,  Associate Editor and Featured Columnist





For most of my life I have avoided hard water. Hard water,
which means water with mineral and metal deposits dissolved
in it, leaves a residue on your glasses and dishes. The faint
white rings left there hint at the kind of dried contaminants
that such water leaves in your body, and I wanted no part of
that.  

Besides what hard water does might leave inside your body, I
was schooled against hard water for many years by my
hairdresser who always avoided using it in her customers'
hair because the water increased hair dryness and breakage,
she warned.

Hard water is a major cause of clogged washing machines,
manufacturers have warned us for years. A whole industry of
"water softeners" has emerged to prevent the buildup of lime
and other minerals and metals in the water you use at home.


So you might imagine my shock when I recently learned that
hard water may in fact actually benefit your health.  What?

Hard Water Helps Improve the Arteries Feeding Your Heart




























Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium.
Hard water may also contain "dissolved metals, divalent or
multivalent cations, such as aluminum, barium, strontium,
iron, zinc and manganese".



The high calcium and magnesium content of hard water
actually helps to improve the way your arteries function,
according to a 2014 study from scientists at Isfahan
University of Medical Sciences in Iran.


Both calcium and magnesium act in different ways to benefit
the "endothelium", which is the inner lining of the walls of
your arteries.

Magnesium, in particular, acts as a vasodilator, relaxing your
arteries and dilating them, making it easier for blood to flow.

In the absence of magnesium or in a low-magnesium blood
environment, your body increases production of two adhesion
molecules,  s-ICAM and s-VCAM-.  These adhesion molecules
increase the amount of adhesion and stickiness in your blood
stream, a factor that increases the risk for blood clots, heart
attacks and strokes.  In a way, these adhesions molecules act
in the opposite manner of aspirin or statins, which are blood
thinners.

Calcium and magnesium also help to lower blood pressure,
which in turn reduces the workload on your heart and
arteries.

In the Iran study, scientists studied two groups of
adolescents, one from a region with moderate water in terms
of softness and hardness and a second from a region with
hard water. There were a total of 89 people in the study.


In the area with moderate water hardness, the calcium
content was  42 mg/l of calcium.  This was much lower than
the water in the  highly hard water area, where the calcium
content was 106.6 mg/l.


The magnesium content in the relatively soft water area was
13.50 mg/l versus 64.4 mg/l in the hardest water area.


The difference in the performance of the arteries of the two
groups, measured by the amount of blood flow, was striking:  
3.75 versus 2.80, a positive difference of over 33%.

Other Countries Have Also Linked the Hardness of Water with
Risk for Heart Disease

In 1993, scientists from Finland's University of Oulu,
Linnanmaa compared the death rates from heart disease in
two areas, one in the west of Finland and the other in the
east. They found that the west city which had high levels of
magnesium in their water also had one of the lowest
incidences of heart disease.

It's important to make a distinction between water that is
high in magnesium and water that is rich in calcium. To date.
there have been no studies that have shown that calcium
alone in water will lower heart disease. Only hard water rich
in magnesium has been linked definitely to lower heart
disease rates in 30 studies from around the world.

Not All Minerals in Hard Water Are Helpful to Your Heart --and
Some May be Harmful

Hard water can contain a mix of many different minerals and
metals. Lime for exmaple is responsible for making water
"hard" in many communities. There are no studies linking lime
with improvements in your arteries or your heart. It may in
fact, harm your heart.

The same goes for trace metals that may be in hard water
such as aluminum, barium and stronthium.

You Are Using Hard Water Even If You Don't Drink It

Even if you choose not to drink hard water, you can still
consume hard water by using it to cook or by bathing in it.
The amount of magnesium and calcium you will absorb will be
less than if you drank hard water but it can still become
significant over time.



















































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Drinking hard water can improve the
way your arteries work
.