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Does Reverse Osmosis Strip Out Minerals?

by Mark Timmons July 30, 2017 39 Comments


We are customers of an RO System from US Water. Speaking with a long time plumber familiar with these systems he stated ours is a very good unit but RO would strip the water of important minerals? Is this true or false?

Our unit is:

5 Stage USA Made Arsenic Reverse Osmosis Filter Pack

If above is true, what is your recommendation for adding this stripped minerals back into the water prior to reaching the drinking faucet?


Yes, an RO system will strip out the minerals… it will also remove a plethora of chemical and bacterial contaminants.

So often, people get fixated on the wrong thing. Reverse Osmosis removes the largest spectrum of contaminants of any water treatment process and it does remove the minerals. However, water is not a significant source of minerals. Let me say that again: Water is not a significant source of minerals.

If you drank a bathtub full of water a day you might get 10% of the minerals your body needs. You get minerals from foods and supplements.

It's an illogical argument:"Let's get less than 1% of the minerals my body needs but leave in chemical contaminants that have been proven to be cariogenic?" Some people add minerals back to their water with special filters and go to great length to re-mineralize or attempt to make alkaline water. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO YOUR BODY! Once the water passes through the cell wall, whether the pH is 6.0 or 8.0, it becomes the pH of your body and on top of that, the minerals you can add are but a drop in the ocean.

Let me break it down even more. Ask these questions:

  1. Are minerals in the water good for you? YES!
  2. Is water a significant source of these minerals? NO!
  3. Is water a significant source of cariogenic chemicals? YES!

In short, it is best to remove the chemicals and minerals and just eat a good diet! Take a supplement if you want, but try as you might, you cannot get the minerals from the water you drink, and raising the pH of the water to make "Alkaline Water" has become a Billion Dollar Industry that is built on a scientific misconception. Water that is truly alkaline may have some medicinal benefits but simply raising the pH by remineralization and thinking that makes your water is alkaline is as erroneous as thinking you can defy the law of gravity.

Instead of being focused upon the lack of minerals in RO water, you should be more concerned with contaminants the Reverse Osmosis system is removing. Things like lead, chlorine, chromium 6, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, TCE, THM, PCB, GenX and hundreds of other chemicals and contaminants... some that we may have yet to hear about. That's one of the best things about reverse osmosis: even if there is some "emerging contaminant" that we have not heard of, the odds are that Reverse Osmosis will remove or reduce it.

I always say "Buy a Filter or Be a Filter" and while reverse osmosis is lot more than just a "filter," you simply cannot utilize better technology in treating your water. Of course, some people are going to say that "Reverse Osmosis is wasteful - it wastes 3 gallons for every gallon it makes." That is true... and in most homes families use 2 or 3 gallons of water a day, so they might waste 6 to 9 gallons.

Your dishwasher and washing machine waste a lot more than that, and all they are doing his cleaning your clothes and dishes. A RO system is cleaning your water, so that you aren't the filter, storing carcinogenic chemicals in fat cells. Yes, it wastes a little bit of water, but it adds a lot to a healthy lifestyle. Some people say "I don't want to waste water, so I have bottled water delivered." The bottled water plant wastes the water when it makes it and the smog-emitting truck that delivers it is good right?

If you are thinking about a reverse osmosis system - get the facts and remember, all of our US Water Systems are built right here in in the USA at our factory and we also have the only systems that also kill bacteria. We think that is very important, and so every US Water Systems RO system includes the Pulsar Quantum Disinfection Polishing Filter which also eliminates the bacteria.


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March 06, 2019 Mark Timmons

Is English your second language?

Simply raising the pH does not make water Alkaline.

Making the water Alkaline is important.

Can you comprehend that?

Of course, we are not joining anyone in misconceptions.

August 31, 2019 Tom

I have a question about RO stages, if you don’t mind. I’m planning on installing a new softener (water is only moderately hard but I don’t like the buildup) plus RO to the fridge for drinking water and ice. I’ll have a sediment filter before the softener. With that, what stages do I need before the RO? I don’t need another sediment filter, right? Just a GAC filter > RO membrane > GAC polishing? Thanks.

September 02, 2019 Mark Timmons

If it were me, I would use a 5-stage RO system like this:

The first stage is a sediment depth filter, and even if you have a sediment filter before the softener it should be a pleated filter. A sediment depth filter protects the RO system, and it only costs a few dollars. It comes standard as a 5-micron filter, but you could change it to a 1 micron which would extend membrane life and water quality.

Our system uses two carbon block filters which a much better than just GAC. We use two because with many water supplies the amount of chemicals is much higher. If your city uses chloramine, you can change the second one to a chloramine block.

October 15, 2019 Roger McClellan

Linking to a scientific study conducted by the World Health Organization is considered trolling?

The irony is you’re clearly biased and trying to sell a product. Peddle your snake oil somewhere else.

October 15, 2019 Mark Timmons

You are really dumb! We don’t have just one product. We have hundreds including filters that don’t remove minerals. We don’t sell products – we sell solutions.

I’m sorry to call you dumb, but what you said is really, really dumb!

You, sir, are the snake and I don’t want your oil!

November 08, 2019 SANTOSH KUMAR DAKUA

Water treated already ( municipal water) does not need RO unit further in house for drinking water, only ordinary water purifier ( uv , carbon filter etc. ) is sufficient for making
drinking / potable water.
RO system may be required for deep tube well water, other raw water depending on
area like gangetic region, hilly area, sea side area etc. For all cases RO system is not required.
Actually person / user are influenced/ convinced by sellers and all are not aware of drinking water treatment and what unit to be selected for their water to be treated.

February 09, 2020 Jhon Martin

Nice blog. The efforts you have put in to create the posts are quite interesting. Looking forward to seeing you soon in a new post. The presence of lead and other minerals in water is a common problem. It poses many health complications that make it necessary to remove the lead from your drinking water.

March 10, 2020 gavin

Water is a basic need of any humankind to live. but purity in water is a major concern, so always use purified water.

March 15, 2020 Mark Timmons


March 25, 2020 Dr. Bob

Thank you for the good sense in this article.
I once brought up the water waste issue with our R/O man. He said that if I’m interested in saving that much water, I could shorten my daily showers by a minute or two.
BTW, do your systems kill bacteria because the bacteria pass through your R/O membranes?
I always figured that bacteria were too large to pass through.
Please advise.
Thank you.

March 27, 2020 Mark Timmons

A RO membrane will stop bacteria, but there is a mechanical seal that (if compromised) can allow bacteria by. You should not rey on an RO Membrane for Bactera Removal. Here’s what we recommend:

July 12, 2020 Katherine

I am absolutely floored by what I am reading on this Q&A page. I just purchased a RO water filter and was doing research on the "minerals " that are depleted from our water when using such a filter. I was curious: What minerals and how much? hmm.

What I found amounts to what almost seems like a conspiracy. There are So Many websites and even governmental organizations that are using scare tactics to try and prevent people from getting such a needed device. Before I even read about what minerals were being removed and if this is harmful, I knew, I mean, common sense DICTATES that you can easily get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food and supplements. It’s mind boggling how so many here and in general think that somehow taking that tiny bit of minerals out of water is a threat.

I can only assume that the media and the powers that be want to keep the status quo when it comes to everything that is in our drinking water. Mark, I’ve been reading a lot of your answers here. Thank you for what you do. Wow, your patience is undeniably impressive. It seems the only beneficial “minerals” in water is calcium and magnesium. I take a magnesium supplement and a calcium supplement (with Vitamins D + K) anyway so this not an issue. The other Major vitamin we are missing consistently even with a balanced healthy diet of greens, is potassium. I recommend Potassium Citrate or Chloride in powder form. They are on Amazon. Also, make sure you get a calcium supplement with vitamin K. Viactiv is a good brand that does this.

Listen, water should be pure. I can’t believe people are worried about a few minerals instead of/versus the fluoride, pharmaceuticals and other extremely harmful contaminants. It makes me think that some of these posters are trolls….

December 01, 2020 Ryan m

If RO is so bad, why do my beta fish live so long with it ?

January 03, 2023 S Schroedl

The coffee industry has stated in several online posts that RO water causes coffee to be ‘flat’ tasting, that the minerals in water make the extraction from coffee beans results in a much better tasting coffee. I am into grinding coffee beans and using a pour-over method of making my coffee. Should I install a remineralization filter when I have my RO installation done?

January 04, 2023 Mark Timmons

We have been having excellent results with our Livation Hydration Technology. I have personally been using it for over a year. I grind my beans fresh every morning and use the Livation Alkaline water for brewing my coffee. It tastes dramatically better, and we have hundreds of people switching to this. We are about to release a coffee shop version.

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