I admit I started to worry slightly when I first spotted nasty residue and scale around my kitchen faucet. I’d just moved to a coastal area with (unknown to me) very hard tap water with high levels of magnesium.
The hard water tasted bad, and my kettle was starting to get covered in scale. I knew I needed to do something, or my expensive washing machine and dishwasher would be next to suffer.
Here’s what I found out about magnesium in drinking water’s benefits, the adverse effects on your appliances, how and why you need to test for it, and finally, how water softeners can protect you from hard-water scale.
What is magnesium?
On a cellular level, it is responsible for more than three hundred enzyme reactions that facilitate functions in the human body . No wonder it’s an important ingredient in the production of medicine and other pharmaceuticals.
Is magnesium in drinking water safe?
Fortunately, magnesium in drinking water is generally safe for humans to consume. It even has some health aids, including helping prevent cardiovascular disease. The main disadvantages of too much magnesium are related to the health of your appliances and the taste of your drinking water.
How does magnesium get into drinking water?
Magnesium in water is a perfectly normal phenomenon [3a]. It can be found in most rivers, streams, and oceans. As it passes from one organism to another, it’s unknowingly spread across the environment.
What is hard water?
Hard water is water with 60-120 ppm of calcium carbonate per liter. Very hard water is water with levels of calcium carbonate per liter of over 120 ppm . Hard water can cause a funny taste to the water and damage appliances like washing machines.
Magnesium and other hard water minerals
Water with a high mineral composition isn’t ideal for the human body, and yes, that includes elevated Magnesium levels. For instance, it could cause issues in a person’s digestive tract, often leading to irregular bowel movements and diarrhea [3b].
Another hard mineral to closely monitor is Calcium. Calcium and magnesium help strengthen our bones, and we need a careful balance of both. Experts would recommend a two-to-one ratio .
A high calcium concentration in water can potentially lead to Osteoporosis, Hypercalcemia, and possibly, Kidney Stones . It’s unlikely to be an issue unless you drink water with exceptionally high levels of calcium intake for extended periods.
Health effects of magnesium in drinking water
As we mentioned earlier, humans with sufficient magnesium levels enjoy many different health benefits. After all, it is one of the seven essential macrominerals. Here are some other notable merits of drinking water with magnesium to take note of.
- Regulates Blood Pressure – It can improve a person’s blood pressure and manage the muscles that facilitate the circulation of blood and oxygen. This process decreases the chances of cardiac arrest.
- Stronger Bones – Regular magnesium intake controls Calcium and Vitamin D in your body, which are essential to a stronger skeletal system. This effect is mainly seen in women who just gave birth or are undergoing menopause .
- Longer and Deeper Sleep – Regularly taking dietary magnesium doesn’t just aid in bodily functions; it helps relax you too. Balancing how neurotransmitters function can help you power down and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
- Treat Severe Headaches – Studies show that taking just one gram of this mineral composition helps minimize stress in the body. It counteracts our sensitivity to noise and light to prevent nausea and vomiting.
Reduction of cardiovascular disease
Another well-known health effect of magnesium is improved cardiovascular health. Several studies have exhibited that it makes our muscles healthier and perform better. Magnesium aids in the circulation of blood and oxygen to the different organs.
As a result, people who have a daily intake of at least 100mg per day enjoy a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. At this level, the benefits include reducing the chances of stroke by two percent, increasing survival rates against heart attack, and managing abnormal rhythms .
Avoidance of magnesium deficiency
On the other hand, if your body’s magnesium levels are too low, there may be other consequences. Not having enough could potentially cause the different organs to function less efficiently. Some symptoms that may be a sign of magnesium deficiency are the following :
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Constantly severe migraines
- Muscle pains and spasms
- Elevated blood sugar levels
- Feeling of weakness and shaking
If you experience any of what’s listed above, we recommend contacting your physician immediately. They may prescribe you dietary magnesium supplements to combat this issue.
Disadvantages of magnesium & hard water in the home
There are no severe health dangers when consuming hard water or drinks with elevated magnesium levels, except for diarrhea or irregular bowel movements in very rare cases. Most disadvantages are external or related to a person’s comfort levels. Here are some examples.
- Tastes Bad – Drinking water with high water hardness often has a metallic flavor and is highly unappetizing.
- Visible Particles in the Liquid – You may notice that water with high magnesium levels will exhibit residue floating around. In comparison, soft water is crystal clear.
- Appliances Break Easily – When hard water boils, it will leave sediments behind due to its high mineral concentration. This residue could stick to the bottom of your percolator, affecting its durability and effectiveness.
- Itchy or irritated skin – People living in areas with high levels of magnesium, calcium, and other hard water minerals may be more susceptible to skin conditions. For some people, city or well water can be bad for the skin and cause rashes or itching.
What are safe or permissible limits of magnesium in water?
Neither the EPA nor the WHO state any maximum or permissible limits of magnesium in drinking water because it would only provide a very minimal contribution to a person’s overall intake .
Consuming up to 420-Milligrams of magnesium daily is safe for humans . But this includes all magnesium from your diet. Drinking water is a tiny portion of this.
How to test for magnesium and hard Water?
The way to check for increased magnesium in water is through a Hardness Water Test. If you add liquid soap into a container and shake it profusely, observe what it looks like. If there are several suds present, it’s hard.
Currently, in the United States of America, approximately 85-percent of drinking water has some level of magnesium. So if you want to be sure that your water is hard, you can check out MyTapScore at MyTapScore.com.
They are experts and will help you determine if the water at home is too hard, which will allow you to choose the right treatment option.
How to remove magnesium and other hard water materials from your water?
The best strategy to consider is using a water softener. This device releases a charge, stimulating the magnesium ions and essentially replacing them with sodium. It softens the resin bed, reducing the mineral content to enhance the water quality.
You can consider other strategies, but this seems to be the safest and least invasive method. It’s also the most affordable.
Our recommended water softeners
When selecting the best water softener to invest in, there are several factors to consider. Some of these include price, size, and level of effectiveness.
If you have well water, check out our post on the best water softener for well water. Many of those will also work well for those with city water too.
Of those we looked at, the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System would be our recommendation. It may be a little pricey, but it offers a maximum capacity of 80.000 grains, has a flow rate of 20-GPM, and can even be upgraded. This device is the perfect size for families of up to seven members, giving them access to high-quality drinking water with very low magnesium concentration and low levels of other hard water minerals.
Home Water Research Recommends
Best Whole House Water Softener for Magnesium & Hard Water
- Excellent flow rate of 20GPM
- Perfect for large families
- Removes magnesium and noticeably softens water
- Better tasting water
- Brighter laundry & cleaner appliances
- Peace-of-mind with lifetime warranty
For more details, check out their official website at SpringWellWater.com