The composition of mineral waters sourced from Europe and North America in respect to bone health: composition of mineral water optimal for bone

Wynn, Emma ; Raetz, Eric ; Burckhardt, Peter

In: British Journal of Nutrition, 2008, vol. 101, no. 8, p. 1195-1199

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    The consumption of mineral waters is increasing in industrialised countries. High intakes of Ca and other alkalising cations as well as a low acid intake are beneficial to bone. We examined which components of mineral waters are conditioning their Ca content and their alkalinising power, in order to define the optimal profile. European mineral waters were randomly selected on the Internet: 100 waters with less than 200mg Ca/l (9·98mEq/l) and fifty with more than 200mg/l, all with complete data for SO4, P, Cl, Na, K, Mg and Ca, and most also for HCO3. For comparison, forty North American mineral waters were randomly chosen. The potential renal acid load (PRAL) was calculated for each mineral water. North American waters did not reveal significant results because of their low mineralisation. We performed correlations between all eight components in order to explore the properties of the mineral waters. In the European waters, twenty-six out of twenty-eight correlations showed a P value of ≤0·01. In waters with PRAL >0 (acidifying waters), PRAL was positively correlated with SO4, Ca, K and Mg (P<0·001). In those with PRAL <0 (alkalinising waters), PRAL was negatively correlated with HCO3, Na, Mg, Ca, K, Cl and SO4 (P<0·001). SO4 and HCO3 were not found together in high quantities in the same water for geochemical reasons. A high Ca content is associated with either a high SO4 or a high HCO3 content. SO4 theoretically increases Ca excretion, while HCO3 and low PRAL values are associated with positive effects on bone. Therefore, the best waters for bone health are rich in both HCO3 and Ca, and by consequence low in SO4