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The short answer, no. The human body does need minerals, but gaining those minerals through the consumption of drinking water is not feasible. The amount of gallons that would be required to drink per day to gain any sort of benefit from the minerals in drinking water is too high. Most minerals gained for the human body is through the consumption of food. Even non-treated, high-mineral-content water could not be a significant source of minerals. A glass of milk (8,000 mg/L of dissolved minerals), for instance, contains the mineral equivalent to multiple gallons of WELL water.
Not completely. While it does depend on the quality of the membrane and other water quality parameters such as the contaminants in the water itself, a rejection of 95-98% of dissolved solids is expected by most RO membranes.
The Reverse Osmosis membrane itself does not. It can only remove organic contaminants below 100 amu’s in molecular weight. But, the activated carbon filter that is placed before the membrane removes most of the organic contaminants.
The process of ion exchange that takes place in softeners takes the calcium and magnesium molecules out of water replaces them with sodium molecules. The amount of sodium that is exchanged into the water is miniscule compared to other sources of sodium through dietary consumption. Even when softening water with very high levels of hardness such as 75 grains per gallon, the sodium that is exchanged in the water would still be less than the allowed amount in the FDA regulations for “Low-Sodium” labeling. For those who have very strict no sodium diets, there is an alternative exchange molecule, potassium chloride can be used instead of sodium chloride.
It is best to start out with as little as possible. Softened water removes the need to add additional soap to overcome the effects of hard (and even then, it does it poorly), but if necessary, one can gradually increase the amount until the desired results are obtained.