Can water filters cause kidney stones?

Your health is too important to leave to chance – you want to do all you can to ensure you and your family members are safe. One way of doing this is by purifying the water you use for food preparation and drinking. But there are some concerns that using a water filter may cause more harm than good. For instance, it is whispered in some quarters that water filtration systems can cause ailments like kidney stones.

Water filters can actually help to prevent kidney stones. This is because filtered water is free from hard metals and salts that might result in the formation of kidney stones. As a rule of thumb, drink plenty of filtered water to ensure you are safe from this health issue. Additionally, make sure to follow other recommended health best practices to prevent kidney stones.

Can tap water cause kidney stones?

Although many believe that the hardness of tap water may contribute to kidney stones, there is very little evidence to support this. Tap water in the US varies from soft to moderately hard across the states, with calcium levels ranging from 1 mg/L to 135 mg/L. Hard water has a concentration of 120 to 180 mg/L, while water above 180 mg/L is very hard.

Drinking 2 to 3 liters of tap water a day introduces an average of about 300 mg of calcium into the body, which is way below the recommended maximum daily calcium intake of 2,500 mg for adults. Additionally, over 95% of all the calcium filtered out of the blood into urine is absorbed back into the blood. Because of this, there is no risk that the calcium levels found in tap water can lead to the formation of calcium stones. 

Does filtered water help prevent kidney stones?

It is advisable to consume a lot of fluids, including water that helps keep the body hydrated, to prevent the formation of kidney stones. While water is a necessary factor, and its quality does matter – it is advisable to drink soft filtered water to reduce the chances of kidney stone formation. Unfiltered hard water increases the concentration of minerals in the blood, and the kidneys must filter high amounts of those minerals out into the urine. As a result, the kidney filtrate becomes highly concentrated, and the risk of forming stones increases. Filtering drinking water is thus necessary to lower such risks, especially where drinking water is scarce. Here is a guide that will help you pick the best water filter for any budget.

Can water with high pH cause kidney stones?

pH values indicate acidity or alkalinity. These values range from 0 to 14 on a logarithmic scale that implies a ten-times change from one level to the next. Values below seven are considered acidic, and the acidity increases with a decrease in pH. A value of 7 means neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline), while values above that are evidence of increasing alkalinity.

High water pH directly translates to high blood or urine pH since alkaline water is absorbed quickly into the body. Kidneys regulate the pH values of body fluids by determining the amount of mineral salts to be filtered out and how much to be absorbed back. The pH of urine influences the formation of kidney stones, with acidic pH being a risk factor for uric acid or cystine stones and alkaline pH encouraging calcium and phosphate stone formation.

Is hard water bad for kidneys?

Intake of hard water may increase the amount of calcium in urine by almost 50% and heighten the risk and incidence of kidney stone formation. Hard water is alkaline and contains high mineral calcium and magnesium content. The major contributor to kidney stones is low urine water content, and stones may occur if there is no corresponding increase in water intake.

Studies have also shown that long-term consumption of hard water can result in kidney failure which may result in other health conditions like diabetes and cerebrovascular disease. It is therefore advisable to avoid drinking hard water. You can use an appropriate water filter that is designed to purify and soften hard water.

Does drinking bottled water cause kidney stones?

There is no denying that the quality of drinking water can have a huge impact on the formation of kidney stones. As such, we can safely infer that drinking bottled water can help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Bottled water is easily available and portable which makes it a great option for most people. You can easily pick it up at stores or gas stations or even buy bottled it in bulk for home use. If you do not have access to clean drinking water, you may want to only drink bottled water. However, it is more sustainable to install a water filtration system in your house and purify all your drinking water.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, water filters are not to blame for kidney stones. In fact, they will help purify your water and thereby help in preventing this and many other ailments. If your water source is hard, you will want to go for a 3-stage RO system which is designed to not only reduce the water hardness but also eliminate other impurities. For more details, refer to this article that explains what a 3-stage RO system does.