An easy way to get more magnesium is by simply choosing the right bottle water. Adobe Springs tops the list found here. Adobe Springs has a whopping 110mg of magnesium in each liter of water. A near runner up, with 108mg per liter, is Gerolsteiner. Gerolsteiner has become widely available recently, and is a delicious sparkling water from Germany. It is my drink of choice, and an easy way to supplement your magnesium intake.
For comparison, Crystal Geyser has 6mg per liter.
San Pelligrino has enough magnesium for me...
That expensive water from Fiji? Only 13mg.
San Pellegrino? 55.9mg (Not too bad. Comes with bubbles, too!)
Perrier? A miserable 3.2mg!
Want to look for your favorite water and see how it measures up? Head over to this comprehensive bottled water guide and check it out.
Additional news about mineral water….
I was rather put back to be told that San Pellegrino has high levels of uranium, especially as I had never considered drinking uranium as a possibility. This was upsetting, because I love San Pellegrino and I like the minerals in it (well, except for the uranium mineral).
Rather than rush back and warn all my readers that they should don protective gear and line their intestines with lead (not a good idea either), I decided to research this a bit.
First the good news…it seems we are taking in uranium all the time – in our food, our water and the air we breath. Doesn’t that make you feel better?
Since we are not all dead or glowing, however, it seems that there are after all tolerable amounts of uranium in nature. So I looked into that, too. It seems there are worse things than uranium.
Many nations have a requirement that the amount of uranium in mineral water be less than 10 micrograms per litre. In other words, they consider that safe for drinking water. For water for other uses, such as agriculture, it might be something like 50 micrograms. (For your reference, the human body passes out 99.5% of the uranium we ingest. That means we absorb 0.5% of the stuff – which, remember, is a natural mineral.)
San Pellegrino has 8 micrograms, Perrier has 4, some other waters have over 20.
Here, I’m going to defer to a British government survey of drinking water in Devon.
Uranium is a naturally occurring metal, which is widespread in nature. It is present in
the ocean and certain types of soils and rocks, especially granite. Natural uranium is
also released into the environment from various activities such as the use of phosphate
fertilisers, mining, and combustion from coal and other fuels.
Uranium levels are naturally high in many areas in the UK, particularly where radon
levels are high and the underlying rock is predominantly granite. Natural uranium
decays to release radon gas into the environment. In other parts of the world,
especially in certain areas of the USA and Canada, natural uranium levels in water are
particularly high due to the sedimentary rocks.
OK….sedimentary rocks have more uranium, as well as other minerals. Got it…
Radioactive effects are very small from natural uranium;
chemically it can be harmful to the kidneys from large exposures.
So, sorry kids, you won’t glow from ingesting heaps of uranium. But you might destroy your kidneys.
Studies of humans exposed to abnormally high levels of uranium and laboratory animal
studies show that uranium can be chemically toxic to the kidneys. There have been few
studies addressing long-term low level exposure of the kind likely to be associated with
exposure to uranium in drinking water in the UK. Studies in other parts of the world
where levels of uranium in water are much higher than those detected in West Devon
have not shown there to be an increased risk of kidney disease. However these studies
suggest that there may be minor damage to kidney tissue which does not affect kidney
function, at those higher levels.
So the kidney damage takes extremely high levels of uranium, and even then seems confined to minor damage.
There is no evidence to suggest that exposure to low levels of naturally occurring
uranium is associated with cancer.
Got that one out of the way…
Small amounts of natural uranium are present in some food, especially shellfish and
other fish, fresh vegetables and cereals. Most people are exposed to no more than 3
micrograms (mcg) per day of uranium from food.
So one 12 oz. bottle of San Pellegrino gives you the uranium you get from eating a balanced diet for a day.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that uranium in drinking water
should not exceed 2 mcg/l. However, in the USA the recommended level is 20mcg/l.
These levels are set to represent a concentration that does not result in any significant
risk to health over a lifetime of drinking the water. There are no European or UK
The WHO value for uranium concentration in drinking water is based on a “Tolerable
Daily Intake” (TDI) of 0.6mcg/kg bodyweight. The TDI is an estimate of the amount
that can be consumed daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk. This is a
TDI of 36mcg for an average adult weighing 60kg. The intake of uranium from food is
usually below 3mcg per day. For a typical daily water consumption of 2 litres per day,
the WHO limit of 2mcg/l leaves a considerable safety margin.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Let’s go with the WHO figures just to be on the safe side. If you weigh just 60kg (132 lbs), you can still ingest 36 micrograms of uranium each day without any appreciable health risk. Sorry to say, that means I can ingest over 50 (you do the math). That’s 6 litres of San Pellegrino with a little left over for my usual balanced diet of 3 micrograms. I’m good to go.
Children and natural uranium exposure
Children may be more susceptible to health effects from exposure to large amounts of
natural uranium. However, the results from this initial study in the South West suggest
that the levels are unlikely to be high enough to affect children.
Animal studies suggest that bottle-feeding babies with the water levels found in this
study is unlikely to cause harm to babies. There have been no human studies.
Are there any potential complications if I am pregnant?
There is no human evidence of increased complications in pregnancy due to exposure
to low levels of natural uranium.
I’ll take this with a grain of sodium. Better safe than sorry with kids. And, besides, I never got bottle water when I was a kid.
So, so far as uranium, I think it’s all good here. However, in my research, I did come across another study in Europe involving kidney stones. It suggested that drinking any kind of carbonated water increased the incidence of kidney stones. In this case, the daily amounts were less than 2 liters. Nothing at all to do with uranium, but maybe a reason not to take all of your water in bubbly form.