Paleo water isn’t just H2O

Paleolithic water is not just H2O. Natural waters contain H2O of course, but also can contain important mineral contents. Rainwater is fairly close to 100% H2O but river waters, and spring waters contain significant amounts of minerals, and alkali load. I have attached a table below. Our ancestors may have obtained a significant amount of calcium in their “Paleo water” intake.

This can be overlooked as often the amount is quoted per 100g just as food is quoted per 100g. Yet the daily serve of water is more like 1500ml to 2000ml.

Remer and Manz wrote a famous paper on dietary acid base balance and ironically overlooked the mineral water, which in their table, by coincidence was Apollinaris, which is one of the strongest mineral waters in the world. Its PRAL of -1.8 does not look like much as it is per 100ml, but per 1500ml is a whopping -27mEq/day, (-27mmol/day) which is a large percentage of the typical daily acid load neutralised. The composition of hundreds of mineral waters is available at

My main thrust is that the paleo intake of water probably made a significant contribution to the dietary acid load, calcium intake, and perhaps Mg Na K and other electrolytes, and I think is worth consideration, and even formal research. It is also an important reminder of a couple of things:
1. The devil is in the detail
2. Always question your assumptions, relentlessly. Too many mistakes are made by oversights on assumptions. In mathematics, many mistakes are made on the first page, in the assumptions. It is too easy to overlook water, yet it is the second largest substance to enter the body (the largest being air).


All concentrations in milligrams/liter. TDS is total dissolved solids and pH is a measure of the acidity of the water. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A dash (-) indicates that the component was not detected or the water was not analyzed for this constituent. A tilde (~) means “approximately.”

Water composition

Water composition

Key to Analyses: (1) Rainwater from Menlo Park, California; (2) Average rainwater from sites in North Carolina and Virginia; (3) Composition of the Rhine River as it leaves the Alps; (4) Stream draining igneous rocks in the Washington Cascades; (5) Jump-Off Joe Creek, southwestern Oregon, wet season, November, 1990; (6) Jump-Off Joe Creek, southwestern Oregon, dry season, September, 1991; (7) Great Salt Lake, Utah; (8) Average seawater; (9) Groundwater from limestone of the Supai Formation, Grand Canyon; (10) Groundwater from volcanic rocks, New Mexico; (11) Groundwater from a spring, Sierra Nevada Mountains: short residence time; (12) Groundwater from metamorphic rocks in Canada: long residence time.

Read more: Fresh Water, Natural Composition of – seawater, river, sea, freshwater, temperature, salt, types, source, marine, oxygen, human

7 Responses to Paleo water isn’t just H2O

  1. Antony Lo says:

    Hi Ben, What do you think about the “Unique Water” sold at Taren Point? It is said to be pH 8.3 to 8.6 with bicarbonate ions at 650mg/l and Mg2+ ions at 125mg/l

    • benbalzer says:

      Hi Antony,
      Great question, and great to hear from you.

      Unique Water is a wonderful product as it provides both bicarbonate and magnesium, and water. Magnesium deficiency is rife, particularly in insulin resistant people (magnesium deficiency aggravates insulin resistance, leading to higher insulin levels, high insulin levels increase magnesium excretion in the urine, thereby creating a vicious circle, a positive feedback loop, which is always a disaster in our metabolism). And of course, the modern diet is acid loading, which bicarbonate helps to alleviate.

      Another great magnesium supplement is Magnesium Citrate. I now take Blooms TriMagnesium Citrate 900mg twice daily. It’s simpler to take than Unique Water, and cheaper. Each capsule provides around 139mg of Mg which is 11.6mEq alkali. In comparison Unique Water contains per litre Mg125mg Bicarbonate 650mg = 10.6mEq or per 600ml 6.4mEq/ 75mg Mg/ 390Mg bicarb.

      Most other magnesium supplements have major issues. Either they have poor bioavailability (magnesium oxide), are acidifying (magnesium chloride. Chloride is bad for you. Salt is sodium chloride and much of the harm comes from the chloride component which is acidifying, due to metabolism in the kidneys) or else are chelated with amino acids, which can be excitotoxins (magnesium aspartate, which releases more aspartate than Nutrasweet(TM) tablets)(and I don’t particularly trust magnesium glycinate, as I want proof it is not toxic).

      So I totally recommend taking Unique Water or else Magnesium Citrate unless you have a medical issue such as primary hyperparathyroidism.

      In terms of alkalising, well that is a big topic of its own, but the first step is to have a medical assessment, blood test, and urine pH, then take Unique Water or Magnesium Citrate. There are increasing mentions in the medical literature of people taking toxic amounts of alkali and getting the milk-alkali syndrome, which used to be common among peptic ulcer sufferers before the modern drugs appeared in the 1970’s. I will be reviewing some of that literature before I comment any further in alkalising. For now I would not recommend anyone take more than Magnesium Citrate 900mg twice daily, plus Calcium Carbonate 1500mg twice daily which will give a massive 82mEq per day of alkali. Any more than that is excessive unless in the hands of one of the few renal physicians who are expert in that field.


  2. carmelbec says:

    Hi Ben,

    I went mostly Paleo in mid-May, and have had great benefits overall in my health. One thing that has been a persistent struggle is chronic constipation. Magnesium has been a life-saver! I have tried several forms, but really like magnesium malate. I take this each night and have occasional need to pop a magnesium oxide in the morning. I know the oxide is not very absorbable– maybe that’s why it’s good at flushing the colon? Do you think either of these is problematic long term? I tried the citrate and for some reason it wasn’t as effective for me.

    • benbalzer says:

      Hi Carrie
      I don’t know much about Magnesium Malate, as I generally recommend Mg Citrate as there is a lot of research with it. I get this from Puritans Pride or in Australia from Blooms. Malate sounds OK but I would need to research it a little, the devil is in the detail.
      I think Oxide is poorly absorbed and probably not a good laxative.
      Mg Aspartate is a bad idea as aspartate/ aspartic acid is an excitotoxin.
      Mg Chloride has an acidifying effect on the body and should be avoided.
      The traditional laxative form is Magnesium Sulfate, commonly known as Epsom Salts. Perhaps you should try some from your local pharmacy.

      Kind regards

  3. Hi Ben

    I had bought the Blooms TriMagnesium having done my own research and have since found this post which is great.

    I’ve since bought “NOW” Magnesium citrate powder. 1/2 tsp having 315mg magnesium(from Magnesium citrate).
    Does that mean it contains equivalent 315mg of magnesium or would it be less.
    Hence 900mg of equiv magnesium per day?

    Also with the large increase in magnesium, would a similar deficiency in other vitamins or minerals also be likely requiring other supplementation

    Thanks so much


    • benbalzer says:

      Hi Brendon,

      Thanks for your enquiry. I still think Magnesium Citrate is the best magnesium supplement that I have investigated (Certainly it is better than magnesium oxide/aspartate/chloride/orotate. I don’t see anything wrong with magnesium carbonate. I keep an open mind about glycinate but generally I avoid raw amino acids. Magnesium sulphate is Epsom salts, traditionally used as a laxative. Magnesium citrate is also used as a laxative at higher dosages than we are discussing here.
      1/2 TSP of NOW magnesium citrate powder provides 315mg of mg compared to Bloom’s Tri-Magnesium Citrate Capsules that provide 139mg of magnesium (from 900mg of magnesium citrate).
      So 1/2 TSP of NOW equals about 2.26 capsules of Blooms. So your 1/2 TSP is like taking 2 capsules per day of Blooms.

      The 8oz bottle of NOW provides 119 servings equal to about 260 capsules. For $7.63 plus postage. This is good value. The taste won’t agree with everyone. Take it with a full glass of water whether powder or capsules as it releases heat when it dissolves (a least the capsules do, they must be anyhydrous powder containing no water). The Blooms product is of a really excellent quality and the price has dropped so I have decided to stick to that from now own.

      I have found to be one of the best websites I have dealt with for anything. If you use the code QDD516 you will get $10 off your first order over $40 (and I will receive an unknown bonus). Their postage is cheap and the product arrives in Australia from the USA always under one week, and nicely packaged, in my experience.


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