Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Icelandic Water Bad For You?

Also Known As: Glacial water, Iceland spring water



Short answer

Icelandic water, known for its pristine quality and mineral richness, is generally considered good for you. Its high silica content can support skin, hair, and nail health, while calcium and magnesium contribute to strong bones and muscle function. Alkaline pH levels provide hydration benefits, and natural filtration through volcanic rock ensures purity. However, excessive intake of minerals might cause imbalances, and contaminants like heavy metals and fluoride, though rare, should be kept in mind. Bottled Icelandic water has a significant environmental impact due to plastic usage and carbon emissions from transportation. While the water itself offers health benefits, mindfulness regarding personal consumption and ecological responsibility is advised.



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Long answer

Mineral Content in Icelandic Water and Health Implications

The purity of water is essential to our health, and Icelandic water is often revered for its pristine quality. Originating from glacial runoff and geothermal springs, the water in Iceland is naturally filtered through volcanic rock, enriching it with a range of beneficial minerals. Here, we explore the mineral content of Icelandic water and discuss the health implications of these constituents.

Key Minerals Found in Icelandic Water:

  • Silica: Icelandic water is known for its high silica content. Silica is an essential mineral that supports skin, hair, and nail health. It has also been linked to promoting strong bones and a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • Calcium: Vital for bone health, muscle function, and nerve transmission, calcium is abundantly found in Icelandic water. Its bioavailability in water contributes to daily dietary requirements, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have lactose intolerance or milk allergies and may not get enough calcium from their diet.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium in water from Iceland may help with muscle relaxation and regulating blood pressure. Adequate intake of magnesium can also prevent the formation of kidney stones, which is an advantage over some hard waters that contain higher levels of less soluble minerals.
  • Bicarbonate: Bicarbonate helps maintain the body’s pH balance and digestive health. While not typically a focus in discussions about dietary intake, it serves an important role in maintaining homeostasis within the body.

Health Implications of Mineral-Rich Water:

  • Consuming mineral-rich water like that from Icelandic sources can have a diuretic effect, promoting kidney health by helping to flush out toxins from the body. However, individuals with kidney problems should seek professional advice before increasing mineral water intake.
  • The presence of essential minerals can contribute to the electrolyte balance in the body, which is necessary for hydration, especially after intense physical activity. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are integral for muscle function and regulating hydration levels.
  • Regular consumption of mineralized water has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. The study suggests that the minerals in water could help to lower blood pressure.
  • On the flip side, excess intake of these minerals from both diet and water sources could potentially lead to imbalances. For instance, too much calcium could contribute to the risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.

In summary, the mineral content of Icelandic water is considered a benefit for human health, but like all things, it should be consumed in moderation, considering one's overall dietary mineral intake. Individual health conditions, dietary needs, and consultation with healthcare providers should guide the consumption of mineral-rich water.

Acidity or Alkalinity: pH Levels in Icelandic Water

The pH level of water is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. It is a crucial factor that determines the quality and taste of the water, as well as its potential health impacts. Icelandic water is well known for its high-quality, which is attributed to the natural filtration process through porous volcanic rock, enriching the water with minerals and altering its pH. It's essential to unpack the implications of the pH levels in Icelandic water.

Typically, Icelandic water is naturally alkaline, with pH levels ranging from 8.4 to 9.4. Alkaline water has a pH above 7, with 7 being neutral, as found in pure water. The alkalinity in Icelandic water is primarily due to the minerals it collects through its unique journey through volcanic underground channels, making it distinct from water in other regions.

Regarding health implications, some studies suggest that drinking alkaline water might have benefits for certain individuals. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, alkaline water may help to hydrate athletes more effectively than standard water. Additionally, some research has indicated that a higher pH level in water can contribute to reducing acidity in the stomach, which could aid digestion and potentially alleviate acid reflux.

However, it's imperative to note that the human body is adept at maintaining its pH balance irrespective of the alkalinity of the water consumed. For the average person, the body's homeostatic mechanisms ensure that blood pH remains tightly regulated. Despite this, the presence of essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium found in Icelandic water, due to its high pH, can be beneficial, contributing to a person's recommended nutritional intake.

When considering the optimal pH level of drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate pH as a contaminant but suggests that a pH of 6.5 to 8.5 is acceptable for drinking water. Icelandic water falls well within this range, indicating its safety and palatability for consumption.

It's important to note that while some claims exist regarding the health benefits of alkaline water, such as preventing disease or slowing the aging process, the scientific support for these claims is not definitive. More research is needed to substantiate these claims thoroughly. Moreover, drinking water that is excessively alkaline (far above a pH of 9) may cause detrimental effects in some individuals, such as skin irritation or gastrointestinal issues, though this is generally not a concern with Icelandic water.

For individuals with certain health concerns or those taking medications that affect electrolyte or acid-base balance, consulting with a healthcare professional before changing water sources or significantly altering the pH of the water they drink is advisable.

In conclusion, Icelandic water's alkaline nature, with its pH levels leaning towards the higher end of the scale, is considered safe and can offer a mild healthful addition in terms of mineral content. Here is a list of key points related to the pH levels in Icelandic water:

  • Natural alkalinity ranging between 8.4 and 9.4
  • Potential hydration benefits for athletes
  • May aid in reducing stomach acidity
  • Rich in essential minerals due to natural filtration
  • Falls within recommended EPA pH range for drinking water
  • Claims of disease prevention not strongly supported by current research
  • Always consider individual health conditions when selecting water for consumption

Consumers seeking a natural and mineral-rich water source might find Icelandic water to be a suitable choice, bearing in mind the balanced approach to the effects of alkalinity in their overall diet.

Potential Contaminants in Icelandic Water Sources

Icelandic water is often lauded for its purity and is sourced from natural springs and glaciers, which are seemingly untouched by industrial pollution. However, it is essential to remain vigilant about potential contaminants that could affect any water source. Understanding these potential contaminants can help ensure you are consuming water that is as clean and beneficial as it is reputed to be.

Naturally Occurring Contaminants:

  • Heavy Metals: Although Icelandic water is typically low in heavy metals, natural geological processes can release metals like mercury, cadmium, and lead into groundwater.
  • Radioactive Elements: Naturally occurring radioactive elements such as radon, uranium, and thorium can sometimes be found in groundwater as a result of dissolving rocks that contain these elements.
  • Fluoride: In some areas, Icelandic water may contain high levels of fluoride, which occurs naturally but can pose risks to dental health in elevated concentrations.

Environmental Contaminants:

  • Agricultural Runoff: Nutrients from fertilizers, such as nitrates, can seep into water sources, potentially leading to algal blooms that produce harmful toxins and affect water quality.
  • Microbial Pathogens: If water sources are not adequately protected, they can be contaminated by bacteria and viruses from human or animal waste, leading to waterborne diseases.

Human-Made Chemicals:

  • Industrial Chemicals: Spills or leaks from industrial activities, although rarer in Iceland due to its limited industrialization, could introduce chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or dioxins into the water.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Trace amounts of pharmaceuticals can enter water systems through sewage, potentially impacting human health and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Pesticides: The use of pesticides in farming can lead to the presence of harmful chemicals in water sources if not carefully managed.

It is crucial to examine scientific studies that have analyzed Icelandic water in order to understand the real-world implications of these potential contaminants. For instance, a study conducted by the Icelandic Environment Agency monitors the quality of drinking water and provides valuable insights into any risks that may exist. In general, Icelandic regulatory bodies maintain stringent standards for water quality, and regular testing is conducted to ensure safety for consumers.

To address any concerns about water quality, consumers may consider the following actions:

  • Reviewing water quality reports provided by local authorities or water suppliers.
  • Utilizing home water testing kits to test for specific contaminants of concern.
  • Investing in water filtration systems that can remove or reduce unwanted elements from tap water.

It is also recommended to follow updates from the Icelandic Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, which oversees environmental policy and management, including water conservation and pollution prevention. By staying informed and taking proactive measures, individuals can ensure their water consumption is as safe and healthy as possible.

The Bottled Water Debate: Environmental Impact and Costs

The conversation surrounding bottled water is multifaceted, touching upon everything from individual health to collective environmental responsibilities. When discussing Icelandic water, one must not only evaluate the water's purity and benefits but also the broader implications of choosing bottled water over tap.

Environmental Impact of Bottled Water:

  • Carbon Footprint: The transportation of Icelandic water to global markets involves significant energy expenditure, contributing to CO2 emissions. A life cycle assessment study examining bottled water's environmental impact found transportation to be a major contributor.
  • Plastic Usage: Even though Icelandic bottled water companies often use recycled materials, the production and disposal of plastic bottles still present environmental concerns. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that only a fraction of plastic bottles are recycled, with the majority ending up in landfills or as litter.
  • Resource Extraction: Bottling water necessitates extracting it from natural aquifers or springs, which might affect local ecosystems. Even though Icelandic sources are reputed to be sustainable, the impact on the local environment cannot be disregarded.

Cost Implications:

  • Price Comparison: In general, bottled water is significantly more expensive than tap water. A study by the International Bottled Water Association shows that Americans spend hundreds of times more on bottled water per gallon compared to tap water.
  • Economic Impact: While Icelandic water is marketed as a premium product, the economic footprint of sustaining such a product includes operational costs, marketing, and shipping, which all factor into the final retail price.

Expert Opinions:

  • Environmentalists often advocate for the reduction of bottled water consumption due to its ecological footprint. A report by the Pacific Institute outlines the energy demands and waste generated by the bottled water industry.
  • Economic analysts highlight the inefficiency of bottled water from a cost standpoint, as mentioned in a publication in the Journal of Environmental Management. This reflection includes analysis on the price-to-value ratio of bottled versus tap water.

Despite the image of purity and untouched nature often associated with Icelandic water, these environmental and cost considerations paint a more complex picture, inviting consumers to weigh the personal benefits against the collective toll. The impact on the planet and the pocketbook are critical aspects of this ongoing debate.

Frequently asked questions

Silica, prominent in Icelandic water, has been linked to the synthesis of collagen, a vital component for healthy joints. While there is some support for silica's role in joint health, more research is needed to fully establish this benefit.

While fluoride can strengthen teeth, excessive fluoride, which may occur in some Icelandic water, carries a risk of dental fluorosis. Monitoring fluoride intake, especially for children, is crucial to ensure it remains within the recommended levels to prevent potential dental issues.

Alkaline water like Icelandic water has a pH above 7, which can help neutralize stomach acidity, but the human body has robust mechanisms to maintain blood pH regardless of water alkalinity. Consuming Icelandic water can contribute essential minerals without significantly affecting the body's natural pH balance.

The magnesium and calcium found in Icelandic water may aid in regulating blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that minerals in water could help lower blood pressure, indicating potential benefits for individuals managing hypertension.

Ask a question about Icelandic Water and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Ingredients to be aware of

  • heavy metals
  • radioactive elements
  • higher levels of fluoride
  • agricultural runoff
  • microbial pathogens
  • industrial chemicals
  • pharmaceuticals
  • pesticides


  • supports skin, hair, and nail health
  • promotes strong bones and cardiovascular health
  • aids muscle function and nerve transmission
  • helps regulate blood pressure
  • prevents kidney stones
  • maintains ph balance
  • reduces stomach acidity
  • increases hydration
  • reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

Healthier alternatives

  • reviewing water quality reports
  • home water testing kits
  • water filtration systems

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Essentia Alkaline Water

  • 99.9% Pure water
  • Electrolyte-infused
  • High 9.5+ pH level
  • Smooth taste
  • Hydration enhancement
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 12-20-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 12-20-2023

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