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Arab Healthy Water Association

For future generations, one drop of water at a time...

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The Arab Healthy Water Association is a non-governmental, non-profit body,
legally registered at the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) by decree No. 6086/2005, Cairo-Egypt.

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[ UN Wire: Daily Global News Summary ]


From the Gulf Daily News, the Voice of Bahrain, Vol XXVI, NO. 256, Monday 1 December 2003

Bottled water 'can aid health drive'

By Robert Smith

BOTTLED water companies are being encouraged to join the fight against coronary heart disease.

Thousands of lives could be saved every year across the Arab world if levels of magnesium were increased in drinking water, according to a Bahrain University specialist.

She says it would cost very little for companies to do and could help reduce the number of people who die from heart-related illnesses.

"Magnesium is a critical element for the proper functioning of the human body - particularly the cardiovascular system," said Bahrain University chemistry department assistant professor Dr Ameera Al Haddad.

"There is growing evidence that magnesium deficiency is linked to coronary heart disease mortality and abnormal heart rhythms - leading to sudden death.

"The importance of magnesium in the treatment of heart disease has only recently been emphasised among physicians and the medical community, but not among the general public."

The recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults is 420 mg, according to the National Academy of Science.

Foods which contain the most magnesium include vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts. However, Dr Al Haddad says these make up only a small part of our diet.

Fats, refined sugar, salts and proteins are low in magnesium, while refining, processing and preparing food may lead to a loss of the substance present in food.

She would like to see magnesium in bottled water increased from current levels of around 5mg per litre to 110mg per litre.

"People living in areas with water that is low in magnesium have been found to have more heart disease mortality than those living in areas with magnesium," said Dr Al Haddad, who is also an adviser to the Arab Healthy Water Association - an affiliate of the US-based Healthy Water Association.

"If water and soft drinks were fortified with 110mg per litre of magnesium and people drank two litres a day, that would supply 220mg per day and the rest can be acquired from other food containing magnesium," she added.

"It should be noted that there is no danger of overdose at these levels except for people with kidney failure who should be admitted to hospital.

"In fact, magnesium supplements can be taken as medication over long periods of time without problems."

According to the Healthy Water Association, 15,000 lives in the US alone could be saved each year if more magnesium was added to drinking water.

However, the boss of one Bahrain-based drinking water firm said bottled water already met guidelines set down by the Asia Bottled Water Association and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"Manufacturing is done to their stipulations," said Bahrain Water Bottling and Beverage Company general manager Kailash Ezhuvath.

The company, based in Galali, produces three brands of water: Tylos, Salsabil and Delta. Its water currently contains 0.24mg of magnesium per litre. "I don't think there is a need for an increase because anything more could have certain side effects," said Mr Ezhuvath.

"A lot of factors should be taken into consideration when talking about increasing quantities of solids and irons.

"What you are talking about is just one side of the coin."

But Dr Al Haddad denied there was any proof that adding magnesium would cause side effects. She also said the next step would be to convince organisations like the WHO to change their policy on magnesium in drinking water.

"We are trying to convince them to change their policy," she said. "There are no side effects that we know of from magnesium."


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