Ask the Doctor – July 2008

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Reverse Osmosis Arthritis

Dear Dr. Rona,

I have been drinking reverse osmosis water for about three years now, believing that it was my best alternative to tap water. Over the last few months I have started developing joint aches, cracking, and weakness. I began to investigate possible causes and came across your website. I believe that my symptoms may be related to drinking reverse osmosis water, so I began drinking filtered tap water and would like to help facilitate the rebuilding of minerals in my body. I am not sure where to start. Are there any products you would suggest?

Thanks so much for your time and consideration!

Andrea Shane
San Francisco, CA

Dr. Rona Responds


Your problem with joint aches is quite a common one I have observed with people who drink large amounts of reverse osmosis water. Fingernail ridging, cracking and white spots are other typical findings. I suggest you see a natural health care practitioner such as a naturopath or medical doctor specializing in nutritional medicine and ask him or her to do a hair mineral analysis. This test will show you the current levels of all the essential minerals in your body. In particular watch out for the levels of aluminum, boron, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, silicon, sulfur, manganese and strontium. Also, ask the practitioner to order blood tests for 25-hydroxy vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, sodium, potassium, ionized calcium, phosphorus, red blood cell magnesium and ferritin (stored iron levels). Based on the results of these tests, a personalized supplement program could be recommended for you by the doctor or naturopath. In the San Francisco area, look up a Dr. Richard Kunin, a very well known nutritional medicine specialist. If he’s not available, ask his office for a referral to a similar doctor. While you are waiting for an appointment, provided you are otherwise healthy, it wouldn’t hurt to take the following AOR (Advanced Orthomolecular Medicine brand) supplements for up to three months:

  • Ortho-Bone (AOR) – 10 capsules daily with meals
  • Glucosamine Sulphate (AOR) – 1500 mg daily with meals
  • Fish oils (AOR) – 9000 mg daily with meals

Zoltan Rona, M.D., M.Sc.

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