Serving Greenwood, Fishers, Carmel, Indianapolis & Surrounding Areas

August 20, 2023

Is Calcium in Water Bad for You?

If you have concerns about water quality, call (317) 648-5133 to have the water experts from Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing investigate and recommend solutions to ensure a clean and safe water supply for your home. 

When a water test reveals that the water supply for your home is hard, meaning it has excess mineral content, your first question is likely to be, “Is calcium in water bad for you?” The answer is complex because drinking hard water typically doesn’t cause health issues (though it can contribute to skin conditions). In fact, hard water is most detrimental to your home’s plumbing and appliances, not your family. 

As plumbing experts in Greenwood, IN, Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing works with local homeowners to solve hard water issues and ensure that the H2O from the taps is as fresh and safe as possible. Here, we explain the potential impacts of hard water and what you can do to protect your loved ones. 

What Is Hard Water?

To understand the answer to, “Is calcium in water bad for you?” we first need to explain what hard water is and how it occurs.

Hard water describes water that contains more than the expected amount of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. As water flows from the source to your tap, it can collect large amounts of dissolved minerals.

It’s not just well water that has high mineral content, either. Water from municipal sources can collect minerals as it travels through water lines into your home, especially when those pipes are old and deteriorated. 

Over time, the calcium in hard water can accumulate on pipes and cause clogs in the plumbing. The mineral deposits also cause buildup on fixtures and in appliances, causing them to fail prematurely, and leave residue on dishes, clothing, and skin. It’s this residue build-up that can potentially cause the most health-related issues.

How Drinking Hard Water Can Affect Your Health

The fact is, there isn’t any solid evidence indicating that regularly consuming water that contains high levels of calcium is bad for you or has lasting ill effects on your well-being. Although some studies suggest that drinking hard water can increase the risk of developing kidney stones, other studies disprove this theory. That said, some research suggests that calcium in water can contribute to certain health concerns.

Other research indicates that drinking water with mineral deposits can result in digestive issues or nervous system problems. It can be difficult to digest large amounts of calcium and magnesium, so drinking a large amount of hard water over time can cause a range of gastrointestinal discomforts. Some people report increased symptoms of IBS, as well as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, all of which can result from excess calcium intake. 

Studies also indicate that areas where the water tends to be hard have increased occurrences of nervous system issues, including fatigue, headaches, and impaired cognitive function. This is most likely because hard water typically contains more contaminants than water without the extra minerals, including arsenic. However, the minerals themselves can also affect the ability of cells to transmit messages between nerves, which can cause symptoms. 

So while the answer to, “Is calcium in water bad for you?” is, on the whole, “no,” there is potential for the extra minerals to cause symptoms that impact your life if you drink large amounts of water over an extended period. Even then, you’re more likely to experience the external effects of the water. 

Hard Water and Your Skin, Hair, and Nails

For most people, the worst part about having hard water is the effect that the excess calcium and magnesium have on their hair, skin, and nails. Hard water pulls moisture from your skin and hair, which can leave them feeling dry, itchy, and uncomfortable, especially if you already have sensitive skin or conditions like psoriasis or eczema. 

When you bathe in hard water, the water leaves minerals behind on your skin that can absorb natural oils. The minerals also make it more difficult to rinse off soap or shampoo completely, and the remaining residue can cause skin discomfort. Combine this with laundry that often feels scratchy or stiff because the water cannot rinse away laundry soap, and the result is significant skin discomfort. 

Can Hard Water Be Good for You?

Many homeowners initially have concerns about the mineral content of their water and assume that the effects are always negative, but there’s some evidence that drinking water with higher amounts of calcium and magnesium can have some benefits. 

Studies show that the extra intake of minerals from drinking water can actually help prevent several types of cancer, including pancreatic, ovarian, and colon. Taking in more calcium and magnesium can also help preserve cardiovascular health, including reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in teens and children.

Type 2 diabetics can also benefit from drinking water that contains more magnesium. Insulin regulation requires magnesium, so many diabetics experience lower levels of the mineral and require supplementation, but drinking hard water may help offset this effect. Magnesium can also help people with chronic constipation because it has a laxative effect.

Let Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing Protect Your Water Supply

Every home needs a reliable supply of clean and fresh drinking water, and Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing is here to help residents of the Greenwood, IN, area get just that. The answer to, “Is calcium in water bad for you?” might be “no,” but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the issue. The effects of the excess minerals on your plumbing and appliances, not to mention your clothing, skin, and hair, should spur you to invest in a water softener to reduce mineral content.

If you have concerns about your home’s water supply and want to check the mineral content, test water for lead (which is harmful to everyone’s health), or simply confirm the water quality, call us at (317) 648-5133 to learn more about our water treatment services.