eli5: Is there such a concept as adding essential vitamins and minerals to potable water? If so, does it happen in a large scale anywhere in the world?
Fluoride is added to water on a pretty large scale in a lot of places. Other things not so much, and there’s probably no real need for them.
Many water sources are loaded with minerals and require softening (removal of trace elements) not hardening ( fortifying with more). On small scales some add other salts, fluoride,electrolytes,pedialyte for kids, UN/UNICEF and ngos provide Rehydration Salts https://www.rehydrate.org/index.html emergency relief and refugee camps meant to be combined with pure water https://www.rehydrate.org/index.html https://www.unicef.org/supply/reports/oral-rehydration-salts-ors-and-zinc-market-update even shitty Dasani has magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, and salt added. Anything beyond would be more a Tea or broth beverage blurs lines on calling it water
Adding effective quantities of micro-nutrients to drinking water and beverages to really make a difference, for purposes of boosting micro-nutrient-nutrition, is not really done…
Because, why? Because: its not really safe to do that–otherwise it then becomes very difficult to control the dosage individual people are getting.
Essentially, for example:
Person A may drink a lot more water than Person B, and thus get an overdose!
But sure there’s at least a few limited examples in terms of other beverages (if we expand the liquid to consist of more than just tap water)… mostly done for either preservation, flavor, coloring, or in a few cases for health.
Milk is fortified with Vitamin D and calcium.
Many juice type beverages have added Vitamin C as a preservative.
City water can have added fluorine, and usually also always contains traces of added chlorine.
Nitrate and nitrites are also added to some beverages (including vegetable juices).
Sulfur (potassium metabisulfite) is often added to beer and wine fermentations. Sulfur compounds also occur naturally during fermentation as well. If you’ve ever done a fast fermentation by adding lots of yeast, then you’ll have noticed that sulfur smell in the end product!
The mineral Bentonite is often added to wine, as a clarification agent.
For a long long time during the course of human history, lead was added to beer and wines, to supposedly enhance “sweetness” and added flavoring effects. (And if you live in Flint Michigan, then you got lots and lots of knowingly added lead, through pipe materials!)
Also: salt and various forms of sodium are also often added to beverages, including club soda. As well?: sodium benzoate also acts as a preservative in some beverage/liquid foods. And there’s also potassium based salts, like monopotassium phosphate.
Minerals in acid form are also added for flavoring, including tangyness… such as phosphoric acid.
having those additives would be extremely wasteful (potentially harmful) for all the things potable water is used for. residential agriculture, bathing, even for cooking.
And an excess of vitamins can cause serious intestinal issues, so depending how much you drink (during exercise or something) you may get too much too quickly and wind up with the shits.
perhaps most notably, the places that might need a baseline of vitamins would be the poorest areas, and this would be very expensive.
The one mineral that is commonly added to water is fluoride, to help prevent tooth decay. I don’t know of other additives that are meant to be directly beneficial to a human (as opposed chlorine ect. to keep the water drinkable).
It’s sometimes done in bottled water, they usually advertise it as vitamin water.
But with easily accessible vitamin and mineral supplements, it’s just not necessary, really.