New researched reported in the UK indicates that people who live in areas with soft water are more likely to develop alcoholic liver disease (ALD) than those elsewhere. Professor Roger Williams director of the Institute of Hepatology, has suggested that the Government medicate the water supply to combat the effects after his research revealed the danger.
A paper co-authored by Prof Williams found those living in soft-water areas may be more at risk because of lower levels of magnesium. The mineral can help to protect the liver from alcohol. It is the first time a link between water softness and the disease has been established.
The study examined hospital admissions in 28 English regions between 2003 and 2006. The six areas with soft water – Lancashire, Birmingham, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, the South West and County Durham – had rates of alcoholic liver disease 21 per cent above the national average. But the 13 areas with hard water – including South London, Essex, Shropshire and Staffordshire – had rates 13 per cent below the average.
The research may also explain why rates of the disease in Scotland are almost double those in England. Most water is soft in Scotland.