Evaluating Claims of
Altered Water Companies
Be very aware of the following tactics when evaluating these products:
None of these products is effectively regulated by the government or anyone
and above standard rules to ensure safety of bottled water -
under the Bottled
Water section of my site). Although the FDA and FTC have
rules that state marketing claims must be accurate, in
practice the rules
are not enforced and companies are completely free to
unsubstantiated claims they wish (except for specific health claims like
our product will reduce blood pressure, relieve pain,
cure a specific disease, etc.)
- which would place them under the jurisdiction of the FDA where they would be
required to scientifically prove their
With that in mind, read the promotions very, very carefully. You
will find that:
The companies describe various health conditions in
Then they attribute the conditions (sometimes accurately) to a
lack of water,
or polluted water, or insufficient oxygen, etc.
check carefully, they seldom link their specific process of treating
the water directly to treating or
curing the specific diseases they discussed -
except in the most general, unverifiable
way, like 'drinking enough water is
critical to your health', or 'drinking
our water will reduce stress and give you
Any claims on the site that directly link the specific water treatment to specific
disease treatments or cures are typically made by
'others' in testimonial
statements. There are no regulations in
place to ensure that testimonials
are either truthful or accurate.
What you will find are
statements like "users of our products have reported
that their headaches were cured after drinking our
product. Note carefully
the difference in that statement and "Our
product will reduce the severity of
headaches. The first statement is anecdotal and
without rigorous supporting evidence.
statement would require
scientific proof and FDA regulation
Here is an example
of a general statement on one site (now dead) that
not trigger regulatory action even if utterly false (for
the record, there were no links on
the site to any of the research mentioned)
"Research has shown good response
from treatment with oxygenated water in diseases of the
and lungs as well as in cases of high blood pressure.
It has been shown to
improve the oxygen supply to the brain, stop migraines
and stimulate the
immune system. For the prevention and treatment
of cancer it is a must."
the use of 'treatment' in that text (its general, not their
a couple of paragraphs later, when it comes to specific
details about their
specific product, the claims change
"By installing your own O_-a_ machine in your home you can
once and for
all start to make your own water with additional oxygen,
which will increase
your energy, prevent stress and allow your body to
clean out toxins."
These specific claims for the product are not about
treatment of disease,
and are vague enough to be essentially meaningless and unverifiable.
There will be much mention in the promotional materials about scientific
research proving that a particular water treatment has
some benefit to the body,
to endurance, to mental function, or whatever.
There will be, however, a
complete lack of substantiated scientific
to back up those claims. Acceptable evidence would be experimental
published in journal articles that have been reviewed by other scientists to
the experiments were carried out (and interpreted) correctly and
occasionally used is to list a page full of legitimate scientific
papers that cover related
research like health benefits of water, cellular
structures, structures of water, etc. The problem is
that none of these papers has
anything at all to do with their specific water
treatment or its alleged
functioning in the body.
Let's look briefly at one example of treated water -- 'oxygenated' water
that sells for $24
(for 12 one
liter bottles) + $8 shipping. If my math is correct, that's $32 for
about 3 gallons
of water, or $10.66 per gallon. By comparison, tap
water costs around $0.007 per gallon,
the highest quality filtered water is
about 10 times more expensive at $0.07 per gallon, and
the cost of distilled water is perhaps $0.25 to $0.35 per
gallon. I suppose some people
might be able to justify the
exorbitant cost if
the product performed as advertised
--- but does it?
Some facts to
think about when evaluating the hype of this specific product:
There is less dissolved oxygen in 1 liter of 'oxygenated water' than in 1
breath of air.
Taking an extra breath of air when exercising would be substantially less expensive
than paying $1 to $2 for a liter of these products!
The primary way to transport oxygen in the body is bound to hemoglobin in
blood cells. In normal healthy exercisers,
hemoglobin leaving the lungs is already 97%
to 98% saturated with oxygen.
The structure of the circulatory system ensures that any oxygen picked up
digestive system would go through the lungs before
reaching the muscles and other
tissues. In the lungs any extra oxygen in the
blood will reduce the amount of oxygen
transferred to the blood - the final oxygen saturation
of the hemoglobin would still be
97% to 98%.
Oxygenation has no effect on the body's ability to absorb or transfer the
The concept of
obtaining significant amounts of oxygen through the digestive system
as much scientific and physiological sense as quenching your thirst by inhaling a
water into your lungs. Water that you drink can take up to an hour
or so to
travel to the intestines where it is absorbed - the
water you inhale into your lungs will
absorb into your bloodstream much more rapidly (Do
not try this experiment!!
- this is not an endorsement for inhaling
water.). Lungs are designed to absorb oxygen.
The digestive system is designed to absorb water and
nutrients, not oxygen! Oxygenated
water makes sense for fish that have
specialized structures (gills) for exchanging oxygen and
carbon dioxide in
an aquatic environment, but not for land mammals.
Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Investigates Super Oxygenated Water Claims
- Results of a study done to test health claims. Conclusion: “At
this time, there is no scientific evidence or logical rationale to suggest
that drinking super oxygenated water can in any way increase the amount of
oxygen in the blood stream,” said Porcari. “Therefore, any potential
benefits of super oxygenated water would undoubtedly be attributed to the
Water Is Latest Sports Scam
of Water-Related Frauds and Quackery
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January
2006 - It doesn’t matter how much oxygen is in the water, because we
absorb oxygen into our blood through our lungs, not our digestive
tracts. And, in general, healthy people’s blood already contains
all the oxygen it needs. You can’t force much more in. Not
surprisingly, no published studies have shown that these waters increase
oxygen levels in the blood or muscles or improve athletic
performance. Oxygenated water is a scam.
Similar detailed analyses of each of the types of 'Altered' water
can be made. You can read about some of them at the site
below, and I'll try to add to this page as time allows - RJ.
Aqua Scams - The purpose of this site is to examine the scientific validity of the
explanations given by the proponents of "alternative" water treatment
devices or, in the case of "clustered water", of a fictional
alternative form of water that is purported to be a restorer of youth and vigor.
My motivation for doing this is entirely non-vested and very simple: after
thirty-four years of teaching general, physical, and environmental Chemistry, it
disturbs me to see my favorite science presented incorrectly (and often mangled
into pseudoscience) in the promotion of processes or devices offered to the
public. Also look at Cluster Fluster: three views
for more information about how to evaluate claims made by these companies.
A somewhat less skeptical treatment of "altered water" topics: Water Structure and Behavior
- A number of explanations of the complex behavior of water have been
published, many quite recently. In this site, I have brought together a
self-consistent selection of these ideas, which I hope will encourage both the
understanding of water and further work. Also a discussion on Magnetic