Junk science in the marketplace
Unless you have gills, it’s just an expensive burp!
Oxygenated water (also known as “superoxygenated” water) is offered at hundreds of Web sites. I highly recommend it if you happen to be a fish, but if you have lungs that breathe air, then forget about it! All water that has been exposed to the air is “oxygenated” to a small extent— about 8 milligrams of O2 per liter of water at room temperature— and this can be increased by pressurizing the water with oxygen gas; each additional atmosphere of oxygen pressure pumps an additional 40 mg into each liter. But what happens when you open the bottle? That’s right, the extra oxygen goes right back out— but not immediately, so by drinking oxygenated water, you can still take a bit more oxygen into your stomach. But can any oxygen molecules that don’t get burped back out actually find their way into your bloodstream through absorption in the stomach or intestine? I very much doubt it; the lungs are exquisitely adapted to this function, while your digestive system is specialized for absorbing other nutrients. Suppose, instead, that you simply breathe in an extra liter of air (much easier to do than drinking a liter of water!) It’s an easy chemistry students’ calculation to show that you will be inhaling about 146 mg of oxygen in this way. Not all of it will enter your bloodstream, but you can always take an extra breath; it’s free!
These products seem to be pitched especially at the sports community, always on the lookout for that thin advantage that can make all the difference. There is no credible evidence that it does, as the following articles mention:
Superoxygenated water is latest sports scam
Oxygenated water: Fad and fiction in one expensive burp
Oxygen is good—even when it’s not there; alternative medicine‘s claims for the efficacy of But don’t worry about the water; the amount of O2 in even “superoxygenated” waters is far too small to cause harm, other than perhaps to your bank account!
Two common lies to confuse consumers:
Low values of oxygen in our tissues causes cancer. Not so: Cancerous cells, being more primitive and often lacking an adequate blood supply, metabolize anaerobically, and so are able to get along with less oxygen.
The oxygen content of the atmosphere was once much higher than at present (implying that 21% is not enough). The truth: O2 has been rising ever since green plants appeared about 4.5 billion years ago.
…but why not pile on even more hype?
As you might expect, the real hypemeisters don’t stop at merely adding oxygen; consider, for example, the one now-withdrawn product claimed that colloidal minerials inserted and stablized in the Secrets of Hunza® and other … Oxygenated Water have very large negative zeta potentials on each colloidal particle. [We] can formulate a varitysupplemental oxygen are less than convincing—especially when the supplement contains no oxygen (an article by Dr. Harriet A. Hall – Skeptical Inquirer, Jan-Feb 2004)
Oxygen is actually a cellular poison!
Yes, we need it to live, but only at the 21% atmospheric concentration provided by Nature. When life first appeared on Earth there was no oxygen in the atmosphere, but when green plants arrived they started “polluting” the air with O2, and those organisms that are exposed to the air had to develop some rather elaborate defenses against it.
Brief summary of what happened
Comprehensive review of oxygen toxicity.
But don’t worry about the water; the amount of O2 in even “superoxygenated” waters is far too small to cause harm, other than perhaps to your bank account!
As you might expect, the real hypemeisters don’t stop at merely adding oxygen; consider, for example, the one now-withdrawn product claimed that colloidal minerials inserted and stablized in the Secrets of Hunza® and other … Oxygenated Water have very large negative zeta potentials on each colloidal particle. [We] can formulate a varity of oxygenated, herbal and sports beverages with very large, stabilized zeta potentials up to several hundred millivolts if necessary.
(It turns out that zeta potentials, something I always thought only a colloid chemist can love, are a fairly big thing in the “alternative” water field. I doubt that any of the clowns that hype zeta potential even know what it is!)
One nameless outfit claims that their “Super Water” aqueous snake-oil provides stabilized oxygen found in micro-encapsulated water clusters.
— thus leading us back to the wide world of water cluster foolery.
… the molecules must first be extended USING A PATENTED METHOD OF EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION OF THE WATER MOLECULES SEVERAL TIMES/MINUTE TO CONSUME OXYGEN, WHILE TAKING ON DONOR ELECTRONS! Our patented method EXPANDS TODAY’S WATER MOLECULES… so they can take on more donor electrons! It’s logical that most products are activated by the ELECTRONS in WATER [link]
They peddle a bogus “water machine” that falsely claims to enlarge the water molecules so they can accommodate these extra electrons. (See my detailed take on this one.)
And here, a naturopathic “doctor” cashes in on consumer scientific ignorance by offering up a melange of misinformation about how our bodies are starved for oxygen in the absence of “AO II”, a magic potion containing “stablized oxygen” that is “formed through an electrochemical process.” He repeats the untruths mentioned above about the diminishing oxygen content of the atmsphere and the long-debunked idea that lack of oxygen causes cancer. Don’t believe any of this garbage!
It’s not enough to simply dissolve more oxygen in the water; several outfits make ridiculous claims that they have found a way to chemically bond O2 to H2O, producing a “super oxygenated” water that contains 240,000 ppm of instead of the measly 100 ppm that the other pikers flog. Have any of you other chemists ever heard of
H-O-O-O-H ? A “per-peroxide”? This bunch of hucksters say A team of scientists and professionals worked for eight years to develop a completely unique and proprietary method of bonding oxygen to water molecules. Where others dissolve oxygen into a bottle, our unique product provides a stable and molecularly bonded source of oxygen. …Tests have shown that stabilized oxygen with a high pH, will have the pH reduced to near the pH of the water into which it is dosed. …The long-held belief that stabilized oxygen must be of a high alkalinity (pH) in order to work is a wrong assumption. Contrary to this, a neutral pH of the stabilized oxygen is desirable as the release of the oxygen in the gastric fluid is slowed down allowing the body to absorb and utilize the valuable oxygen ions.
What’s that again? That sounds like the stuff I used to read when marking freshman exam papers! Maybe if those jocks who used to populate the back rows of my Chemistry classes had paid more attention, they would be less likely to be taken in by garbage like this!
Oxygenated water is sometimes sold under the ridiculous name of “Vitamin O“; a former RoseCreek page flogs “Electrically activated Vitamin O” . A recent FTC action has fined this company for false advertising, but the wonders of this snake-oil are still being promoted by an individual who claims to have carried out clinical trials, although I have been unable to find any evidence of these, or of the author’s standing in the scientific community. For another opinion on “Vitamin O” and of this study, see this Skeptical Inquirer article.
Another promoter claims to have a process that alters the bond between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms that make up the water molecule and allows for release of oxygen by means of a catalytic reaction when Biocatalyst comes in contact with cell walls. Water molecules exist at a higher energy state than either hydrogen molecules or oxygen molecules. In nature, molecules tend to combine or split in order to reach a lower energy level.
There is, of course, no reason to take this crackpot chemistry seriously!