Debunking water cluster crackpot chemistry

a deconstruction example for students and others

The purpose of this document is to illustrate the manner in which otherwise valid scientific terms, and occasionally some real science, can be so elaborately intertwined with pseudoscientific nonsense as to make it practically impossible for the average person who does not have a very through knowledge of the relevant science to adequately understand and evaluate the material being presented. This technique has probably achieved its greatest perfection in writings promoting so-called "creation science" in which intellectual honesty is sacrificed to the higher end of promoting a religious doctrine. Of course, intellectual honesty commands even less value in the world of commerce, especially in the field of "alternative" health products in which vendors have the job of convincing a generally science-challenged public of the need for the unproven nostrums they offer.

An excellent example of this is found in the "structure-altered water" ("SAW") industry that propagates the fiction that the structure of water can be altered (most commonly either by organizing it into "clusters", or alternatively, to break up existing H2O clusters) and that this can bring about better health and well-being, and even halt or reverse the effects of aging. One of the more active promoters of this nonsense was a California company, Cellcore International. The remainder of this document consists of a "deconstruction" of a Web page from a former sales site that offered Cellcore's Clustered Water™ product ("CSAW") to the public.

Note: the particular Web page on which this material was found disappeared near the end of April, 2002. The content of the page quoted below may therefore not reflect the present doctrine or claims about this product. It is presented here as a historical document and as an example of the kind of hype that is very common in the "alternative" health and wellness field.

The following numbered paragraphs are taken verbatim from the corresponding paragraphs at the Clustered Solutions sales site as it existed in February 2002. Those parts of the text that I consider wrong, misleading, or unsupported by credible evidence are indicated by highlighting. Superscripts refer to my comments in the right hand column.

Text of former Clustered-Solutions page


Albertson Georgie, who won the Nobel Prize for his work with Vitamin C said: "Since the molecular structure of water is the essence of all life, the man who can control that structure in cellular systems will change the world."

I think they mean Albert Szent-Györgi, whose name should be familiar to anyone who has a degree in biochemistry. This gaffé is indicative of the scientific incompetence of the promoters of this product.

In 1984, Dr Lorenzen's family was challenged with the illness of his wife, Penny. It was this challenge that became the genesis of clustered water theory, and since that time, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world have benefited from this technology.

Lee LorenzenLEE LORENZEN was described on another page at this site (and at other now-disappeared sales sites) as having a Ph.D. in "Nutritional Biochemistry" from "London Metropolitan University." A check of two Web sites listing UK institutions of higher education failed to reveal any such establishment in 2000; a Google search of that name yielded valid "hits" only at CSAW sales sites. (In 2002, a new LMU did come into existence as a result of a merger of two older institutions.)

Dr. Lee Lorenzen’s Clustered Water™ restores cellular balance by helping our cells express themselves, so our body will have the energy and capacity to more rapidly heal itself and return to normal.

You are not likely to find any of these terms defined in any textbook on cell physiology. This is a good example of the more general (and unverifiable) kind of claim made at CSAW sales sites and for "alternative health" panaceas in general.

Clustered Water™ is a critically important factor in controlling fundamental life systems. It is an organized water, a micro structure of 6 sides and 6 water molecules held together by shared hydrogen atoms1, is composed of 12 hydrogen and 6 oxygen atoms, is resonant2 and is 6 times more powerful and effective3 than ordinary water.

1There is no credible evidence for any of this. Hydrogen bonds are too weak to allow such a structure to exist for more than about 10–12 sec. If it were somehow possible to stabilize such a structure in pure water, it would be detectable through its infrared absorption spectrum and by other physical means.

2 To characterize an array of molecules as resonant is meaningless, but it sounds impressive.

3 More powerful and effective in what way? And how was this factor of six determined?

Water clusters hook up to each other to form a solution which carries energy and high signals beneficial to our cells and cell systems.1 Structured water is an integral component of our cells2, whose need for Clustered Water™3 is second only to their need for oxygen.

1 "Energy and high [frequency?] signals" is meaningless in this context— and almost a dead giveway that one is being fed humbug.

2 Much of the water within cells is indeed "structured", but only by virtue of the interaction of ordinary water with biopolymers and other molecules within the cells.

3 Since the biomolecules within cells structure the water directly, cells have no need for an external source of SAW.

The dynamics of Clustered Water™ is explained in its power to influence protein structure, which is the key to cell function1. We need structured proteins to transduce2 cell information, and as we age these proteins begin to break down in structure and function.3

1 Ordinary H2O serves this purpose adequately by becoming structured through its interactions with proteins and other biopolymers.

2 The meaning of "transduce" is not clear in this context; much of the "cell information" is contained within proteins.

3 This is only a very small part of aging; most proteins are being broken down and replaced all the time. The implication that CSAW can retard the effects of aging is a strong element of their marketing, and is of course entirely unfounded.

The goal of Clustered Water™ solutions is to induce a return to normal protein structure. Theoretically, when structure is achieved, normal cell function returns.

The implication that addition of an external "structured" water can restore the structure or function of a damaged or degraded protein is absurd and totally lacking in experimental support.

Clustered Water™ in cells converts cell proteins into "information wires" that carry useful high frequency signals.1 Tuning molecules such as DNA, chlorophyll, and beta carotene work with proteins to amplify and send the beneficial high frequency signals to cells through the Bioelectronic Connectional Systems2, which is a system of cell proteins that connects all cells.

1 This is nothing less than bizarre. There is no credible evidence that "high frequency signals" are propagated within or between cells.

2 This term is not known to mainstream physiology; a Google search showed hits only in CSAW sales sites. Intercellular signalling is an active research field, and the several known mechanisms appear to adequately explain the phenomenon. A single speculative article in an obscure Italian journal is the only reference to the B.C.S. that I have been able to find.

Our cells can capture tiny amounts of energy, and if useful, transduce them into other forms for healing, maintenance and metabolism.1 These energy emissions can be measured as radio waves.2 Clustered Water™ is important because it absorbs and emits energy in the infra-red region3, that same frequency range of normal cell resonance.4

1 This is true only for highly specialized cells such as those in the retina.

2 Cells do not emit radio-frequency energy.

3 All water (and all molecules) absorb infrared radiation and emit it as heat.

4 "Cell resonance" is another pseudoscientific term unique to CSAW sales sites.

Clustered Water™ is at every critical turn of the DNA.

How remarkable of God to incorporate a trademarked product into His creation!

DNA, like other biopolymers, brings about whatever "structure" exists in the water molecules hydrogen-bonded to it.

Our cells use DNA programming to determine how we look and grow. The core of the DNA in our cell is a column of Clustered Water™ that carries information between DNA components and from other sources in the cell.1 In DNA, the helix or spiral vibrates up and down like a tuning fork, transmitting and receiving frequency signals.2 When we are born, our biowater is predominantly clustered - there is a high concentration of water clusters in our blood stream and other organ systems. Our young cells are structured with very high levels of Clustered Water™. At 3 months old, our Clustered Water™ content is at 95%.3

1 The water molecules associated with DNA are not in a "core", but are mostly around its periphery and this water is not accurately described as being "clustered".

2 The chemical bonds within all molecules undergo a complex series of stretching and bending vibrations in the infrared region of the spectrum, but they (and DNA specifically) do not "vibrate" in the organized way that a solid object such as a tuning fork might. To characterize this as relating to the transmission and reception of "signals" is misleading nonsense.

3 How was this measured? There is no scientific support for any of this.

Clustered Water™ is intracellular. Because its micro 6-sided shape fits our cell membrane's micro hexagonal doors, clustered water is able to enter at best rate our cell enclosure, reach our cell core and accomplish its missions of repair, defense, support and maintenance of our cells.

Research has firmly established that water molecules cross cell walls in single file; there are no "hexagonal doors". See here for a summary.

Clustered water changes as we age. A cluster destabilizes.1 It loses its efficient 6-sided shape when unwanted molecules, pollutants and free radicals bind to it and transform it to the inefficient bound water.2 This causes the level of our clustered water to sink so low and the level of our bound water3 to rise so high - a disaster to our cells.

1 It’s certainly true that water clusters do not endure for very long, but the time scale is a bit out; they last only for a few picoseconds!

2 This stuff about CSAW's 6-sided shape and its ability to bind to bad chemicals is unfouinded crackpot chemistry.

3 This attempt to contrast "clustered" and "bound" water is specious. In cell physiology, the water molecules associated with biopolymers are usually described as bound or vicinal, in contrast to free or bulk water.

At age 60, our clustered water content is at 40% and studies show that a 2% loss of cellular water decreases our energy levels by as much as 20%.

Other CSAW Web pages describing how these percentages are measured suggested that these figures come from highly questionable whole-body "bioimpedance" mesurements that are not easily interpreted and play no role in conventional scientific physiology. How the "energy levels" are measured I have no idea.

Bound water is intercellular. It stays outside of our cells, is immobile, hinders thousands of metabolic functions, slows down our molecular mobility, and causes significant structural changes in our body's tissues. The deficiency in clustered water causes our cells to dehydrate, age and malfunction.

Another attempt to confabulate "bound" and "clustered" water. Water molecules are intimately associated ("bound") to all biopolymers and membranes, both inside and outside the cell. Because the number of these binding sites is limited, most body water remains unbound.

Our cells malfunction when there is a lack of clusters. Cellular malfunctions cause degenerative health. There is a direct relationship between our aging and the lack of water clusters in our cell systems. The deficiency in clusters causes our cells to age from dehydration. Aging does not cause the lack of clusters. The lack of clusters causes aging.

Utter nonsense; the causes of ageing (at the molecular level) are many, and include reaction with free-radical metabolites such as peroxides and programmed cell death (apoptosis), but there is no evidence that it has anything at all to do with water.

Dr. Lee Lorenzen’s Clustered Water™ replenishes the life-sustaining water clusters in our cells, brings our cluster levels back to when we were younger, assists our body’s natural processes in counteracting cellular malfunctions. The Clustered Water's™ mission is to restore cellular balance or homeostasis by signaling cell systems to abandon abnormal functions and return to normal emissions so our body will then have the energy and capacity to more rapidly heal itself and return to normal.

More misleading nonsense; the only "balance" that CSAW is likely to improve is that of Cellcore’s bank account!

An external signal imprinted and originating in Clustered Water™ is amplified and transmitted through the Bioelectronic Connectional System resulting in correcting the abnormal cell signals by shifting, modifying or influencing cell resonance patterns.

According to the Lorenzen’s patents, the manufacture of CSAW involves "imprinting" healing substances such as aloe vera into the water. There is, of course, no scientific evidence for this, or for the existence of a "Bioelectronic Connectional System".

Clustered Water™ raises the energy of the cell.1 A clustered water ™ electrical impulse2 raises the energy of the cell for an instant because it is a quantum/mechanical impulse, using a specific frequency.3 This increases cell energy storage while stimulating structural shifts in the oscillating protein structure.4 You end up with a cell that has a higher charge base5 - much like charging a battery. Cell capacitance or stored energy reserve is an indicator of cell health.6

1 How "the energy of the cell" is defined or measured is not explained.

2 How such an "electrical impulse" is defined or measured is not explained.

3 What is this specfiic frequency, and what controls it?

4 To describe a protein structure as "oscillating" is extremely misleading. In any case, this has nothing at all to do with "cell energy storage".

5 "Charge base" is a meaningless term in this context.

6 [Electrical] "capacitance" has nothing to do with a cell’s energy reserve or its "health".

Clustered Water™ has the power to influence protein structures.1 The structure of protein is the key to cell function. Clustered water ™ serves as scaffolding around proteins to make them more structured. It reacts with proteins2, restores water density to proteins, bends immune proteins3 and improves their functions. It also enhances the cellular synthesis of proteins.

1 So does ordinary water.

2 They have it backwards: the proteins react with the water, creating its local structure.

3The reference to "immune proteins" appears to be a subtle attempt to suggest that CSAW improves the immune system. This is, of course, rubbish.

Clustered Water ™

  • Rehydrates our cells back to their youthful states
  • Transports nutrients, hormones and enzymes to our cells
  • Helps enzymes fold and bend so they can be highly effective as organic catalysts in chemical reactions that take place within our cells
  • Maintains normal electrical properties of our cells and cellular systems
  • Improves cell to cell communications throughout our body by converting cell proteins into "information wires" which are used by the Bioelectronic Connectional System that connects all cells
  • Amplifies to six times the effects of nutritional supplementation
  • Removes toxins and waste from our cells such as free radicals hydroxyl and super oxide which can damage DNA, protein and cell membrane
  • Restores and protects our cellular Integrity
  • Repairs, regenerates, rejuvenates and defends our cells
  • Improves our cellular functions in ways that can not be achieved through nutritional and pharmacological therapy
  • Restores our body's metabolic efficiency
  • Enhances our body's immune system, builds up our T-cells

This laundry-list summarizes the various claims made above, none of which anyone trained in chemistry or cell physiology will consider as anything other than nonsense. No credible evidence is adduced to support any of these claims, most of which are so ill-defined or vague that there is no way they could be verified or tested. This appears to be plain 19th Century medicine-show hype.

Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Alexis Carrel was able to keep a chicken heart alive outside of a chicken for years and theorized that "The cell is immortal. It is merely the fluids in which it floats that degenerates. Renew this fluid at regular intervals, give the cells what they require for nutrition, and as far as we know, the pulsation of life can go on forever".

OK, so Alexis Carrell did win the Nobel, but this was for his work in vascular surgery and his remarks must be taken in the context of physiology as it was in 1912! This is an obvious attempt to plant the idea of CSAW as a fountain of youth.

Dr. Lorenzen engineered a solution of clustered water ™ to have specific electrical impulses that target and influence a specific malfunctioning tissue systems and not adversely affect other normal tissues.

The idea that "electrical impulses" are contained in or generated by CSAW is ridiculous. Similarly, there is no evidence that such impulses can selectively influence specific cell or tissue types.

Dr. Lorenzen uses his proprietary Template Induction Process1 to design and control a special molecular structure of water that favorably impacts our cells and cell systems. The 14-step process uses magnetic resonance2, temperature and pressure shifts and membrane ultra-filtration to produce clustered water which are folded around proteins. The water-protein complex is subjected to high frequency vibration through the use of laser and systems.3 The protein base is then extracted. The end product is a semi-liquid crystal4 solution which beneficial electrical impulses that resonate at a designed frequency.5

1 The theory of this process appears to be similar to that of homeopathy in that the essence of some healing substance such as proteins, DNA, or aloe vera is permanently "imprinted" into the water and is retained in the water’s "memory"even after all traces of the "template" substance have been removed. There is no evidence to support this claim.

2 The reference to magnetic resonance in this context is nonsense to anyone who knows what it is.

3 More meaningless twaddle.

4 Any chemists out there who have heard of semi liquid crystals?

5 This would still be nonsense even if they could put it in a grammatical sentence .

Clustered Water™ has the same properties as the original clustered water found in our young cells when we were born.1 It is stabilized for long shelf life and is non-toxic since it works electronically and not chemically2 in our cell and cell systems.

1 As pointed out elsewhere, the idea of a pristine kind of water in newborns is a myth.

2 The false implication that anything "chemical" in nature is toxic is unfortunately widely propagated. Water itself is a chemical as is everything else in our bodies. The dichotomy between "electronic" and "chemical" is a false one; chemistry is in fact the expression of electrical forces at the atomic level.

Clustered Water™ is patented1 and made in the United States, researched and used in Japan for over 14 years with 200,000 documented case studies2 along with the publication of 9 books3. It is used by over 61 clinics in Japan with the Japanese government's approval and supervision.3

1 The two U.S. patents describe a process that is scientifically absurd. I wonder if the manufacture of CSAW actually involves the procedures described in the patent; it would be most interesting to see the facilities where CSAW is made.

2 These "case studies" do not appear to be available to the general public. The number quoted in various CSAW sales sites varies from 50,000 to 225,000.

3 Any kook can publish a book!

4 The number of Japanese patents relating to wonky water-treatment schemes of various kinds is remarkably large. Are the Japanese more susceptible to pseudoscience than those of other cultures?

Clustered Water™ works incredibly with our body.1 Cells share information through signal transduction2, by which one form of energy is converted into another form. This is similar to data transfer via fiber optics.3
Clustered Water™ enhances cell to cell communication, transmits and receives electrical impulses and imparts beneficial effect throughout our body via energy conversion.4

1 Somehow, I don't think they mean this literally!

2 "Signal transduction" is not a term used in scientific physiology and there is no evidence that this type of inter-cellular communication exists. See here for the current scientific view of what physiologists call cellular signalling.

3 This statement is totally unfounded.

4 There is no scientific evidence for any of this.

Nutrients and oxygen interact in the cell's mitochondria to produce energy for the cell Clustered Water™ transports nutrients to the cell and acts as a transducer of chemical and bioelectric energy for healing, maintenance and metabolism.

Mitochondria are correctly identified as the loci of oxidative respiration (nice to see that they get one thing right!), but nutrient transport generally involves specific transfer agents in which water may be involved, but only peripherally. Similarly, "bioelectric energy", if that means ionic concentration gradients, are controlled by protein structures known as ion channels and any water molecules that might be involved are those attached to the channel structures and to the hydrated ionis themselves. But CSAW has nothing to do with all of this!

Clustered Water™ carries energy and information in its electrical impulses and when the solution is ingested, an electrical charge is initiated in the floor of the mouth, amplified by proteins and transmitted in a cascading fashion via the Bioelectronic Connectional System to all cell systems, instructing our entire body to heal itself and to restore normal metabolic and biochemical functions.1 Within the clustered water in our body's trillions of cells are the resources, capabilities and memories on how to perform all those functions.2

1 This is bizarre nonsense. Water (clustered or otherwise) cannot produce "electrical impulses", no evidence is adduced to suggest that any unusual electrical charge occurs at the floor of the mouth, nor that proteins are capable of amplifying or transmitting information in the manner suggestsed here.

2 These "resources, capabilities and memories" are contained in the biopolymers and other chemical components of the cell, in which water plays a necessary but essentially secondary role.

Dr. Lee Lorenzen is able to control the molecular structure of water in cellular systems.1 His Clustered Water™ favorably impacts our body's entire systems by means of energy transfer which utilizes the cell systems themselves. Clustered Water™ heals our entire body on the cell level from the cell core in cascading cells. The result is an improved overall well-being.2

1 Neither Lorenzen nor anyone else can control the structure of a molecule, which is determined mainly by the forces between its atoms and to a smaller extent (in the case of biopolymers) by the presence of associated water molecules which help maintain the folded shapes necessary for their proper function.

2 Another classic 19-th century medicine show pitch.


Number of paragraphs in the ClusteredSolutions Web page: 30

Number of paragraphs containing incorrect, misleading, or meaningless statements: 30

The quantity of purple prose here is remarkable; there is not a single paragraph in the entire Web page that is free of this blight.

For science teachers: This page can form the basis for useful exercises for Chemistry classes, and also for courses in critical thinking and "B.S.-detection". See Using pseudoscience as a teaching aid for some interesting ways to make use of pseudoscience sites, and some chemistry-related examples.

Referring H2O-dot-con pages: Water pseudoscience (home) -> ClusterQuackery

Stephen Lower
is a retired faculty member of the
Dept of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby / Vancouver, Canada

Last modified: 20.07.2010