Junk science in the marketplace
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
The MicroSilk™ Hydrotherapy site hypes baths and spas featuring a recirculating aeration spout which "saturates the water with billions of oxygen-rich microbubbles, increasing oxygen levels up to 70% higher than common tap water." Well, so probably can any aerating faucet, but to describe the bubbles as "oxygen rich" is a bit much, given that air is only 20% oxygen. They go on to make the ridiculous claims that
"This luxurious cloud of oxygen blankets your body, energizing skin cells, stimulating the immune system, killing bacteria and promoting healing, reaching where mere water and soaps can’t, entering your pores, bonding to impurities and gently lifting them away, leaving your skin soft and clean in a way you’ve never experienced. MicroSilk™ also creates therapeutic levels of anions, which are known to improve serotonin levels, helping to relax the mind and body, promoting deep sleep, and enhancing recovery from physical exhaustion."
This thankfully now-departed site promoted "Electrically engineered eloptic energized stabilized oxygenated water" (sounds impressive!) which was described as
an industrial-strength, multi-purpose cleanser that will meet all your personal care and household needs. This God-given, concentrated formula is made from all natural ingredients that will clean, degrease and deodorize anything, from your glass and mirrors, carpet and upholstery and even heavy cleaning such as grease traps and oil spots on the concrete garage floor to your babys bottom. [
Well, I don't think I would want to apply something strong enough to remove grease from the garage floor to my bottom, which is admittedly far less soft and supple than that of a baby! Among the ingredients are "ash of dedecyl solution (foaming agent), sea grass (for color) and the anointing of God."
This is one of many lies offered up by an outfit that flogs a worthless "oxygen-plus" supplement to the scientifically challenged at $22 per bottle.
The air we breathe formerly contained 50 percent oxygen. But today, we only have about 20 percent in our air and there is even less in large cities. The medical profession has confirmed that most viruses, parasites, bacteria, fungus and pathogens are anaerobicthey CANNOT live in oxygen. If we are not getting enough oxygen, our bodies become fertile breeding grounds for disease.
The "50% oxygen" is of course pure fiction. And yes, many bacteria are anaerobic, but few viruses, parasites and fungi are. And these hucksters fail to mention that O2 is a cellular poison in the wrong locations and the source of those nasty free radicals that are supposed to accelerate aging. But if oxygen supplements can hook the suckers, so can hydrogen, so the fibbing continues:
The purpose of hydrogen is to give structure to the body. What do you get when you bubble hydrogen through vegetable oil? You get margarine! Now, imagine hydrogen without oxygen. Your cells could become like margarine. [
remember that it is the smallest Critical Element and is capable of passing through the cell wall. In order for our cells to function they m"ust communicate with each other through electrons but electrons can not move in the body without hydrogen. Cells must have oxygen but oxygen does not work without hydrogen. Cells cannot multiply or grow without hydrogen. The very fabric of our being, our DNA, is held together by Hydrogen bonds. Hydrogen is literally the fuel of life. [link]
When we are born we have plenty of Hydrogen but as we age our Hydrogen pool becomes depleted. When this occurs, free radicals steel it from essential areas thus accelerating aging and disease. [link]
The Big Pitcher is a water-oxygenator which is misleadingly claimed to remove chlorine, radon and sulfur, neutralize harmful bacteria, and increase ones energy and metabolism, improve sleep patterns, etc. etc.
In my humble opinion, there are few health-quackery Web sites that contain a higher proportion of false and deceptive statements than those promoting Cellfood:
Cellfood is created by a proprietary nine month process in which these all-natural nutrient-rich plant substances are held in a negatively-charged suspension of deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen).
Deuterium? Well, this stuff is present in water in trace amounts (1 out of every 6500 hydrogen atoms), but the above statement can easily fool the majority of people who don't know this. And the "negatively-charged" stuff is similar nonsense.
According to one sales site for this classic snake-oil:
[Our product] has the unique ability to disassociate the water molecule into nascent hydrogen and nascent oxygen. This water "splitting" technology enables the release of hydrogen and oxygen gases simultaneously in a chain reaction that involves one five-hundred thousandths of the available moisture at one time. Water "splitting" is achieved by means of shifting and weakening the bonding electrons (ionic transfers) of the water molecule towards oxygen and away from hydrogen. [It] allows the bonds in the electron distribution to be unsymmetrical (polar). [link]
Anyone who has taken even an elementary chemistry course will recognize this as erroneous nonsense. There are the usual unsubstantiated and ridiculous health claims ("aids clear thinking", "helps to reduce and/or eliminates menopausal hot flashes and night sweats"). The product itself is described as a
"super energized colloidal mineral concentrate. ... Di-base, Di-pole Deuterium Sulfate provides an incredible oxygen source and delivery system to the body at the cellular level."
Deuterium sulfate? Deuterium is the isotope H2 (often given the symbol D) which makes up about 1 out of 10,000 of the hydrogen atoms found in nature. Although extensive research has shown that organisms are unable to survive on heavy water (D2O is well-known to thoroughly gum up most enzymatic reactions), the same sites go on about its supposed benefits, spinning a tale about an inventor/con-artist/imaginary (take your pick!) Everett M. Storey and a ficticious "Deuterium Freedom Act" purportedly passed by the U.S. 99th Congress that confirms deuterium's ability to "speed up the digestive process". However, the extensive list of chemicals in CellFood does not mention deuterium, although the list does include such falsely-claimed-to-be-beneficial elements as actinium, gadolinium, neon, technetium (!) and xenon. Another sad case of selling snake-oil to the suckers.
'Various products referred to as "stabilized" or "aerobic" oxygen are being marketed with claims that they can cure disease by increasing oxygen delivery to the cells. Some claim that "oxygen deficiency" or "oxygen starvation" is an underlying cause of disease and has been increasing because the oxygen content of the earth's atmosphere has been decreasing and junk food does not contain enough oxygen...' See the entire article here.
A huge part of the alternative-health-quackery industry is devoted to supplying those free-radical fighters known as antioxidants (Whose benefits as dietary supplements are entirely unproven but that's another subject.) But pseudoscience knows no bounds and can be twisted in any direction, so here's an Idaho company (where else?) that flogs a nostrum they call stabilized oxygen. A thankfully-now-disappeared Web site goes on at great length about the importance of protecting our cells from oxygen deprivation:
Oxygen plays another important role in the body acting as a guardian and protector against unfriendly bacteria and disease organisms. One of oxygen's major functions is disintegration. Rubble, garbage, toxins, refuse, debris, and anything useless are destroyed by oxygen and carried out of the system. Just as a clean house holds little interest to passing flies, likewise, an oxygen rich body is a difficult fortress to assail.
... all errant nonsense, of course! Anyway, they go on about how their product helps you to enjoy
the tremendous bene fits of oxygen to the body other than through the breathing process. Oxygen is very difficult to stabilize and until a recent scientific breakthrough, oxygen has not been stabilized in a beneficial non-toxic form.
This flapdoodle overlooks the fact that oxygen is not present in the blood as O2, but is complexed to hemoglobin which controls the amount of oxygen delivered to cells through an exquisitely-evolved feedback mechanism. What these hucksters mean by "stabilizing" the oxygen is not entirely clear. We are told that
Stabilized oxygen is an oxide of chlorides compound stabilized with the richest known source of nascent oxygen with several atoms per molecule.
Whatever they mean by "oxide of chlorides compound" could be any number of substances from chlorine dioxide (ClO2) to perchloric acid (HClO4). The first is a poison and the second is explosive, so I presume they have come up with something in between. The term "nascent oxgyen" (see below) usually means free oxygen atoms as opposed to the stable molecule O2 which make up 20% of the air we breathe. But it gets more complicated:
[This product] is a safe, non toxic, stabilized liquid concentrate of electrolytes of oxygen, which are made available to your body, in molecular form, when ingested. ... The genius of it is the formulating of the two most abundant and important electrolytes of body fluid, sodium and chlorine, to act as the oxygen carriers. The molecular oxygen is released through the digestive process, and is absorbed into the bloodstream. ... In an ordinary glass of tap water there is on the average, 7-12 ppm of oxygen molecules. In Stabilized Oxygen the amount of available oxygen increased to about 12,000 ppm or 1,000 times.
Wow! This appears to be a good description of sodium hypochlorite NaOCl, otherwise known as laundry bleach. Thanks, but I think I'll pass on this one!
The ordinary oxygen that we breathe is really the molecule"dioxygen", O2. "Nascent" oxygen (a term not used much by contemporary chemists) refers to plain oxygen atoms. These species normally have only a transient existence before they react with themselves (to produce O2), with water to produce hydrogen peroxide H2O2 (a cellular poison), or with just about any carbon-containing substance around them such as your body! Any claims that this stuff can posssibly be good for you or that it can somehow "stabilized" are plain lies. Also, any agent capable of generating atomic oxygen (as chemists call it) would do even more damage to the body, so I think claims that any dietary supplements can even produce it are untrue.
None of this appears to stop various outfits from hawking oxygenated snake oils such as the one making claims that their product
is unique in its ability to create nascent (meaning newly-born) oxygen. In biochemical terms 'nascent' oxygen refers to the newly born singlet oxygen (O-) that has not yet entered the biochemical reaction. Free radicals (which many biochemists believe are a primary cause of aging and degenerative disease) are positively charged ions of oxygen (O+). Since nascent oxygen molecules are negatively charged, they actually seek out and attract these dangerous free radicals, combining with them to form simple pure stabilized oxygen (O2).
Well, ionized atomic oxygen (O or O+) does exist in the upper atomosphere, but it would be instant death to any body tissues. And far from being a free radical fighter, any form of the "singlet" oxygen they refer to is either itself a free radical or capable of producing them when it reacts with water or virtually any other cellular component. If you feel comfortable consuming a product from an outfit that exhibits this level of chemical incompetence, be my guest!
Of course they don't stop there, but go on to evoke even weirder pseudoscience, claiming that the product
will tend to normalize the body's acid-base balance by delivering its 78 essential minerals as enzymatic cofactors assisting critical enymatic reactions to proceed optimally.
... which is biochemical hokum, and
Scientists Simeonton, Likhovsky and Bovis estimated that the average human body radiates a life force frequency of 6,500 angstroms with cancer patients radiating at 1,875 angstroms (the same measurement as for refined white bread). Just one drop of [the product's] powerful 'electromagnetic equation' in 6-8 ounces of water emanates 77,000 units of radiant life energy bringing a dramatic increase in life force to every cell of the body.
... pure nonsensical fantasy.
But if this is not enough, a product formerly hyped as "Seven-Sided Oxygenated Water" "penetrates into dehydrated structures of the body and breaks apart the ionic bonds of substance or structure that are atypical to the bodies normal function." This site is a fount of misinformation (for example, that the atmospheric concentration of oxygen has been rapidly decreasing over the last millenium, and that this, and anaerobic conditions in general, promote cancer.) They make the highly dubious claim that their bottled water contains 400-600 ppm of oxygen. And of course it protects the body from infection, helps reduce pain levels, and enhances carbohydrate metabolism, etc. etc. The current product site is not quite as goofy.
Ozone, O3, is a gas that it widely used to disinfect municipal water supplies. Being highly unstable, it decomposes into ordinary oxygen by the time the water reaches the consumer. Which is just as well, since ozone is toxic to both plant and animal cells.
But some hucksters don't seem to know this. One of them tells us that
Ozone is used extensively in medicine in Germany and Cuba by either infusing it or injecting it directly into the blood stream. In medical applications: "It is the aim of ozone-oxygen therapy to stimulate or reactivate oxygen metabolism, without damage to the protecting oxidative enzymes…
Don't believe this crap! Ozone attacks mucous membranes, destroys enzymes, and gibbles up DNA. Far from preventing cancer, it acts as a carcinogen. The guy behind this is apparently one Robert C. Beck, "D.Sc.", described here as an "acclaimed physicist" (who, as far as I can see, has no record of scientific publication). This site seems to be associated with a variety of goofy quack treatment methods.
See this QuackWatch page for more about oxygen- and ozone therapy.
Will these "oxygen-infused skin serums bring life and health to the skin"? It's true that the living tissue beneath the dead epidermal layer requires oxygen which is suppied by diffusion from the blood, and a 2010 article shows that "topical dissolved oxygen" can penetrate skin and may be useful aid to wound healing. But if there is any clinical support for the idea that highly oxygenated waters can benefit ordinary skin, the developers of this "Gas inFusion Technology" for supersaturating water with oxygen make no mention of it.
This misinformation-filled site promotes a magnesium oxide preparation which they claim will liquify all that solid gunge that is supposed to be clogging your intestines. Well, by the time magnesium oxide has passed through the stomach, it becomes magnesium chloride which acts as a mild laxative. To add to the hype, they claim that the product releases "monatomic oxygen" into the intestinal tract. It is just as well that this claim is almost certainly false, since atomic oxygen is a known carcinogen.
By using Oxy-Powder, you can melt away or oxidize the compaction from the small intestine, large intestine and colon safe and effectively. Organic Germanium-132 has demonstrated in multiple scientific studies to be a powerful oxygen facilitator and immune system stimulant. Oxy-Powder is also harmless to the good bacteria in the intestinal tract.
The stuff about Germanium-132 introduces another favorite food-fad that the FDA is beginning to crack down on because of fears of Germanium poisoning; there is no credible scientific evidence that it has any benefit.