More than water?

January 22nd, 2004 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, detox, oxygen, water | 7 Comments »

More than water?

Ben Goldacre
Thursday January 22, 2004
The Guardian

· What is it with pseudo scientists and water? After last week’s cluster nonsense, Caroline Stacey was getting excited in the Independent’s Food and Drink section about Oxygizer water. “Oxygizer doesn’t just slake a thirst, it provides the body with extra oxygen too. A litre contains 150mg of oxygen, around 25 times more than what’s in a litre of tap water.” Handy. “This apparently helps remove toxins and ensures a stronger immune system, as well as assisting the respiratory system, so you recover better from exercise … cleverly they’ve added something to water that’s not an additive.”

· So, once more in the spirit of noble Victorian gentleman scientist self experimenters, I decided to put Oxygizer to the test. Back in the 60s, a scientist in New York managed to get mice breathing underwater, from a saline solution at six times normal atmospheric pressure, just like in that movie The Abyss – it takes a lifetime of popular science books to collect this kind of trivia. Unfortunately, the mice died after 18 hours, and I didn’t want to upset the animal experimentation lobby.

· So, I decided to drink the stuff after a three-mile run. I take in about 100ml of oxygen with every breath, or 150mg, and, like most humans, I only absorb about 30mg of that. That’s 300mg a minute, but after serious exercise it goes up to about 3,000mg a minute. To help myself recover significantly faster after my run, I figured I’d need an extra 20% of oxygen, or 600mg a minute. That meant drinking 40 litres of Oxygizer over 10 minutes, getting the stuff down me at the fearsome rate of one litre every 15 seconds, at a cost of £120, and almost doubling my weight, but it’s all in the name of science. Fairly soon my circulatory system was so overloaded that I was producing several pints of frothy sputum at the back of my throat. Then my abdomen burst open and my Versace running shorts were ruined.

· Needless to say, I was not best pleased. But there’s something rather exciting that I’ve just discovered about the Guardian website: our articles tend to come out right at the top of Google keyword searches so, as my final act of revenge, en route to the morgue, you’ll forgive me for using the word Oxygizer as much as Oxygizer possible just in case anyone Oxygizer ever looks Oxygizer up to buy some Oxygizer …


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7 Responses



  1. michael moohan said,

    September 17, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    Hilarious!! You ever thought about doing this as a standup routine?

  2. Richard said,

    December 1, 2005 at 11:19 pm

    I dont have Versace shorts, but I do have a parachute….. infact I regularly go to 13,000 feet where, as we all know, the air is thinner!
    So I guess I need to start getting some Oxygizer down me in vast quantities too! It takes about 15 minutes in the aeroplane ride to 13,000ft, that means I could down 60 litres, at the firsome rate 1 every 15 seconds. Wow!

    Your readers wont have to look up Google for Oxygizer, all they will have to do is “look up”!

  3. mikew said,

    December 11, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    From a recent Google search:
    “Oxygizer – Oxygizer is stabilized liquid oxygen, a supplement which is safe, non-toxic, and unique in that it contains one of the highest concentrations of …”

    [link does not load properly]

    hmmm … higher than hydrogen peroxide ?

  4. Lord of Marzipan said,

    July 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I think that even the basic concept of Oxygizer may be flawed.

    It seems unlikely to me that, through all the extremes of pH and general sloshing about it would be subjected to in your GI tract, Oxygizer would retain it’s high oxygen content for any great length of time.

    Whilst the intestines do, like the lungs, have a large surface area, it’s not a surface intended for gas exchange and as such it’s unlikely that oxygen not in solution would be absorbed.

    Quacks never consider bioavailability for some reason, possibly because to do so would throw up all sorts of ethical problems with their selling their useless products…

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