I get sent links to some pretty egregious snake oil pitches, and the constant flow of them is always a source of (rueful) amazement. You can be amazed at how many different come-ons there are, and by how some of them just keep coming back around, again and again. The “amazing wonder water” pitch usually has some of both: there is absolutely no counting the number of scams that promise you that this latest breakthrough will provide you with life-giving, age-defying miracle water, so the basic form of this shuck has been around for a long time. But people still keep coming up with variations on it. Every property water has (and plenty that it doesn’t) gets dragged into the ads: its pH, which is claimed to do all kinds of amazing things, its ionic strength, mineral content, dissolved oxygen (always food for thought, when you consider the number of water merchants plugging antioxidants as well). . .and on the “say what?” side, you have people claiming to have changed water’s structure completely, to have made pure rings or chains of it, shrunk its molecules, changed its “energy level” or “vibrational frequency”, what have you.
To give you the idea, here’s one that someone pointed me to this morning. I sort of hate to link to these people, but at the same time, I’m pretty sure that no one here will be giving them any business, so there’s that, and the pitch is just too good to miss. These people have a variation that I haven’t heard before: they will provide you with water that has hydrogen in it. Yes indeed. You didn’t know that you were starving for hydrogen, gaseous H2, but you apparently are, according to these folks. By my count, the phrase “fountain of youth” appears 26 times on the web page, and that’s always a sign of quality. Diatomic hydrogen, we are assured, is the smallest and most powerful antioxidant there is, and it will penetrate your mitochondria and pass through your blood-brain barrier, which I’m sure is just where you need it the most.
It appears, though, that there’s plenty of competition in the hydrogenated wonder water market. In fact, all you have to do is Google a phrase from Szent-Györgyi’s Nobel address, referring to hydrogen, where he says of it: “our body really only knows one fuel”. That’ll send you to page after page of offers, none of whom can resist quoting that line, and none of whom know (or care) that in modern terms he was talking about proton gradients and electron transport. Nope, the man said “hydrogen” back in 1937, so hydrogen-saturated water it is. And that web site assures you that your body will take up and use the hydrogen, though its hydrogenase enzymes, although, now that I think about it, I don’t recall us actually using dihydrogen in such a fashion. Bacteria, yeah. But not humans.
No matter. You apparently buy filters for your water supply, you see – you know, the “dead” unhydrogenated water that’s eroding your innards as we speak. And you’ll be buying replacement filters, too, because anything this wonderful is bound to wear out. The specific link above apparently sells you a filter with some magnesium metal in it to generate the hydrogen, but I was under the impression that (at room temperature) there was little or no reaction between water and Mg metal. Not to worry, you’ll be paying for new filters every six months anyway, $45 dollars per. I saw another web site that sells you a similar gizmo that hooks up to your water tap – that one’s a goner in six months, too, and I believe it ran $129 a throw to replace it. You will apparently be so full of lively, fizzed-up energy by that point that you won’t even notice the hand reaching into your hydrogen-saturated wallet.
So there you have it: the latest bulletin from the frontiers of science. Now, if hydrogenated water can just do something about the pain I have from banging my forehead onto my desk. . .