The Big Pitcher
The Big Pitcher was supposedly invented to cure the dreaded problem of Chronic Oxygen Debt Syndrome. If anyone has a fish tank, they pretty much know how The Big Pitcher works. For those who don't, it just blows bubbles up from the stand to the top through the water inside.
The woo-meisters state that the product "polishes" (not filters) customers' water so that oxygen can be absorbed through the mouth since "the GI tract [or lungs it seems] does not absorb gases." This supposedly "hypercharges" blood cells with oxygen and keeps the body's pH at 7.4.
It also contains a very general general patent, which they display prominently on their site like many patent medicines — a patent describing a pitcher with a receptacle for water, air channels to the top, a button, a light, and screen so bugs don't fall in.
The website lists no information saying anything scientific. Instead it has a list of doctors stating that not having enough oxygen in your blood is not good (which is already blatantly obvious) and who mention nothing about drinking it or the potential for absorption through the mouth.
Chronic Oxygen Debt Syndrome
If it wasn't obvious, CODS is an entirely fictitious disease. The claim is that people are not breathing enough (which in reality is called "suffocation"), and there is a severe debt of oxygen in their blood that is the "primary cause of most major illnesses." This is just a pseudoscientific term, based on oxygen therapy woo, intended to scare people into believing they are not as healthy as they should be.
There actually is a book called Oxygen Debt Syndrome: The Physiology and Biochemistry of Living in Oxygen Deficit by Henry F. Peters. There are no references to this author or this text to be found anywhere, including the website for the Big Pitcher.
And in case you were wondering, the condition wherein your blood is low on Oxygen is in actuality called Oxygen deprivation, and if you ever find yourself experiencing it, you will be dead within minutes. The very fact that your brain (the bodypart which consumes the most oxygen by far) is functioning well enough to even read this is proof that you are doing just fine in this department.
What The Big Pitcher Allegedly Helps
Since you are not getting enough oxygen in your blood by breathing, look at all the wonderful things this can help!
- Clumping of blood cells
- Eliminating chemicals and particles in water, even after filtration, while boosting the effects of medications in the blood
- Recovery from illnesses
- Discouraging cancer
Why it doesn't work
Firstly, oxygen is not very soluble in water. Even assuming you could absorb the oxygen in the water, which is dubious, the amount of oxygen you get from breathing in is much greater than the amount contained in oxygenated water: a litre of typical oxygenated water contains 80 ml oxygen, but one breath (about 500 ml air) contains 100 ml oxygen. Consider also the fact that you only drink water a couple times a day, but you breathe once every few seconds.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2006 investigated whether oxygenated water could improve athletic performance, and found "such claims have a flimsy rationale and no rigorous experimental support." It points out that even breathing pure oxygen, hence getting far more O2 than any amount of water could contain, only has a minor effect on performance, because the blood can only carry so much oxygen. None of the experimental studies it discusses found any improvement in athletic performance or recovery times.
A variety of bottled oxygenated waters are sold supposedly to improve athletes performance or just to ensure you get your RDA of oxygen.
- Oxygen Orchard – the website
- FAQ. Oxygen Orchard. Archived from the original on December 6, 2014.
- United States Patent and Trademark Office: U.S. Patent No. 6,712,341
- Amazon: Oxygen Debt Syndrome: The Physiology and Biochemistry of Living in Oxygen Deficit
- “Oxygenated” water and athletic performance, C A Piantadosi, Br J Sports Med. 2006 Sep; 40(9): 740–741. Published online 2006 Jul 19. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2006.028936
- Oxygen water? You can’t breathe through your stomach, Scott Gavura, Science-Based Medicine, September 8, 2016
- Does oxygenated water provide health benefits?, Arthur W Perry, Share Care