Scientific Nutrition Update 33: Magnetized Water

And here we go again.  Liars on the internet are trying to take advantage of people again.  I won’t bury the lede, magnetized water has no demonstrated health effects in humans and is a waste of your money.

Script (remember I ad-lib and go off script when recording, this is not a transcription):

For today’s episode I am going to talk about something crazy I saw on Twitter, people putting magnets on their water bottles in order to magnetize their water…  Yep, they’re trying to magnetize their water.


So first things first we need to look at where this started.  There have been a couple of small studies done on mice that looked at the effect of magnetized water on diseases like diabetes and these very limited studies seemed to suggest a greater antioxidant activity.  However, there are several features of these studies were fascinating to me, like one of them that was trying to claim significantly lower glucose levels, actually initially significantly increased glucose levels.  My intuition after reading them it appears that what we are seeing here is a publication bias. Meaning that every so often we may get a valid result, and it may be published, but we never see all the other studies that showed no result.


I tried and would love to be corrected on this, but I could not find a double blinded randomized study on humans testing this.  This makes me very nervous to trust anything I read about this, and moreover much of what does exist in the literature is one off case studies, or observational studies.


The reason I read this and was immediately skeptical of this? The nature of magnetism.  Something like water is not an iron nail. It does not stayed magnetized when it is removed from a magnetic field.  If one person tells me they have magnetized water, I’m grabbing a piece of iron and seeing if it sticks to it. If my nail doesn’t stick to your glass you don’t have magnetic water.  Even to temporarily give water a magnetic field, would require you to create a crazy strong magnetic field. This just doesn’t make sense guys, why would a magnet do anything to water?  


Also there are people claiming they magnetize it and end up with either positive pole or negative pole water, which means these geniuses have discovered magnetic monopoles and are well on their way to a Nobel Prize in Physics, so that’s exciting.


Now I know what you’re thinking, I am not doing what I insist on and focusing on the literature.  There was an article published in the journal of biolelectromagnetics, a journal solely dedicated to this kind of thing, that found no difference in the dielectric constant, pH, and surface tension.  No differences were found. This stuff is a scam. And even if there is a very slight response, which there might be due to strengthening hydrogen bonds or dampening Van Der Waals forces, it is not going to be enough to make any difference for health and would require very strong magnetic fields.  


Do not waste a single penny on water that is magnetized or on devices to magnetize water.  There is some evidence that it could be helpful to soften your water, if that’s what you want then fine, but do not believe in any health effects.  


So I’m sure I pissed some people off with this episode, and it will be far from the last time that I do that, but magnetized water, just like homeopathy, or alkaline water is just expensive water.  It is very important to make sure that you are skeptical whenever you see a product like this that is claiming incredible things, and that intuitively seem crazy, they probably are. People who market and sell this kind of product do it because they would rather find a way to charge you rather than focus on the simple truths, health is not that complex.  Focus on simple, lasting changes, drink more water, move more, eat less, and enjoy the special moments.


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