Whereas conventional water beverages attempt to make no substantial changes to the water chemistry other than perhaps removing unwanted odors or tastes through selected water purification processes, Functional Bottled Water Beverages are quite different.
An Introduction to Functional Water Beverages
For at least two thousand years, water has been considered as the major facilitator of the development and sustenance of life on earth. Long regarded as the universal solvent, its molecular properties are unique and profound, yet water itself is rarely regarded as anything more than a benign, albeit necessary, adjunct to biological systems and human health.
For years water treatment specialists and a wide array of chemists and biologists have argued over what type of water was "cleanest" or "purest" for human and animal consumption as well as best for plant life.
These arguments are based on how much and what types of contaminants were being removed. What percentage of the dissolved solids were being removed? How about heavy metals? Were bacteria and other microbes being removed---and to what extent?
In other words, the issue in the past was one of water "PURITY" where the arguments, comparisons and controversies were all based on quantitative water quality measurements which could be resolved by a variety of laboratory test equipment which measured dissolved solids, bacteria content or volatile gasses from organic chemicals.
In Conventional Bottled Water Beverages, these attributes of purity and cleanliness are the very criteria that dominate the choice of source or process for a small format bottling operation.
However, recent developments and observations in both the scientific and industrial communities have attracted researchers and biotech firms to "functional" water beverages which possess very novel "altered" or "structured" water characteristics.
We address this business area of small format bottling because this is the direction in which we fully expect smart bottlers will proceed and where significant profits may be attainable because of the niche markets and specialty applications for the various types of functional bottled water beverages.
One of the major categories of functional water-based beverages is the nutraceutical market where various types of fruit or herbal concentrates are added to water for nutrient value. At the present time, we will bypass this specific topic and concentrate instead on identifying a special portion of the functional water beverage market which we will call "smart", "altered" or "structured" beverages.
Creating "Smart", "Altered" or "Structured" Waters
Although this section may not provide a complete and thorough description of each of these "smart", "altered" or "structured" water technologies, it will provide enough information to begin understanding the basics of this rapidly evolving business area and identify which of the evolving Functional Water Beverage business areas may be good prospects for small format bottlers.
This area we refer to as "smart", "structured" or "altered" water beverages ironically remains an"unstructured" science with a wide variety of scientists, pseudo-scientists, wannabe scientists as well as various technology groups with their individual areas of research.
A definition of "smart", "altered" or "structured" water beverages might be as follows:
"...any mechanical, electrical, optical or other process or combinations thereof which alters the physical or chemical characteristics of water, thereby creating a new form or species of water which when utilized by plants, animals or humans demonstrates measurable and repeatable benefits to chemical, enzymatic and general cellular functions".
Various technologists and scientists use terminology such as "clustered", "micro-clustered", "nano-clustered", "nano-clustered resonant water", "catalytically altered", "electrolyzed", "oxygenated" and other terms to describe the specific type or species of water which they are developing or producing and which they generally refer to as "functional", "smart", "altered" or "structured" water beverages.
In the following discussions, we will use the general terminology "functional" to refer to all of these species of water.
Functional water appears to have considerable applications for plants, animals and aquatic needs but are not addressed here.
Why Produce Functional Water Beverages?
Scientists have been discovering some amazing properties of water - properties far more advanced and sophisticated than our high school chemistry understanding of the simple hydrogen and oxygen-based water molecule.
It is true that without water, inside and outside of human cells, those cells would be incapable of producing the wide variety of functions necessary for vibrant health.
However, in their studies scientists have found ways of making water "wetter" and thus allowing it to penetrate cellular membranes with greater ease.
They have also found ways, as noted above, to change many of the physical characteristics of the water molecule, so as to make it capable of carrying nutrients and oxygen into cells more effectively;.
They have found ways to make the water molecule act as a powerful anti-oxidant, capable of destroying vast numbers of excess free radicals which can accumulate in our bodies; and a wide variety of additional tasks that water in its basic, H2O format, cannot do.
They have even found ways to "program" electrical information into highly purified water so as to allow the water to penetrate easily into the body's cells and instead of drugs, use the programmed electrical information to effect dramatic changes in chemical reactions inside the cell itself.
Outside of the functional water beverage industry, other scientists have found ways to structure or alter water so as to increase agricultural yields while effectively repelling insects, fungus and other mechanisms destructive to plant life.
In the area of animal sciences, scientists have found that various types of functional water can affect animal weight gains, milk production, general health and morbidity data.
In the aquatic sciences, studies have clearly shown increases in reproductivity and health for certain types of marine life grown in captivity(shrimp, etc).
In the medical arena, scientists have been successful in demonstrating the anti-microbial characteristics of various types of functional water and these mechanisms are currently being integrated into dental and medical facilities, mostly in Asia.
Functional water is therefore gaining considerable interest within the scientific community with a growing interest on the part of industry in a wide range of non-human applications as well as functional water beverages.
Functional, altered or structured water can be divided into the general areas as summarized below: (click blue headings for additional information).
Minimally Structured/Altered Waters
Chemical(Catalyst) Activated Water - "Willard Water"
Chemically, or Catalyst Activated Water was one of the first processes in modern times to achieve various altered characteristics. "Willard Water" is typical of those Catalyst or Chemically Activated Waters.
Moderately Structured/Altered Waters
Electrolyzed waterconsists of segregated components: "alkaline" and "acidic" waters. The alkaline water component is touted by many(particularly in Asia) as a counterbalance to acidic body conditions caused by modern diets. The acidic water component finds considerable application in disinfection and sanitization applications.
Oxygen Enriched Water
The final process of water alteration which we have selected to discuss in this initial material involves oxygen-enriched water. Oxygenated beverages have become more popular in the last half dozen years and involve various physical, electromagnetic and chemical processes to bond or hold oxygen and/or other nutrients in a water-based beverage. This section gives an overview of the various methodologies being employed.
Highly Structured/Altered Waters
Others have used more sophisticated and sometimes controversial physical and electromagnetic phenomena to create far more powerful functional waters. A variety of techniques are employed and some of these waters are discussed here.
Click HERE first for an overview, or go directly to
Cellular Resonance Water(Lorenzen) , or
Structured Water Analysis Methodologies
The final section of this discussion deals with the various testing and analysis methodologies which are currently being utilized to assist in the determination and evaluation of the effects of functional water on the human body.
The basic purpose of these methodologies is to assist in the determination of how functional/altered/structured water may provide specific benefits at the cellular level in the body.