Episteme

Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

I Paid $50 to Drink Concentrated Sulfuric Acid

No, that title isn't a typo. I didn't win $50 for the privilege, but actually paid for it.

As anyone who reads the blog often knows, I'm always looking for ways to be better. Whether it's mental, emotional, spiritual or physical, I'm always looking for some "new thing" that will help me out. And I often go in cycles where I focus on different things at different times. (In that way, I suppose I'm a bit like Steve Levitt, who talks about his "twice a year" health kick). Right now, my focus has been on improving my health and fitness.

Which leads me to the real story here. I was at the health food store on Sunday, picking up some great food, and, as I walked up to the checkout, they had a display for CellFood. Well, I had never heard of it, so I asked the store manager about it. She said that her customers love it, everyone raves about how great it is, how amazing they feel, etc.

So, I picked up 2 bottles, at a cost of $25 each. I figure I'll try anything at least once.

When I got home, I started reading the literature associated with the products, and my b.s. detector started going off when I was reading pseudo-chemistry marketese like this:

"Cellfood continuously releases oxygen into the body using a secret proprietary process that catalytically reacts over and over for up to three days, continually dissociating just a little bit (one five hundred thousandth) of your body's water every moment the reaction continues. Cellfood weakens the molecular water bonds, continually dissociating the precise amount of water molecules into free hydrogen and oxygen. This process generates body building hydrogen ions and life giving oxygen right from your internal water, and carries them via its ionic mineral solution right into all the cells."

Well, with my knowledge of basic chemistry, it got me curious. Because a substance that releases "hydrogen ions" (i.e. H+) is an acid. So, I started researching, and found this pseudo-study which calls cellfood by a different name: deuterium sulfate, or D2SO4.

Deuterium is a heavy isotope of hydrogen, and requires a heavy water plant to produce. So, unless I'm seriously misunderestimating the capabilities of the NuScience Corporation, I'm guessing that they're calling this "deuterium sulfate" based on the natual fraction of deuterium in water (about one part in 3200, according to Wikipedia).

Which means that cellfood is actually just H2S04. Which is sulfuric acid.

And it's not dilute sulfuric acid, either. When I tested it with the handy PH paper that I had at home, it came up with a PH of ZERO.

Of course, I tested all of this after I actually drank it (diluted in water, of course).

Suffice it to say, I don't much see the health benefits of drinking sulfuric acid, so I tossed the bottles I had bought. But, all told, I have an amusing story to show for my $50 investment in the most amazing health quackery I've ever seen.

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray