If you find the color-coded special qualities of VitaminWater a bit dubious (“Focus”? “Rescue”?), enough people do believe in it that Coca-Cola just bought the company for $4.1 billion. The water boom is just starting, with a bunch of new luxury H2Os flooding the summer thirst market, each with fantastic supposed properties. But is it really possible to improve water? Dr. Wahida Karmally, director of nutrition at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, finds the claims hard to swallow. “Just because some people with doctorates or Ph.D.’s will say that they have given these waters to people and they are cure-alls, I haven’t found any real scientific studies to back them up. Certainly there are sulfites, nitrates, and other impurities which can be eliminated by converting water into a gas and reconverting it. These impurities may give people headaches if they have allergies to them.”
ADVANCED HYDRATION TECHNOLOGY
$29.88 for twelve one-liter bottles
What’s special about it: A process that supposedly reduces the size of molecule clusters in the water by about half; its makers say this allows cells to absorb the water more quickly, improving digestion and metabolic function.
$28 for twelve 16.9-ounce bottles
What’s special about it: It’s infused with Himalayan crystal salt, which contains minerals covering the entire spectrum of every element found in the human body’s 84 ionic minerals. Three times the electrolytes of other energy drinks.
$59 for twelve 24-ounce bottles
What’s special about it: Bottled rainwater that fell on pristine Tasmania, Australia, it’s apparently completely taste-free, because of its purity. “Water that sits in the ground has gone stale,” explains company owner Mark Andrich.
$5 for a gallon
What’s special about it: A magnetic field is introduced into the water, which is then vaporized, run through electrical fields, and bottled as a liquid. It completely removes soap from laundry and possibly battles migraines.
$40 for a 10.14-ounce bottle
What’s special about it: Ionized water from Japan. It says it has “one hundred times better absorption into skin.” It’s alleged to do all sorts of things, from removing body odors to helping plant growth, aiding sleep, and healing cuts. Great for rinsing hair, too.