Oxygenated water & melatonin as antidotes for holiday stress? Give me a break!


If I wrote a post  every time I heard nonsense about nutrition on the television, I would be permanently attached to my computer. But I simply could not ignore statements made on the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV this past week by naturopathic doctor, Natasha Turner.  Her segment Holiday Stress Survival Kit both astounded and aggravated me.

Here are just a few of the tidbits:

Melatonin for all?

We all know that adequate and quality sleep is key for good health – for maintaining  your emotional balance and a healthy weight, just to name a few perks for your well-being.

Turner’s mention of melatonin as a sleep aid was not out of the ordinary but when she stated  you should  take melatonin even if you’re sleeping well as a way to reduce stress during the holidays, my alarm bells went off.  She recommends a dosage of 1  to 6 milligrams – higher amounts than is often recommended.

Take melatonin even if you’re sleeping well?

Telling people to take melatonin in this way as a stress reducer and at these doses without advice to consult your doctor  seems like a very risky proposition. She might want to look at the research linking melatonin to increased aggressive behavior due to its potential impact on the hormone testosterone. While not everyone is affected by this side effect, it has been well-documented in scientific literature.

As a side note, I’ve seen this effect occur in someone myself which is why I’ve researched these effects. Recommending this to everyone as a stress reducer seems nothing short of reckless to me.

Her claims that it’s also “great”  for weight loss also doesn’t have much foundation to it. Yes, if you’re not sleeping well, a lack of shuteye can indeed have a negative effect on your weight. But simply taking melatonin for managing holiday weight?

I don’t think so.

Oxygenated water?

Then there was her promotion of a product called GP8 water to deal with hangovers. “In the morning, you can flush away all of your sins by drinking a lot of this water”.  Yes, hydration after imbibing is key but GP8, as opposed to regular water?

Because GP8 is oxygenated, Turner says “it helps to increase your energy”.

Yeah, sure.

She goes on to say, “ We all know we are going to do it – overeat and get over-served – the right type of water can help to flush out the bad and replace it with the good – GP8 water keeps you hydrated and alkaline when we all tend to get more acidic from the stress and the overindulgence of the holidays. As an added benefit, those who drink one bottle before every meal in the holidays lose more weight as compared to those who do not consume water before meals.”

The so-called advantages of the extra oxygen in water don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.  The company’s website lists a section called science where it states, “GP8’s Enhanced Solubility Water contains up to 400% as much dissolved oxygen as untreated water.” Various studies are listed but it appears that none have been published in any journals.

The section on the science of what they call Enhanced Solubility Water (ESW)  ends with the following: “While the results of these studies are not conclusive, they strongly suggest that ESW has a potential benefit in health and in certain disease states. Additional studies are planned.”

You’ve also likely heard this before about the issue of acidity in the body. But in fact, as humans, we’re pretty good at keeping our blood supply pretty constant as our kidneys, if  healthy, correct any imbalances of acidity and alkalinity.

It would appear that the real benefits may be financial for those who make the water.

As for the water before a meal, tap water is a whole lot cheaper than any bottled water and works just as well in weight management as would other kinds of water.

Why does water work in aiding girth control?

In one study, subjects who consumed two glasses of water before a meal not only lost a few extra pounds compared to those on a weight loss program who didn’t drink the water but they also reported  feeling more alert and less tired than usual. So what does that mean? If drinking water makes you feel more alert, then chances are that you’re mildly dehydrated.

While this mild dehydration isn’t dangerous, being slightly dehydrated can have consequences when it comes to how much you eat. It can interfere with hunger signals and leave you confused as to whether you are hungry or thirsty. Just think of how good having a juicy orange or two sounds if you’re thirsty. But drink a glass or two of water and they may not seem as appealing.

Now think of this concept as it applies to meals. If you drink water when you’re mildly dehydrated then chances are that you’ll eat a little less – maybe just a little – but still less.

But GP8 water only?

Give me a break.

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Categories: Research Roundup, Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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