What's Kangen Water?
November 20, 2007 7:28 PM   Subscribe

My wife has signed up to join an MLM network selling a device called a LeveLuk SD501, which produces 'Kangen' water. I think this thing is worthless for health purposes. I'm keeping an open mind but we're talking $5k to buy one of these things and I think it's a waste. I'm wondering what the hive mind comes up with.

This device is basically a water purifier with several treatment stages after the filtration where the water is supposedly split into four different levels of alkalinity and acidity with varying health effects.

So, is this a hoax, or some ridiculous device puffed up to look like it actually helps people? Maybe someone reading this will think it works as advertised.

The company is named 'Enagic'. You have only to google 'kangen water' and come across people with their various testimonials. Rather than post details of the machine, you can read about it at http://www.enagic.com/products/leveluk_sd501.html.
posted by diode to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
try this: MLM watch
posted by rockhopper at 7:31 PM on November 20, 2007

Sorry, for some accurate info about MLMs.
posted by rockhopper at 7:32 PM on November 20, 2007

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaste of money. Run far away quickly, MLM model notwithstanding.

Read more about health scams and the scammers who scam them and look for parallels / patterns here.

Notable quote:

"The message itself has stayed the same for centuries: 'This is the cure that I discovered and it's backed with testimonials from lots of people snatched from the grave by using it,' " said James Whorton, professor of medical history at the University of Washington's School of Medicine."

That's my US$0.02. Good luck.
posted by ZakDaddy at 7:33 PM on November 20, 2007

third hit on google:

posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 7:34 PM on November 20, 2007

Article about supposedly ionized water here. Buying one of these things would be a huge waste of money that you could put toward actually healthy and useful stuff.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:41 PM on November 20, 2007

As soon as I hear the words Multi-Level Marketing I head in the other direction. I urge you to be especially reluctant when hearing a lot of buzzwords and jargon related to the supposed health giving effects of some secret "process", avoid it like the plague.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:42 PM on November 20, 2007

Hoax. It reminds me of water I saw for sale a few years ago that had all of it's 'slow neutrons' removed.

Using a proprietary method, of course.
posted by overhauser at 7:46 PM on November 20, 2007

Oh man, 5k? Really? The site you linked has a full calender of 'seminars', which looks very multi-level marketing to me, and the homepage is jargon central. I'd be very, very wary.

Which is my way of saying I'd run away screaming. This might be worth reading to your wife.
posted by maryh at 7:58 PM on November 20, 2007

I was just coming in here to post the link that maryh posted. It's called "What's wrong with multi-level marketing" and explains the problems of the model very clearly.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:00 PM on November 20, 2007

There's no secret conspiracy keeping life saving technology from the public. Generally, if it sounds like a scam, it is, especially if they employ anecdotes as evidence or spend much time explaining why their invention isn't accepted by the "establishment".
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:05 PM on November 20, 2007

The article Mr Crazyhorse links to seems to be written by someone who is selling their own brand of water ionizer. Read any positive claims about ionized water there with a grain of salt.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:06 PM on November 20, 2007

The Jupiter performs as well for less. Start your own MLM.
posted by hortense at 8:20 PM on November 20, 2007

Run. Run away and don't look back. This is woo of the highest caliber.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:36 PM on November 20, 2007

The combination of MLM and miracle health device makes it virtually 100% likely to be a scam.

Even if it isn't, just wait. The machines in question will become much cheaper. Making water alkaline or acid is really very easy, and doesn't take much effort or machinery.

If it's real, in a year or two you'll be able to buy a $250 machine that does the same thing. But I strongly suspect you won't see any on sale, because it's probably filtered, purified, straight-from-the-bull crap.
posted by Malor at 8:38 PM on November 20, 2007

Hey Malor, bullcrap is useful as fertilizer. It doesn't deserve to be smeared like that.

Kangen water is nonsense. It is better not to spend any money on it or on schemes to market devices that supposedly produce it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:01 PM on November 20, 2007

Water is, as everyone knows, chemically written as H2O. That's two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom in every molecule of water.

Pure water at room temperature and sea level atmospheric pressure isn't just pure H2O, it's H2O, a little H+ and a little OH-. The H+ and OH- come from the water molecule naturally breaking apart creating the ions, in a process know as ionization.

It's the balance of H+ (hydrogen that is missing an electron) and OH- (called the hydroxide ion which is a combination of oxygen and hydrogen that has an extra electron on it) that determines water's pH. Alkalinity is a measurement of the concentration of OH- ions and acidity is a measurement of H+ ions. Strictly pH is a measurement of hydrogen ions but practically it really a measurement of the ratio of H+ ions to OH- ions.

If you take regular water and somehow force it to ionize and create "alkaline" water, the H+ and OH- ion will react with each other and form back into water pretty much instantly, once again giving you normal water. If you want to really change the pH of water you have to add something that either adds OH- ions or H+ions. That would be stuff like ammonium hydroxide or acetic acid.

I'd don't know how this product claims to work but I'm sure it's full of shit if they are telling you that it splits water into different pH levels or that those pH levels are at all relevant to your health.
posted by 517 at 9:11 PM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

Well, it's bullshit to the nth degree, but you already know that. But Bullshit nonsense patent medicine potions are a multi billion dollar industry, so the real question is do you care if you make money by deceiving people with placebo water.
posted by docpops at 9:18 PM on November 20, 2007

As oneirodynia's link points out, once alkaline water hits you're acidic stomach it's all kind of moot.
posted by ryanissuper at 9:25 PM on November 20, 2007

Run away.

I feel like you already know this; so if your wife is there: quit while you are not behind. Read the MLMWatch articles, and get out before you've gotten taken for a few grand.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:37 PM on November 20, 2007

Since you say she already "signed up to join" this hokum, you should probably - and nicely - talk to your wife about her gullibility, too. Make sure, if you haven't already, that she knows not to make any financial commitments to garbage like this without your input, and extend that from now on to "signing up" for anything as well.
posted by mediareport at 10:04 PM on November 20, 2007

oneirodynia's link is written by a highly informed chemist, who totally debunks this scam. He knows what he's talking about. Read it, then make your dear wife read it, then chalk it up to a life experience and never talk to any of these ridiculous people again.

My favorite bit among many from the chemist guy:
Alkaline water not for you? One enterprising outfit offers a machine that is supposed to produce acidic water; For only $2500 you too can enjoy the benefits of pH 2.5 water— good for curing "Hong Kong foot" and many other ailments! Of course, cranberry or citrus juices are much less expensive sources of equally acidic water.
posted by evariste at 10:34 PM on November 20, 2007

$5000 at 5% compound interest over 5 years gets you and extra $1381. Over 10 years, a nice $3144. On the other hand MLM and/or pseudoscience = ripoff.
posted by b33j at 12:36 AM on November 21, 2007

The only reason I can see for a non-stupid person to buy into this is in the hope of making lots of money from non-non-stupid people. There's a risk here that there may not be enough of those to cover your costs. (Which is why such scams use the MLM model in the first place.)
posted by No Mutant Enemy at 12:49 AM on November 21, 2007

Run away from this as fast as you possibly can.

Run. Away.
posted by Avenger at 1:26 AM on November 21, 2007

If you want to drink acidic water, add some vinegar or citrus juice. If you want to drink alkaline water, add some baking soda. Costs a few cents per glass.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:21 AM on November 21, 2007

I just want to pile on to the anti-MLM aspect. Having been approached countless times, and knowing many people who got into various MLM schemes, I have nothing good to say about them. They all seem to have some things in common:

They can have a cult-like grip on some people, where they will remain true believers despite all evidence to the contrary. Members are inundated with propaganda about the product and the company, and are told to push forward and "succeed" despite objections of friends, family, and even spouses. I have even seen couples split up over MLM involvement. MLM members are told that anyone who doesn't buy in to the vision is just a naysayer, and is trying to hold you back, and is a negative influence, and shouldn't be listened to. Once members have made a significant investment (and $5,000 is MORE than significant) they feel pressured to work hard to make money to make up for the "investment." They are then told the big payoff is right around the corner. But it never materializes. So they are told to buy marketing materials and sales aids to help them sell, putting them more in the hole.

Run away. Even if the product was legitimate, which it's not, I would never suggest anyone ever get involved with an MLM to sell anything. No good will come of it.
posted by The Deej at 6:56 AM on November 21, 2007

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