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How oxygen helps patients manage diabetes

Researchers from Singapore and Australia have discovered that oxygen helped patients better manage their type 2 diabetes. This study was revolutionary  because the therapy was as beautifully simple as drinking water! This was however a specific type of oxygen-rich water and the study results were published in the journal Plos One 

Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting 463 million people worldwide and is a worldwide public health challenge, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to start urgent initiatives supporting diabetes care globally.

There are different types of diabetes but the one we commonly hear about is the type 2 which accounts for over 90% of all diagnosed diabetics and for which there is no cure. It is characterised by progressively worsening high blood sugar levels due to poor regulation by insulin. This regulating hormone could be produced in insufficient quantities or cells do not respond correctly to it. In the absence of insulin, cells cannot use glucose as fuel and start to malfunction.

While there are many factors causing  poor insulin function in diabetes, insufficient oxygen  going to the insulin production organ, called the pancreas,  is a major contributing factor. Poorly oxygenated cells throughout the body will malfunction because they fail to take up glucose to generate energy efficiently (Think of it as workers in a factory not being able perform their jobs efficiently because frequent power outages to the factory shuts down the machinery and equipment.).

There are ways to increase oxygen supply to the body cells but they are not straightforward. One way is to put a patient in a hyperbaric chamber, which exposes the body to 100% oxygen inside a highly pressurized cabin. This is expensive and has many side effects for the patient. Doctors at Singapore’s Changi General Hospital ( CGH ) wanted to evaluate alternative methods to deliver oxygen to the cells which were safer and more convenient for the patients.

The doctors knew that science had proven the intestinal wall was capable of absorbing gases such as oxygen into the blood stream. Water with dissolved oxygen allows for both oxygen absorption as well as hydration.  This a great combination because when diabetes patients aren’t drinking enough water, their bodies dehydrate and their blood sugar levels may increase to potentially life threatening levels. A common challenge in using water to deliver oxygen is that water cannot hold on to oxygen stably and most of the oxygen is released before it can be brought to the cells. This is because oxygen has low solubility in water at normal atmospheric pressure. A commercially available water source under the brand name ELO™ was chosen for the study as this water could stably hold on to oxygen for long periods, without the use of chemicals or the need to stay inside a pressurized bottle. This additional oxygen was so stable that after leaving the bottle open for 7 days, the amount of dissolved oxygen was still significantly higher than normal tap water – about twice the amount!

In order to test if oxygen-rich water was effective in improving the blood sugars by supplying oxygen to the pancreas, type 2 diabetes patients with poor blood sugar control were recruited into this study at CGH. To avoid any psychological influence to patients in the experiment (known as the placebo effect), they were not told if they were given normal tap water or ELO™ water to drink. In addition, to prevent researcher bias when analysing the results, the researchers who tested the samples of blood did not know which type of water each patient drank. ELO™ water was added to the diet of the patient’s existing diabetes medication and insulin regime.

The results of the experiment were astounding – patients who have had diabetes for over 10 years showed a significant improvement in the HbA1c ( which measures the amount of sugars (glucose) bound to the red blood cells). When there is an excess of glucose in the blood, it binds to the red blood cells and measuring HbA1c enables one to know the average glucose in the blood over the past 3 months). The function of  —specialised cells in the pancreas of diabetes patients with more than 10 years of disease damage was improved by drinking ELO™ water! Moreover, blood sugar levels were improved just after 6 weeks and the researchers also found that drinking ELO™ water could double the dissolved oxygen in the blood in 1 week.

An icing to the cake on these findings was that the mitochondria, often called the powerhouse of the cell, benefitted from ELO™ water. Mitochondria were protected from disintegration during high glucose stress to the cell. This meant that oxygen could continue to pass across the mitochondria cell membrane, allowing effective production of energy to fuel normal cellular processes in the cells. If the mitochondria were damaged, oxygen passed into the cell wouldn’t be able to fuel the production of energy or other important cellular processes. For diabetics, this would also mean that the poorly functioning pancreatic cells would produce insufficient insulin and the other body cells would fail to take up glucose for fuel, leading to high sugars staying in the blood and worsening the condition of the patient.

Studies have shown that when blood sugars were better managed, the risk of diabetes complications would be lower. Researchers were able to conclude that drinking ELO™ oxygen-rich water helped manage diabetes and was advantageous in many ways:

It is convenient and safe, cost saving and the benefits to health are countless.


For more information on ELO™ water, please contact ELO™ water at