Effect of Drinking Oxygenated Water Assessed by in vivo MRI Relaxometry

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2020 Sep;52(3):720-728. doi: 10.1002/jmri.27104. Epub 2020 Feb 25.


Grant support: This project was funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Background: Oxygen uptake through the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration of oxygenated water in humans is not well studied and is debated in the literature. Due to the paramagnetic properties of oxygen and deoxyhemoglobin, MRI as a technique might be able to detect changes in relaxometry values caused by increased oxygen levels in the blood.

Purpose: To assess whether oxygen dissolved in water is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and transported into the bloodstream after oral administration.

Study type: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover trial.

Population/subjects: Thirty healthy male volunteers age 20-35.

Field strength/sequence: 3T/Modified Look-Locker inversion recovery (MOLLI) T1 -mapping and multi fast field echo (mFFE) T2 *-mapping.

Assessment: Each volunteer was scanned in two separate sessions. T1 and T2 * maps were acquired repeatedly covering the hepatic portal vein (HPV) and vena cava inferior (VCI, control vein) before and after intake of oxygenated or control water. Assessments were done by placing a region of interest in the HPV and VCI.

Statistical test: A mixed linear model was performed to the compare control vs. oxygen group.

Results: Drinking caused a mean 1.6% 95% CI (1.1-2.0% P < 0.001) increase in T1 of HPV blood and water oxygenation attributed another 0.70% 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.07-1.3% P = 0.028) increase. Oxygenation did not change T1 in VCI blood. Mean T2 * increased 9.6% 95% CI (1.7-17.5% P = 0.017) after ingestion of oxygenated water and 1.2% 95% CI (-4.3-6.8% P = 0.661) after ingestion of control water. The corresponding changes in VCI blood were not significant.

Data conclusion: Ingestion of water caused changes in T1 and T2 * of HPV blood compatible with dilution due to water absorption. The effects were enhanced by oxygen. Assessment of oxygen enrichment of HPV blood was not possible due to the dilution effect.

Level of evidence: 2 TECHNICAL EFFICACY STAGE: 2 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2020;52:720-728.

Keywords: hepatic portal vein; oxygenated beverages; relaxometry; water absorption.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lung*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Water
  • Young Adult


  • Water