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Does it Work Wednesday

The Big Ox Canned Oxygen

Does it Work Wednesday
The Big Ox Canned Oxygen
By: Lauren Keith

You see them in airports and in Las Vegas: oxygen bars.  They're places where people breathe in the benefits of pure oxgyen. That's where some Misssouri businessmen got the idea for their product called, "The Big Ox."  It's basically a can of oxygen that you inhale.  It promises to give you energy and increase your stamina, after you take in a few breaths of it. 

"Oh yeah," says Shawn Taylor of Cape Girardeau, as he pumps some iron.

As a personal trainer at Fitness Plus, Shawn Taylor practices what he preaches. He exercises daily, and also competes in amateur weightlighting shows.

"As far as oxygen is concerned, I take as much time as i need in between sets and breathe deeply," he says.

He's interested to see if the Big Ox will enhance his daily fitness routine.

"I see professional athletes all the time, go to the sidelines after some quick sprints, or several football downs, and they'll inhale oxygen," he notes.

So, let's see if the Big Ox has a similar effect on Shawn.  He pops the cap and breathes it in.  It sounds like he's blowing up a balloon, but Shawn's following the directions exactly. The Big Ox claims after inhaling this mint-flavored, 93 percent pure oxygen, he'll work harder and perform better. So, does Shawn have instant energy?

"I don't feel any difference at all," he says.

He'll do another set here, and we'll see if he can get through this one a bit better now that the Bix Ox pumps through his veins.

"I'm out of breath.  I'm not feeing any difference.  I'm just not sure at this point," he says.

Will he feel a difference as the day goes on? I leave the $12 can with Shawn, and head right to the Chemistry lab on the Southeast Missouri State University campus. You see, medicinal oxygen tanks are pretty heavy, but the Big Ox feels light as a feather, which has me wondering, what's really in this can? Dr. Marcus Bond performs a simple chemical test.

"We put a glowing ember into the beaker, we spray it with the Big Ox, and it should burst back into flame, if it is a high level of oxygen---and it does, a simple chemical test would show we do have a high of oxygen level in here," says Dr. Bond.

So apparently we do have some pure oxygen here, but what about the other claim? Could a few whiffs of this stuff really be better, say, than a cup of joe?

Dr. Brad Bittle, a pulmonologist at Saint Francis Medical Center, believes that's a stretch.

"I've seen so scientific evidence that something like this works. I think there will be people who say it does, but I would imagine any benefit is placebo-effect. I also think you can find the same amount of help just by simply slowing down, taking a few deep breaths and relaxing. That would be a lot cheaper than this," says Dr. Bittle.

Back to Shawn, after a day of breathing in the Big Ox, he, too, says he won't spend his 12 bucks on another can anytime soon.

"Personally, I'd give it a C minus. I felt something after awhile almost like a tingling in my fingers, but I did not notice a difference in my stamina. If I was going to spend 12 bucks, I'd rather buy water or some vitamin-enhanced drink, before I buy a can of oxygen," he says.

That said...I realize all supplements affect people differently, although the Big Ox did not work in this case. In fairness, I generously give it a C- on this Does it Work test.

I spoke with the company president by phone. He believes this is the next big health craze, just like bottled water.  He says people with migraines and avid runners have had great success with this.   He also notes people on the East and West coast living in highly-polluted areas are buying this by the case.  I did not test the Big Ox on those who suffer migraines or avid runners, so that also explains my grade of C-.

You can find the Big Ox at any Rhodes or Jaspers gas stations, as well as Country Mart.  The company president says he's currently working out a deal with WalMart to carry the Big Ox in their SuperCenters.

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