Deeside water, which springs from deep in the Scottish Highlands, inhibited colon cancer cells 62.5 per cent more effectively than ordinary water, a laboratory study has found.
The results, thought to be a first in the bottled water market, have significantly raised the profile of Deeside water as the popularity of healthy beverages continues to grow.
The study compared colon cancer cells in Deeside water and a control water over 10 days, and was conducted and confirmed by the University of Maribor in Slovenia. The results and methods were then analysed by specialists in the UK.
"We are very, very serious about this, we are not just looking for cheap publicity," Martin Simpson, managing director of Deeside Mineral Water, told BeverageDaily.com.
"I am very happy with the results, but equally this is only the first stage down a long road of testing."
Researchers believe the reason for Deeside water's apparent health properties is because it is a naturally occurring antioxidant. Various studies have linked antioxidants to a number of health benefits, including lower risk of cancer.
Other lab tests on Deeside water, conducted over two days, found that it killed 35 per cent of liver cancer cells, 21 per cent of cervical cancer cells and 6.5 per cent of skin cancer cells.
Local communities in northern Scotland have long associated Deeside water with health. Documentary evidence of people making trips to the spring in the hope of curing various ailments dates back to 1760.
Two more studies, conducted by the Aberdeen Royal Infirmiary in Scotland in 1995 and 2003, found that Deeside water consumed over a month-long period could reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
The initial results may put Deeside Mineral Water in a good position to target the current consumer shift to healthier soft drinks, and particularly bottled water. But, official health claims would be impossible without clinical trials.
The firm is looking to supply the water as a naturally occurring functional ingredient to other food and drink firms, possibly for use in soft drink formulas.
Simpson said he aimed to double production of Deeside to 50,000 bottles per day over the next few years. The company began selling the water commercially in 1996.
Simpson also admitted Deeside Water may have to work hard to win over skeptics. "I understand why people may be skeptical, but all I would ask is: have a look at the results and the research."