Water, Water Everywhere, but Can It Boost Your Brain?

Hughes said he and his friends decided to develop drinks for weekend warriors like themselves. Along with a drink designed to abate hangovers and another drink touted to boost sexual vitality, Function offers a beverage called Brainiac, which claims to "boost your memory and mental sharpness," thanks to ingredients like soy PS, zinc and ginkgo biloba.

Peeke is wary.

"You're just going to assume, 'wow, that sounds sort of medical and I got to trust him," she said. "He's got an M.D., for crying out loud. Be careful here. ... Look for the research that goes with it."

Function cites a host of supportive studies to bolster its claims, but the studies are of the ingredients and not the drinks.

"We test that that ingredient is still in its functional form on the other side," Hughes said, "and then that's our criteria for how we know that that functional ingredients is still in effect in the product."

Brainiac Water vs. Hawaiian Punch

No one has ever officially tested Brainiac, so "20/20" decided to.

Dr. Thomas Crook has run hundreds of studies on memory during the last 37 years. He and his colleagues at the Cognitive Research Corporation in St. Petersburg, Fla., agreed to construct a small test for "20/20" with 12 people to see whether drinking one bottle of Brainiac really would improve memory.

A group of people were given a few computerized tests, like recalling names with faces, to establish their basic memory levels. Then, in unmarked glasses, some were given Function's Brainiac and others were given a placebo. After drinking the beverages, each took the memory tests again.

The results of the unofficial test? Not only was there no sign that Brainiac boosts memory, the group that drank the placebo -- a Hawaiian Punch mixture -- did slightly better than those who drank Brainiac.

In a response, Function says that because Crook's experiment "comprised only 12 test subjects" it had generated "no statistically significant findings."

Crook agrees, but said from his experience the results "didn't surprise me ... because I read the papers that were sent and I looked at the amount that they were adding -- the amount of PS, the amount of ginkgo they're adding to the product. They're so small that no one has ever shown any effect."

Seems like when it comes to enhanced water, it is up to the consumers to make healthy choices -- and to read the labels carefully.

Besides, Peeke believes, there's another choice you might want to consider, too. "You know something? At the end of the day, it's all about having just plain old water. "

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