My Round: What's it all about, algae?

Enjoying a sprinkling of coral in your glass of water? You soon will be, if Mariella Frostrup has anything to do with it

This is surely the most imaginative celebrity product-endorsement in history. The product: Vivatap, a sachet of coral algae harvested off Norway and designed to make water taste better and contribute nutrients to your diet. The celeb: the heavily pregnant Mariella Frostrup, who has apparently shed her allegedly party-girl habits and taken up the role of a clean-living woman. And the meeting of Vivatap and Frostrup produces some very interesting results.

"Water can be one of the most refreshing drinks on this planet," Frostrup revealed at the launch of Vivatap. But she is wary of claiming serious credentials for endorsing her new-founded refresher. "I suppose I am not the most obvious candidate to be promoting water after a debauched past would suggest that another colourless liquid beginning with 'v' was to my taste. Let me assure you I am a changed woman. Ever since George Clooney taught me to hydrate while I dehydrate by mixing my vodka with water, I have become a convert to the benefits of hydration."

Being an ill-informed kind of guy, I had not known of Ms F's soft spot for any particular alcoholic beverage. But I feel fairly sure that she is the first person to be led to water by way of a vodka bottle. Especially under the tutelage of George Clooney. What surprises me more is the product she was involved in launching. I've seen a lot of new improved waters in my day, but this one is different. What's more, it's pretty impressive. The sachets contain three ingredients: the aforementioned algae; chitosan; and an antioxidant in the form of vitamin C. The algae contribute minerals and neutralise acid to bring the water close to neutral pH. Chitosan, derived from the shells of crustacea, has long been used as a water purifier. And the antioxidant removes chlorine.

Does this sound like moonshine? That's more or less what I thought. But I ran a test of Vivatap against my home tap water, both fresh from the spout and, after a resting period for chlorine to dissipate, found that it filled the first role of any intervention in human health: it did no harm. Caveat one: my tap water is delicious, with little chlorine flavour, and therefore not the best test for this product. Caveat two: take the sachet out after the recommended five minutes or the water may take on a strange taste. But if I lived in an area where the water is unsavoury, I'd certainly consider buying this stuff. At £2.99 for 18 sachets, it works out at just 8 pence a litre (for stockists, visit or call 0117 959 7040).

An interesting health angle in the Vivatap story is its high calcium content, algae-induced. Jane Griffin, a sports dietician who spoke at the launch, says that calcium in water can play a part in getting this essential mineral into the diets of people who don't get enough from food or milk. And she is not a flag-waver for fancy water: she gets "irritated", she says, by the claims made by some companies for the mineral content of their products. "It would be cheaper to drink tap water and spend the extra money on better food."

This point is worth bearing in mind when dealing with another new entrant into the water race: Alps2O, a pure spring water from Switzerland. This one sells itself as a source of massive quantities of calcium and magnesium, both occurring naturally, and I have no reason to doubt them: the water tastes very strongly of minerals. Some people may like that; I do not. But even if I did, I would take note of Griffin's opinion that "it doesn't matter where the calcium in water comes from". So you may want to buy Alps2O for its flavour, but don't buy it because of any ideas about the superiority of natural calcium. And remember: if it's calcium you crave, there is always cottage cheese.

Top Corks: Beefy reds, ready for beef

Griffin Vineyards Merlot 2003, South Eastern Australia £4.99, or two for £7.98, Majestic Hefty, juicy, spicy plum fruits. Un-serious but a serious bargain at the promotional price.

MontGras Quatro 2002 £8.49, Unwins, A long-time fave. The foursome: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Carmenère, generously oaked. The result: substantial pleasure.

Barolo 1999, Terre da Vino £10.99 from £12.99 until end of July, Waitrose Youngish, cheapish Barolo - not always something you'd want to drink, but this one is impressively approachable right now.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments