Negative ions are believed to have health benefits, yet only a few studies have examined their effects on living beings.
This study, conducted in 2004, sought to learn how water-generated negative ions worked in mice. Specifically with respect to physical properties as well as immunologic and anti-tumor activity.
The control used electrically generated negative ions. Water-generated negative ions had a long life, which significantly enhanced the cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells and their activity.
Studies about negative ions began in the 1950s. Positive ions in the air were discovered to act on the sympathetic nervous activity and excite the nerves. On the other hand, negative ions acted on the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxed the nerves.
There have been recent advances in analytical techniques and systems enabling more rigorous and precise comparisons between positive and negative ions. The present study focused on the effects of negative ions on a living being, in this case, mice.
Electrically generated negative ions are created in nature by the electrical charge of lightning, radiant energy, and ultraviolet light.
These sources of energy cause electrons to be discharged from air molecules. The discharged electrons combine with oxygen atoms to create air ions that are negatively charged.
Electrically generated negative ions discharge high-voltage electricity and transform the particles in the air into negatively charged particles, such as ozone, oxygen radicals, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides. Even dust particles in the air become negatively charged and adhere to walls and other surfaces.
Water-generated negative ions are created through the ionization of the water through the Lenard Effect. This phenomenon occurs naturally around waterfalls and shores by the ocean. Water breaks up into small droplets and electrons are arranged on the surface of small water droplets in a bipolar fashion. The electrons combine with oxygen molecules, which are abundant in the air. Negatively charged oxygen molecules combine with up to 20 or 30 water molecules. These are called negative ion clusters.
Electrically generated negative ions were first scientifically distinguished from water-generated negative ions in 1998. Subsequent studies conducted by Ryushi et al. discovered that electrically generated negative ions significantly increases diastolic blood pressure.
In a previous study, chronic contact dermatitis on the ears of mice was significantly improved by water-generated negative ions and significantly worsened by electrically generated negative ions in a model of atopic dermatitis.
It was also discovered that water-generated negative ions increased the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and prolonged survival significantly. However, electrically generated negative ions decreased the body weight in mice significantly.
The mice were divided into three groups and they were exposed to water-generated negative ions and electrically generated negative ions or clean air. After two weeks, the mice were killed and the spleens were removed to determine the residual activity of the NK cells.
The average cytotoxic activity of the NK cells was 39.9 percent higher in the mice exposed to water-generated negative ions. The results from the mice exposed to electrically generated negative ions were similar to the control group at 15.4 percent.
Here is what this study found:
- The lifetime of water-generated negative ions was longer than that of the electrically generated negative ions;
- Mobility patterns were similar for ions generated from water by a negative ion generator and for ions in the air around a waterfall;
- Electrically-generated negative ions were smaller than water-generated negative ions;
- Water-generated negative ions are guarded by several water molecules and large particles move slower, thus remaining in the air longer;
- Slower moving particles are less likely to collide with other particles in the air;
- Water-generated negative ions were stable in the air and exist for several minutes after they were generated;
- Electrically-generated negative ions disappeared in seconds.
Scientists studied the kinetics of inhaled water-generated negative ions and steam produced by a conventional nebulizer. Both contained H-Thymidine. Only the mouse that inhaled the water-generated negative ions had H-Thymidine in their alveoli.
This suggests that water-generated negative ions in inhaled air reach the alveoli through the trachea and are absorbed by the blood when gas is exchanged.
Being exposed to water-generated negative ions increases the negative charges in the brain.
Electrically-generated negative ions have the ability to absorb dust in the air. However, electrically-generated negative ions create ozone gas at the time of electrical discharge, which is detrimental to health. It can exacerbate atopic dermatitis and elevate adrenaline levels. Therefore, electrically-generated negative ions do more harm than good.
This is the first study to examine the relationship between exposure to water-generated negative ions and immunologic activation. This study focused on NK cells, which are large, granular lymphocytes that contain many azurophilic granules in their cytoplasm.
It was reported that NK-cell activity in cancer patients was significantly lower than in healthy people, and decreased with the progression of the clinical stage of cancer. Although it has been found that water-generated negative ions increase NK-cell activity, however, it is not clear which mechanism to use.
The study injected mice with a carcinogen, which caused the mice to develop cancerous nodules 60 days later. However, the instance of cancer was significantly lower in the mice that were exposed to water-generated negative ions.
Cancerous mice that were given the anti-tumor drug TS-1 and were exposed to water-generate negative ions had the greatest results. The results of the study suggested that water-generated negative ions inhibit tumor growth and enhance NK-cell activity in mice infected with cancer. TS-1 prolonged the survival in tumor-bearing mice, but when combined with water-generated negative ions, prolonged life even more.
Additionally, the increase in body weight was significantly greater in the mice that were given TS-1 and were exposed to water-generated negative ions.
Water-generated ions live in the air for a long time and they do not adversely affect the body, they also provide anti-tumor activity. As this study showed in mice the anti-tumor activity was proven by inhibition of carcinogenesis, suppression of tumor growth, and improvement of cachexia.
By Jeanette Vietti
Cancer Letters: Water-generated negative air ions NK cell and inhibit carcinogenesis in mice
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