There has been a lot of talk about negative ions and the possible health benefits they may hold. But not everyone knows that there are two different kinds of negative ions. The differences between them are one is electrically generated and the other is water generated.
Electrically generated negative ions (ENI) are created in nature by the electrical release of thunder, ultraviolet, and radiant energy. These types of energy sources cause electrons to be released from air molecules.
These electrons then combine with oxygen atoms. Thus creating negatively charged air ions. ENI then transforms the particles in the air into negatively charged particles. Types of these negatively charged particles are oxygen radicals, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and the ozone.
Particles of dust in the air also become negatively charged. This makes them adhere to surfaces and walls.
Water generated negative ions (WNI) are created through the Lenard effect which ionizes water. WNI is created in nature around waterfalls and fast-moving currents. As the water breaks down into small droplets. Electrons cling to the surface of the water droplets in a dipolar fashion.
When the electrons combine with electron acceptors — oxygen molecules. The oxygen molecules are found in abundance in air. These negatively charged oxygen molecules combine with roughly 20 to 30 water molecules. Together they form negative ion clusters.
Scientists were first able to distinguish the difference between ENI’s and WNI’s in 1998. Studies performed by Ryushi et al found that ENI’s significantly increased diastolic blood pressure.
One Japanese group has conducted several studies about negative ions. In one study the group found that mice suffering from dermatitis of the ears; had their symptoms improve significantly when they were exposed to WNI’s. When they exposed the symptomatic mice to ENI’s their symptoms worsened.
The group also found that WNI’s elevated the activity of natural killer (NK). It further showed signs that it could prolong the survival of mice. They found that ENI’s naturally decreased the mice’s body weight.
An additional study by the group found that WNI’s had a longer life span than ENI’s. So far most of the studies about negative ions suggest that it may in fact have some health benefits. Many of the studies suggest negative ions can help with energy, depression, weight loss, and controlling allergens.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Science Direct / Cancer Letters: Water-generated negative air ions activate NK cell and inhibit carcinogenesis in mice by Roppei Yamada, Syunsuke Yanoma, Makoto Akaike, Akira Tsuburaya, Yukio Sugimasa, Shoji Takemiya, Hisahiko Motohasi, Yasushi Rino, Yoshinori Takanashi, Toshio Imada
Featured Image Courtesy of Marko Knuutila’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Hypatia Alexandria’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License