Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola - Full article at Mercola.com
Dr. Gerald Pollack is one of the few expert researchers in the area of water and what it means to your health. He's a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, whose theory of water is nothing short of ground-breaking.
Water is clearly one of the most important factors in terms of what you put into your body, simply because without it you will die within a few short days. You may know that two-thirds of your body is water, but did you know that in terms of the number of molecules, your body actually consists of over 99 percent water molecules!
Astounding, isn't it?
For years, Dr. Pollack had been doing research on muscles and how they contract, but it struck him as odd that the most common ideas about muscle contraction do not involve water, despite muscle tissue consisting of 99 percent water molecules.
"So I became interested in water," Dr. Pollack says. "We've been doing research in my laboratory at the University of Washington for some 10 years now on water. The book that I wrote in 2001, it's called Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life, talks about the role of water in cell biology. Water is absolutely central."
Yet textbooks by and large completely ignore the presence of water in your organs, muscles and tissues. Dr. Pollack's book addresses this discrepancy and brings to the fore the role of water.
"The central message of that book is that if you don't understand how water interacts with the components of the cell, you haven't a clue of how the cell works," he says.
Interestingly enough, if you're like most people, you probably think we've got water all figured out. But according to Dr. Pollack, this is far from true. In fact, "those in the field know that it's absolutely not true. We haven't a clue how water works," he says. So here we are in 2011, and even now leading scientists like Dr. Pollack are just starting to pick at the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the foundational basis of water!
"In our lab, we've been focusing mainly on water structure near interfaces. Your body, of course, is filled with interfaces. Inside the cell, it's mainly proteins, nucleic acids, and salts. They're all interfacing with water," Dr. Pollack says.
"So the central question is: what happens when water interfaces with those constituents? Does it change? Does it remain the same? This is where we've made some important discoveries."
Highlights of a Decade's Worth of Research into Water
Dr. Pollack's research has uncovered some interesting surprises.
"[T]he chemistry book says, if you have a charged interface, or so-called hydrophilic (water-loving) interface (which most of the constituents in your cell are), the current view is that a few water molecules might actually line up and become ordered. But this is considered a secondary effect, -- not very important for understanding of how cells function. What we found is that instead of two or three molecular layers, the ordering of water can actually amount to a few million molecular layers.
In other words, the water at interfaces can order in a macroscopic way. Is a really huge amount of this kind of water, and its properties are so different that it looks like a distinct phase of water."
So, what does this mean, in terms of affecting human biology?
If you think of the cell as a matrix of proteins, like a grid made up of proteins and nucleic acids, the spaces in between those grids are filled with water. This means there are a lot of surfaces that interact with water and impact its structure. Your cells consist mainly of this interfacial, or structured/ordered water, making it essential to understand this water in order to understand the workings of the cell.
This is not a new idea. It's been known for years, although the information has largely fallen out of view and been forgotten. One of the pioneers in this area is a Chinese-American researcher Gilbert Ling, who wrote several books on the central importance of water in the cell.
So, water is actually part of the structure of each cell. In addition to the fact that this water is interfacing and is ordered, it is also charged. And the water just beyond it is oppositely charged. This acts like a battery.
Dr. Pollack explains:
"In your cells are multiple batteries with plus and minus charges, separated... [T]he question is, how are these batteries charged?
The charge comes from incident radiant energy; light, heat, ultraviolet. All of these absorbed energies separate the charge. The energy that's coming in from outside builds this charge separation and order. This potential energy fills your cells. I think this energy is critical to an understanding of how your cells work."
In a nutshell, the water in each of your cells achieves its ordered structure from energy obtained from the environment, typically in the form of electromagnetic radiation, including sunlight and infrared heat.
How the Water in Your Cells Impacts Your Health
You may have heard about "structured water" before. Many are quite skeptical, and some don't even believe it exists, let alone that it has any value. But it's important when trying to find high quality water. Water filtration processes used to clean our water supply frequently de-structures the water, so the question is whether or not this matters. Dr. Pollack explains this challenging concept in the following lecture:
"In terms of the water that we drink, it's really a complicated issue," Dr. Pollack admits.
But "the water inside your cells is absolutely critical for your health. If you have a pathology of an organ, it's not only the proteins inside that organ that are not working, but also the water inside that organ. That near-protein water is not ordered in the way it should be.
So what you want to do is reestablish a kind of "ordering."
What this means is that if you don't have properly structured water in your cells, it can impact the functioning of the much larger protein molecules (and others) that are interfacing with it.
In fact, the protein molecule in your cells cannot be viewed as just a molecule by itself. It's actually the molecule PLUS the water. These two factors together form the "entity" of the molecule in question.
"If you need that entity to function properly--take a muscle for example—if the muscle is not functioning, it's the protein and the water that are not functioning," Dr. Pollack explains. "You need plenty of this ordered/structured water and proteins in their right form in order to make the muscle function properly. So if you have a muscle injury then both are not functioning."
So, how do you restore it?
Restructuring Water in Your Cells Creates Tissue Healing
Classically, one way of doing it is to use infrared radiation (heat). By applying heat to the muscle, you increase blood supply, which is helpful. But you're also building water structure! Dr. Pollack's research shows that infrared heat is very effective for ordering cellular water. In terms of the source of the infrared heat, as long as it emits the right wavelength of radiation, it will be effective. According to Dr. Pollack, the wavelength of 3 micrometers (microns) is ideal and very effective.
The sun also emits this wavelength, which may be yet another reason why sun exposure has such profound health benefits and just feels good through and through. Interestingly, the human body also emits radiation within the ideal range, which may explain why simple physical contact, including 'hands-on healing,' can contribute to improved health!
"I know there is a lot of skepticism about that," Dr. Pollack says, "but from a physical point of view, it's entirely possible."
Another way to structure water is to use light.
The visible light spectrum, ultraviolet (UV) and near infrared also builds ordered water zones. Again, light therapy has been used for years to remedy various maladies, such as depression and jaundice, for example. But it's only now that scientists are beginning to understand why such therapies work.
Clearly, one of the primary health benefits of sun exposure and UVB's is that it makes your body create vitamin D, which we now realize is absolutely crucial for optimal health. But the fact that it also helps structure the water within your cells may be yet another contributing factor. After all, your body is a conglomerate of symbiotic relationships.
Should You Drink Structured Water?
This is still a question open for debate. However, Dr. Pollack believes that if you're able to drink structured water, it would be good for your health. Interestingly, certain waters, such as the "healing water" from the Ganges and Lourdes, for example, have been studied and found to have the signature of the structured water found in cells.
"In other words, there was a particular absorption of energy at a particular wavelength that's absolutely characteristic of the structured water," Dr. Pollack says.
"That makes me think that there is a good possibility that the water really has the capability of retaining that structure over a long time… Therefore, it's possible that if you drink water that has this structure, it might be good for your health."
The second issue is: what happens when you swallow it? Does it still have the proper structure by the time it's absorbed in your intestines? According to Dr. Pollack, this question has yet to be answered and needs to be studied further.
One thing that is known is that structured water tends to stay together.
"For example, if you eat Jell-O, Jell-O is just filled with this kind of water," Dr. Pollack says. "The reason why the water doesn't dribble out of the Jell-O is because it sticks together into this liquid crystalline-structured fashion.
So it's possible that when you swallow properly structured water… it might be preserved. If this structure is then absorbed into your intestines then it's possible it can be retained all the way into your cells. It's also possible that it's the charge within the ordered water that really matters.
Structured water contains charge, negative charge usually. It's possible that what you're really doing is absorbing the negative charge, and that negative charge is critical for building the structure. That's another possible route."
Structuring and Destructuring Water—How is it Done?
Another open question is how you might de-structure water, which is what Dr. Pollack's team is currently exploring. It's unclear whether boiling, for example, can de-structure the water, or whether in fact it might help add structure… On the flip side is the question of how to reintroduce structure to water. I've often recommended two simple approaches to restructure water:
- Cooling it to about 39 degrees Fahrenheit
- Stirring the water with a spoon in a circular jar to create a vortex
Dr. Pollack agrees. Water cooled to around 39 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 10 degrees Centigrade, does increase structure.
"We're studying the effects of temperature on the water structure that we see next to these hydrophilic surfaces," Dr. Pollack says. "It does look as though when you reduce the temperature, this area of structure increases. In fact, we're studying the possibility that the structured water is actually an intermediate between water and ice. It's possible that the real structure of this structured water, if you will, is very much like ice—not quite, but almost."
As for restructuring water by creating vortices, Viktor Schauberger is recognized as one of the leaders in this area. This technique is also used when making homeopathic remedies.
Dr. Pollack explains why this technique works:
"If you think of a vortex, what happens? Well, the vortex is a kind of mechanical perturbation or agitation. Probably it builds bubbles—little air bubbles that are deeply involved or enveloped into the vortex.
If these bubbles contain an envelope of structured water, then vortexing would be a very powerful way of increasing structure. So I think that is another way of increase. Both of those ideas: reducing the temperature and vortexing, probably do lead to increased water structure."
Researchers have also investigated what happens to the structure of water when you run an electrical current through it.
"If you put a negative electrode right next to structured water, the structured region grows, but with a positive electrode it diminishes," Dr. Pollack explains. "So this structured water is just filled with charge. It's not free charge, its charges that are fixed at points in a very tight matrix--something like a semi-conductor. But it can build, and the source from which it builds is water, ordinary bulk water.
… So yeah, if you put an electrode in, it does work. It has a powerful effect… In the experiments we've done, it's just a matter of 5-10 volts… We haven't studied it in enough detail how much voltage you really need to put on to be effective. That needs to be done in the future. There are pilot experiments that we've done and we haven't published them yet."
The Connection Between Structured Water and the Practice of Earthing
Dr. Pollack also offers some fascinating insights into the technique of earthing, or grounding—the simple act of walking barefoot to "ground" with the Earth. The scientific theory behind the health benefits seen from this simple practice is that your body absorbs negative electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet.
Interestingly, Pollack adds support to this idea by explaining how the Earth is negatively charged, so when you ground, you're connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. And since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it.
These negatively charged electrons may then help increase the structure of the water in your cells—just as water increases in structure when a negative charge is introduced with an electrode. Dr. Pollack is a wealth of information, and our interview covers far more than what I've summarized above. I highly recommend listening to the entire interview or reading through the transcript for even more information on this important topic.