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The truth about structured water

Reading time: 14 minutes

Among all the claims about “good” and “bad” commercial water, initial evidence suggests that some types of water can be structured to be far healthier than the rest. Cate Montana and Lynne McTaggart investigate

Gerald Pollack, PhD, started out life as an electrical engineer. Then he ran across the work of Gilbert Ling, a Chinese-born American cell physiologist and biochemist who dedicated his life to advancing our understanding of the mechanics of the human cell. In the process he opened the door to studies of the structure of the living waters comprising 60 to 70 percent of the human body and more than 99 percent of our body’s molecules.

After switching fields and doing years of research into the nature of water, Pollack, now a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle (pollacklab.org), discovered something new: a highly structured fourth phase of water that appeared when regular water was placed in contact with extremely hydrophilic objects (objects that easily absorb water), such as Nafion—an electrically neutral synthetic polymer.

Using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMR), infrared and birefringence imaging (basically using polarized x-rays) and other types of measurements, Pollack and his lab assistants have discovered an alternating lattice-type array of hexagonal sheets of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, similar to a liquid crystal.

Neither liquid, gas nor solid, this fourth phase of water is formally named exclusion-zone water, aka EZ water. It’s so named because when water comes into contact with a hydrophilic (water-absorbing) gel or other hydrophilic surface, it immediately excludes minerals, plastic microspheres, protons and any other solutes, propelling them away from the interfacing surface of the gel (see microscopy photos below).1

Experiments using “falling ball viscometry” have proven this exclusion zone has a viscous, almost gel-like consistency that extends to distances up to several hundred micrometers. (See microscopy photo, below.)

In the image above, the EZ is approximately 40 micrometers wide. Under certain conditions, such as when a light source is added, particularly infrared light, an exclusion zone can extend much farther (image credit: Gerald Pollack).

Adding a light source causes the EZ to expand (the lighter area; the darker area at top right is water with particles). Infrared light causes the most expansion among the light sources Pollack has tested (image credit: Gerald Pollack).

Structured water and cells

What does this discovery have to do with human health and well-being? For starters, it completely reframes science’s view of the nature of cellular and interstitial water in the human body. Most of this water is in close contact with various hydrophilic surfaces, such as the proteins in every living cell and cell membranes themselves.

Cell membranes are made up of phospholipids—complex molecules consisting of hydrophilic phosphate-and-alcohol “heads” attached to two fatty acid chain “tails.” Examples are phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine.

The appearance of EZ water next to cell membranes suggests that our bodies create and store alkaline EZ water all the time. In vitro research has shown that it enhances normal plant and animal cell functions while suppressing malignant cells.2

The connection might also answer the question of why certain waters—like the Saratoga Mineral Springs in Florida, the famous spring at Lourdes, France, and the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs near Santa Fe, New Mexico—are so healing, at least according to the many people who bathe in them to heal.

These springs are embedded in limestone or granite, which are hydrophilic. They run through silica or quartz sand, both of which are hydrophilic. When they bubble to the surface, they are soaked in sunlight and bombarded with protons, UV rays and infrared energies—all of which Pollack has discovered stimulate the production of exclusion zones in water.

Perhaps one of the most telling statements about structured water and health comes from Dr Carly Nuday, senior researcher and director of Water Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the development of water science.

“When we realize that aging and disease are, in fact, byproducts or symptoms of the loss of structure in our cellular fluids, and not the causative effect, we arrive at a more effective approach to treatment that is based on the actual mechanics of our biology.

“Aging does not cause de-structured bio waters,” she says. “De-structured bio waters rather cause aging.”

A healing story

Veda Austin (vedaaustin.com) is the author of The Secret Intelligence of Water: Macroscopic Evidence of Water Responding to Human Consciousness (Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press, 2021). She also has the dubious distinction of having survived one of the worst auto accidents in New Zealand.

For 20 years after the accident, Austin endured eight surgeries, mostly bowel resections. She did not recover well from the last operation. Afterward, she had a “shower of blood clots” in her lungs and was told she’d never heal properly, would never have children and would have to be on the prescription drug warfarin to handle the clots for the rest of her life.

Fortunately, a friend who was also a medical doctor told her (strictly off the record) that if she could find a natural source of alkaline water (not manmade ionized alkaline water), it could help stabilize her body. And fortunately, she also owned and ran a wellness clinic.

A client told her about a New Zealand gentleman who had a private aquifer with water at a pH of 9.9 coming out of the ground—water that seemed to be having some real health benefits for people.

“I went to him, told him my story, and he gave me a month’s worth of water to drink,” says Austin. “I drank a liter in the morning and again later in the evening, giving it an hour on each side of food.

“On day three, I noticed an improvement in bowel motions. On day 10, I realized I was detoxing:  all these bumps containing slivers of glass from the accident 20 years previous started coming out of my body.”

As her health continued to markedly improve, she started to recommend the spring water to her wellness clients. One gentleman with stage 4 cancer used it for a 22-day water fast, and when he went to the hospital afterward for tests, he had no cancer in his body.

“The doctors called it a spontaneous healing,” she says. “He had been doing other treatments, such as emotional release techniques. But the only thing he put into his body for those three weeks was the alkaline spring water. And everything had improved.”

Inspired by her own and others’ healing experiences, Austin began investigating the nature of water, studying the writings of Austrian naturalist Viktor Schauberger, German IBM researcher turned crystal healer Marcel Vogel, German engineer and water researcher Theodor Schwenk, and Austrian architect and occultist Rudolf Steiner. Impressed with the work of Masaru Emoto on the crystalline nature of water, she began investigating its structure herself.

Today, with some 40,000 crystallography studies of various types of water under her belt (and three children later!), Austin is considered an authority on the subject of water structure.

“I’ve seen that signature patterns of water are very real,” she says. “You can identify the type of water based on its patterns.”

After discovering hexagonal patterns in natural spring water, she was led to Dr Gerald Pollack’s work on structured water. Studying Pollack’s findings, she realized that when it comes to the healing properties of water, “structure is more important than pH.”

Over the years, replicating experiments hundreds of times on each water sample has given Austin a baseline understanding of the structures that different types of water reveal when undergoing the freezing process.

“You’ll see that spring water freshly frozen within an hour and a half of being removed from the spring forms large hexagonal patterns. That is what I call the water signature pattern of health. Rainwater forms a spanning pattern with a slight curve to it.

“In filtered water, you’ll see lots of compacted lines. And tap water has a lot of disorder made up of little lines and dots.”

When it comes to the quality of machine-made alkaline water, such as the highly popular Kangen water versus natural alkaline water sourced from springs, Austin’s research is clear. “What I’ve seen from these machines is not a signature pattern of health,” she says. “It’s constricted and totally different from the signature patterns produced by healthy alkaline spring water.”

Questions

At the moment, the discovery of a structured fourth phase of water raises far more questions than we have answers for. At the molecular level, are endogenous cellular waters and natural alkaline spring waters both structurally the same as artificially created EZ water?

“The structure is likely to be the same,” says Pollack. “We presume it’s the same because, well, nature works in simple ways. If there’s a kind of structured water, there probably aren’t a dozen types of structure, but probably one.”

Does that mean alkaline water is automatically EZ water? No. Pollack believes natural spring and endogenous cellular waters contain “some EZ”—but that’s as far as it goes.

Are these waters truly healing? “The only way to really know whether that is indeed the case is to do a lot of clinical studies,” says Pollack.

“For example, take people who have a liver pathology or something, and give half of them ordinary tap water to drink and the other half structured water, and then find out after a year or so who has done better. We need to do that with a wide variety of pathologies. Only then will we really know for sure what’s good for us and what’s not good.”

Is structured water stable? So far, the answers are anecdotal and indicate that, yes, EZ water is stable and has a shelf life of at least several months—unless something happens to disrupt its order, such as radiation, 5G signals, rough handling and movement. Again, more studies need to be funded and conducted.

Can EZ water be the answer to the search for a new source of clean energy? Potentially, yes. When water molecules come into contact with a hydrophilic surface, Pollack has discovered, one of the hydrogen/oxygen bonds breaks, leaving positively charged hydrogen atoms and bonded hydrogen/oxygen molecules that have a net negative charge.

The positive hydrogen atoms are pushed out of the exclusion zone, leaving an overall negative charge, while a bulk water zone with the excess hydrogen atoms develops a net positive charge, essentially creating a battery-type situation whose energy can be effectively harnessed (see image, below).

In the lab, Pollack has hooked up multiple cells of water with a hydrophilic Nafion tube inserted into each one, creating a negative EZ and a positive bulk water zone, and used the water to light an LED light bulb (image credit: Gerald Pollack).

Structured (EZ) water is alkaline. Alkaline water has a pH level that measures above neutral (greater than 7), higher than regular tap water and bottled waters. Is machine-made alkaline water structured?

“There’s not enough data to conclude this is the case,” says Pollack. “But if I had to guess, I’d say yes.”

So far, very few clinical studies have been conducted on the consumption of structured water. One 2021 study shows that animals drinking structured water for one month had an increased rate of growth, reduced oxidative stress, improved blood sugar and lipid profiles, increased tissue conductivity and improved fertility.3

The lack of research means that, for the time being, since structured water is alkaline and alkaline water is most likely structured, according to Pollack, clinical results of alkaline water studies in general are a solid indicator of the kinds of results we will get from further studies.

What the studies show

Studies of alkaline water show that it promotes longer lifespan in mice.4 In humans, blood viscosity decreases with the consumption of high-pH water.5 Postmenopausal women who drank alkaline water have been shown to have smaller waists, better metabolic function, longer sleep and a stronger handgrip.6 And athletes who drank low mineralized alkaline water after high-intensity interval exercise showed improved hydration rates.7

However, pH alone isn’t necessarily the measure of alkaline water’s effectiveness. Some studies suggest that alkaline water must also contain the alkaline minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, present in alkalizing foods, to be effective.

For example, heavy consumption of foods containing these minerals increases bone mineral density (BMD) and muscle mass and boosts immune system function. Alkaline mineral water reduces coronary heart disease, other cardiovascular issues and cancer. It also promotes detox and results in lower overall mortality rates.8

Forget pH

Interestingly, Pollack’s research into structured water has led him to understand that it’s not the pH of the water that’s providing the health benefits at all. It’s the net negative electrical charge and all the free electrons circulating in alkaline water and EZ water.

“If you have a low pH, you’ve got a lot of positive charge,” says Pollack. “If you have neutral pH, you have no net charge, and if you have high pH, you have net negative charge.

“People will argue that it’s impossible for a liquid to have net charge. But we found in our studies that it is absolutely possible. The bottom line is, if you’re dealing with pH, what you’re really talking about is whether the liquid has net charge in it or doesn’t have that charge. That’s all.”

Why is electrical charge important? According to Pollack, alkaline or structured (EZ) water doesn’t migrate through the body and get into your cells. What happens is the negative charge of EZ water immediately disperses—electrons naturally flow wherever the body has less negative charge, or higher voltage (see page 60).

“Electrons flow almost immediately. Then, when they reach their target sites, which may contain bulk water, they immediately convert the bulk water to EZ water. I think that’s how it works. It’s simply the electrons that do it.”

Basically, if Pollack is correct, consumption of EZ water is similar to the “earthing” process—going barefoot on the earth to pick up free electrons that then combine with unpaired electrons (free radicals) in the body, mitigating conditions such as chronic inflammation caused by free radicals.

This insight aligns with alkaline water’s proven oxidation-reduction potential (ORP)—meaning it has strong antioxidant properties. Alkaline water’s abundant free electrons hook up with free radicals, effectively taking them out of circulation.

According to Pollack, magnetic fields also create exclusion zones and thus the presence of EZ water. And certainly studies show that consuming magnetized water improves blood quality, semen quality and antioxidant status in animals.9

More questions

But some issues surround alkaline water, and by extension exclusion zone (EZ) water. For one thing, water with a high pH completely lacks hydrogen ions, and hydrogen is important for health and healing.

While a hydrogen atom is electrically neutral and contains a single proton and a single electron bound to the nucleus, sometimes the electron gets dislodged and a hydrogen ion results. This happens in water in what’s called a “self-ionization process.”

Water, of course, has the ability to dissolve many different kinds of substances, including ionized substances. Hard water, for example, contains a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions.

Water with a pH of 1 (extremely acidic) has a hydrogen ion concentration of 0.1000 moles per liter. In comparison, water with a neutral or alkaline pH has a hydrogen ion concentration of 0.0000.

A mouse study of the healing effects of alkaline water showed that alkalinity alone has little impact until extra hydrogen (H2) is dissolved into it.10 In Japan, where alkalized water is considered a health product, a major study supporting its popularity showed stools were more normal in test subjects with gastrointestinal issues with the consumption of alkaline water when it contained hydrogen.11

The absence of hydrogen ions in alkaline and EZ water also possibly restricts the water’s electrical conductivity, although the degree to which electrical conductivity is affected is poorly understood because there are other ions in alkaline water that may well take up the slack.

Make your own EZ water

While you may or may not be able to find a device that creates EZ water for drinking, your body makes its own EZ water. And Pollack has uncovered evidence that your diet may influence how much it makes.

In one in vitro study, he found that holy basil, probiotics, turmeric, coconut water and the pain relievers aspirin and Tylenol (paracetamol) increased the amount of EZ water. However, at higher doses, they all began to decrease it again.

Conversely, the common pesticide glyphosate only decreased the amount of EZ water. These findings suggest “substances that promote or diminish health do so in relation to the amount of EZ water formation they cause,” say the researchers.12

It’s no surprise that, yet again, a balanced, nutritionally dense, chemical-free diet and sparing use of pharmaceuticals are key to good health.

Creating structured water

Healthy drinking water is a necessity. It’s also an enormous commercial cash cow. It’s really difficult to determine which (usually expensive) water improvement devices really work and which are dubious at best.

“There are companies that advertise that they sell structured water or fourth-phase water, and I’ve yet to see the demonstrated evidence to be convinced that’s what they’re producing,” says Gerald Pollack. “I need to see evidence, not just hand-waving.”

Pollack says one way he measures for the presence of structure is by using an ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer. “If you put UV-visible light into whatever substance you want to examine, and you scan over the wavelengths and find that that there’s an absorption at the wavelength of 270 nanometers, that indicates water structure,” he says. “And the bigger the absorption peak, the larger the concentration of EZ water.

“That’s the standard we use. So, if you’re in a store or shopping online, try to find out real scientific evidence like that for the efficacy of the particular product. And if you can’t find it, don’t buy it.”

Veda Austin says devices that use magnets are usually quite effective. “Time and time again, I’ve seen that magnets can actually make a dramatic difference in the water structure,” she says. “There are vortex-creating devices that use magnets stacked on top of one another that require no power.

“Just pour the water through the device. The slower you go, the more spiraling effect is created, and that really brings water back to the living principles, to its original principles.”

She says Natural Action Technology makes effective vortexing units for creating structured water. She also recommends a UK company called Plant Surge that creates a magnet attachment for hoses to water plants.

“It’s not pretty or anything, but boy, does it work. It works for my plants, but I’ve been able to jerry-rig it onto my sink tap, and I’ve got it on my shower, and it really does make a structural difference.”

A word of caution

One health concern with consuming large amounts of alkaline and EZ water is that it might alter gastrointestinal pH, which could affect your blood pH, increasing the possibility of metabolic alkalosis. In this condition, the body becomes overly alkaline, creating symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, confusion, heart arrhythmia, seizures and coma.

What is structured water?

When applied to water, “structure” refers to the position in three-dimensional space and the molecular arrangements of individual water molecules of H2O, which cluster together like endlessly varied reassemblies of Lego. These clusters remain stable for anywhere from a part of a second to several weeks.

It was Plato’s belief that water should be represented as an icosahedron, or 20-sided shape, and 2,500 years later, a few frontier scientists finally began to agree after discovering that clusters of these molecules aren’t uniform in any given sample of water.

Hot samples have a different Lego shape than cold samples, for instance; some water contains molecular clusters of up to several hundred molecules apiece. It’s been discovered that small clusters can cluster even further, creating up to 280-molecule symmetrical clusters and interlinking with other clusters to form an intricate subatomic mosaic.

The idea that structure in water can change makes sense when you consider that water molecules are always moving, like a person constantly lifting hand weights in a gym in a variety of directions.

Imagine the single oxygen atom present in every water molecule as your head and the two hydrogen atoms as your arms. The vibrational directions resemble your lifting the hand weights and moving them rhythmically away from your body in front or to the side, or even in a scissor movement above your head, with your arms moving alternately or at the same time.

Lynne McTaggart

How water molecules change their clusters

The late Rustum Roy, a materials scientist at Pennsylvania State University and arguably one of the world’s experts on water, including structured water, said that the “glue” making these water molecules momentarily adhere to one another is not simply the bonds between the hydrogen atoms. It has to do with a wide range of very weak bonds that exist between the different Lego shapes.

These are known as van der Waals bonds, so named after Dutch physicist Diderik van der Waals, who discovered that forces of attraction and repulsion operate between atoms and molecules because of the way that electrical charge is distributed, a property that allows certain gases to turn into liquids.

“It is this range of very weak bonds that could account for the remarkable ease of changing the structure of water, which in turn could help explain the half dozen well-known anomalies in its properties,” Roy said. “In its subtler form, such weak bonds would also allow for the changes of structure caused by electric and magnetic fields and by radiation of all kinds, including possibly so-called subtle energies”—like thoughts.

The idea that water molecules get structured is by no means universally agreed upon, but as Roy argued convincingly, it is structure, not composition, that largely controls the properties of a substance, and if structure is changed, it can completely change the substance without any change of composition.

A perfect example of this is diamond and graphite. They share identical composition, yet diamond is one of the hardest substances on earth, and graphite one of the softest. Their difference is entirely dependent upon which and how many molecules decide to bond.13

Lynne McTaggart

 

References
  1. Int J Mol Sci, 2020;21(14):5041
  2. Int J Cell Biol, 2017; 2017: 1917239; Biomed Optics, 2014; 19(12): 126008
  3. J Animal Sci, 2021; 99(5): skab063
  4. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016: 2016: 3084126
  5. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2016: 13: 45
  6. PLoS One, 2022; 17(10): e0275640
  7. Biol Sport, 2017; 34(3): 255–261
  8. Altern Ther Health Med, 2016: 22(suppl 1): 24–33
  9. Biomed Sci, 2017; 3(4): 78-85
  10. World J Gastroenterol, 2018; 24(45): 5095–5108
  11. Med Gas Res, 2019; 8(4): 160–66
  12. Dose Response, 2018; 16(3): 1559325818796937
  13. Materials Research Innovations, 2005; 9(4): 1433–075X
MAR24, 'Deep water'
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