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Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces Blood Viscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease Gae´ tan Chevalier, PhD, 1 Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, FACN, 2 James L. Oschman, PhD, 3 and Richard M. Delany, MD, FACC 4 Abstract Objectives: Emerging research is revealing that direct physical contact of the human body with the surface of the earth (grounding or earthing) has intriguing effects on human physiology and health, including beneficial effects on various
  Earthing (Grounding) the Human Body Reduces BloodViscosity—a Major Factor in Cardiovascular Disease Gae´tan Chevalier, PhD, 1 Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, FACN, 2 James L. Oschman, PhD, 3 and Richard M. Delany, MD, FACC 4 Abstract Objectives:  Emerging research is revealing that direct physical contact of the human body with the surface of theearth (grounding or earthing) has intriguing effects on human physiology and health, including beneficial effectson various cardiovascular risk factors. This study examined effects of 2 hours of grounding on the electricalcharge (zeta potential) on red blood cells (RBCs) and the effects on the extent of RBC clumping. Design/interventions:  Subjects were grounded with conductive patches on the soles of their feet and palms of their hands. Wires connected the patches to a stainless-steel rod inserted in the earth outdoors. Small fingertippinprick blood samples were placed on microscope slides and an electric field was applied to them. Electro-phoretic mobility of the RBCs was determined by measuring terminal velocities of the cells in video recordingstaken through a microscope. RBC aggregation was measured by counting the numbers of clustered cells in eachsample. Settings/location:  Each subject sat in a comfortable reclining chair in a soundproof experiment room with thelights dimmed or off. Subjects:  Ten (10) healthy adult subjects were recruited by word-of-mouth. Results:  Earthing or grounding increased zeta potentials in all samples by an average of 2.70 and significantlyreduced RBC aggregation. Conclusions:  Grounding increases the surface charge on RBCs and thereby reduces blood viscosity andclumping. Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reducecardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events. ‘‘Erythrocytes have a strong net negative charge called the zeta potential produced by the scialoglycoprotein coat such thatapproximately 18nm is the shortest span between two cells. ’’—Wintrobe’s  Clinical Hematology 1 Introduction C ardiovascular disease  (CVD) is a leading cause of death worldwide. The latest statistics (2009) for the Uni-ted States show that CVD is the leading cause of death forpersons age 65 and over. 2 Interventions that reduce the inci-dence of CVD are therefore of profound importance. Bloodviscosity and aggregation are major factors in hypertensionand other cardiovascular pathologies, including myocardialinfarction. Cardiologists are gradually losing interest in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as the major cardio-vascular risk factor. 3 From the perspective of the health carepractitioner, it is essential to have a better understanding of the relationships between other well-documented factors inCVD, including blood viscosity, blood pressure (BP), pe-ripheral resistance, coagulation, left-ventricular hypertrophy,and inflammation.Blood is a complex fluid containing a variety of formedelements (cells), proteins, nutrients, and metabolic wasteproducts, along with dozens of clotting factors. In spite of this complexity, measurement of the electrophoretic mobilityor zeta potential of red blood cells (RBCs) is a simple methodfor measuring blood viscosity. 4–8 This is because blood vis-cosity is strongly influenced by the RBC surface charge that 1 Developmental and Cell Biology Department, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA. 2 Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT. 3 Nature’s Own Research Association, Dover, NH. 4 Personalized Preventive Medicine, Milton, MA. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINEVolume 19, Number 2, 2013, pp. 102–110 ª  Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.DOI: 10.1089/acm.2011.0820 102  governs the spacing between erythrocytes. A higher re-pulsive surface charge increases spacing between erythro-cytes, reduces clumping, lowers viscosity, and lowersperipheral resistance to flow. 9 Conditions that reduce RBCsurface charge correlate with occlusive arterial disease be-cause of a higher incidence of RBC aggregation. 5 It is ac-cepted that blood viscosity and resistance to blood flow arerelated and are elevated in patients who have hyperten-sion. 10–12 Total resistance is the product of vascular resis-tance and viscosity. Small changes in viscosity producelarge differences in total resistance, 13 especially in periph-eral vessels  < 30 l m in diameter, in which the relative ef-fective viscosity can increase six- to sevenfold. 14 Theseresults confirm the existence of a blood hyperviscositysyndrome in hypertension. Positive correlations in rheolo-gic variables with arterial pressure and with indices of left-ventricular hypertrophy suggest that these changes may beinvolved in the pathophysiology of hypertension and itsserious complications. 15,16 The electrophoretic mobility or zeta potential can be mea-sured by determining the mobility of RBCs in an imposedelectric field. The classic text on zeta potential is  Controlof Colloid Stability Through Zeta Potential  (with a closingchapter on its relationship to CVD by Riddick). 4 Riddick’sperspectives on CVD are important but have not been widelyrecognized, probably because rheology is a highly special-ized and interdisciplinary subject. Moreover, blood is a verycomplex material, and many variables affect its ability tocarry oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic waste products.In this report the terms  earthing  and  grounding  are usedinterchangeably. The branch of physics known as electrostat-ics teaches that, when two conductive objects with differentelectrical potential touch each other, there is a virtually in-stantaneous transfer of charge so that the two objects equili- brate to the same electrical potential. The human body is aconductor of electricity 17 and so is earth (soil), except in verydry areas such as deserts. Consequently, grounding leads torapid equalization of the electrical potential of the body withthe potential of the Earth (planet) through an almost instan-taneous transfer of electrons from soil to the body. 18,19 Thishas been the natural bioelectrical environment of the human body and of other organisms throughout most of evolutionaryhistory.Given that earthing or grounding alters many electricalproperties of the body, 18–21 it was logical to evaluate anelectrical property of the blood. The goal was to find if grounding affects RBC zeta potential and RBC aggregationin an ordinary office environment. The results show thatgrounding the body to soil increases the zeta potential andthereby decreases aggregation of RBCs. Materials and Methods Subjects  Ten (10) healthy subjects were screened using the HealthHistory Inventory. 22 Each subject had one grounding ses-sion. Table 1 details age and gender distribution of subjects;Table 2 documents their pain levels before and after eachsession, as well as medications and general health conditionof each subject. Informed consent was obtained from allsubjects prior to their participation. The Biomedical ResearchInstitute of America provided institutional review boardsupervision of this project ( TheMcGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) was used to evaluatethe level and location of pain before and after groundingsessions. 23 Exclusion criteria were: (1) pregnancy; (2) age  < 18 or  > 80;(3) taking pain, anti-inflammatory medications, sedatives, orprescription sleeping medications ( < 5 days prior to testing);(4) taking psychotropic drugs or diagnosis with a mentaldisorder; (5) recent surgery ( < 1 year); (6) documented life-threatening disease (such as cancer, AIDS, etc.); (7) con-sumption of alcohol within 48 hours of participation; and (8)use of recreational drugs. Subjects were recruited by word-of-mouth. Grounding system  Four (4) transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)type conductive patches were placed on the soles of eachsubject’s feet and on each subject’s palms. Wires from astandard electrostatic discharge ground system were snap-attached to the patches and connected to a box (Fig. 1). Thegrounding system consisted of a 300 †  - long (91.44m) groundcord attached to the box on one end and to a 12 ¢  (30.48cm)stainless-steel rod inserted in the soil outdoors at the otherend. Another parallel cord was used to check the status of the connection with the ground. The ground cord containedan Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved 10 milliampfuse.* Experimental setup  Standard microscope slides (75mm · 25mm, 1-mm thick)and cover slips (20mm · 20mm, or 22mm · 22mm,  * 0.2-mm thick) were used. The electrode system consisted of 2gold bars (2.0mm · 2.0mm square cross-section and 5.0cmin length) placed directly on the microscope slide at the sidesof the cover slip (Fig. 2). The gold bars were connected to two9-volt batteries in series. A switch controlled the application Table  1.  Subjects’ Age and Gender Distribution Subject # Age Gender Age Men Age Women 1 61 M 612 62 F 623 47 F 474 61 M 615 56 M 566 42 M 427 63 F 638 45 F 459 55 F 5510 57 F 57Average: 54.9 55.0 54.8SD: 7.6 9.0 7.5 SD, standard deviation.*The fuse was used to protect subjects in the highly unlikelypossibility that they might make accidental contact with a live/hotwire in the test environment. Subsequently the fuse was replacedwith a 100,000-ohm resistor in the wires for all grounding systems.This resistor makes it impossible to get an electrical shock, even if aperson touches a live wire. EARTHING OR GROUNDING REDUCES BLOOD VISCOSITY 103  of the electric field. The field between the electrodes rangedfrom 14.3 volts/cm to 28.0 volts/cm (mean – standard de-viation [SD] = 23.1 – 3.7 volts/cm). 24 For each sample, a drop of solution containing mineralsand trace elements in the same proportions as they occur in blood serum (Quinton Isotonic Water) was added to thedrop of blood to decrease RBC concentration and to preventelectroendosmosis from affecting the RBCs’ mobility. Theproportion was 20% blood to isotonic solution. A cover slipwas then placed over the sample and the gold bars movedinto position. A drop of isotonic solution was added on eachside of the cover slip to insure conductive contact betweenthe gold electrodes and the diluted blood sample. A videocamera mounted on a darkfield microscope (RichardsonRTM-3.0; combined magnification factor of 1000) recordedthe movement of the RBCs. Observations were made for afew minutes, which was enough time to record the RBCs’terminal velocities for a period of at least 10 seconds at 3different locations. A micrometer stage allowed for movingthe sample to find areas with appropriate RBC density forzeta potential and aggregation measurement. When a suit-able area was located, the power to the gold bars was swit-ched on. Suitable areas had a low enough RBC density thatmost of the RBCs could move about freely without collisionfor at least 10 seconds. Three separate measurements weremade at each of 3 different such areas, yielding a total of 9measurements on each sample. The video images were re-corded on digital video discs for subsequent determinationof velocity of RBC migration. Zeta potential (  f  ) and RBC aggregation measurements  The zeta potential ( f ) of RBCs maintains the fluidity of  blood by preventing RBC aggregation. 12,25,26 The combina-tion of zeta potential and aggregation are important deter-minants of blood viscosity. Table  2.  Pain, Medication and Health Condition of Each Subject Subject # Pain before Pain after Medication Self-described health condition and exercise 1 No pain No pain None No health complaint(0) (0) Does fast walking on the beach 4 · /wk, strengthtraining 3 · /wk, swims3 · /wk & goes to an athletic club 4 · /wk2 No pain No pain None Experiences extreme heat sometimes in ankles & lowerextremities(0) (0) Had heart murmur as a childDoes running, cycling, & rowing; uses elliptic machine;swims 3-4 · /wk 20min to 1 hr; walks on the beachoften; goes to a club; & trains outdoors3 No pain No pain None No health complaint(0) (0) Had 5 children &  eats only raw food Runs 3 days/wk and does yoga 2 days/wk outdoors& at home4 No pain No pain None Contractor with no physical problems(0) (0) Likes surfing & fishing; indulges in sugar & sodasmoderately5 Low back pain(5–6)No pain(0)Voltaren0.5g/dayReal estate manager & handyman has lower back painwhen stressedSurfs daily & likes hiking6 No pain No pain Ibuprofen Did not mention why he takes ibuprofen(0) (0) 800mg once/wk Does cycling 2 · /wk in neighborhood7 Middle back pain Middle backpainNature-Throid Has knee osteoarthritis, Lyme disease & candidiasisLikes swimming but stopped 4 weeks before the study because of knee injury(3) (0.5) 0.5g/d8 No pain No pain None No physical problem to report(0) (0) Does brisk walking  * 30min at home & outdoorsVery conscious about food & eats only healthy fatsfrom vegetables9 Neck/shoulder(1)No pain None Experienced arrhythmia 2 years ago that wasimmediately corrected with potassiumsupplementationNumness inarms + thumbs(1)(0) Experiences shortness of breath with activityDoes not exercise but eats as much high-quality fat her body accepts10 No pain No pain None Is seeing a chiropractor for a stiff & sore neck(0) (0) Does not exercise currentlyDoes meditation in groups & takes a singing class Numbers in parenthesis () represent level of pain: 0 = no pain, 10 = intolerable pain.wk, week; d, day; min, minutes; hr, hour. 104 CHEVALIER ET AL.  For zeta potential calculations the Smoluchowski equationwas used as follows 27 : f ¼ g v c = e Ewhere  g  is the solution’s viscosity, v c  is the terminal velocityof the RBCs,  e  is the electrical permittivity of the solution,and E is the electric field to which the RBCs were submitted.The electric field was calculated from the electric potentialand the distance between electrodes. The terminal velocitiesof the RBCs were measured directly from the recordings byclocking the time it took for an RBC to go through a pre-determined distance (the stopwatch used had a precision of 0.01 second). In the Smoluchowski equation, the remainingparameters were taken to be: g ¼ 1 : 78 cP, 28 and  e ¼ 1 : 06 · 10  9 C 2 = Nm 2 : With these values and the electrode system previouslydescribed, zeta potentials were obtained for healthy personsin good agreement with the normal range, according toFontes (between  - 9.30mV and  - 15.0mV with an averageof   - 12.5mV). 27 FIG. 1.  Grounding system showing patches, wires, and boxconnecting to a ground rod planted outside through a switch(not shown) and a fuse (not shown). Similar patches andwires from the hands were also connected to the box toground the hands. FIG. 2.  Side and top viewsof the experimental setup forzeta potential measurement. EARTHING OR GROUNDING REDUCES BLOOD VISCOSITY 105
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