More About Negative Ions
From the book Proof Positive — With References
By Neil Nedley, MD

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Why is "Fresh Air" fresh?




Effects of
negative ions







Mood, etc.









Air Pollution

Throughout most of recorded history, it seems that people have taken fresh air for granted. However, with the advent of the industrial revolution, followed by current concerns for indoor and outdoor air pollution, fresh air has become a more valued commodity. An excellent article on fresh air was penned some years ago by Dr. Bernell Baldwin. Entitled "Why is Fresh Air Fresh?"92 Baldwin pointed out that fresh air is chemically different than the recirculated indoor air that most Americans breathe. High quality fresh air is actually electrified. The life-giving oxygen molecule is negatively charged or "negatively ionized." This negatively charged oxygen gives rise to a number of benefits as listed in Figure 17: Effects of Negatively Charged Fresh Air.93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99


An environment of negatively charged ions truly has remarkable effects. Some of the most impressive have to do with behavior. Some of the research has centered on animals that were raised in such a way as to develop the equivalent of human anxiety disorders. When these animals were allowed to breathe air with an abundance of negative ions they were protected against some of the physical changes linked to anxiety. Animals exposed to negative ions showed a normalization of pertinent brain chemistry measurements and did not show any tendency to high blood pressure or ulcers.100 (In fact, even in animals with no behavioral disorders predisposing them to ulcers, negative air ions helped to promote less significant ulcer disease including smaller ulcers, less bleeding and less acid secretion.101)

In studies of children, negative ions have also demonstrated salutary effects. In one study, normal children and those with learning disabilities showed measurable improvements in brain function.102 The authors concluded: "Negative air ions are seen to be a tool with potential theoretical and remedial applications."103


Other research further underscores the fact that fresh—negatively ionized—air helps to keep our mood buoyant and positive. Baldwin and others cite the Middle Eastern "sharaw" (also transliterated "sharav") windstorms that bring an abundance of unwanted positive ions with them.104, 105, 106, 107 During these storms, as many as 30 percent of individuals develop problems with increased anxiety and suspicion, migraine headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, eye problems, irritability, respiratory congestion, etc. The positive ions seem to alter brain levels of serotonin, an important mood-elevating chemical. These hot desert winds rob the air of helpful negative ions.

Negatively charged air is also destroyed by recirculating air in buildings, tobacco smoke, city smog, and other pollutants. On the other hand, good quality negatively ionized air is found in abundance in natural outdoor environments, especially around evergreen trees, beach surf, or after a thunderstorm.

Researchers have been studying the harmful effects of polluted air on human beings. Their findings confirm that pollution depletes the air of negative ions. In addition, the common pollutant, ozone, has been demonstrated to cause eye irritation, shortness of breath, cough, worsened lung function, and decreased physical performance.108, 109 Worse yet, women living in one of the nation's most highly polluted regions, the South Coast Air Basin of California, experience increased risk of cancer in proportion to their total exposure to particulate pollutants.110

Clearly, it behooves all of us to get as much fresh air as possible. When we are overcome by stress and worry, getting away from our urban dwellings and workplaces seems to promise more than a change of venue. The medical literature indicates that a drive to the seashore, a local state park, or other natural setting promises improved mental and physical health as we breathe in the refreshing fresh air with its abundance of negative ions. Better yet, if it can be arranged, living in a more rural setting would likely yield the blessing of better quality air as well as other amenities.

Figure 17


  1. Improved sense of well being

  2. Increased rate and quality of
    growth in plants and animals

  3. Improved function of the lung's
    protective cilia

  4. Tranquilization and relaxation
    (decreased anxiety)

  5. Lowered body temperature

  6. Lowered resting heart rate

  7. Decreased survival of bacteria
    and viruses in the air

  8. Improved learning in mammals

  9. Decreased severity of stomach

A waterfall generates negative ions



92 Baldwin BE. Why is fresh air fresh? The Journal of Health and Healing 11(4):26-27.

93 Baldwin BE. Why is fresh air fresh? The Journal of Health and Healing 11(4):26-27.

94 Duffee RA, Koontz RH. Behavioral effects of ionized air on rats. Psychophysiology 1965 Apr;1(4):347-359.

95 Jordan J, Sokoloff B. Air ionization, age and maze learning of rats. J Gerontol 1959;14:344-348.

96 Reilly T, Stevenson IC. An investigation of the effects of negative air ions on responses to submaximal exercise at different times of day. J Hum Ergol (Tokyo) 1993 Jun; 22(1):1-9.

97 Mitchell BW, King DJ. Effect of negative air ionization on airborne transmission of Newcastle disease virus. Avian Dis 1994 Oct-Dec;38(4):725-732.

98 Giannini AJ, Jones BT, Loiselle RH. Reversibility of serotonin irritation syndrome with atmospheric anions. J Clin Psychiatry 1986 Mar;47(3):141-143.

99 Gabbay J, Bergerson O, et al. Effect of ionization on microbial air pollution in the dental clinic. Environ Res 1990 Jun;52(1):99-106.

100 Livanova LM, Nozdracheva LV, et al. The normalizing effect of air ions on neuroticized rats with different typological behavioral characteristics. Zh Vyssh Nerv Deiat Im I P Pavlova 1995 Mar-Apr;45(2):402-409.

101 Bordas E, Deleanu M. Influence of negative air ions on experimental ulcer induced by pylorus ligature in albino rat. Med Interne 1989 Oct-Dec;27(4):313-317.

102 Morton LL, Kershner JR. Differential negative air ion effects on learning disabled and normal-achieving children. Int J Biometeorol 1990 May;34(1):35-41.

103 Morton LL, Kershner JR. Differential negative air ion effects on learning disabled and normal-achieving children. Int J Biometeorol 1990 May;34(1):35-41.

104 Sulman FG, Levy D, et al. Air-ionometry of hot, dry desert winds(Sharaw) and treatment with air ions of weather-sensitive subjects. Int J Biometeorol 1974 Dec;18(4):313-318.

105 Baldwin BE. Why is fresh air fresh? The Journal of Health and Healing 11(4):26-27.

106 Giannini AJ, Jones BT, Loiselle RH. Reversibility of serotonin irritation syndrome with atmospheric anions. J Clin Psychiatry 1986 Mar;47(3):141-143.

107 Giannini AJ, Castellani S, Dvoredsky AE. Anxiety states: relationship to atmospheric cations and serotonin. J Clin Psychiatry 1983 Jul;44(7):262-264.

108 Linder J, Herren D, et al. Effect of ozone on physical performance capacity. Soz Praventivmed 1987;32(4-5):251-252.

109 Neher JO, Koenig JQ. Health effects of outdoor air pollution. Am Fam Physician 1994 May 1;49(6):1397-1404, 1407-1408.

110 Abbey DE, Mills PK, et al. Long-term ambient concentrations of total suspended particulates and oxidants as related to incidence of chronic disease in California Seventh-Day Adventists. Environ Health Perspect 1991 Aug;94():43-50.

The book was named Proof Positive because all the information is backed up by proof.
Hundreds of bibliographical references to scientific and medical documentation. This copyrighted article is excerpted from Chapter 20 "Beyond the Leading Causes of Disease" from this health and medical textbook by Dr. Neil Nedley (pages 500-501 and 520-521).


The information and the images on this web page are reprinted by permission of the author from his book Proof Positive: How to Reliably Combat Disease and Achieve Optimal Health through Nutrition and Lifestyle. This information is the intellectual property of Neil Nedley, M.D. and may not be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any other form or by any other means without written permission from the publisher (Neil Nedley, M.D.; 1010 14th Ave., N.W.; Ardmore, OK 73401). Copyright ©1998, 1999 by Neil Nedley, M.D. All rights reserved.

This information does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with the reader. Persons who are ill or on medication who wish to significantly change their lifestyle should do so under the direction of a physician familiar with the effects of lifestyle change on health.
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