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Why Electrons and ATP Energy are Vital to your Immune

Think you are busy. Your cells certainly are.

Right now, thousands of Mitochondria (tiny organelles) inside each cell of your body are working tirelessly to create fuel or energy.

That fuel is called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP.

The average cell in the human body uses 10 billion ATP per day.

On a day of relaxation, we generate our body weight in ATP. That’s a remarkable amount.

We need more ATP, not less, if we are injured or unwell.

Energising Your Healing

Your mitochondria (and the ATP they produce) are not just fundamental to health. They are fundamental to your life. 

Immune cells use ATP energy when they fight off infection. Wound healing can be accelerated by increasing ATP production.

Conversely, when ATP production is impaired, your health is impacted.

Researchers argue that the following common diseases are caused or aggravated by dysfunctioning mitochondria (sometimes called the powerhouses of ATP production). Diseases include:

  • Alzehimers
  • Austism
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Migraine headaches

Mitochondria are susceptible to damage from a lack of good nutrition, environmental toxins and oxidative stress (which occurs when oxygen and/or electrons leak from the mitochondria and impair the production of ATP).

You can support your mitochondria with good nutrition by eating leafy greens, healthy fats (i.e. avocado), lean protein, as well as foods rich in omega 3s.

It may be that regular earthing can help too.


The Earth’s Free Electrons as Electric Nutrition

The earth’s surface is a storehouse of electrons, the smallest unit of negative charge, created by an astonishing 3 billion lightning strikes each year around the globe, aided by atmospheric pressure.

Earthing brings electrons from the earth’s surface into your body to stabilise or restore your body’s internal systems. This can be done simply by walking barefoot on grass, or by using an indoor earthing product that’s conductively connected to the ground outside via a lead and special earthing adapter.

versatile fabric grounding mat

Benefits of earthing have been documented in double-blind studies with respect to sleep, reduction of inflammation and pain, improved blood flow, accelerated wound healing, and reduced stress.

Anecdotally earthing has also been found helpful for such a wide variety of health complaints that researchers have begun to consider:

Could it be that our immune systems need a regular top-up of free electrons to function optimally? Have we become deficient in electrons by no longer living in conductive contact with the earth?

As Sinatra and Oschmann argue in their review article published in the journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine:

Scientists believe that our immune system evolved in the course of millions of years of barefoot contact with the surface of the Earth. One can assume that protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory electrons from the Earth were readily obtained by previous cultures during this vast stretch of time as a result of ordinary existence. Life involved direct contact with the Earth, which is no longer the case.

Let’s take a closer look at the role the electrons play in the production of ATP as well as in our immune system.

Electrons and their Role in ATP Energy

Electrons are a key ingredient in the complex process of ATP energy generation within your mitochondria.

Inside the mitochondria, along the inner lining of the membrane, are five different types of proteins that work together to funnel electrons through the membrane.

They do this via redox reactions that literally push electrons through the proteins via a series of chemical reactions that eventually ends up as ATP.

This process is beautifully illustrated in the following video from Harvard Medical.

Studies in animals have shown that giving extra electrons increases ATP production and protein synthesis. It makes sense that earthing might also support this most fundamental bodily process. It would also explain why earthing seems to have such wide-ranging benefits.

Electrons and Your Immune

Electrons also play a role in your immune system. When your white blood cells secrete oxygen (or undergo Reactive Oxygen Species ROS) they go into attack mode. They rip electrons from nearby damaged cells, which destroys those damaged cells. This clears the repair field and allows new cells to move in and restore functioning.

Too much oxygen or too much reactive oxygen species (ROS) is dangerous. When ROS move past the site of injury or contagion, healthy cells in non-injured areas can be damaged. ROS don’t mind stealing electrons from healthy cells too!

Your immune system has some clever strategies for this.

  • Create an inflammatory barricade or a wall of collagen molecules to separate damaged tissues from nearby healthy tissues.
  • Flood the area with antioxidants….molecules with extra electrons. Antioxidants donate electrons to those electron-seeking ROS. They are the body’s natural anti-inflammatories.

There are some limitations to these approaches.

Sometimes antioxidants cannot get through the inflammatory barricade. This can mean that inflammation continues on behind the barrier, turning into ongoing silent inflammation that becomes a drain on the immune system and can later lead to disease.

The earth’s electrons are smaller because they are unattached to a molecule like an antioxidant. They are often called free or mobile electrons precisely because of this.

Electrons can travel where larger antioxidant molecules cannot.

The building blocks of inflammatory barricades are collagen molecules which are semiconductive. That means free electrons can travel along and through them, even when larger molecules (ie antioxidants and antibiotics) are blocked or cannot pass.

Could it be that earthing is especially effective at reaching old sites of inflammation such as walled-off tissue injury in a muscle, an unrecognised dental problem, or a pocket of inflammation from a long forgotten physical trauma?

Further research is needed before we can know for sure.

However, we do know that earthing can accelerate wound healing and resolve inflammation rapidly. 

The following images from a study on earthing and inflammation demonstrate accelerated wound healing with earthing in the case of a woman 84 years of age with diabetes. The middle row shows a change in the open wound after 1 week of earthing. The bottom row shows that the wound healed over, and a much healthier skin tone after 2 weeks of earthing.

wound healing with grounding

Research on Earthing and Inflammation

A double-blind study on grounding and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) showed that the earthed participants had faster recovery and less circulating inflammatory markers compared to the non-earthed group. This included less use of the body’s naturally occurring antioxidant bilirubin among the earthed group, leading the researchers to hypothesize that the earth’s free electrons were used as anti-inflammatories / antioxidants instead.

Electrons are involved in the creation of ATP energy, the fuel by which cells grow and reproduce. They are a key part of our bodies immune defence systems. As Sinatra and Oschmann argue, “electron transfers are the basis of virtually all antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. And our Earth may very well be the ultimate supplier!’

How to Start Earthing

There are two ways you can earth yourself. Take a walk barefoot outside on grass or wet sand. Or use an indoor earthing product while sitting or sleeping such as fabric grounding mat or earthing underlay.

Just like our body needs vitamin D from the Sun, we also need the earth’s electrons. Try it for yourself and see.

Earthing Research

Stephen Sinatra, James Oschman, Gaetan Chevalier, Drew Sinatra, “Electric Nutrition: The Surprising Health and Healing Benefits of Biological Grounding (Earthing) Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2017, Sept; 23(5): 8-16.

Dick Brown, Gaetan Chevalier, Michael Hill, “Pilot Study on the Effect of Grounding on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness” Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, 2010 Mar; 16(3): 265-73.