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Copper Pitchers and the Oligodynamic Effect

Copper Pitchers and the Oligodynamic Effect

Remember when doorknobs were made from copper or brass and cutlery was made from silver? As it turns out, these frequently touched items were made from these metals quite deliberately and for a very good reason. In this blog post, we’ll describe the amazing anti-bacterial properties of copper which are a result of a natural phenomenon known as the “oligodynamic effect”.

Copper has been used since ancient times to disinfect and purify water. In addition, several recent studies have established that copper surfaces may have practical applications in healthcare as well as in the food industry. Copper is an essential element in the human diet and is considered safe for humans when consumed at low levels. However, while humans are not susceptible to copper, microorganisms such as harmful bacteria are very sensitive to the presence of copper, and, in fact, show rapid inactivation when exposed to copper surfaces. As a result, copper pitchers can be very effective at purifying water and eliminating water-borne pathogens.

Various studies have shown that water pitchers made from copper were effective at removing bacteria from water. For example, in one recent study scientists studied the effect of a copper pitcher on drinking water contaminated with dangerous bacteria including E.coli and salmonella. The scientists stored the contaminated water in the copper pitchers for 16 hours at room temperature, and to their amazement, were later unable to recover any bacteria from the water.

In another recent study, researchers studied the best method to remove biological contamination from drinking water for domestic use. In particular, the researches stored contaminated drinking water in a variety of different water pitchers made from copper, silver, clay, and plastic. The study revealed that the copper pitcher was the most effective at removing the bacteria in the water and that there was a very significant inhibitory effect on the bacteria after only a few hours of storage in the copper pitcher.

In yet another recent study, scientists contaminated water with bacteria and then stored the water overnight at room temperature in both copper water pitchers and glass bottles. When examined in the morning, the bacteria was no longer present in the water that has been stored in the copper water pitchers, although the bacteria was present in the water stored in the glass bottles.

This phenomenon is known as the oligodynamic effect, which one recent study defines as “the ability of small amounts of heavy metals to exert a lethal effect on bacterial cells.” In particular, certain metals including copper have been found to effectively sterilize themselves after a certain period of time, which makes them ideal metals for water pitchers and doorknobs. Copper is a unique metal in this regard, as certain other metals, such as stainless steel and aluminum, do not have a significant effect on harmful bacteria.

But how does the oligodynamic effect work? While the mechanism is not yet fully understood by modern science, studies suggest that copper ions cause membrane damage to bacteria by affecting the protein in the bacteria’s cell walls thereby resulting in their precipitation and inactivation.

The results of these studies support the ancient ayurvedic practice of storing water in copper vessels. Significantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has registered copper as the only solid surface material able to kill bacteria that may pose a threat to human health. As a result, copper is now being considered in further applications where bacteria control is a concern, such as hospitals. In fact, many hospitals have begun equipping their patient rooms and operating rooms with copper alloy surfaces, replacing bed rails, tables, and door knobs. In fact, studies have shown that such changes can help reduce the number of healthcare-acquired infections in patients by more than half.

The next time you touch a stainless steel doorknob, be warned that this metal can be a major source of bacteria, some surviving for more than a month. In fact, recent studies of hospital doorknobs have found that copper doorknobs impeded bacterial growth, while aluminum and stainless steel permitted bacteria to run wild. In fact, within 15 minutes the copper doorknob had already partially disinfected itself. Perhaps copper doorknobs will become popular once again, all thanks to the ogliodynamic effect.

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Using Copper Infused Water in Skincare

Using Copper Infused Water in Skincare

While there are many benefits associated with drinking water from a copper pitcher, including healthy skin, did you know you can also use water from your copper pitcher externally as part of your skincare regime to treat and prevent acne? In this blog post, we discuss the research and science behind the soothing and healing properties of copper when applied to the skin and also share how to make your own colloidal copper facial mist easily at home.

Copper has been shown to increase skin cell division and tissue remodeling, which means that it is able to help heal acne lesions. In fact, a recent study explored infusing wound dressings (essentially bandages) with a copper solution and found an increased rate of healing which started in mere minutes.

In addition, copper also has excellent antibacterial and antifungal properties, and can therefore be a safe and gentle way to inhibit acne-causing bacteria. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 found that copper was able to eliminate up to 70% of P. acnes bacteria. Copper is also proven to reduce skin inflammation. For instance, copper is an essential component of the antioxidant Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). When applied to the skin, it soothes inflammation reducing redness and swelling.

The benefits of copper for skincare are becoming more popular and widely recognized. Creams and serums containing copper peptides (essentially copper attached to a protein) retail for upwards of a hundred dollars. Unfortunately, those creams often also contain chemicals that are not ideal for your skin. Fortunately, there is a simpler, healthier and more affordable way to experience the soothing and healing benefits of copper at home by making your own colloidal copper solution using a copper pitcher like ours.

What is a "colloidal solution", you might ask? A "colloid" is  essentially a mixture in which one substance of microscopically dispersed insoluble particles is suspended throughout another substance. A colloidal copper solution can be created through the Ayurvedic practice of storing water in a copper pitcher for a period of 8 to 16 hours. When you store water in a copper pitcher, the water naturally and safely absorbs very small amounts of copper which are suspended evenly throughout the water.

To make your own colloidal copper facial mist, simply follow these simple steps: 

  • Fill your copper water pitcher with filtered room temperature water;
  • Let the water sit in your copper pitcher for 8 to 16 hours;
  • Pour the copper infused water into a clean misting bottle (preferably glass as plastic misting bottles can leach plastic into the solution); and
  • Spritz the copper infused water on your face in the morning as a toner or make-up setting spray and throughout the day as a refreshing and hydrating mist.
  • If you experience a breakout of acne, try spritzing your entire face with the solution on clean skin before bed.

To add a scent and additional benefits to the facial mist, try adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil such as tea tree or lavender which also have soothing and antimicrobial properties.

The colloidal copper facial mist is an inexpensive and natural way to prevent and treat acne. Get your own copper pitcher today to begin reaping the benefits of copper infused water!

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How Much Water Should You Drink?

How Much Water Should You Drink?

How much water do you think you need to drink on a daily basis to maintain optimal health? Chances are the first thing that comes to your mind is the standard refrain: eight glasses of water per day.

But is eight glasses of water really the ideal amount of water that you should be drinking on a daily basis? Perhaps that amount is too little or too much for your body’s unique composition, the needs of your lifestyle, or the environment in which you live.

In fact, we are all different, and significant variability in water requirements makes it difficult to pinpoint one single level of water intake that will guarantee adequate hydration and optimum health for all.

In this blog post, we explore how much water you need to drink and the factors that can affect your required water consumption.

Recommended Water Consumption

First, let’s consider what health authorities say about recommended water consumption.

Based on the World Health Organization’s report entitled Domestic Water Quantity, Service Level and Health, a 70-kilogram adult male, and a 58-kilogram adult woman, who are living under average conditions, would need an estimated daily water consumption of 2.5 liters for him and 2.2 liters for her.

The recommended amount increases to approximately 4 to 5 liters in environments with increased temperatures or in circumstances where the subject is undergoing physically intense activities.

The United States' standard for dietary consumption, known as the Recommended Daily Allowances, suggests the amount of daily water intake based on age:

  • 0 to 6 months: 0.7 liters per day, assumed to be from human milk

  • 7 to 12 months: 0.8 liters per day, assumed to be from human milk
    and complementary foods and beverages

  • 1 to 3 years: 1.3 liters per day

  • 4 to 8 years: 1.7 liters per day

  • 9 to 13 years

    • Boys: 2.4 liters per day

    • Girls: 2.1 liters per day

  • 14 to 18 years

    • Boys 3.3 liters per day

    • Girls 2.3 liters per day

  • 19 to 70+

    • Men 3.7 liters per day

    • Women 2.7 liters per day

The World Health Organization notes that there is not yet a solid scientific knowledge base that dictates a hard rule on how much water we should drink. However, the World Health Organization does recognize that there are scientific efforts that are being carried out to determine the optimum amount of water to drink. This amount is perhaps even greater than present recommendations.

Most scientific studies have focused more on the contaminants that drinking water may contain and the diseases that can be contracted from consuming too much of those contaminants. For more information on that subject, see our blog post about assessing the purity of your water.

The Body’s Need for Water

The body's normal physiological processes result in a loss of water. Respiration, perspiration, and body temperature regulation all result in considerable water loss. In fact, it is estimated that an average of 50 milliliters of water are lost from the body each time it burns 100 kilocalories of energy.

The type of food we eat also greatly influences the amount of water we need to drink. Dry food, such as dried fruits, vegetables, chips, and seeds, can cause the body to require greater amounts of water so as to be able to digest and process such foods. On the other hand, moist and watery foods are likely to cause the body to require only limited amounts of drinking water.

Factors such as temperature, humidity, and altitude can also influence water intake. Water consumption can increase when you reside in a place where the temperature is at least 27°C, which is typically when sweating begins. Drinking more water in such environments can help replace water lost through sweating.

Although there have yet to be studies conducted to confirm the effect of humidity on the amount of water required by the body, it is hypothesized that lower humidity encourages increased evaporation of sweat and therefore greater water loss.

Persons with medical conditions may also have a need for greater amounts of water. For example, if you have diarrhea or are vomiting, it is crucial to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated. On the other hand, there are also health conditions that may require a person to limit their water intake, such as heart failure, kidney, liver, and adrenal diseases.

Breastfeeding may cause mothers to feel dehydrated and tired. The average amount of breast milk produced by mothers and consumed by infants is around 750 to 850 milliliters per day. This is not to say that drinking water will produce more breast milk. Mothers need to pay attention to their biological cues, especially thirst, so as to determine when to drink more water and to keep themselves from becoming dehydrated.

Keeping it Balanced

The key to keeping your hydration levels in check is to look for signals that your body is becoming dehydrated. The first sign is thirst. Other signs of dehydration include dry mouth, chapped lips and skin, weakness in muscles, headaches and dizziness.

Remember that there is no firm rule that you need to drink a particular number of glasses of water to satiate your thirst. When you feel quenched and refreshed, stop drinking.

Some of the signs that you are overhydrated include frequent trips to the bathroom, clear and above average amounts of urine, restlessness, irritability, and fatigue. If you are experiencing some of these signals, you may want to cut back on your water intake.

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The Health Benefits of Copper and Zinc

The Health Benefits of Copper and Zinc

Copper and zinc are important metals that have a wide variety of uses. Copper is commonly used to make pennies and wires, and zinc is typically used to galvanize steel. However, did you know that your body is also in need of these elements? While the thought of having these metals absorbed by your body may seem strange, these elements are in fact essential and play vital roles in the different processes that happen inside your body.

Copper   

Copper is a reddish-gold element. In the periodic table, it has an atomic number of 29 and an atomic weight of 63.54 grams per mole. At room temperature and in its pure form, copper is soft, malleable and can be stretched without breaking. Copper has a bright metallic sheen, but when exposed to moisture and weathering, it becomes coated with a dull green outer layer called patina. This chemical reaction prevents the copper from being further oxidized.

Zinc   

Zinc is silvery-white metal with a bluish shade. In the periodic table, it has an atomic number of 30 and has an atomic weight of 65.38 grams per mole. At room temperature, zinc is solid and becomes malleable when it reaches temperatures between 100-150°C. The surface of pure zinc tarnishes rapidly when exposed to oxygen.

Functions of Copper and Zinc

Earliest uses of copper include being crafted into utensils, tools, weapons, ornaments, and jewelry. Today copper is used in automobile manufacturing, building and construction. It is also widely used in electronics due to its high electrical conductivity.

Zinc was used thousands of years ago even before the element was discovered. It was only through the discovery of gas condensation that zinc could be acquired. Today, zinc is used to coat steel structures (known as galvanization) and is primarily  used in construction, shipbuilding, and lighting industries, among others.  

Copper’s Antimicrobial Properties

Copper also has antimicrobial properties. In fact, copper alloys were registered as public health antimicrobial products by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2008. Copper has been claimed to be able to kill 99.9 percent of disease-causing bacteria within two hours of contact.

Copper’s disinfecting activity is known as the oligodynamic effect and can be explained in two steps. The first step is the contact between the copper’s surface and the bacteria’s outer membrane. Copper has been discovered to “puncture” a hole in the bacteria’s membrane wall, which makes the bacteria lose essential nutrients and water, thus weakening it. Second, copper further damages bacteria through the entry of copper ions which block the bacteria’s metabolism.

One study that explored copper’s antimicrobial properties was conducted by Faúndez et al. In their research, they tested the reaction between copper and disease-causing bacteria. They observed the bacterial count at specific intervals, and found significant antibacterial activity in the copper surface as compared to the control groups composed of stainless steel and synthetic polymer, where the bacteria remained unchanged and even increased.

For these and other reasons, copper pitchers have become a popular choice of vessels to store water. As stated above, copper has been discovered to have antimicrobial properties and can be used to rid water of bacteria. In one such study by Sudha et al., researchers explored the effects of copper water vessels on microbially-contaminated drinking-water. The researchers stored bacteria-contaminated water in copper pots for 16 hours at room temperature. When they tested the water at the end of period, they could not retrieve any bacteria from the watre. Drinking water from a copper vessels is also a highly recommended practice in Ayurveda.

Copper and Zinc in the Human Body

Copper and zinc are vital trace elements in the body, which means that the body only needs minute amounts of each. Chan et al. reviewed the benefits of copper, zinc, and other elements to the biochemical processes of the human body. These processes include cellular respiration, cellular utilization of oxygen, DNA and RNA reproduction, maintenance of cell membrane integrity, and sequestration of free radicals.

Copper, zinc, and selenium work to destroy free radicals by means of cascading enzyme systems. Free radicals are unbonded electrons that cause oxidative stress in the body and are connected to a variety of disease, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Copper and zinc are able to reduce superoxide free radicals. This helps maintain the integrity of membranes, decreases cancer risk, and decelerates the aging process.     

How Copper Functions in the Body

Olivares and Uauy reviewed the role of copper in the human body. They noted that copper is essential to a plethora of bodily functions, including nervous system defense mechanisms, strengthening of the bones, maturation of red and white blood cells, transportation of iron, metabolism of cholesterol and glucose metabolism.

When a body becomes deficient in copper, it may suffer from weight gain, failure to grow at an expected rate, and deterioration of the nervous system. Other adverse effects of insufficient copper amounts in the body include anemia, neutropenia, and bone abnormalities.

How Zinc Functions in the Body

In a study by Tapiero and Tew, researchers determined that zinc is found in all body tissues, with 85% present in muscles and bones and 11% in the skin and liver. The required amount of zinc in the human body is approximately 15 milligrams per day.

In a study by Prasad, it was noted that zinc-deficient patients were observed to manifest severe immune dysfunctions, and sometimes died of infections. The researchers conducted an experimental human model of zinc deficiency, and documented decreased serum testosterone levels, oligospermia, severe immune dysfunctions, hyperammonemia, neurosensory disorders, and decreased lean body mass. Deficiency in zinc was also discovered to lead to cognitive impairment.

Sources of Copper and Zinc

There are many sources from which we can acquire our requirement for copper and zinc. In a survey by Ma and Betts, researchers explored the average dietary consumption of copper and zinc. The daily zinc intake range was 12 to 6.4 mg for men and 8.0 to 4.0 mg for women. On the other hand, the daily copper intake range was 1.3 to 0.7 mg for men and 1.0 to 0.5 mg for women.

In the same study, it was determined that our main sources of zinc are foods such as beef, legumes, poultry, ready-to-eat and hot cereals, and pork. The study also showed that copper can be acquired from consuming legumes, potatoes, beef, nuts, and seeds.

A study by Turnlund determined that the efficient absorption of copper varies greatly depending on the dietary intake. It was also determined that changes in the efficiency of copper absorption help in regulating the amount of copper retained by the body. When there is a high amount of dietary copper absorbed by the body, the body reacts to prevent the excess accumulation of copper in the body. On the other hand, low copper intake causes the body to react differently in order to protect the body from copper depletion.

In the same study, researchers discovered that water stored in copper pots was infused with amounts of copper at a range of 0.177 to 0.016 milligrams per liter. This amount was still well within the recommended limits set by the World Health Organization.

Copper and Zinc Imbalance

Copper and zinc amounts in the body must be in an equilibrium state, failing which the body may suffer from health issues. In the same study by Chan et al. mentioned above, trace element-deficient patients typically manifested symptoms such as malaise, loss of appetite, anemia, infection, skin lesions, and low-grade neuropathy. Symptoms for intoxication by trace elements include flu-like symptoms, fever, coughing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, and neuropathy.

One study by Russo investigated the connection between anxiety and decreased zinc levels and increased copper amounts. It was observed that participants with anxiety had higher copper and lower zinc levels compared to the control group. The participants were later given zinc supplementation, which put their copper/zinc levels into balance. The researchers observed significant improvements in the participants’ symptoms after the zinc therapy. They suggest that zinc supplementation may have the capacity to improve anxiety symptoms.

Conclusion

Copper and zinc are vital elements and important for brain development, respiration, removal of free radicals, production of energy, formation of connective tissues, and metabolism of oxygen and iron. It is critical to remember that the body must only absorb minimal amounts of copper and zinc. Too much or too little amounts of copper and zinc may lead to negative health effects.

There are many sources where you can obtain your daily amounts of copper and zinc. Copper water vessels have become an increasingly popular way to ensure that you are obtaining an optimal amount of copper on a daily basis.

Please also take note that this information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any health practices.

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Testing the Purity of Your Water

Testing the Purity of Your Water

Water is vital to our survival and is one of the most important resources in the world. It has many purposes, but the most essential of all is to keep us hydrated.

The human body is comprised of 60% water, and we can only survive three to four days without water. Water plays a crucial role in maintaining body temperature, lubricating the joints, and removing wastes. It cannot be stressed enough how important water is to our lives. The World Health Organization has even gone so far as to state that clean and safe drinking water is an essential human right.

Have you ever wondered if the water you are drinking is pure? One way to determine this is through special tests designed to analyze the quality of you water. In this article, we outline various water testing methods, some of which you can apply at home.

Why you Need Pure Water

The key reason why we need pure drinking water is to keep ourselves safe from health risks. Drinking clean water can help prevent various health issues, such as blood clots, heart disease, as well as mental and physical fatigue.

Consuming contaminated water can result in minimal physical impact to severe illness and even death. The effects vary with the type of contaminant and the age and overall well-being of the person. One can experience immediate reactions, such as nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Other effects can manifest long term and can lead to chronic health issues such as cancer, liver and kidney damage, nervous and immune system damage, and congenital disabilities.

Contaminants Found in Drinking Water

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes “contaminants” in the context of water as a “physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water.” The EPA also notes that water may contain a small amount of contaminants but not necessarily pose any health risk.

The contaminants in water are generally classified into four categories. The first type are physical contaminants that mainly affects the water’s physical appearance and other physical properties. Some examples of physical pollutants include sediments and organic materials that become suspended in the water.

The second type are chemical contaminants which come in the form of elements and compounds which can be organic or human-made. Some examples of chemical contaminants include nitrogen, bleach, salts, pesticides, and metals.

The third type are biological contaminants, which are organisms that live in the water. These are often microbes or microbiological organisms. Examples of these include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites.

The fourth type are radiological contaminants, which are chemical elements that have imbalanced protons and neutrons. These result in unstable atoms that can discharge ionizing radiation. Cesium, plutonium, and uranium are some examples of this type of contaminant.

Basic Criteria to Assess Water Purity

The EPA and the World Health Organization have created guidelines and standards for drinking-water quality. These guidelines set out the parameters of safe drinking water and identify the allowable amount of contaminants in drinking water.

However, these specifications are somewhat technical, and most people do not have all the tools necessary to accurately assess the level of contaminants in their drinking water.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help you evaluate the purity of your water. First, drinking water must be clean and clear, and never cloudy. If you notice a strange tint, such as an orange or brown tint, do not attempt to drink the water. This can be a sign that there is a high amount of iron or manganese in the water. This occurrence can be caused by rusting pipes, or mining and excavation activities near the water supply.

You should also smell your water to make sure it does not have any unpleasant scent. Public water treatment facilities often add a certain amount of chlorine to kill bacteria. However, if the chlorine smell is so strong that it resembles water from a swimming pool, then your water may be chemically contaminated. In addition, high sulfur content can cause your water to smell faintly of rotten eggs.

If any of these negative qualities are present in your water, then you probably already known that the water is not safe for drinking. Of course, these methods are somewhat simplistic and do not guarantee that your water is pure. Some contaminants are not able to be identified immediately through sight, smell or taste. You will get a more accurate result if you test the purity of the water.

Methods to Test Water Purity

If you have a limited budget and wish to test your water for chemical contaminants, there are three types of testing methods you can use.

One method is to use water test strips, which are small, single-use strips. Using test strips will provide you with a basic sense of the concentration level of a particular chemical in your water.

Water test strips are generally used by dipping them into the water sample. You then compare the results of the test strip against a color chart that is included in the kit to identify the concentration of the chemical you are testing for. If you are testing to determine whether you have alkaline water, you can use pH strips.

Another method is to use color disc kits. This involves adding a packet of powder or liquid reagent to a water sample that is placed in a tube. The kit usually includes a viewing box where you place tube, and a color disc where you can match the resulting color from the water sample.

The last method is to use handheld digital devices. These are also known as digital metering tools, colorimeters, and photometers. Although these tools are more accurate than the first two methods, they are also more expensive.

The above-noted tools can be used to test for chemical contaminants that may be present in the water, such as fluoride, nitrate, iron, and manganese. For fluoride testing, it is recommended that the color disc kit be used as this provides a more accurate result than test strips. It is also recommended that you test for other chemical contaminants such as lead, barium, aluminum, ammonia, uranium, silver, and potassium.

That said, there are some chemical contaminants, such as arsenic, that are best tested professionally by a laboratory or regional health department. You will generally need to comply with specific criteria and protocols set by the agency who will conduct the examination.

Testing for biological contaminants generally involves much more than dipping a test strip in a water sample. Some of the methods that are involved in testing biological contaminants include filtrating, culturing, and incubating, all of which are somewhat complicated processes.

Testing for radiological contaminants is similarly complicated. Since multiple radioactive isotopes can be present in your water, it may not be practical or efficient to test for all of them. Screening tests identify alpha and beta particles and follow specific guidelines, which a professional is best positioned to assist with.

Conclusion

Clean and safe water quality is essential to you and your family’s health. Various testing tools are available to test water quality. If, based on these tests, you feel that there is something wrong with your water, it is best to submit a water sample to the appropriate water testing agencies and laboratories who can conduct more extensive tests.

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