Colloidal (Kol-oid-al) chemistry is not new, but it is not widely known
about or understood by the general public. Simply said, a colloid refers to
a substance that exists as ultra-fine particles that are suspended in a medium
of different matter. The colloidal state is the state of a solute (mineral
or other substance such as a paint pigment) in a solution when its molecules
do not separate into atoms as with a true solution (sodium chloride or salt
separates into separate sodium and chloride atoms while in solution), but
rather they remain grouped together to form solute particles.
The presence of these inorganic colloidal particles,
which are approximately one hundred-thousandth to one ten-millionth of a centimeter
in diameter (about 400 thousandths to four millionths of an inch), can often
be detected by means of an electron microscope. As a result of the grouping
of the molecules, a solute in the colloidal state cannot pass through a suitable
semi permeable membrane and gives rise to negligible osmotic pressure (they
will pass through filter paper), depression of freezing point and elevation
of boiling point effects.
These ultra-fine particles of the colloid are just barely larger than most
molecules and so small they can't be seen with the naked eye - about one billion
of these colloid particles would fit into a cubic 0.01 of an inch.
The "solution" part of a colloid provides a solid, gas or liquid medium
in which the colloid particles are suspended. The suspended particles in a
colloid can also be a solid, a gas or a liquid
Solutions were classified by H Freundlich (1925) into three categories:
- True solutions
- Colloidal solutions
- Emulsions and suspensions.
The four part method of classifying solutions is as follows:
- Identify particle size.
- Determine presence of Brownian movement (random movement of particles
suspended in liquids or gasses resulting from the impact of molecules of
the fluid surrounding the particles).
- Ability to pass through filter paper.
- Level of solubility
In 1975, S. S. Voyutsky (a Russian) wrote the classic text on colloidal
chemistry. Voyutsky referred to solutions as "molecular dispersion systems"
and "heterogeneous highly dispersed colloidal systems."
The exact point between the molecular and colloidal degrees of dispersion
cannot be established because the transition from molecularly dispersed systems
to coarsely dispersed systems is a continuous range.
A colloidal system must have three basic characteristics:
- It must be heterogeneous (consists of dissimilar ingredients or constituents).
- The system must be multi-phasic (i.e. solid/liquid, gas/liquid, etc.).
- The particles must be insoluble (do not dissolve in the solution).
Each one of these classifications interunique qualities. The interesting
thing about colloids is that they remain heterogeneous, multi-phasic and
insoluble at different concentrations as long as a larger number if not
all of the particles are within the range of sizes of colloids ( In to 100n).
The molecular groups or particles of the colloid solute carry a resultant
electrical charge, generally of the same sign (negative) for all of the
particles. A small percentage of these inorganic colloids will pass through
the intestine of a living animal or human because a natural chelating process
takes place in the gut in the presence of protein-containing food.
Inorganic colloidal material which readily passes through filter paper
may be separated from dissolved substances, such as starch, sugar or salt,
by placing the mixture of mineral colloid and non colloid in a parchment
shell surrounded by distilled water. The inorganic colloids are "too large"
to pass through the membrane, but the molecules of salt, starch and sugar
or any other dissolved substance pass readily through the semi permeable
membrane (they separate into individual atoms or very small molecules).
This kind of separation process is called dialysis.
In the process of digestion the inorganic minerals in food or supplements
soon become inorganic colloids and as an inorganic colloid they cannot penetrate
the intestinal wall to enter the blood stream. In the presence of amino
acids a small percentage of the inorganic colloids form Chelated minerals
and organic colloids which are able to be dialyzed through the mucus membranes
of the intestinal walls into the blood stream - this form of bio available
mineral state is known as a "crystalloid."
Crystalloids or organic colloids readily pass through cell walls, while
non-organic colloids are "too large." Additionally we must remember that
in the living organism there are other physiological forces at work which
interfere with or modify the expected osmotic phenomenon.
Colloidal mineral supplements and commercial colloids are found in four
- Unprotected colloids are made of bare "rock flour," this is the form
of inorganic metallic colloid found in sea bed minerals, clays, "soils,"
and "Glacial Milk." This form of inorganic colloid is in fact a metallic
mineral and is only available to plants when there is a healthy soil population
of bacteria and fungi.
- The second type of mineral colloid is found in the living systems
of bacteria, fungi, green plants (food crops), animals and humans and
is coated by a water loving (hydrophilic) substance such as gelatin, albumin,
albuminoids, or collagen. This coating protects the now "organic mineral
colloid" and allows it to be a crystalloid for absorption, storage and
physiological uses and thus maximizing its bioavailability to 98 %.
- The third type of organic mineral colloid has a protective coating
of carbon with a molecular chain length of 10 to 12 carbon atoms. This
type of colloid is also found in bacteria, fungi, plants (including some
forms of petrified wood), animals and humans and is thought to be the
most stable form of natural organic mineral colloid.
- The fourth type of mineral colloid is not found in nature, but rather
is manufactured industrially by coating the metallic colloid with sulfated
castor oil ( lipophillic or fat or oil loving) to form commercial detergents.
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