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
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,
- 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).
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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
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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