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 semipermeable 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).
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
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 semipermeable
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 different forms:
- 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 bioavailabiIity 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.
Doctor Joel Wallach
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