Natra-Ag Zeolite – The Raw Ingredient

Natra-Ag Zeolite – the Raw Ingredient

Zeolite that has been micronised using the Fine Powder Processing system.  This mirconises  down to a very small particle size – averaging 10 microns, smaller particle size compared to conventional micronising practices.

What is Zeolite?

Zeolite, technically a mineral, consists of alternating Silica Tetra Oxide and Aluminum Tetra Oxide crystals that arrange themselves in a lattice-like configuration. The compound has a negative electrostatic charge, while toxic heavy metals have a positive charge. Zeolite thus provides an extensive negatively charged surface area that can attract and bind positively charged toxic metals.

The Zeolite-metal complex is then excreted from the body. The Aluminium is locked-in to the Zeolite structure and is not retained within your body. Zeolites have been used extensively in water processing, have been shown to be of value in bacterial diarrhoea (it binds to bacterial toxins too), and are now being used in animals and humans. Zeolite is less potent chelator than the chemical agents such as EDTA (known as Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), DMSA (known as Dimercaptosuccinic acid), and DMPS (known as 2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid).

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Zeolites are hydrated alum-inosilicate mineral combinations, which have a unique “open” micro porous molecular structure often, described as a honeycomb.

There are many forms of Zeolite. In fact, there are 48 naturally occurring Zeolites known and more than 150 synthesised Zeolite types.  Pure Clinoptilolite Zeolite is the one recommended for human and domestic animal health.  New Zealand Zeolite is a blend of Clinoptilolite and Mordenite – Natra-Ag suitable for gardens, roses, vineyards and lifestyle farms.

How is Zeolites Formed?

Natural Zeolites form where volcanic ash layers react with alkaline groundwater. Typically, Zeolite crystals are found in shallow, saline marine basins that have formed over periods of millions of years.

The slow leaching of chemicals over time through mineral water create this family of micro porous solids that act as molecular sieves which are natural chelators, having the ability to be used as tools for cation exchange.

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Natural Zeolites have the advantage over synthetic Zeolites of having superior crystalline structures with “pores” or “cages” of dimensions suitable for many varied purposes. The carrying dimensions of the “cages” increase with time and purity of the surrounding environment. The cleaner the surrounding environment is, the more pure the Zeolite remains.

The Cation Exchange Capacity

Zeolites are also often referred to as molecular sieves. The term ‘molecular sieve’ refers to the particular unique property of Zeolites in their ability to selectively sort molecules based primarily on their size and electrochemical charge. The fact that the Zeolites were formed from alkaline salts has imparted in them a natural, strong, negative charge, called its cation exchange capacity ‘CEC’. Each deposit has its own different CEC that is peculiar to that particular Zeolite deposit.

The possibility to attract and hold positively charged cations at ease through their open cage structure gives Zeolites their great advantage to act as natural sieves or filters for many heavy metal cations and other molecules that carry positive charges. To use a layman’s explanation it has an action similar to a magnet attracting iron filings and holding them there.

The CEC is measured in milliequivalents per 100 grams [meq/100g]. This measurement is expressing the negative charge of the structure (cage) so that there is a difference between the amount of the positive charged [i.e. 1+, 2+, 3+] cations and molecules that are needed to balance (neutralise) the cage’s negative charge.

The higher the negative charge the higher the CEC. The higher the CEC the stronger the attraction and the more cations and other positively charged molecules that can be held in the cages.

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Natural Zeolites can accommodate a wide variety of cations, for example the heavy metals Aluminium, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Copper, Barium, Iron, Zinc, Chromium and others such as Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and many other molecules which carry a positive charge. These positive ions are rather loosely held and can readily be exchanged for others in a contact solution.

The Structure of Zeolite

What makes Zeolite so unique is its rigid structure, which is arranged in an ordered, matrix configuration resembling a bee’s honeycomb. The microscopic channels, cavities, pores, cells, or cages (we will call them cages as they trap molecules), which form this intricate honeycomb structure, are usually uniform in shape and size. As the Zeolites are microporous crystalline solids they usually have a well-defined geometric framework (honeycombs) such as the two shown below.

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A defining feature of all Zeolites is that they are insoluble and are composed of a stable combination of silicon, aluminum and oxygen in their frameworks. Most Zeolites are made up of 4-connected networks of atoms, called a tetrahedral. A tetrahedral is formed with a silicon atom in the middle and oxygen atoms at the corners.

These tetrahedral can then be linked together by their corners (see illustration below) to from a variety of beautiful structures. The framework structure may contain the linked cages, which are of the right size to allow smaller molecules to enter – i.e. the limiting cage sizes are roughly between 3 and 10 Å in diameter.

Zeo3This is due to a very regular pore structure of the cage’s molecular dimensions. The maximum size of the molecular or cation that can enter the cages of a Zeolite is controlled by the diameters of the cages. These are conventionally defined by the ring size of the aperture, where, for example, the term ‘8ring’ refers to a closed loop that is built from eight tetrahedral coordinated silicon (or aluminum) atoms and eight oxygen atoms.

These rings are not always perfectly flat and symmetrical due to a variety of effects, including pressures during formation and the strain induced by the bonding between units that are needed to produce the overall structure, or coordination of some of the oxygen atoms of the rings to cations within the structure. Therefore, the cage openings are not always identical in natural Zeolites and that gives them their great versatility in dealing with many different molecules.