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It is said that anions are good for health.

Instead of using an anion generator, can I get anions by touching the negative electrode of a battery?

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closed as off-topic by Dilaton, Qmechanic Aug 7 '13 at 12:59

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Just because someone said something doesn't mean it's true. "ions are good for health" is basically meaningless, like saying "atoms are good for health". You should ask about your first sentence on skeptics.stackexchange.com –  endolith May 7 '12 at 17:49

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unless you attach the two battery to a very fine wire with a tiny, tiny break (so that it will spark), there is not a strong enough electric field to efficiently ionize atoms. But even if there were, the resulting ions would recombine with free electrons very quickly and are not considered "anions". To have actual anions, you want a solution with equal amounts of anions and cations like NaCl water (salt water), which has Na+ and Cl- floating around.

The only way to ingest a solution with an imbalance of anions (negatively charged thingies), is if the positively charged compensator is a component of water, or "H+". This means drinking anions is drinking any acid, and your mouth will tell you, because it has an acidity detector--- sour-taste.

So to ingest anions, just drink any sour water solution. Lemon-juice, vinegar, carbolic acid, anything else that's not poisonous. It's unlikely to benefit your health, as the "positive effects of drinking acid" is probably pseudoscience traceable to the days where vitamin C was unidentified, the cause of scurvy was unknown, and it was supposed to be cured by "acidity", or drinking sour stuff. Inasmuch as the usual edible sour stuff includes lots of vitamin C, this works.

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1  
At the risk of taking this topic more seriously than it deserves, isn't the idea to breath in negative electric charge? I have a vague recollection of gadgets designed to create a negatively charged aerosol. –  John Rennie Apr 26 '12 at 7:20
    
But you'll neutralize this by a spark in an instant. The point is not to charge you up negatively, you could do that by touching a van-der-Graaf generator. The point is to get you a bunch of acidic anions into your system, which are neutralized by the acid protons. It's an old health-remedy, essentially a variation on Pauling's anti-oxidant vitamin C business, expanded to all acidic things. –  Ron Maimon Apr 26 '12 at 9:40

[edit] As this answer was mainly wrong, I'll change it into more of a comment.[/edit]

I would like to know who says anions are good for your health, as I typed it into google and got a page saying how anions counteract the effects of smoking, are an anti-depressant, help you sleep better and give you a positive attitude. All of which are more than likely placebo and I would expect that any of the health benefits would be disproved in a good double blinded study.

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I've removed the numerical part, although I still think that the amount of energy in a battery has some relevance. I am surprised that it would be possible to create anions with only a small voltage, as I thought it would be around the same energy that is required to strip electrons from an atom. –  Ian G Apr 26 '12 at 11:28
    
The answer wasn't so bad, it was nice, but you just used the total energy in the battery in MJ/kg, which is irrelevant, and is not the same as voltage, and certainly not the same as electric field. You do need a high voltage to ionize--- something like 1,000's of volts--- but only a small energy. If you make an atomic-sized filament you can probably ionize with a few dozen volts, although exactly how much I don't know. The statement you make above about the voltage is fine. –  Ron Maimon Apr 26 '12 at 13:43
    
The point I was trying to make was that it takes a small amount of energy to ionise an atom, but to ionise enough atoms to make a difference would be more than what you find in a battery. –  Ian G Apr 26 '12 at 16:57
    
I see! That makes more sense. Sorry for misunderstanding. I saw ingestion of anions as drinking acid. –  Ron Maimon Apr 26 '12 at 21:14
    
Ions of what? –  endolith May 7 '12 at 17:52

Why go with a battery, wouldn't frictional electrostatic interactions accomplish the same? A better question would be to ask if all anions are equivalent in a biological system? The answer seems to be no (from experiment).

Biologists make up random stuff and will probably give you a sh## answer.

This may accrue a ton of -1's but I've just got to get this off my chest!

Offtopic: I am so tired of being forced to sit through bio talks that I'm gonna interrupt the next one and ask the guy WTF is this BS??? What in the MFing world is AMPQ-TGBR receptor and why the hell would you put up a Metro map with 20 billion arrows on the FIRST slide?????...and why the Fk did somebody invite a bio person to the MFing PHYSICS DEPARTMENT?!!!!!!!!!! FFS.....give me a break!!!!!!! I am going to go jump off a building right now.

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Hi Antillar: I realize you are trying to make a point, but this answer is insincere. Also, what is AMPQ-TGBR receptor, and is it related to anions? In general, you are not too far off about biologists (and all people really), but regarding this particular question, they will probably say the same thing as anyone else: battery doesn't generate anions, not enough voltage in a not small enough space, as has been explained in other answers. This is not a good answer, but not because of the swearing and ranting (not my downvote BTW, I think this is cute). –  Ron Maimon Apr 26 '12 at 15:06
    
Sorry OP. I just made it up. In fact this is how it feels after sitting through bio talks. Ron, you might enjoy this-->google.com/… –  Antillar Maximus Apr 26 '12 at 18:05
    
+1 for the offtopic part which improved my english at the same time. I need more dicts >< –  Xiè Jìléi Apr 27 '12 at 5:37

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