Image by Martin Str from Pixabay

In Dr Gerald Pollack’s groundbreaking book, “The Fourth Phase of Water”, he reveals as the title suggests, that there is a fourth phase of water beyond solid, liquid, and gas.

The fourth phase is somewhere between solid and liquid; it’s a gel-like substance called Exclusion Zone, or EZ water, so named for its propensity to exclude most solutes from within its structure. Hydrophilic (or water-loving: i.e. generally positively charged) surfaces initiate the process of EZ formation from liquid water, such that water molecules organize themselves in sheets of a honeycomb-like structure, stacked slightly out of “register” with one another such that one sheet can slip and slide over another like a gel. This structure itself is what excludes solutes, even ions; in fact, the structure’s electrostatic attractions are so strong that they even dislodge some of water’s own hydrogen molecules, leading to a charge separation between the EZ water (which thus ends up negatively charged), and the bulk water beyond, where those displaced hydrogens congregate. 

Thus, EZ water stores energy in two distinct ways: by converting disorderly bulk water to order, and by charge separation.

This makes EZ water, essentially, a battery. 

EZ Water In Your Body

Your body is about 60% water, including both the intracellular and extracellular fluid. Extracellular fluid primarily flows through either your blood vessels or your lymphatic channels—both of which are hydrophilic surfaces.

Inside of your cells, water content gets up to 70%, and the surfaces inside your cells are also hydrophilic.

That means the water inside your body is primarily EZ water… or at least it should be. There are some variables that can grow or shrink this phase of water within your body. 

Why Does EZ Water Promote Health? 

Our body’s proteins are not just a sequence of amino acids. Once the appropriate sequence is achieved, the protein must fold into its own unique three-dimensional structure, which then determines the protein’s function. The way the protein folds is based on the electrostatic attractions and repulsions of its constituent amino acids, as well as of the surrounding environment. If the normal environment is EZ water, and there’s more bulk water than EZ water in the environment instead, protein mis-folding can result. This means that those proteins will be less efficient at their tasks at best, and toxic to the body at worst. 

Another possible reason why EZ water might be critical for health, as Pollack postulates in his earlier book, “Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life”, is because charge separation is what drives nearly every physiologic process in the body: muscle contraction (skeletal and smooth muscle), nerve conduction, ATP production, etc. Traditional physiology has always supposed that these charge separations were maintained via channels and pumps, specific to each individual ion. Pollack argues instead that such charge separation may in fact be a byproduct of the exclusion zones themselves. If this is the case, then EZ water may have even more profound implications for physiologic function. 

Due to the charge separation produced between EZ and bulk water as the former grows, the EZ also functions as a ready source to quench free radicals, and thus protect against oxidative stress.

Finally, this study suggests that, due to its exclusionary properties, the EZ may help to repel foreign invaders, such as pathogenic bacteria, from cellular penetration as well. 

The bottom line is that EZ deficiency impairs health, while growth of the EZ within the body repairs it. 

What Causes the EZ to Grow?

In “The Fourth Phase of Water,” the primary laboratory mechanism used for EZ growth was infrared light. This is very interesting, as of course infrared light is part of the sun’s spectrum. This is another terrific reason why we feel so much better when we’re out in nature, and particularly on a sunny day: the infrared light causes the EZ water within our bodies to expand.

Another source of infrared light are infrared saunas. In addition to the detoxification afforded from sweating, the infrared light itself helps to super-charge your cells. 

As EZ water is essentially a battery, various kinds of energy can provide the initial charge. Ultrasound works too. 

Changes in pH can affect the EZ as well—while the bulk water will be relatively acidic, having received the protons from the EZ water, the EZ itself will be comparatively alkaline. This is another possible mechanism for why alkalinity is beneficial. 

I wonder if this is also the reason why negative ions—say, from a waterfall, or from forest bathing—might be so health-promoting: perhaps these also contribute to the negatively charged EZ growth. (Conversely, EMF tends to trigger positive charge disruption in the body. Might this diminish the EZ, and contribute to its detrimental effects?)

At least via laboratory testing, health-promoting substances such as the adaptogen holy basil, probiotics, coconut water, and turmeric tend to grow the EZ. So do aspirin and tylenol at low doses, but they tend to diminish it at higher doses, suggesting that they may operate hormetically. 

(I do wonder whether these substances would still directly grow the EZ in vivo, simply because they’d have to pass through the digestive system first.)

For reasons that are unclear to me (given their hydrophobic status), healthy fats, such as ghee, coconut oil, and clarified butter, also build large EZs.

What Causes the EZ to Diminish?

This study showed that glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, unequivocally shrank the EZ.  

This study shows that anesthesia does the same—and indeed, if anesthetics work by blocking nerve signals which are propagated via ion gradient changes, it’s possible that diminishing the EZ is actually the mechanism by which they do their job. 

If antioxidants help to promote EZ growth, and the EZ itself can quench oxidative stress, then it stands to reason that oxidative stress would serve to diminish the EZ. This would certainly include EMF, as mentioned above. 

Surely, if you lack the raw material to build EZ (water, that is), then you’ll likewise end up with less of it. Therefore, dehydration should also contribute to a diminished EZ. And along those lines, if you’re drinking plenty of water, but you can’t get it inside your cells (such as with Reverse Osmosis or distilled water), it won’t do those cells a great deal of good… therefore, adequate electrolytes should also be necessary for EZ growth. 

The Upshot

I doubt that EZ growth is the only reason why these healthy and unhealthy activities and substances have the effects that they do—the body is an intricate feedback system, after all. Nudge it in one place, and you’ll get twenty-five downstream effects. But the concept of EZ water does seem pretty fundamental–a potential paradigm shift–with some wide-ranging implications.