Updated: Sep 19, 2018
Overview and key points
The traditional concept of a cell is similar to 'bags of fluid', where cell water is similar to ordinary bulk water. The cell's structure is maintained by the cytoskeleton - a network of various proteins responsible for holding things in place and performing various other mechanical and structural functions. Outside of the cell is the extracellular matrix, further comprised of protein networks, glycosaminoglycans and preoteglycans. Bound water molecules provide protection against compression and serve the function of shock absorption. The role for electricity is confined to the movement of ions across membranes.
The living matrix is a term used to define "the continuous molecule fabric of the organism". It consists of all connective tissues, extracellular matrices, the intracellular cytoskeleton, nuclear matrices and DNA. It is the material which connects all parts of the body to every other part of the body. The organism cannot be compartmentalised into individual parts.
The proteins which make up the living matrix system are electronically active. In a similar way to modern-day technology, DNA and proteins such as tubulin, collagen, and potentially integrins are conductive and have the ability to semiconduct electrons. Protein conduction has been shown to increase when the protein is hydrated (bound to water).
Water in contact with hydrophillic surfaces (such as proteins) forms an ordered, gel-like phase known as the "exclusion one". The cell is dense with proteins, and most of the water is likely "gel-like". Charge separation of the water molecule yields areas dense with electrons which exclude solutes and protons. The distribution of charge forms a battery.
The water battery is charged by radiant energy (sunlight), and may act as a repository for electrons and protons to be used by the cell for biological work.
Water structuring and protein semiconduction appear to play vital roles in cell physiology, which includes performing tasks like energy production and the recycling of damaged cell components.
Traditional view of the cell
To attempt to comprehend the workings of complex living systems, it is imperative to first understand the basic anatomy and physiology of the cell (the fundamental ‘unit of life’). Hence, anyone who has had any training in biology is usually first taught about the individual cellular components, how they work together to perform tasks, and then about the cell's immediate surroundings.
During my studies, the textbooks I read depicted cells as watery bags of salty fluid. The organelles (which are the organs or machinery of the cell) were depicted as blobs which randomly float around, perhaps loosely bound in place by the cytoskeletal scaffolding. To give you an image of the way that the cell is depicted in most biology textbooks, take a look at the following diagram:
As you can see, the various internal components are depicted as being separated from one another by fluid. The fluid is called “cytosol” or "cytoplasm" (which means cell-water), and is supposedly prevented from spilling out of the cell by a water-proof fatty cell membrane. According to this model, the cytosol is not much different from ordinary bulk water. It is much like the stuff you would drink out of your cup, except that it contains a variety of solutes such as mineral ions and other materials. Its main role is as a “medium” for biochemical reactions to take place.
Holding all of the organelles in place is the scaffolding network, referred to as the cytoskeleton, which consists of microtubules, intermediate filaments, micro filaments and various other microstructures. These components are built up from protein such as actin and tubulin, and span the entire length of the cell.
The cytoskeleton’s main functions are to:
Determine the morphology of the cell (the shape and structure)
Facilitate cell polarity (the asymmetric distribution of various components throughout the cell)
Provide structural and mechanical strength to the cell
Act as an anchorage for other molecules, the membrane, and the organelles
Contribute to the motility and transport of substances throughout the cell
Extracellular matrix – the outside of the cell
Cells collectively make up tissues, but tissues are not solely composed of cells. In fact, a large portion of a tissue’s volume is actually the space in-between neighbouring cells. This is referred to as the “extracellular matrix”. The matrix is a complex network of proteins and polysaccharides (such as glycosaminoglycans – chondroitin, heparan, keratin sulfate etc) interwoven together to form a tight web which surrounds each individual cell. Proteins fibres such as collagen, elastin, fibronectin and laminin provide structural stability to the scaffolding network. The polysaccharide glycosaminoglycans may be bound with protein to form highly negatively charged proteoglycans, responsible for binding large quantities of water to form hydration layers within connective tissue. This gel is said to protect the areas against compressive mechanical forces, while the proteins are said to provide strength and resilience to the structural framework. All in all, the major roles of the extracellular matrix are proposed to be of a structural and mechanical nature.
In a general kind of way, it can be said that the traditional model of cell physiology compartmentalises the living system into individual, separate components. The workings of a cell are assumed to be mostly based on biochemical reactions and mechanical forces, and the role of electricity is largely confined to the movement of charged particles (such as mineral ions) across membranes.
It should be known, however, that this model is probably quite inaccurate. To the contrary, more recent research indicates that many of the functions of the cell are actually more fundamentally based on biophysical mechanisms.
Introduction to “The Living Matrix”
Researchers in the field of biophysics have elucidated the workings of an infinitely complex system that is referred to by some as “the living matrix”. This term refers to the abundant connective material which connects every single cell to one another. It is the only part which has direct contact with all other parts of the body system. Every tissue and every organ is embedded within this dense, interwoven network.
Oschman et al., 2015
All connective tissue fibres form extracellular matrices, which run on to form direct connections to the plasma membrane of every single cell via integrin proteins. Integrins (integral membrane proteins) traverse the membrane and attach onto the cytoskeletal architecture which is pervasive within the cell. Each organelle is in close association with the aforementioned structure, including the nucleus and its own associated protein matrix. So, in other words, everything is interconnected. A matrix is embedded within a matrix within a matrix, forming one continuous network.
According to James Oschman PhD (2009) :
"The living matrix is defined as the continuous molecular fabric of the organism, consisting of fascia, the other connective tissues, extracellular matrices, integrins, cytoskeletons, nuclear matrices and DNA. The extracellular, cellular and nuclear biopolymers or ground substances constitute a body-wide reservoir of charge that can maintain electrical homeostasis and “inflammatory preparedness” throughout the organism."
The cytoskeletal matrix: microtubules (green) & actin (red) - Wikimedia Commons
While it is the fundamental material that the human body is made of, this matrix system is vastly under recognised by western biomedicine. The conventional paradigm regards the matrix merely as a structural component responsible for 'holding things together' and keeping cells from falling apart. This erroneous view stems from the notion that the study of human physiology primarily lies within the domains of molecular biology and biochemistry.
However, the various macromolecular components that make up this vast ensemble possess biophysical properties which appear to have profound significance for biocommunication and energy transfer.
The flow of electricity within the organism is generally accepted to be carried by charged particles like mineral ions. Ions are elemental particles which may hold a positive charge (a cation), or hold a negative charge (an anion). An example of this is the sodium ion (Na+) and the chloride ion (Cl-). Mineral ions such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium ions are utilised in a vast array of physiological processes. The current flow of charged mineral ions through cellular structures alters the electrical state (or potential energy), and in doing so, may initiate or inhibit certain actions. In biological systems, it is generally accepted that this ionic flow is the main form of electricity used.
On the other hand, technology such as that used in mobile phones and computers operates in a different way. Instead of using the flow of mineral ions to perform its functions, it utilises the flow of electrons across a crystalline lattice via a process called semi-conduction.
Here is a short explanation of semiconduction taken from Wikipedia:
"Semiconductors are crystalline or amorphous solids with distinct electrical characteristics. They are of high resistance — higher than typical resistance materials, but still of much lower resistance than insulators. Their resistance decreases as their temperature increases, which is behaviour opposite to that of a metal.
Finally, their conducting properties may be altered in useful ways by the deliberate, controlled introduction of impurities (“doping”) into the crystal structure, which lowers its resistance but also permits the creation of semiconductor junctions between differently-doped regions of the extrinsic semiconductor crystal.The behaviour of charge carriers which include electrons, ions and electron holes at these junctions is the basis of diodes, transistors and all modern electronics.
Semiconductor devices can display a range of useful properties such as passing current more easily in one direction than the other, showing variable resistance, and sensitivity to light or heat. Because the electrical properties of a semiconductor material can be modified by doping, or by the application of electrical fields or light, devices made from semiconductors can be used for amplification, switching, and energy conversion. "
The hopping of electrons across silicon semiconductor chips means that the current can be modulated, and allows both energy and information to be transferred at extremely high speeds. Semiconductors are capable of storing energy, amplifying or attenuating signals, and filtering information.
For a basic understanding of semiconduction, you can watch this short video:
It was once believed that semiconduction was only possible in inorganic structures. However, recent research has indicated that biological structures are, in fact, capable of semiconduction. This concept was originally proposed by Nobel laureate Albert-Szent Gyorgyi, and was further studied by various other researchers throughout the 20th century. Dr Robert O. Becker famously discovered the semiconducting properties of bone tissue, and it is now established among many scientists that the structural characteristics of proteins possess semiconducting properties.
Microtubules, one of the primary components of the cell’s cytoskeleton, are made from polymerized tubulin (a protein which may be able to intrinsically facilitate the flow of electrons via semiconduction). Several theories of microtubule conductance have been proposed, ranging from ionic conductivity along the outer ring, intrinsic conductivity via tubulin bands, and proton jump conduction through the inner portion of the microtubule.
The authors of one paper concluded:
“considering their semiconductor and machine-like properties, microtubules may be used as basic materials to build molecular electronic devices. Microtubules appear to possess a crystal symmetry-based code system which may be used in biological and future technological computing.”
Additionally, research has also demonstrated efficient electrical conductance in the DNA molecule. According to the author “the resistivity values [of DNA] are comparable to those of conducting polymers, and indicate that DNA transports electrical current as efficiently as a good semiconductor.” Protonic conduction has been found for keratin, cytochrome c, and haemoglobin proteins.
Integrins are transmembrane proteins which connect the outside of the cell with the inside of the cell. They make contact with interior proteins (such as plectin), which further connect to the cytoskeleton. On the outside, fibronectin strands join the integrin complexes to the extracellular matrix. The integrins are the intersection point between the extracellular matrix and the intracellular space. Whilst there is not much research on integrin conductivity, one recent study demonstrated significant electrical conductance in an integrin protein called alphaVbeta3.
Collagen is the most abundant protein of the body and makes up a large portion of the connective tissue and extracellular matrix, or “fascia”. Collagen fibres are composed of peptide chains intertwined to form triple helixes, which are further arranged in highly regular arrays.
Collagen Fibers - Wikimedia Commons
In the body, collagen is tightly bound with water (which makes up 60-70% of collagen’s weight). When hydrated, the collagen helix has demonstrated significant electrical conduction rates. Furthermore, collagen is piezoelectric , which means that when it is subject to mechanical pressure, it generates electrical charge. Similarly, it is also pyroelectric, meaning that electrical charge can also be generated in response to temperature changes.
Collectively, this information paints a very interesting picture of human physiology. The proteins mentioned above make up the biggest portion of the connective tissue and associated matrix-fascial system, which in turn make up the majority of body tissues. Far from simply being a ‘structural element’, it seems as though it could be likened more to an electronic circuit.
The author of one paper sums up the situation up nicely:
“there is a mechanical tensegrity system formed by connections from the extracellular matrix through the integrins to the cytoskeleton and nuclei of cells. This system is primarily made up of bionanowires such as collagen, actin, and MTs, and is connected by integrins through the cellular membrane, and other supporting linking proteins such as MAP2 and fibronectin. As hypothesized by Oschman (1984) and Ho (1997), this system creates a “living matrix” of semiconducting macromolecules that are able to transmit, store, and process information involved in regulation.”
The role of water
Life is water dancing to the tune of macromolecules ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Recall that water found inside the body is generally regarded as similar to bulk liquid water.
Well, research over the past two decades has highlighted significant differences between bulk-liquid water and the water found within us. In fact, much of the water inside the body is most likely gel-like (Pollack, 2003). The work of Dr Gerald Pollack and colleagues has shown that water in contact with hydrophilic surfaces forms “exclusion zones”. The exclusion zone represents a low entropy, ordered gel-like phase which closely resembles a liquid crystal and is capable of excluding materials. Its properties place it somewhere in-between the distinction of solid and liquid. Similar models have been proposed by several other researchers including Emilio Del Guidice’s “Coherent Domains” and Gilbert Ling’s “Polarized Multilayered Water”.
(Kundacina, Shi & Pollack, 2016)
This special kind of water is formed by the charge separation of water molecules into positively charged and negatively charged components. The exclusion zone gel forms on the surfaces of hydrophilic materials and is dense with negatively charged electrons. On the outer edge of the gel are positively charged protons which have been effectively pushed out, or “excluded”. The distribution of negative charge and positive charge on either side creates a battery.
(Seneff et al, 2015)
All batteries need an external source of energy to recharge, and so it was discovered that this 'water battery' actually uses light to do so. Incident radiant energy in the UV, visible, and near-infrared parts of the light spectrum induce growth of the exclusion zone battery. Infrared frequencies are capable of building the exclusion by up to three-fold. For a comprehensive overview of this material and the concepts surrounding it, see Gerald Pollack’s book “The Fourth Phase of Water”. For a brief introduction, this lecture is a good place to start:
How is this applicable to biology?
There is probably not much “free” water floating around in the cell... because most of it is bound up with proteins. The interior of the cell is dense with protein networks, all of which have hydrophilic surfaces suitable for building exclusion zone water. Similarly the extracellular matrix and connective tissue matrix is also built of protein with similar characteristics. Therefore, it is highly likely that the surrounding water is structured, and not 'free' cell water. And so it would appear that the human system potentially operates in a similar way to photosynthesis in plants, where biological surfaces may effectively act like solar panels and photons from sunlight can be harnessed to provide real, tangible energy.
Imaging techniques using polarised light microscopy have demonstrated that organisms have liquid crystalline domains (Ho ,1996), further supporting the notion of structured water within the organism.
Experiments demonstrated that when the albumin protein was hydrated with water, its conductivity increased by up to eight orders of magnitude. Based on this, it has been theorised that water may be necessary for the electronic conductivity observed in proteins. Water has also been suggested to support proton conduction (Gascoyne et al., 1981). It is therefore possible that structured water bound with matrix proteins such as collagen, tubulin, actin, myosin and elastin can act as a biological battery. This structure may act as a repository for both electrons and protons, capable of donating these charge carriers to facilitate biochemical reactions and be put to biological use.
Oschman notes in his paper titled "Charge transfer in the living matrix":
"While electrons flow through the protein backbone (electricity), protons flow through the water layer. Mitchell (1976) referred to this proton flow as ‘‘proticity.’’ Various degrees of coupling between electron and proton flows are possible."
Two intracellular examples of possible electron and proton use
The intracellular organelles responsible for producing the biological energy carrier molecule, ATP, are called mitochondria. The production of ATP relies on a process called “the electron-transport chain”, which involves various electron-transferring redox reactions coupled with the flow of protons across the mitochondrial membrane to synthesise ATP. The availability of electrons and protons is necessary for ATP synthesis.
The mitochondria is directly connected to the cell’s actin cytoskeleton, and so it has been proposed that proton and electron transfer through the matrix system could theoretically be utilised for the synthesis of the ATP molecule and for the maintenance of the mitochondria.
Lysosomal degradation of cellular debris
Lysosomes are organelles which are used to digest damaged components or toxic metabolic byproducts within the cell, and are involved in a process called autophagy (protein recycling). An extremely acidic pH within the lysosomal capsule is necessary for breaking down materials. Interestingly enough, lysosomes are also attached to the cytoskeleton, and Dr Seneff has hypothesised that it may be the source of protons needed to maintain the acidity.
The Mineral Power for Your Body’s Electrical Supply
Stephanie Seneff - TEDxNewYorkSalon - Youtube
In the paper titled "A novel hypothesis for atherosclerosis as a cholesterol sulfate deficiency syndrome", Dr Seneff and colleagues go on to state:
"We hypothesize that the cytoskeleton also facilitates the transport of both electrons and protons, taking advantage of the water CDs to induce a magnetic field promoting proton and electron currents, thus sustaining the cell’s membrane voltage gradient. Similar ion transport to and from cytoplasmic organelles such as mitochondria (which must maintain a highly basic pH) and lysosomes (which must maintain a highly acidic pH) is likely also maintained by the cytoskeleton. The actin cytoskeleton has been shown to be integrally linked to both lysosomes and mitochondria. If these organelles are unable to maintain their extreme pH values, they will fail to function and the cell will be disabled.”
The next article in this series will introduce sulfated glycosaminoglycans and their role in structuring extracellular water. It will also focus on the mechanisms proposed by Dr Seneff and colleagues to explain sulfate's role in maintaining healthy blood flow.
Kundacina N, Shi M, Pollack GH. Effect of Local and General Anesthetics on Interfacial Water. Chin W-C, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(4):e0152127. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152127.
Gascoyne PR, Pethig R, Szent-Györgyi A. Water structure-dependent charge transport in proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1981;78(1):261-265.
Ho, MW. Bioenergetics and the Coherence of Organisms. Science in Society. 1995. [Accessed online: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/prague.php]
G. H. Pollack, "Cells, gels and the engines of life: a fresh paradigm for cell function," IEEE EMBS Asian-Pacific Conference on Biomedical Engineering, 2003., 2003, pp. 14-18.doi: 10.1109/APBME.2003.1302562
Oschman, JL. Charge transfer in the living matrix. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2009
Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Journal of Inflammation Research. 2015;8:83-96. doi:10.2147/JIR.S69656.
Seneff S, Davidson RM, Lauritzen A, Samsel A, Wainwright G. A novel hypothesis for atherosclerosis as a cholesterol sulfate deficiency syndrome. Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling. 2015;12:9. doi:10.1186/s12976-015-0006-1.