Are Negative Ions Good For You?

Do negative air ions improve mood, anxiety, depression, alertness?
Part of this video was sponsored by LastPass, click here to find out more:
Special thanks to Prof. Jack Beauchamp and Dr. Nathan Dalleska from Caltech for all their help running these experiments and discussing the research. For more, check out the links below:
If you want to dig into the research on negative ions yourself, I suggest starting with the review studies:
Air ions and mood outcomes: a review and meta-analysis.
Perez V, Alexander DD, Bailey WH.
BMC Psychiatry. 2013 Jan 15;13:29.
Air ions and respiratory function outcomes: a comprehensive review
Dominik D Alexander, William H Bailey, Vanessa Perez, Meghan E Mitchell, and Steave Su
J Negat Results Biomed. 2013; 12: 14.
Exposure of laboratory animals to small air ions: a systematic review of biological and behavioral studies.
Bailey WH, Williams AL, Leonhard MJ.
Biomed Eng Online. 2018 Jun 5; 17(1):72.
Thumbnail photography by Raquel Nuno
VFX by Alan Chamberlain
Sound recording by Whitney Clavin
Motion Graphics by Charlie Kilman
Music from Epidemic Sound: "Capture a Picture 1" and "Seaweed"


  • I'm kinda disappointed since I just had a salt lamp. But its good to know more information anyway. :) Thanks! Also, I remember when your channel was only down to 100k and now youre on 5.1M :O Great job!!

    micanikkomicanikkoVor 47 Minuten
  • 15minutes with veritasium is always worth it irrespective of subject. thanks for not disappointing us!

    happy new yearhappy new yearVor Stunde
  • Love the show but I'm sorry you didn't answer the question posed by your video, "Are Negative Ions Good For You?" You basically said all the studies were in some way flawed which raises larger questions about the way in which the scientific method is being conducted these days. You didn't propose or better yet set up a decent study to actually find out if people are positively affected by negative ions. You gave us speculation on the improbability of the effects of ions then capped it off with a lecture to exercise. I'm a little disappointed with you buddy.

    Lonnie SmithLonnie SmithVor Stunde
  • *Did yöu löök intö gröunding?*

    Seth SerdynskiSeth SerdynskiVor Stunde
  • Nicely made and produced. Thanks

    Mike KleinsteuberMike KleinsteuberVor Stunde
  • Wow, so this is why people love to be around the ocean, waterfalls, and salt lamps. Besides beauty and intrigue. Super interesting. Good stuff!

    Jonny B LibertyJonny B LibertyVor 2 Stunden
  • What park is that?

    antismaticantismaticVor 3 Stunden
  • 1:18 the f*** did he just say about serotonin!!! I can assure you it's NOT the primary neurotransmitter, that award goes to glutamate, with GABA in second place. he is spewing verbal diarrhea.

    the gamer legendsthe gamer legendsVor 4 Stunden
  • I mean your brain is full to the brim with ions

    the gamer legendsthe gamer legendsVor 5 Stunden
  • Atom #1: "I think I've lost an electron!" Atom #2: "Are you sure?" Atom #1: "I'm positive!"

    Liam ProvenLiam ProvenVor 5 Stunden
  • 3:40 water create Ions. A while ago I heared of the infamous Lord Kelvins Waterdropper . where he has running water thru a coil , wired to a cap, then it discharges an arc. I have wondered many times how water can provide electric charge, if not hydroelectric generators. Great stuff . I also heared old folks, speak about unpleasant experiences if there are water ores beneath where they sleep at night . It may be stray Ions ? My grandfather, an electrician, in his older days suggested to pull copper wire around the sleeping room, to remove these stray "water flow" effects he tought was under the house . The water sprouts give off negative ions you say ... hm. Well negative ions is supposedly "grounded" . And the positive charges belong to the ionosphere.

    Radar BlueRadar BlueVor 6 Stunden
  • Any Old Ion

    Mr MarzipanMr MarzipanVor 7 Stunden
  • Seems like the heat from the lamp would carry any ions up above the lamp, not out the side. Maybe test with a detector above the lamp.

    BWXBWXVor 7 Stunden
  • this really is the best science channel on youtube

    Boris ChanBoris ChanVor 8 Stunden
  • Hopefully people watch the full video before trying to apply the information haha

    FlintSparkedFlintSparkedVor 9 Stunden
  • With 4-digit pin numbers I pick a year so long ago that that doesn't make it any easier to guess

    Green MarioGreen MarioVor 10 Stunden
  • My dog's name is Ion and he is positive but I feel good next to him. Great video as always☺

    aannoonniimmssaannoonniimmssVor 10 Stunden
  • So this means that vaginal eggs made with crystals wouldn't work either?

    Scott BikeDawgScott BikeDawgVor 11 Stunden
  • "Solvitur Ambulando: It Is Solved By Walking" ~ The Art of Manliness

    Douglas StrotherDouglas StrotherVor 12 Stunden
  • "Oddball" knew the consequences of bad vibes!

    Douglas StrotherDouglas StrotherVor 12 Stunden
  • Salt lamps look way to similar to another dangerous rock, one that should not be placed in a mass spectrometer. . .

    Eldon GEldon GVor 13 Stunden
  • Bought an ionic air purifier from Costco......there should have been a warning on these products. After several months of running the ionizer often, I started feeling dizzy frequently. Alarm bells did not go off until my son and grandson started getting dizzy too! Found some info online (ozone=lung damage) and returned this dangerous product to Costco for full return. This past summer they were selling an air conditioner + ionizer for an extra $100...........NO NEVER AGAIN.

    inGods2handsinGods2handsVor 13 Stunden
  • 14:38 was your mic-drop moment. As a lifelong researcher, I was saving up some methodological comments to share, then you dropped that point, and I felt like cheering. You nailed it. The known unequivocal paths to a better emotional life are very available to embrace; we just have to actively chose to make the effort on-goingly. Move around. Share positive social moments. Sleep enough, well, and regularly. Eat real food. Avoid or at least limit crutches that disorient our feedback loops, like drugs, alcohol, and stimulants. Practice releasing anxiety regularly. And engage earnestly in reframing our mental outlooks especially when we are least content. Okay, two research method notes: (1) Could anions have some catalytic &/or bio-cascade impact disproportionate to their tiny concentrations? Maybe. My industry (specialty chemicals) is super aware of the toxins that harm folks at ppm or even sometimes ppb levels. That's always baffled intuition, for me. How can 50 mg Vanadium per cubic meter of air be harmful? Or 2 ppm of H2S? But bio data proves it is. Clearly, tiny amounts of Some things can have big effects. Granted, that statement falls way short of a mechanistic hypothesis for anion benefits. But it does counter your video's claim that rarefied concentrations alone might justify discounting any possible impact. (2) The frustrating sparsity of dosing controls in the majority of experiments actually strengthens the possibility that the anions might be beneficial. (Not your implication of the other way 'round.) Any individual study that is correctly run in every other respect, but which under-dosed subjects, _should_ find little-or-no benefit. So only those studies that gave consistent, sufficient doses actually allow us to assess the hypothesis of anions benefits. At 6:47 and 7:11, you cite studies reporting benefits at high concentrations of anions. Were those perhaps from a small subset of studies that used consistent high levels of anions? I am Not saying I necessarily believe so; only that the correct path to an answer follows the above logic. Regardless, great video. The use of the GC-mass spec really proves the salt lamps are just pretty placebos (fine as long as that's all you're expecting). And the ozone measurement nipped in the bud any nascent musing I had of ordering up a ionizer from Amazon. But I am still wondering if there might be a synthetic path to making cheap tourmaline. (A too-quick Google found a Russian website that could easily be a scam, and it doesn't claim it's cheap.) Perhaps there exists some composition (in a possibly extended family of tourmaline-like compounds) that optimizes ion formation, without necessarily making clear crystals for jewelry, which might therefore be easier/cheaper to synthesize.

    ZenGeekDadZenGeekDadVor 14 Stunden
  • Love salt lamps. Never believed in any negative ion effect, however the soft/warm color of their light on winter nights is very attractive.

    inGods2handsinGods2handsVor 14 Stunden
  • What about a high pressure waterfall that could fit in a house? And what level ozone would it emit? Also, would salt water make a difference?

    Persona Non GrataPersona Non GrataVor 14 Stunden
  • SO we need to build waterfalls in our houses. But in all seriousness if I build a waterfall in my yard will I receive negative ions?

    3DGEM33DGEM3Vor 14 Stunden
  • Is it because tourmaline are expensive?? *The Professor slowly nod*

    sabiq rusydisabiq rusydiVor 14 Stunden
  • So have you unlocked the gates ro immortality. . I guess not

    daisx beohfoxdaisx beohfoxVor 15 Stunden
  • The interwebz needed this video.

    AdlockHungryAdlockHungryVor 15 Stunden
  • I have always wondered why I feel really good when there's a thunder storm. I thought it was just excitement.

    bat in the atticbat in the atticVor 15 Stunden
  • Where is that beautiful trail in the end of the video?

    Téssio FechineTéssio FechineVor 15 Stunden
  • My hypothesis on the office aircond ionizer experiment is that ozone that has a sweet scent causes a placebo affect and that the workers noticed the difference of the scent and assumed that it is an improvement

    Wan Muhammad RaziqWan Muhammad RaziqVor 15 Stunden
  • II love how confidently the boutique dude supposedly knew his science. Little did he know who he was talking to. Just goes to show, don't believe anybody, especially those DB's working at a boutique shop.

    phattomatophattomatoVor 16 Stunden
  • I have a salt lamp in my bedroom, always On.. After this episode, it will stay On because my gf believes it help her sleep, but I'm glad that I heard the science behind, it much more logical

    Mike HMike HVor 16 Stunden
  • In the 1970s a group of medical scientists made an experiment using a negative ion generator pump that converts THE ENTIRE VOLUME OF air into negative charged ions. They let it flow over burn patients and the nurses are puzzled over the unsual healing speed and that includes cuts and bruises and even closed surgical sutured wounds. Breating negative charged ion air seems to have an observable medical effect on lungs patients and those with lungs disorders. Plants seems to do well than their controlled counterparts. Suspicious that after more than 2 years of experimental non-stop usage tests there seems to be a news blackout and everybody involved seems to have moved on (after being ordered to be transferred elsewhere). SUSPICIOUS ISN'T IT?

    darthvader5300darthvader5300Vor 16 Stunden
  • great video

    HoldenHoldenVor 17 Stunden
  • Not guaranteed fresh air outside when you live somewhere with bad air quality though, just stuck with bad air either way.

    KiddPennKiddPennVor 17 Stunden
  • Going for a walk outside sounds like a good idea, except I'm in Canada and it's currently a frozen Snowpiercer hellscape.

    Stanley ChanStanley ChanVor 18 Stunden
  • My dog licked the lamp , and is trippin balls :0

    Elvis JonesusElvis JonesusVor 19 Stunden
  • C&C GDI: Firing Ion Cannon NOD: Thanks for worrying about our health

    UninstallingWindowsUninstallingWindowsVor 19 Stunden
  • So what happens to the body when you smell ozone???

    Collin SmithCollin SmithVor 19 Stunden
  • tl;dr no effect

    123TeeMee123TeeMeeVor 19 Stunden
  • Adan iony

    jakub kostyáljakub kostyálVor 20 Stunden
  • Yet another first class video. Obviously the 562 dislikes are Himalayan salt rock lamp sellers

    forbiddencrisisforbiddencrisisVor 20 Stunden
  • Very interesting video but one thing stuck out to me that seemed like a pretty blatant omission. WHY is ozone bad? You go over the possible positives and possible negatives of ions and various supposed sources of them, but when you get to air ionizers producing Ozone you just essentially go "Lots Ozone, Ozone Bad, No Likey". Like I dont doubt a professional when they say ozone is bad, but WHY? Especially when MANY people (myself included) like the smell of it

    Davrial aka Blue MarioDavrial aka Blue MarioVor 20 Stunden
  • So, how much do I need to heat tourmaline for this to happen? Are we talking 100 degrees or 1000?

    DarkVitaminsDarkVitaminsVor 20 Stunden
  • imma go check on those tourmaline prices real quick.

    Prophet Profit !Prophet Profit !Vor 20 Stunden
  • better off to grind it up and put on your food.

    grassroot011grassroot011Vor 20 Stunden
  • Speaking of ions, you generate ions by burning glucose. Buring glucose results in Co2, which can react with the water inside your blood, which makes H2Co3, which is a weak acid, but still can disperse a Hydrogen ion and thus transform to HCo3-. Ions absorbed by your body will only influence your blood pH level; A change in it by even 0.01 will knock you out. Fear not; your blood has a buffer which takes the radicals (ions) and neutralises them (such as antiradicals).

    SomeRandomGuy SomeOtherRandomGuySomeRandomGuy SomeOtherRandomGuyVor 21 Stunde
  • I couldn't watch this for the first twelve days it was out because I hate idiotic claims and from the thumb I thought my boy had lost his mind. I am very happy to be proven wrong. I really should have known better

    billiondollardanbilliondollardanVor 21 Stunde
  • Why did the 'Ion Machine' produce ozone? Or how does it produce the ozone?

    SnowmanSnowmanVor 21 Stunde
  • Is that (one of the reasons) why you feel good right after a thunderstorm and perceive the air as pleasantly fresh and almost "delicious"?

    Robbe902Robbe902Vor 21 Stunde
  • I have a waterfall a few feet away from my cabin, how cool, thanks for the video!

    BenSOLO Viviendo Off-GridBenSOLO Viviendo Off-GridVor 21 Stunde
  • TL;DR at 13:00, but was a great ride

    Phi Lam MusicPhi Lam MusicVor 21 Stunde
  • Damn, up until the last part, I was like "huh?! this s**t does work?!.. Great presentation!

    benny sbenny sVor 21 Stunde
  • lol, I got a saltlamp from my mother when I was like 9, she told me it would do something with the air that was good for me. Never believed it, but I loved the color the lamp gave. So for me it was worth it. :)

    IdleWorkerIdleWorkerVor 22 Stunden
  • 0:36 Any old ions... any old ions... any any any any any old ions

    baselinebazbaselinebazVor 22 Stunden
  • Wouldn't the clean option for generating ions be an indoor fountain?

    Himanshu WilhelmHimanshu WilhelmVor 23 Stunden
  • or just keep licking the -ve end of a battery.

    shubham kumarshubham kumarVor 23 Stunden
  • I think the effect may be real for depression, given the large body of evidence supporting anodal TDCS for depression.

    Nigel Foster-JonesNigel Foster-JonesVor Tag
  • What's with all the jumping around?

    alex tworkowskialex tworkowskiVor Tag
  • Something tells me we’ll see some *charged* comments

    Jerry RupprechtJerry RupprechtVor Tag
  • More about lower humidity. Dang, our true cure all is more exercise?

    Just ImagineJust ImagineVor Tag
  • Kermits a scientist? Cool. Jokes aside, great and fun video! :D

    Tiberius Cerelius TigrisTiberius Cerelius TigrisVor Tag
  • Ah, that's why New Zealanders are so happy. So much coastline!

    Matt BarkerMatt BarkerVor Tag
  • The only benefit from ionizing the air is that the ions will bind to pollution in the air and make them stick to surfaces. So, cleaner breathing air, but they’ve had mechanical ion generators for decades for industrial use.

    qdllcqdllcVor Tag
  • negative ions are the new adderall

    Blue ObsidianBlue ObsidianVor Tag
  • Sex is considered exercise!

    Splint CellSplint CellVor Tag
  • Umm, no you are not guaranteed to get fresh air.

    baddoggie101baddoggie101Vor Tag
  • It's all bollocks! heating those salt lamps doesn't "release negative ions", even it it did it would be releasing chlorine and fluorine ions, so have fun with that toxic BS. Also, what " ions" are they even talking about? They are using real science words for total BS things.

    Engineer77Engineer77Vor 2 Tage
  • respected sir I really like your videos and I shall be highly obliged if you read the comment sir I want to what major u took as physics and I always wanted a mentor like is there any way I could in touch pls sir

    ashish kumarashish kumarVor 2 Tage
  • Great video, thanks a lot!

    CptKrabbeCptKrabbeVor 2 Tage
  • I love the conclusion of the Video. Thank you Derek!

    BenklettBenklettVor 2 Tage
  • You had me going in the beginning . . . really considered buying a crystal lamp . . . hahaha

    Franscios LabuschagneFranscios LabuschagneVor 2 Tage
  • Just huff Gluons... Better than Juul.

    Thinking ClearlyThinking ClearlyVor 2 Tage
  • u bastard, i almost paused halfway through the video to invest in salt lamps

    JasJasVor 2 Tage
  • My parents use that air purifier ionizer and I HATE the smell of it. The feeling in the air and the weird static smell ours has makes me want to throw up.

    lizlizVor 2 Tage
  • Could you do a video on Quantum eraser? It will blow everyone's mind

    Mohammad NadeemMohammad NadeemVor 2 Tage
  • welp, better break the russells teapot bible out, it has positive affects on how i feel.

    Brass TacksBrass TacksVor 2 Tage
  • The failure to have a double-blind test is not necessarily a serious short-coming of the experiment. Double-blind control tests are sometimes feasible, and sometimes not.

    Tharpa RobertsTharpa RobertsVor 2 Tage
  • Man, I used to run an Ionic Breeze 24/7 room always smelled like ozone. I wonder how much I damaged my body with that thing.

    ESSBrewESSBrewVor 2 Tage
  • Why are you doing this from your car? It always comes off as low rent

    bob marbob marVor 2 Tage
  • I wish you didn't print all that.

    Sarthak T.Sarthak T.Vor 2 Tage
  • Do kittens emit negative ions? I always feel good around kittens o_O Puppies too!

    Rich DRich DVor 2 Tage
  • correlation is not causation

    clayton fordclayton fordVor 2 Tage
  • Yeah Science bitch!

    Jovan JovanovicJovan JovanovicVor 2 Tage
  • Read the comments and take note; not one of these people have created anything new or beneficial for human kind. They do nothing beyond their own selves. Suddenly concerned about pollution even though they spend 80% of their ill gotten gains on that which literally poisons their air and water and causes them cancer for which they spend the remaining on dangerous pharmaceuticals and clever doctors that hold their hand while milking them dry all the way to their graves. Read them, they are all so knowing and intelligent and wise. The paper that they are indebted to proclaims it as such. Simply because they have no faith in what is possible through the power of scientific evolution. They actually think the universe is a 20 hour a day 7 day a week slavecheck from their corporate master, to be spent at the company store, to buy products dictated to them ahead of time, by an unknown voice, yet familiar, via a one way megahertz wave. And what ever conclusion this video has given them, without them even seeing the documents for themselves, (could literally be a stack of blank papers) or without them running the tests for themselves, or even trying to, they draw their definitive conclusions and proclaim to the world how smart and all knowing they are and have always been! Everything that has been proven in science was first an unknown, undiscovered, unchallenged, unfathomable, inconceivable, impossibility of pipe dreams and science fiction. Then along came one who simply began to believe otherwise. I tell you that with-in the laws of physics that anything and everything is in deed possible. -A Child Of The Cosmos

    jerry calvertjerry calvertVor 2 Tage
  • Isn’t a negative ion just an anion?

    Magic XGMagic XGVor 2 Tage
  • Big fan of veritasium, keep doing your thing! However, I fear this particular video may be flawed. Many brands of air purifiers release ozone into a room intentionally to kill airborne mold or bacteria. You generally aren't supposed to be in the room while this is happening. I never read that the ozone was a consequence of ion formation and you can certainly buy purifiers that claim to be ozone free. Also as I understand it the health effects of negatively ionized air is not because of serotonin production but rather the same as that of antioxidants found in food. Molecules with high electronegativity such as oxygen steal electrons from places in your body destroying covalent bonds and thus compromising your cells. The negative ions are to provide these extra electrons and satisfy the electron hungry free radicals. Though as you pointed out the evidence is conflicted as to the real world efficacy of ion producing devices but I would argue it is far too early to rule out their benefits entirely.

    Chris PetersenChris PetersenVor 2 Tage
  • How about an indoor mini waterfall?

    Genma SaotomeGenma SaotomeVor 3 Tage
  • Well.....I guess I am going to return all of my salt lamps for a refund now.

    Factory400Factory400Vor 3 Tage
  • As soon as that fool in the shop started spouting his utter bunkum, I knew where this subject was going to end...

    G HG HVor 3 Tage
  • ironic air purifier

    steve1978gersteve1978gerVor 3 Tage
  • Watched this next to my air ionizer and salt lamp :'(. Lamp gives off a nice orange glow though, so it's still worth it.

    Pèire CardenalPèire CardenalVor 3 Tage
  • The whole "negative ion" thing probably came about after people realized they enjoyed being around salt lamps to try to explain the effect. In reality, I would suspect it's simply because they're pretty!

    The Chad PadThe Chad PadVor 3 Tage
  • I live in the city so i kno im not getn good ions sucks

    ResidentEvil302cuba rican215ResidentEvil302cuba rican215Vor 3 Tage
  • Rays are NOT particles. OFF

    Alan CrookAlan CrookVor 3 Tage
  • Thank you

    ChenJeremyChenJeremyVor 3 Tage
  • Scientific journey.

    Saish ThakurSaish ThakurVor 3 Tage
  • @ Veritasium Have you ever hear that a body can give heat away in way of radiation? I search for the name and how it works.

    RaikiriRaikiriVor 3 Tage
    • Radiation is a commonly misunderstood word. It's just a term to describe electromagnetic waves, but different wavelengths have wildly different effects/uses, so they're not all equal. Visible light, microwaves, radio waves, and the heat your body gives off as radiation are all this same stuff. In the context of the body giving off part of its heat as radiation, that's mostly infrared: You can see where in the spectrum all these radiation types fall in this article, as well as which types are high enough energy to be classified as damaging ionizing radiation:

      o oo oVor 2 Tage
    • Electromagnetic Radiation everything with a Temperature of above 0 K emits Electromagnetic Radiation

      -RandomUserName--RandomUserName-Vor 3 Tage
Are Negative Ions Good For You?