Lydia ionic nutritionist reviews

By Jim English

Air pollution is a serious, though often unrecognized health problem. Epidemiological studies consistently point to a direct link between urban air pollution – especially particulate pollution created by combustion powered vehicles and power generation plants – and cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. (1) Long-term exposure to particulate pollution – tiny particles smaller than 10 microns (a human hair is 70 microns wide) – is known to increase illness and death rates from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Additionally, exposure to other airborne pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), is associated with development of asthma, bronchitis, and respiratory infections. (2)

European researchers investigated the risks of long-term exposure to traffic pollution in a study examining 5000 volunteers selected from the ongoing Netherlands Cohort study on Diet and Cancer (NLCS). They discovered that people living near major roads (and therefore exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution) were more likely to die from cardiopulmonary disease or lung cancer than their rural peers, leading the authors to conclude that ‘long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution may shorten life expectancy. (3)

Air Pollution Linked to Heart Damage 

In addition to causing lung damage, air pollution is now also recognized as a threat to cardiovascular health. Reporting in the March 6, 2002 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers examined long-term health data on 500,000 individuals to compare increases in air pollution levels with incidence of death. They discovered that when air pollution levels suddenly increased, in addition to expected increases in deaths from asthma, pneumonia, and emphysema, there was an unexpected increase in the number of deaths related to heart attacks and stroke. Most surprising was the finding that when air pollution levels rose, so did deaths from all causes, not just those related to the heart and lungs (Fig. 1). (4)

One possible explanation for the increase in cardiovascular-related deaths is that air pollution causes oxidative stress that, in turn, triggers an inflammatory response in the lungs that leads to the release of chemicals that impair heart function and blood pressure.

This was shown to be the case when scientists working in the Netherlands exposed rats to high levels of particulate air pollution. Following exposure, the researchers found that plasma levels of fibrinogen were elevated by 20 percent, which could presumably increase blood viscosity, leading to decreased tissue blood flow. They also measured a 400 percent jump in tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and a 350 percent increase in nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in lung fluids. The researchers speculated that as particulates lodge in lung tissues they induce an increase in the production of nitric oxide (NO). Under normal conditions nitric oxide is an important neurotransmitter that aids numerous signaling pathways involved in motor learning, protein modification, arterial dilation and immune defense. But when conditions trigger the overproduction of NO as seen in the Netherlands study, the result is serious damage to the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels of the lungs. (5)

When Japanese researchers exposed guinea pigs to particulates from diesel exhaust, the lungs showed a significant elevation of leukotrienes and eosinophils, two important biomarkers of inflammation and cytotoxicity commonly observed in cases of chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD). The researchers noted that these findings indicate that chronic exposure to diesel exhaust induces continuous inflammation and overproduction of mucus and phospholipids in the lung. (6)

Another mechanism implicated in air pollution-related heart failures involves bone marrow and atherosclerotic plaques. Researchers in Vancouver, British Columbia found that exposure to high levels of air pollution stimulates bone marrow to release leukocytes and platelets that accumulate preferentially in pulmonary capillaries. In addition to causing damage to lung tissues, the researchers also observed that inhalation of particulate pollution causes changes in atherosclerotic plaque lesions that make the deposits more vulnerable to rupture.

They postulated that exposure to particulate air pollution induces a systemic inflammatory response that includes the release of inflammatory mediators that stimulate bone marrow to release leukocytes and platelets, leading to lung inflammation and changes of atherosclerotic plaque, making them more vulnerable to rupture. (7)

Diabetics and Elderly at Increased Risk 

Diabetics are particularly susceptible to cardiovascular damage caused by airborne pollution. A recent study published in the journal Epidemiology examined Medicare records and hospital admissions in US cities: Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Looking at records from 1988 to 1994 they found that diabetics were twice as likely as non-diabetics to be admitted to a hospital with a cardiovascular problem caused by airborne particulate pollution. They also found that persons 75 years of age and older also faced a higher risk of cardiovascular injury. (8)

Children and Air Pollution 

Children are particularly at risk for health issues related to air pollution. Chronic exposure to particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide have been associated with up to 300 percent increases in nonspecific chronic respiratory symptoms. Exposure to automotive pollution, particularly from truck and diesel exhaust, has been shown to cause significant increases in respiratory symptoms and decreased lung function. (9)

To examine the relationship between traffic-related air pollution and childhood development of asthma and other childhood respiratory diseases and infections, researchers in the Netherlands looked at data from some 4,000 babies born in the Netherlands. The health of the children was linked to measurements of traffic-generated air pollution (nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, and soot) in the homes of each subject. Their study found that, by the age of two years, children exposed to higher levels of air pollutants were more likely to suffer from wheezing, physician-diagnosed asthma, ear/nose/throat infections, and flu/serious colds. (10)

Part of the problem for children is that studies show that – relative to their size – children inhale more deeply and trap more airborne particles and pollutants in their lungs than either adolescents or adults. (11) Children also have higher metabolic rates than adults, breathe more than adults, and spend more time outdoors than adults, exacerbating their susceptibility to pollution-related health problems.

Children’s Growth Stunted 

When Polish researchers examined the effects of air pollution in Krakow they discovered that children living in those areas with the highest levels of air pollution suffered from stunted growth. After collecting data on 958 children and assessing body growth rates by height changes they found that body growth rates for children from the most highly polluted area was lower by 1.5 cm over a 2-year period than those from the control area. The compromising effect of air pollution on height gains was about the same for both short and tall children. (12)

Air Pollution and DNA Mutations 

New research shows that the health threat posed by air pollution may actually affect children even before they are born. On December 9, 2002, Canadian researchers published a study revealing that animals exposed to polluted air close to a steel mill suffered genetic damage and produced fewer offspring. Most alarming was the discovery that damaged DNA was being passed on to offspring by their fathers. While virtually all mutations were inherited from the father mice, the researchers said this doesn’t mean that females are not susceptible. What it does suggest is that steel workers, who are mostly male, may be at extra risk of similar damage.

Christopher Somers, James Quinn, and colleagues published an earlier study that found that gulls living near a steel mill on Lake Ontario suffered from genetic mutations. In a current study the researchers raised two groups of mice – the first a half-mile downwind of a steel mill on Lake Ontario, and the second about 20 miles away. The mice breathing the polluted air had twice as many mutations in their DNA as the mice breathing fresh country air. (13)

The findings suggest that steel mill workers and people living near those mills should be checked for damage to their health, said the researchers, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “Our findings suggest that there is an urgent need to investigate the genetic consequences associated with exposure to chemical pollution through the inhalation of urban and industrial air.”

Ironically, the study was originally aimed at showing how efforts to clean up pollution around the steel mill had improved the environment. ‘This had been one of the most polluted places, if not the most polluted place in Canada,’ stated Christopher Somers, one of the lead researchers. ‘There has been a concerted effort to clean up Hamilton harbor and reduce air emissions.’ The experiment had been aimed at showing these had helped. ”We haven’t really seen that,” he said.

Protecting Your Lungs 

While government, business and environmental interests wrangle over a morass of economic, legislative and technological solutions for cleaning up polluted air, the vital issue facing individuals is how best to protect their health. Currently over 75 million people in the US live in counties where the air concentrations of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) exceed safe levels (Fig. 2.). (14)

While living away from polluted urban centers is an obvious choice, this option is not always possible. Nor is it always effective. Air currents and weather patterns can move polluted air out of urban manufacturing centers and into rural areas where pollution can concentrate to a dangerous degree. Additionally, modern farming produces more food with fewer workers, using improved productivity methods that increasingly rely on the use of agricultural pesticides and chemicals, and irrigation pumps and tractors powered by diesel engines. (15)

Staying indoors does not guarantee better air quality, either. Several recent studies have indicated that much of the significant health risk associated with exposure to fine particles actually occurred indoors. (16) And many individuals at increased risk of health complications following exposure to high particle concentrations, such as the elderly and those suffering from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, may spend more than 90% of their time indoors, raising new concerns about the relationship between outdoor particle concentrations and those found in indoor microenvironments. (17)

Air Purifiers 

As the scope of air pollution related health problems grows, so too does the number of people turning to air purifying solutions for protection. Home air filtration products offer a number of options, including electrostatic, UV radiation, water and advanced HEPA filtration technologies. Until recently, these products – many engineered for entire houses and buildings – were bulky and expensive to install and maintain, placing them out of reach for most people. Recently, a number of consumer products have become available utilizing ion-generating technology to eliminate airborne pollutants, allergens and viruses from immediate breathing spaces.

These devices work by generating a flow of negative ions that charge and bind together airborne particulate matter, which then clumps and precipitates out of the air. Ion generating devices have been shown to be effective against dust, cigarette smoke, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, viruses, and bacteria. In addition to eliminating harmful particulates from the air, negative ions also have a number of unique health benefits.

Positive Ions – An Ill Wind Blows

Early clues about the biological effect of ions on human health appear as reports of increased irritability, migraine attacks and thromboembolism in response to alterations in atmospheric electrical states that accompany incoming weather fronts. (18)

Scientific evidence began to mount in the 1970s when researchers measured metabolic changes in mice and rats in response to changes in ion charge (negative or positive) and concentration, including alterations in serotonin levels and recovery from illness. When exposed to positive ions (which accumulate in the atmosphere at the beginning of a storm) researchers routinely noted that animals became agitated, aggressive and were more prone to respiratory illness. Furthermore, when mice were infected with influenza virus and housed in an environment depleted of all ions, death rates increased, indicating a previously unknown benefit on overall health. (19)

Later, researchers measured the impact of atmospheric electricity on human subjects by monitoring daily changes in urine excretion of neurohormones in samples gathered from 1,000 volunteers exposed to positive ions generated 1 to 2 days prior to the arrival of a storm front. By measuring the changing levels of neurohormones in the 24-hour urinary output of the subjects during normal and weather-stress days, the researchers compiled a profile of changes in levels of serotonin, 5-HIAA (5-hydroxyindole acetic acid, a serotonin metabolite), adrenaline, noradrenaline, histamine and thyroxine.

The researchers found that the electrical charges (positive ionization) engendered by every incoming weather front produce a release of serotonin. (20) They further identified three classes of weather sensitivity reactions:

  1. serotonin hyperproduction causing a typical irritation syndrome;
  2. adrenal deficiency producing a typical exhaustion syndrome;
  3. hyperthyroidism with subclinical ‘apathetic’ thyroid symptoms.

Noting that these conditions occur during annual wind storms (Sirocco, Sharav and Santa Ana winds), the authors stated that the effects, “which are mainly due to positive ionization of the air,” could be “prevented by negative ionizing apparatuses or specific drug treatment.” (21)

Further evidence of the influence of ions appeared when scientists exposed mice to an atmosphere enriched with either positive or negative ions. While negative ions had no negative effect on the mice, positive ions caused elevations in norepinephrine levels within one day. When exposure to positive ions was continued for longer periods, ranging from 3 to 10 days, norepinephrine levels dropped. The author noted that the results showed that “positive ions cause stress after short time application in excess. After longer exposure, a state of exhaustion can be observed in the form of a lowered norepinephrine level.” (22)

Health Benefits of Negative Ions 

Just as positive ions build up in the atmosphere prior to a storm front, negative ions accumulate following a storm. This surfeit of negative ions has long been associated with improvements in mood and physical health. Research conducted in the last decade has begun to support the view that negative ions have a net positive effect on health.

One of the most tantalizing hints regarding negative ions and health surfaced when German researchers discovered a link between catecholamine regulation and lifespan after depriving experimental animals of negative ions. First, researchers at the Goldstein and Lewin Dept. of Medical Research in Stahnsdorf, Germany isolated mice and rats in air-tight, sealed acrylic cases. Next, they filtered the ambient air to remove all negative ions from the sealed cases. Their research led to the discovery that a prolonged deficiency of negative ions led to an accelerated rate of death for the experimental animals. Examination of the animals led researchers to conclude that the results ‘strongly suggest that animal death is related to disturbances in neurohormonal regulation and pituitary insufficiency. (23)

Researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow discovered that negative ions are able to help protect the body from induced physical stress. When the researchers immobilized rats and exposed them to negatively charged air ions they discovered that the ions prevented the development of pathological changes characteristic of acute stress that are observed in untreated rats. The protective action of negative air ions was observed in all the experimental animals independently of their types of behavior. (24)

British researchers at the Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences in Liverpool exposed male subjects to negative ions and measured physiological responses, including body temperature, heart rate and respiration, while at rest and during exercise. Negative ions were found to significantly improve all physiological states, particularly during rest. Most important was the finding that negative ions are “biologically active and that they do affect the body’s circadian rhythmicity.” (25)

Another clue to the role of negative ions in health comes from Russian research conducted at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Pushchino, Russia. Researchers found that exposure to negative ions increased levels of the protective antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) in mammalian erythrocytes. The researchers also discovered minute amounts of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), writing, “The primary physiochemical mechanism of beneficial biological action of negative air ions is suggested to be related to the stimulation of superoxide dismutase activity by micromolar concentrations of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide).” (26)


While progress has been made in some areas of air pollution, such as reductions in emissions of lead, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), air pollution, particularly from particulates, remains a serious health problem. In addition to damaging the lungs and heart, air pollution is now recognized as being especially harmful to children, the elderly, and select sensitive populations, such as those afflicted with diabetes, cardiopulmonary diseases and other debilitating illnesses.

To address air pollution-related health problems a growing number of people are using personal and home air filtration products that generate negative ions to charge and precipitate airborne particulate matter for removal to create localized zones of improved air quality.

Consumer devices that utilize negative ion-generating technology have been shown to eliminate airborne pollutants, dust, cigarette smoke, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, viruses, and bacteria from the air. Negative ions have long been attributed to improvements in mood and physical health. Research supports the view that negative ions have a net positive effect on health, including improved mood, stabilized catecholamine regulation and circadian rhythm, enhanced recovery from physical exertion and protection from positive ion-related stress and exhaustion disorders.


1. Vrang ML, Hertel O, Palmgren F, Wahlin P, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Loft SH. Effects of traffic-generated ultrafine particles on health. Ugeskr Laeger 2002 Aug 19;164(34):3937-41.
2. Polosa R, Salvi S, Di Maria GU. Allergic susceptibility associated with diesel exhaust particle exposure: clear as mud. Arch Environ Health 2002 May-Jun;57(3):188-93.
3. Hoek G, Brunekreef B, Goldbohm S, Fischer P, van den Brandt PA.Association between mortality and indicators of traffic-related air pollution in the Netherlands: a cohort study. Lancet. 2002 Oct 19;360(9341):1184-5.
4. JAMA March 6, 2002;287:1132-1141.
5. Ulrich MM, Alink GM, Kumarathasan P, Vincent R, Boere AJ, Cassee FR.. Health effects and time course of particulate matter on the cardiopulmonary system in rats with lung inflammation. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2002 Oct 25;65(20):1571-95.
6. Ishihara Y, Kagawa J. Dose-response assessment and effect of particles in guinea pigs exposed chronically to diesel exhaust: analysis of various biological markers in pulmonary alveolar lavage fluid and circulating blood. Inhal Toxicol 2002 Oct;14(10):1049-67.
7. van Eeden SF, Hogg JC. Systemic inflammatory response induced by particulate matter air pollution: the importance of bone-marrow stimulation. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2002 Oct 25;65(20):1597-613.
8. Zanobetti A, Schwartz J. Cardiovascular damage by airborne particles: are diabetics more susceptible? Epidemiology 2002 Sep;13(5):588-92.
9. Nicolai T. Environmental air pollution and lung disease in children. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 1999 Dec;54(6):475-8.
10. Brauer M, Hoek G, Van Vliet P, et al. Air pollution from traffic and the development of respiratory infections and asthmatic and allergic symptoms in children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002 Oct 15;166(8):1092-8.
11. Inhalation Toxicology, Sept. 1998;10:831-842.
12. Jedrychowski W, Maugeri U, Jedrychowska-Bianchi I. Body growth rate in preadolescent children and outdoor air quality. Environ Res 2002 Sep;90(1):12-20.
13. Christopher M. Somers, Carole L. Yaukdagger, Paul A. Whitedagger, et. al.. Air pollution induces heritable DNA mutations. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 99, Issue 25, 15904-15907, December 10, 2002.
14. EPA, Latest Findings on National Air Quality: 2000 Status and Trends.
15. Smog Check II for All. San Jose Mercury News, Sep. 29, 2002.
16. R.B. Mosley, D.J. Greenwell, L.E. Sparks, Z. Guo, W.G. Tucker, R. Fortmann, C. Whitfield. Penetration of Ambient Fine Particles into the Indoor Environment. Aerosol Science and Technology: Vol. 34, Num. 1; Jan. 2001.
17. J. Thornburg, D.S. Ensor, C.E. Rodes, P.A. Lawless, L.E. Sparks, and R.B. Mosley. Penetration of Particles into Buildings and Associated Physical Factors, Part I: Model Development and Computer Simulations. Aerosol Science and Technology: Vol. 34, Num. 3; March 2001.
18. Sulman FG. The impact of weather on human health. Rev Environ Health 1984;4(2):83-119.
19. Krueger AP, Reed EJ.Biological impact of small air ions. Science 1976 Sep 24;193(4259):1209-13.
20. Sulman FG. Migraine and headache due to weather and allied causes and its specific treatment. Ups J Med Sci Suppl 1980;31:41-4.
21. Sulman FG, Levy D, Lunkan L, Pfeifer Y, Tal E. New methods in the treatment of weather sensitivity. Fortschr Med 1977 Mar 17;95(11):746-52.
22. Udermann H, Fischer G. Studies on the influence of positive or negative small ions on the catechol amine content in the brain of the mouse following shorttime or prolonged exposure. Zentralbl Bakteriol Mikrobiol Hyg 1982 Apr;176(1):72-8.
23. Goldstein N, Arshavskaya TV. Is atmospheric superoxide vitally necessary? Accelerated death of animals in a quasi-neutral electric atmosphere. Z Naturforsch 1997 May-Jun;52(5-6):396-404.
24. Livanova LM, Levshina IP, Nozdracheva LV, Elbakidze MG, Airapetiants MG. The protective action of negative air ions in acute stress in rats with different typological behavioral characteristics. Zh Vyssh Nerv Deiat Im I P Pavlova 1998 May-Jun;48(3):554-7.
25. Reilly T, Stevenson IC. An investigation of the effects of negative air ions on responses to submaximal exercise at different times of day. J Hum Ergol (Tokyo) 1993 Jun;22(1):1-9.
26. Kosenko EA, Kaminsky YuG, Stavrovskaya IG, Sirota TV, Kondrashova MN. The stimulatory effect of negative air ions and hydrogen peroxide on the activity of superoxide dismutase. FEBS Lett 1997 Jun 30;410(2-3):309-12.

by Dr. Joseph Debé

The Individualized Optimal Nutrition (ION) profile is the premier test for evaluating an individual’s nutritional status. The ION profile analyzes blood and urine for a total of more than 100 biochemicals, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, organic acids, heavy metals, lipid peroxides and homocysteine.

Each patient gets an impressive 30 page bound report, which includes the test data as well as detailed explanation regarding the health significance of the results. All of the patient’s supplement needs are addressed with a list of computer-generated nutritional recommendations to help optimize the individual’s nutritional status.To appreciate the value of the ION profile, let’s use an example. Yesterday, I reviewed ION test results for “Mark”, a 58 year-old gentleman who considers himself healthy and is striving for optimal health. Mark desires more energy and general well being, improved memory, and relief of arthritic pain and stiffness. I recommended the ION profile to gain insight into his metabolism in order to help achieve these goals. Mark came to me with a history of using quite a number and variety of nutritional supplements. He currently was taking Co-enzyme Q10 for energy, S-adenosyl-methionine for relief of arthritis symptoms, pregnenolone for memory, and fiber and colon-related products because he thought at his age they may be needed. These supplements are all reasonable choices. But were they the right ones for Mark?The ION test results revealed things about Mark’s metabolism that we could not have guessed about. He had elevated levels of homocysteine, which is a toxic amino acid associated with 50 degenerative conditions including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. One symptom commonly associated with elevated homocysteine is memory impairment. Mark’s elevated homocysteine appeared to be caused by inadequate levels of folic acid. Interestingly, by supplementing with folic acid, Mark’s body will also be able to make more of its own S-adenosyl-methionine.Another factor contributing to Mark’s high homocysteine levels is mercury toxicity, as evidenced by elevated red blood cell mercury levels. The mercury toxicity and homocysteine are related to another important finding on Mark’s ION profile; elevated levels of lipid peroxides. Lipid peroxides are an indicator of free radical damage to the cell membranes. Excess free radical activity or oxidative stress, as it’s called, causes damage to tissue throughout the body, impairs physiology and plays a role in every major degenerative disease, and the aging process in general.The elevated levels of lipid peroxides are probably also related to other factors picked up with the ION profile.  Mark had elevated levels of the omega 3 fatty acid EPA, which is derived from fish oil. This is an interesting finding because, with symptoms of arthritis, I often recommend fish oil supplementation for its anti-inflammatory activity. However, elevated levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids can contribute to oxidative stress. Without the guidance of the ION profile, I would not have known that fish oil would do Mark more harm than good.The elevated lipid peroxides were also related to low levels of the antioxidants vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, selenium and manganese. Interestingly, selenium is also needed to protect the body from mercury. Manganese is essential for normal connective tissue production, and deficiency is therefore linked to arthritis. The ION profile also revealed insufficiencies of linoleic acid and dihomogamma linolenic acid. These anti-inflammatory fatty acid deficits can be corrected with supplementation of borage seed oil. The ION profile also gives indication as to the presence of unfriendly organisms in the intestinal tract. We found one of these in Mark’s case.Based on Mark’s ION test results the following supplements are what he needs: folic acid, vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, manganese, selenium, and borage seed oil. For the mercury toxicity and elevated EPA, I will also recommend reduced fish consumption and a mercury-chelating compound, such as N-acetylcysteine. For the unfriendly intestinal bacteria, I will recommend supplementing with beneficial yeast called sacchromyces boulardi. Mark had only guessed correctly about his need for Co-enzyme Q10. I could not have guessed much better.It’s hard to imagine a condition that would not benefit from the targeted nutritional approach that results from an ION profile. Some of the conditions Metametrix recommends the test for include: chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, obesity, learning and behavioral disorders. I recommend the ION profile for anyone who wants to be healthier.

Sample ION Report

The location of ancient


on the coast of modern-day



The Ionians (; Greek: Ἴωνες, Íōnes, singular Ἴων, Íōn) were one of the four major tribes that the Greeks considered themselves to be divided into during the ancient period; the other three being the Dorians, Aeolians, and Achaeans. The Ionian dialect was one of the three major linguistic divisions of the Hellenic world, together with the Dorian and Aeolian dialects.

When referring to populations, “Ionian” defines several groups in Classical Greece. In the narrowest sense it referred to the region of Ionia in Asia Minor. In a broader sense it could be used to describe all speakers of the Ionic dialect, which in addition to those in Ionia proper also included the populations of Euboea, the Cyclades, and many cities founded by Ionian colonists. Finally, in the broadest sense it could be used to describe all those who spoke languages of the East Greek group, which included Attic.

The foundation myth which was current in the Classical period suggested that the Ionians were named after Ion, son of Xuthus, who lived in the north Peloponnesian region of Aigialeia. When the Dorians invaded the Peloponnese they expelled the Achaeans from the Argolid and Lacedaemonia. The displaced Achaeans moved into Aegilaus (thereafter known as Achaea), in turn expelling the Ionians from the Aegilaus. The Ionians moved to Attica and mingled with the local population of Attica, and many later emigrated to the coast of Asia Minor founding the historical region of Ionia.

Unlike the austere and militaristic Dorians, the Ionians are renowned for their love of philosophy, art, democracy, and pleasure – Ionian traits that were most famously expressed by the Athenians.


Unlike “Aeolians” and “Dorians”, “Ionians” appears in the languages of different civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean and as far east as the Indian subcontinent. They are not the earliest Greeks to appear in the records; that distinction belongs to the Danaans and the Achaeans. The trail of the Ionians begins in the Mycenaean Greek records of Crete.


A fragmentary Linear B tablet from Knossos (tablet Xd 146) bears the name i-ja-wo-ne, interpreted by Ventris and Chadwick as possibly the dative or nominative plural case of *Iāwones, an ethnic name. The Knossos tablets are dated to 1400 or 1200 B.C. and thus pre-date the Dorian dominance in Crete, if the name refers to Cretans.

The name first appears in Greek literature in Homer as Ἰάονες, iāones, used on a single occasion of some long-robed Greeks attacked by Hector and apparently identified with Athenians, and this Homeric form appears to be identical with the Mycenaean form but without the *-w-. This name also appears in a fragment of the other early poet, Hesiod, in the singular Ἰάων, iāōn.


In the Book of Genesis of the English Bible, Javan is a son of Japheth. Javan is believed nearly universally by Bible scholars to represent the Ionians; that is, Javan is Ion. The Hebrew is Yāwān, plural Yəwānīm.

Additionally, but less surely, Japheth may be related linguistically to the Greek mythological figure Iapetus.

The locations of Biblical tribal countries have been the subjects of centuries of scholarship and yet remain to various degrees open questions. The Book of Isaiah gives what may be a hint by listing “the nations… that have not heard my fame” including Javan and immediately after “the isles afar off.” Are the isles in apposition to Javan or the last item in the series? If the former, the expression is typically used of the population of the islands in the Aegean Sea.

The date of the Book of Isaiah cannot precede the date of the man Isaiah, in the 8th century BC.


Some letters of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC record attacks by what appear to be Ionians on the cities of Phoenicia:

For example, a raid by the Ionians (ia-u-na-a-a) on the Phoenician coast is reported to Tiglath-Pileser III in a letter of the 730’s find at Nimrud.

The Assyrian word, which is preceded by the country determinative, has been reconstructed as *Iaunaia. More common is ia-a-ma-nu, ia-ma-nu and ia-am-na-a-a with the country determinative, reconstructed as Iamānu.Sargon II related that he took the latter from the sea like fish and that they were from “the sea of the setting sun.” If the identification of Assyrian names is correct, at least some of the Ionian marauders came from Cyprus:

Sargon’s Annals for 709, claiming that tribute was sent to him by ‘seven kings of Ya (ya-a’), a district of Yadnana whose distant abodes are situated a seven-days’ journey in the sea of the setting sun’, is confirmed by a stele set up at Citium in Cyprus ‘at the base of a mountain ravine … of Yadnana.’


Ionians appear in Indic literature and documents as Yavana and Yona. In documents, these names refer to the Indo-Greek Kingdoms; that is, the states formed by the Macedonians, either Alexander the Great or his successors on the Indian subcontinent. The earliest such documentation is the Edicts of Ashoka, dated to 250 BC, within 10 or 20 years.

Before then, the Yavanas appear in the Vedas with reference to the Vedic period, which could be as early as the 2nd millennium BC. The Vedas are to be distinguished from the much earlier Vedic period. In the Vedas, the Yavanas are a kingdom of Mlechhas, or barbarians, to the far west, out of the line of descent of Indic culture, in the same category as the Sakas, or Skythians (who spoke Iranian), and thus probably were already Greek. The Ionians of the Aegean are the identity customarily assigned to them.


Ionians appear in a number of Old Persian inscriptions of the Achaemenid Empire as Yaunā (𐎹𐎢𐎴𐎠), a nominative plural masculine, singular Yauna; for example, an inscription of Darius on the south wall of the palace at Persepolis includes in the provinces of the empire “Ionians who are of the mainland and (those) who are by the sea, and countries which are across the sea; ….” At that time the empire probably extended around the Aegean to northern Greece.


Most modern Middle Eastern languages use the terms “Ionia” and “Ionian” to refer to Greece and Greeks. That is true of Hebrew (Yavan ‘Greece’ / Yevani fem. Yevania ‘a Greek’),Armenian (Hunastan ‘Greece’ / Huyn ‘a Greek’), and the Classical Arabic words (al-Yūnān ‘Greece’ / Yūnānī fem. Yūnāniyya pl. Yūnān ‘a Greek’, probably from Aramaic Yawnānā) are used in most modern Arabic dialects including Egyptian and Palestinian as well as being used in modern Persian (Yūnānestān ‘Greece’ / Yūnānī pl. Yūnānīhā/Yūnānīyān ‘Greek’) and Turkish too via Persian (Yunanistan ‘Greece’ / Yunanlı ‘a Greek person’ pl. Yunanlılar ‘Greek people’).


The etymology of the word Ἴωνες/Ἰάϝoνες is uncertain. Both Frisk and Beekes isolate an unknown root, *Ia-, pronounced *ya-. There are, however, some theories:

  • From an unknown early name of an eastern Mediterranean island population represented by Ha-nebu, an ancient Egyptian name for the people living there.
  • From ancient Egyptian ‘iwn “pillar, tree trunk” extended into iwnt “bow” (of wood?) and ‘Iwntyw “bowmen, archers.” This derivation is analogous on the one hand to the possible derivation of Dorians and on the other fits the Egyptian concept of “nine bows” with reference to the Sea Peoples.
  • From a Proto-Indo-European onomatopoeic root *wi- or *woi- expressing a shout uttered by persons running to the assistance of others; according to Pokorny, *Iawones would mean “devotees of Apollo”, based on the cry iē paiōn uttered in his worship.
  • From a Proto-Indo-European root *uiH-, meaning “power.”

Ionian language

In a landmark article of 1964Vladimir Georgiev summarized the relationship of the three main historical dialects and gave an estimate of their chronology as follows. Prior to the 20th century BC, three dialects of Greek existed: Iawonic, Iawolic and Doric (Georgiev’s names). Iawonic was spoken in Attica, Euboea, East Boeotia and the Peloponnesus.

In the 16th century BC, a new koinē was formed from Iawonic and Iawolic: the Mycenaean Greek language. It persisted until about 1200, when it became the major source of Arcado-Cyprian, with some Doric influence. The Ionians taking up the tradition of epic poetry created Homeric Greek. Ionian descends from Iawonic.

Pre-Ionic Ionians

The literary evidence of the Ionians leads back to mainland Greece in Mycenaean times before there was an Ionia. The classical sources seem determined that they were to be called Ionians along with other names even then. This cannot be documented with inscriptional evidence, and yet the literary evidence, which is manifestly at least partially legendary, seems to reflect a general verbal tradition.


Herodotus of Halicarnassus asserts:

all are Ionians who are of Athenian descent and keep the feast Apaturia.

He further explains:

The whole Hellenic stock was then small, and the last of all its branches and the least regarded was the Ionian; for it had no considerable city except Athens.

The Ionians spread from Athens to other places in the Aegean Sea: Sifnos and Serifos,Naxos,Kea and Samos. But they were not just from Athens:

These Ionians, as long as they were in the Peloponnesus, dwelt in what is now called Achaea, and before Danaus and Xuthus came to the Peloponnesus, as the Greeks say, they were called Aegialian Pelasgians. They were named Ionians after Ion the son of Xuthus.

Achaea was divided into 12 communities originally Ionian:Pellene, Aegira, Aegae, Bura, Helice, Aegion, Rhype, Patrae, Phareae, Olenus, Dyme and Tritaeae. The most aboriginal Ionians were of Cynuria:

The Cynurians are aboriginal and seem to be the only Ionians, but they have been Dorianized by time and by Argive rule.


In Strabo’s account of the origin of the Ionians, Hellen, son of Deucalion, ancestor of the Hellenes, king of Phthia, arranged a marriage between his son Xuthus and the daughter of king Erechtheus of Athens. Xuthus then founded the Tetrapolis (“Four Cities”) of Attica, a rural district. His son, Achaeus, went into exile in a land subsequently called Achaea after him. Another son of Xuthus, Ion, conquered Thrace, after which the Athenians made him king of Athens. Attica was called Ionia after his death. Those Ionians colonized Aigialia changing its name to Ionia also. When the Heracleidae returned the Achaeans drove the Ionians back to Athens. Under the Codridae they set forth for Anatolia and founded 12 cities in Caria and Lydia following the model of the 12 cities of Achaea, formerly Ionian.

Classical Ionia

During the 6th century BC, Ionian coastal towns, such as Miletus and Ephesus, became the focus of a revolution in traditional thinking about Nature. Instead of explaining natural phenomena by recourse to traditional religion/myth, the cultural climate was such that men began to form hypotheses about the natural world based on ideas gained from both personal experience and deep reflection. These men—Thales and his successors—were called physiologoi, those who discoursed on Nature. They were skeptical of religious explanations for natural phenomena and instead sought purely mechanical and physical explanations. They are credited as being of critical importance to the development of the ‘scientific attitude’ towards the study of Nature.


  1. ^ Apollodorus I, 7.3
  2. ^ Pausanias VII, 1.7
  3. ^ Kōnstantinos D. Paparrēgopulos, Historikai pragmateiai – Volume 1, 1858
  4. ^ Ventris, Michael; John Chadwick (1973). Documents in Mycenaean Greek: Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. pp. 547 in the “Glossary” under i–ja–wo–ne. ISBN 0-521-08558-6. 
  5. ^ Homer. Iliad, Book XIII, Line 685.
  6. ^ Hes. fr. 10a.23 M-W: see Glare, P. G. W. (1996). Greek-English Leicon: Revised Supplement. Oxford University Press. p. 155. 
  7. ^ Book of Genesis, 10.2.
  8. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey William (General Editor) (1994). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Volume Two: Fully Revised: E-J: Javan. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 971. ISBN 0-8028-3782-4. 
  9. ^ “Iapetus”. The Encyclopædia Britannica: a Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. (11 ed.). Cambridge, England and New York (printed): Cambridge University Press, Online Encyclopedia. 1910–1911. p. 215. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  10. ^ Book of Isaiah 66.19.
  11. ^ Malkin, Irad (1998). The Return of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-520-21185-5. 
  12. ^ Foley, John Miles (2005). A Companion to Ancient Epic. Malden, Ma.: Blackwell Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 1-4051-0524-0. 
  13. ^ Muss-Arnolt, William (1905). A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language: Volume I: A-MUQQU: Iamānu. Berlin; London; New York: Reuther & Reichard; Williams & Morgate; Lemcke & Büchner. p. 360. 
  14. ^ Kearsley, R.A. (1999). “Greeks Overseas in the 8th Century B.C.: Euboeans, Al Mina and Assyrian Imperialism”. In Tsetskhladze, Gocha R. Ancient Greeks West and East. Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill. pp. 109–134. ISBN 90-04-10230-2.  See pages 120-121.
  15. ^ Braun, T.F.R.G. (1925). “The Greeks in the Near East: IV. Assyrian Kings and the Greeks”. In Boardman, John; Hammond, N.G.L. The Cambridge Ancient History: III Part 3: The Expansion of the Greek World Eighth to Sixth Centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14–24. ISBN 0-521-23447-6.  See page 17 for the quote.
  16. ^ Waters, Matt (2014). Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550–330 BCE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-10700-9-608. 
  17. ^ Kent, Roland G. (1953). Old Persian: Grammar Texts Lexicon: Second Edition, Revised. New Haven, Connecticut: American Oriental Society. p. 204. ISBN 0-940490-33-1. 
  18. ^ Kent, p. 136.
  19. ^ Dagut, M. (1990). Prof. Jerusalem: Kiryat-Sefer Ltd. p. 294. ISBN 9651701722. 
  20. ^ Bedrossian, Matthias (1985). New Dictionary Armenian-English. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. p. 515. 
  21. ^ Wehr, Hans (1971). Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 1110. ISBN 0879500018. 
  22. ^ Rosenthal, Franz (2007). Encyclopedia of Islam Vol XI (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 344. ISBN 9789004161214. 
  23. ^ Elihai, Yohanan (1985). Dictionnaire de l’arabe parlé palistinien Français-Arabe. Paris: Éditions Klincksieck. p. 203. ISBN 2252025115. 
  24. ^ Turner, Colin (2003). A Thematic Dictionary of Modern Persian. London: Routedge. p. 92. ISBN 9780700704583. 
  25. ^ Kornrumpf, H.-J. (1979). Langenscheidt’s Universan Dictionary Turkish-English English-Turkish. Berlin: Langenscheidt. ISBN 0340000422. 
  26. ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, pp. 608–609.
  27. ^ “Indo-European Etymological Dictionary”. Leiden University, the IEEE Project. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006.  To find the full presentation in H. J. Frisk’s Grieschisches Woeterbuch search on page 1,748, being sure to include the comma. For a similar presentation in Beekes’ A Greek Etymological Dictionary search on Ionian in Etymology. Both linguists state a full panoply of “Ionian” words with sources.
  28. ^ Partridge, Eric (1983). Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English: Ionian. New York: Greenwich House. ISBN 0-517-41425-2. 
  29. ^ Bernal, Martin (1991). Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization: Volume I: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-8135-1277-8. 
  30. ^ “Indo-European Etymological Dictionary”. Leiden University, the IEEE Project. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006.  In Pokorny’s Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (1959), p. 1176.
  31. ^ Nikolaev, Alexander S. (2006), “Ἰάoνες”, Acta Linguistica Petropolitana, (1), pp. 100–115.
  32. ^ Georgiev, Vladimir (1964). “Mycenaean Greek among the Other Greek Dialects”. In Bennett, Emmett L. Jr. Mycenaean Studies: Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies Held at “Wingspread,” 4–8 September 1961. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 125–139. LC 63-8435. .
  33. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book I, Chapter 147.
  34. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book I, Chapter 143.
  35. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 48.1.
  36. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 46.3.
  37. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 46.2.
  38. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 6, Section 22.3.
  39. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 7, Chapter 94.
  40. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 1, Section 145.1.
  41. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 73.3.
  42. ^ Strabo. Geography. Book 8, Section 7.1.

Further reading

  • J.A.R Munro. “Pelasgians and Ionians”. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1934 (JSTOR).
  • R.M. Cook. “Ionia and Greece in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B.C.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1946 (JSTOR).

External links

  •  Myres, John Linton (1911). “Ionians”. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). pp. 730–731.  The reader should be aware that, although useful, this article necessarily omits all of modern scholarship.


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