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Deuterium Depleted Water

Dr. James Odell, OMD, ND, L.Ac.


First, what is deuterium? In simple words, deuterium is a form, or rather isotope, of hydrogen. Hydrogen is unique in that it has three isotopes – protium, deuterium, and tritium. The most common isotope of hydrogen, protium, has one proton and no neutrons. Deuterium has one proton and one neutron. The name for deuterium comes from the Greek word deuteros, which means "second". This is in reference to the two particles, a proton, and a neutron, which make up the nucleus of a deuterium atom. Because deuterium contains a neutron, it is more massive or heavier than protium, so it is sometimes called heavy hydrogen. There is a third hydrogen isotope, tritium, which may also be called heavy hydrogen because each atom contains one proton and two neutrons. Deuterium is a stable isotope of hydrogen, thus is not radioactive.


Most water (H2O) contains hydrogen-deuterium. Technically, natural water is a mixture of nine water isotopologues formed by stable isotopes of hydrogen [1H, protium (H) and 2H, deuterium (D)] and oxygen (16O, 17O, 18O). The term ‘isotopologue’ refers to a molecular entity that differs only in isotopic composition. The natural level or abundance of deuterium is slightly different from one water source to another. For example, snow-melt water from mountains contains less deuterium. Deuterium water or heavy water is widely used in nuclear power reactors as a neutron moderator. However, it has also been reported to be harmful to living beings and toxic for cells. Deuterium behaves differently from normal hydrogen in biochemical reactions and thus can alter normal biochemistry. Deuterium water - heavy water – has been shown to affects the period of circadian oscillations, consistently increasing the length of each cycle. The effect has been demonstrated in unicellular organisms, green plants, isopods, insects, birds, mice, and hamsters. The mechanism is unknown. Though it is not radioactive, deuterium water is not totally safe to drink for long periods of time because the biochemical reactions at a cellular level are affected by the distinction in the mass of the hydrogen atoms and how well they shape hydrogen bonds. While it is not lethal to drink, ingesting small amounts of deuterium water over a long period can be quite toxic to many biological regulatory systems. Because of this detrimental effect, water companies have created deuterium-depleted water, also known as ‘light water’, that has a lower concentration of deuterium than occurs naturally. This ‘light water’ is commercially sold.

Studies have shown that deuterium depleted water (DDW) is helpful in the treatment of several forms of cancer. Consequently, it has been suggested that the integration of DDW treatment into cancer and degenerative diseases treatments might provide a simple and effective therapeutic option. This is particularly shown for those with advanced lung cancer and/or multiple brain metastases. It has also been suggested that the deuterium content of water may influence the incidence of affective disorder-related pathophysiology and major depression, which might be mediated by the serotoninergic mechanisms.


Fortunately, the amount of deuterated water molecules in normal water is insignificantly small, about 150 ppm, but still enough overtime to accumulate and become biologically toxic to cells. Water with a concentration less than 140 ppm is considered deuterium depleted. It appears that there is no escaping deuterium in our water unless you buy DDW or make it yourself through a freezing process. The freezing point of deuterium water is 3.82 degrees C. Thus, it has a higher freezing point than DDW. This phenomenon can be used to make DDW. (See YouTube video)


Based on clinical studies, seemingly a small reduction in deuterium water content can improve several health parameters in humans. Unfortunately, the list of published peer-reviewed research papers on the topic of DDW is scarce (less than few dozens of papers) and almost limited to the effect of deuterium depletion on living cells. Essentially, the fundamental physical properties of DDW or light water (below 150 ppm) have never been thoroughly investigated.


The following are sources on the health benefits of DDW


Ávila, Daiana Silva, Gábor Somlyai, Ildikó Somlyai, and Michael Aschner. "Anti-aging effects of deuterium depletion on Mn-induced toxicity in a C. elegans model." Toxicology letters 211, no. 3 (2012): 319-324. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4917383/

Bild, W., I. Stefanescu, I. Haulica, C. Lupuşoru, Gh Titescu, R. Iliescu, and V. Nastasa. "Research concerning the radioprotective and immunostimulating effects of deuterium-depleted water." Romanian journal of physiology: physiological sciences 36, no. 3-4 (1999): 205-218. https://europepmc.org/article/med/11797936

Bild, W., Veronica Năstasă, and I. Haulică. "In vivo and in vitro research on the biological effects of deuterium-depleted water: 1. Influence of deuterium-depleted water on cultured cell growth." Romanian journal of physiology: physiological sciences 41, no. 1-2 (2004): 53-67. https://europepmc.org/article/med/15984656

COng, Feng-SOng, Ya-ru ZhanG, HOng-CAi SHeng, Zong-Hua Ao, Su-Yi ZhanG, and Ju-yOng WAng. "Deuterium-depleted water inhibits human lung carcinoma cell growth by apoptosis." Experimental and therapeutic medicine 1, no. 2 (2010): 277-283. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/etm_00000043?text=fulltext

Krempels, Krisztina, Ildikó Somlyai, and Gábor Somlyai. "A retrospective evaluation of the effects of deuterium depleted water consumption on 4 patients with brain metastases from lung cancer." Integrative Cancer Therapies 7, no. 3 (2008): 172-181. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1534735408322851

Mladin, Cristian, Alin Ciobica, Radu Lefter, Alexandru Popescu, and Walther Bild. "Deuterium-depleted water has stimulating effects on long-term memory in rats." Neuroscience letters 583 (2014): 154-158. https://qlarivia.eu/pdf/istrazivanja/ADS_mladin2014.pdf

Strekalova, Tatyana, Matthew Evans, Anton Chernopiatko, Yvonne Couch, João Costa-Nunes, Raymond Cespuglio, Lesley Chesson et al. "Deuterium content of water increases depression susceptibility: The potential role of a serotonin-related mechanism." Behavioural Brain Research 277 (2015): 237-244.