It is well-known that due to its mass difference, deuterium (D) behaves differently from hydrogen in chemical reactions (called the isotope effect). In other words, deuterium can, in some ways, be considered as an independent element. When deuterium combines with oxygen, the resulting water is referred to as deuterium oxide or “heavy” water –D2O. Semi-heavy water results when one atom of hydrogen and one atom of deuterium combine with oxygen: (HDO). Water made with deuterium tastes and looks the same but has numerous distinguishing characteristics. For example:
- Normal water boils at 100° C; heavy water boils at 101.4 °C
- Normal water freezes at 0° C; heavy water freezes at 3.8° C.
- Ice normally floats on the surface of water; ice made with heavy water sinks.
Gilbert Lewis was the first to produce a pure sample of heavy water in the 1930s. He accurately predicted it’s toxic effects on living organisms. His experiments showed that while tobacco seeds placed in typical water sprouted over the course of two weeks, those placed in D2O did not sprout at all. Tobacco seeds in 50/50 D2O sprouted— slowly. Subsequent experiments on cell cultures and living organisms determined that increasing the deuterium concentration of the water in an organism could disturb normal cell function. Higher concentrations were lethal. While all this was interesting, most scientists considered deuterium to be so scarce that the study of its biological effects were ignored until the 1990s.
Is deuterium really scarce?
On average, one out of every 6400 atoms of hydrogen is deuterium—the equivalent of one or two drops in a quart of water. That might seem like a small proportion—until you consider the amount of hydrogen in living matter. One out of every 6400 atoms translates to a mass of deuterium five times greater than the mass of calcium in human blood. When scientists began to look at deuterium from this perspective, they became more interested in its biological significance.
Deuterium and DNA
Although mainstream researchers have overlooked the long term effects of low-level deuterium, research indicates that deuterium is coupled with DNA mutation and subsequent DNA damage. Deuterium affects the shape of molecules, including the shape of enzymes—many of which are involved in DNA synthesis and repair. The presence of deuterium in these enzymes slows DNA replication, it causes errors in transcription, and it hinders DNA repair.
Deuterium also has an effect on biological processes through the mechanism of hydrogen bonding. The bonds created by deuterium are stronger than normal hydrogen bonds. Tighter deuterium bonding stiffens proteins and requires more energy to break during metabolic reactions. Hydrogen bonds play a major role in DNA structure and are responsible for its helical shape. The class of enzymes and proteins that play a role in DNA replication and repair make extensive use of hydrogen bonds—another reason deuterium has negative effects on DNA.
Deuterium also interferes with normal proton movement in any proton channel—including the channels involved in ATP (energy) production. Its presence causes the mechanism to “stutter” reducing efficiency. With normal concentrations of deuterium, the “stutter” happens about once every 15 seconds in every proton channel. Multiplied by the millions of proton channels in a living organism, this approaches monumental proportions. Given these affects (and others), deuterium is now thought to play an important role in the progression of disease and aging.
Deuterium and Aging
The most widely accepted theory on aging supposes that the aging process is correlated with a gradual accumulation of errors in DNA. According to Kirk Goodall, a senior member of the technical staff with NASA, the number of irreversible errors in the DNA sequence is directly influenced, by deuterium. The lower the deuterium concentration, the lower the frequency of the irreversible errors in DNA structures.
Biological effects of deuterium-depleted water (DDW)
Since water is a major source of hydrogen, and since most living organisms are 50 – 75% water, scientists have begun to investigate the effects of deuterium-depleted water—water with a reduced amount of deuterium. Discoveries in the last fifteen years have been groundbreaking. The biological effects of deuterium-depleted water (DDW), sometimes referred to as “light” water, have been highlighted in dozens of studies conducted on plants, animals and humans. Experiments on plants show a general increase in growth and productivity—up to 200%. Experiments with chickens lead to a 50% decrease in mortality and a near doubling in egg production. Experiments with mice revealed increased life expectancy and an increase in sexual activity. Ten years of research and clinical trials on humans in Hungary by Dr. Gábor Somlyai and his colleges have identified positive effects of DDW in treating diabetes and many types of cancer. His book, Defeating Cancer: The Biological Effect of Deuterium Depletion, chronicles the work. Not only does the consumption of DDW affect the progression of many diseases and metabolic disorders (including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes), according to research conducted in Russia, it also positively affects energy production and immune function. A growing body of evidence shows DDW stimulates skin regeneration, reduces inflammation and slows aging. It also mitigates the damaging effects of radiation (nausea, pain, hair loss).
What is deuterium-depleted water?
All natural water contains deuterium. The amount of deuterium varies from 90 ppm (parts per million) in melted Antarctic ice to 180 ppm in underground water below the Sahara desert. Most water contains about 150 ppm. Water with a concentration less than 130 ppm is considered deuterium-depleted. According to clinical work conducted in Hungary, Japan and Russia, even this seemingly small reduction in deuterium content can have a significant influence on a number of health parameters. Studies conducted with concentrations between 25 and 125 ppm –all show response.
Natural deuterium depletion
Since evaporation favors hydrogen over the heavier deuterium, water vapor is lower in deuterium. (Deuterium evaporates last and condenses first.) In areas where there is a greater degree of evaporation (equator and deserts) the deuterium content of the surface water is high. On the other hand, where there is less evaporation (polar regions and mountains) the deuterium concentration of the surface water is lower. Natural deuterium concentration depends on a number of factors:
- Temperature/Season— Water in cold climates contains less deuterium than water in warmer climates. Winter precipitation contains less deuterium than summer precipitation.
- Water source (fresh vs. ocean)—Oceans contain more deuterium than fresh water. The deuterium concentration in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean remains fairly constant at 156 ppm. Polar oceans have a much lower concentration.
- Altitude—Water at high altitudes has less deuterium.
- Distance from coastline—Heavier water precipitates first so the surface water along western coastlines contains more deuterium than inland areas.
- Distance from the equator—Equatorial waters contain more deuterium than water at the poles.
Organisms in various parts of the world tend to have deuterium concentrations comparable to the water in the area. However, both plants and animals maintain a lower deuterium concentration than the surrounding surface water. This indicates that organisms have a preference for a deuterium-depleted status.
Is Hunza water Deuterium-depleted?
In the 1960s, a team of Soviet scientists studied two populations in different parts of the world whose members lived to old age in a very healthful conditions. The living habits of both populations were different, including their diet, but they had one thing in common: both populations drank glacial water with a significantly lower deuterium concentration. This is interesting in light of the fact that the Hunza region in Pakistan has also been studied for years in an attempt to identify a reason(s) for its long-lived, healthy population. Inhabitants of the Hunza Valley live to be in their 90s while maintaining an active lifestyle. This has always been attributed to their water (glacial). Everything about Hunza water has been studied over the years: mineral content, molecular structure, colloidal status, zeta potential, etc. but no one has considered the deuterium content of the water—until now. Hunza water is naturally deuterium depleted—estimated to be about 133 ppm deuterium. According to recent studies, this reduced deuterium concentration is enough to make a difference in numerous health parameters.
Why drink deuterium-depleted water (DDW) ?
Research shows that consumption of DDW gradually reduces the deuterium concentration in the human body. Over a period of weeks and months, consumption of DDW allows the body to expel excessive deuterium from the body. This could reduce the ongoing, adverse effects of deuterium (ie. DNA errors during replication and repair). At the same time, a number of health parameters may improve. Dr. Somlyai’s work in Hungary revealed that healthy cells respond well to reduced amounts of deuterium in water. However, cells with chromosomal mutations (cancer) are more sensitive to deuterium depletion. Cancer cells, particularly tumor cells, cannot adapt quickly resulting in tumor regression without any side effects on healthy cells. Dr. Somlya and his colleagues also studied DDW for metabolic disorders—particularly diabetes—with favorable results. From another perspective, It makes sense that water with a reduced deuterium content may have the capacity to transmit information more clearly. The extra neutron may create a “pucker” in the liquid crystalline matrix that is involved with information storage and transfer.
Where to get DDW
In Hungary and Romania, where DDW has been researched in clinical trials for over 10 years, (and where it is an accepted treatment for cancer) bottled DDW is widely available. Europe also now has a product called Preventa in several different deuterium concentrations. But in the U.S. there is currently no one producing DDW. You can buy deuterium-free water (< 1 ppm deuterium) water from chemical stores but the cost is prohibitive at $100.00 for 100 ml. You can also make your own.
Making your own DDW
Most DDW is made using modified distillation or electrolytic processes. However, a Japanese patent for making DDW describes pumping water through an apparatus at freezing temperatures so that the heavy water freezes and adheres to the inner surface of the apparatus. Water without deuterium remains liquid and can be separated from the heavy water.
Deuterium oxide (heavy water) has a freezing temperature of 3.8 °C.—nearly 4 degrees higher than the temperature at which normal water freezes. Following the logic of the Japanese patent, anyone can make DDW. Heavy water can be separated as ice during the early stages of the freezing process. Each time the water is frozen more deuterium is removed.
The authors of Dancing with Water have found that structuring water first and then enriching it with hydrogen creates a tight molecular matrix that weakens deuterium bonds and expedites the above separation process. When water is hydrogen-rich, greater amounts of deuterium can be removed with each freeze. Additionally, placement of the water in the full sun for ½ hour at the beginning of the process and in between freezing cycles, further weakens deuterium bonds. Only 2 freezing cycles are required to make DDW at levels that have been used in research. Here is our process:
How to Make your own Deuterium-depleted water (DDW)
- Fill a gallon jug ¾ full of good (filtered, distilled, RO or spring) water structured using any of the methods mentioned in Dancing with Water. (Remember to add unprocessed salts prior to structuring—especially if the water you are using is distilled or RO. Bamboo salt is especially suited to the deuterium-depletion process.)
- Enrich the water with hydrogen by adding 3-4 drops of Crystal Energy and allowing it to sit overnight. (You can also use a hydrogen stick or shungite to enrich the water with hydrogen. The authors like Crystal Energy for this purpose because it is easy but they also add a 30 gram bag of elite shungite to the jug. This further balances the water; it adds more hydrogen, and it tends to grab some of the deuterium that is released. If you use shungite, for making DDW, be sure to cleanse it in the sun every couple of days as it will become burdened with deuterium; full sun seems to clear deuterium better than running water.)
- The next morning, shake the jug, cover it loosely for air exchange and place it outside in the full sun for ½ hour. (Agitation and sunlight gently ionize the water – loosening hydrogen/deuterium bonds.)
- Place the jug in a freezer, making sure the lid is loose to allow the release of pressure from expansion.
- Allow the water to begin freezing—just enough so that the surface and outer edges form a thin crust of ice. (A Russian company advises that all you need is to freeze 2-3% of the water; the frozen part will contain a significant percentage of the heavy water. Note how long this takes so you can set a timer for later batches.)
- Remove the jug from the freezer and pour off the “light” water leaving the ice behind to be discarded. (Use a sieve to catch loose ice pieces.) This completes the first cycle.
- Place “light” water in another jug, shake again, and put in the full sun for another ½ hour. (The process of expansion and contraction releases deuterium, in a similar manner to the way deuterium depletion is accomplished at high altitudes in glacial ice.)
- Place in the freezer again until a thin crust of ice appears. Pour off the water, as before, and discard the ice. You now have DDW water.
Water produced in this manner (using 2 freezing cycles) is usually between 100 and 125 ppm deuterium and is ready to be consumed. You can complete a third cycle but each time you freeze you remove less deuterium, so 2 cycles is the most efficient; it produces DDW at a concentration that is balanced for consumption. This water can be further enhanced using a Water Cradle and/or any of the enhancements mentioned in Dancing with Water (book and/or website.).
Note: In our experience, if you do not enrich the water with hydrogen, it takes 4 cycles of freezing to accomplish a similar level of deuterium depletion.
How much to drink
Those who advocate drinking DDW on a prophylactic basis, recommend 1 liter/day (100 ppm deuterium or less) for at least 1-2 months every year. For regenerative benefits, drink DDW for 8 months out of every year (preferably March-October). Healthy individuals may notice more energy, better sleep, improvements in mental clarity, and heightened immune response. There are no contraindications. Those with health issues should consider the regular consumption of more than 1 liter/day for a longer duration. They may want to read Dr. Somlyai’s book for information on the protocols used during clinical trials.
An international patent search reveals that DDW is being incorporated in a variety of food preparations, including beer and soy sauce, for the purpose of improving health. It is also being used in the formulation of skin care products with success on many skin conditions. You can use DDW in your tea, soups and other food preparations. It can also be incorporated in a variety of homemade personal care products.