While the name “deuterium” sounds like a supernatural substance we might encounter in a Marvel superhero movie, it is actually a naturally occurring form of hydrogen abundant on planet earth. This seemingly mysterious compound has been making the rounds in the health and wellness space in recent years and many biohackers have become keen on lowering deuterium levels in the body to support optimal health. Are you curious about deuterium? Read on to learn more!
Deuterium Disrupts Energy Production & Cellular Health
Deuterium is a form of hydrogen symbolized as 2H and referred to as “heavy hydrogen.” The other form of hydrogen on planet earth is called protium. Deuterium is naturally found in nature in a ratio of 1:6600 deuterium: protium. (1) While deuterium is essential for normal cell growth and development, we run into problems when excess deuterium accumulates in our bodies.
Deuterium differs from protium in that it contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus, whereas protium contains just a single proton. The atomic heaviness of deuterium gives it different physical and chemical properties compared to protium, making it difficult for our bodies to process. The phenomenon by which deuterium interferes with our physiology is called “deuteronation.” Deuteronation occurs when deuterium replaces protium in a particular molecule or cellular structure, disrupting the function of that molecule or structure. For example, your mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of your cells, utilize a hydrogen ion gradient to create ATP, your cellular energy “currency.” When deuterium replaces protium in the mitochondria, the mitochondrial “machinery” gets clogged up and cellular energy production grinds to a halt. (2) Deuteronation also increases free radical levels inside the mitochondria, directly damaging our cellular power plants. (3) Together, these effects of deuterium reduce ATP or energy production.
Deuteronation also occurs in cell membranes, altering cellular structure and function. (4) At its core, deuterium lowers energy availability and changes the physical nature of cells, with downstream effects on every aspect of health.
Where Does Deuterium Come from and How is it Harmful to Health?
Deuterium is a naturally-occurring substance, but your exposure to it may be increased if you:
- Consume carbohydrate-rich foods: Foods rich in starch contain higher levels of deuterium. Plants get rid of deuterium by shuttling it into carbohydrate storage units, otherwise known as the “starchy” parts of plants such as grains and roots.
- Live near the equator and/or at a low altitude: Deuterium levels are higher in water located at the equator and at low altitudes than in water at the poles or high altitudes.
- Are aging (we all are!): Increasing age is associated with increased deuterium levels. (5)
The harmful effects of excessive deuterium at the cellular level translate into a variety of harmful health effects:
Deuterium Depletion Up-Levels Health & Supports Longevity
Conversely, depleting the body’s deuterium levels may support healthy blood sugar control (9), body fat loss (10), and the integrity of your genetic blueprint, your DNA (11). These intersecting health benefits induced by deuterium depletion may, together, optimize your healthspan – the years of your life lived in good health.
While the mechanisms by which deuterium depletion improves health are not fully understood, this process likely works by improving mitochondrial function and balancing the body’s antioxidant levels, creating a dynamic and resilient internal environment.
Deplete Deuterium by Drinking “Lite” Water
One way we can reduce deuterium levels is by drinking something called “Lite” water or deuterium depleted water. A water molecule (H2O) contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The two hydrogen atoms in water molecules can either come from protium or deuterium. A water molecule with two deuterium atoms is called “heavy water” because of its greater atomic mass. In contrast, a water molecule with two protiums is referred to as “lite” water or “deuterium depleted water,” DDW. The surge in scientific interest in the health effects of deuterium depletion has led several companies to produce deuterium-depleted water for human consumption. Preliminary research suggests that drinking DDW may support healthy cellular energy production, normal cell growth, immune function, the organs of detoxification, and systemic antioxidant balance. (12, 13, 14)
Detoxification & Mitochondrial Support: Essential Elements of Deuterium Depletion
Drinking DDW isn’t the only way to lower your deuterium level; detoxification and supporting your mitochondria with specific nutrients also addresses deuterium overload.
A comprehensive detoxification protocol removes toxins that impair mitochondrial function, such as mercury and mycotoxins. Eliminating these toxins buffers against the mitochondrial stress triggered by deuterium. Providing your mitochondria with the nutrients they need to thrive, including phospholipids, B vitamins, and glutathione, also helps protect your delicate cellular “power plants.”
Before Getting Started – Test Your Deuterium Level
Before guzzling deuterium-depleted water and implementing detoxification and mitochondrial support strategies, it helps to know your baseline level of deuterium. Thanks to revolutionary new technology, you can now test your deuterium level before and after implementing a deuterium depletion protocol, gaining powerful feedback on how your diet and lifestyle impact your body burden of deuterium.
Depleting deuterium is not a fad but a powerful tool for improving your body’s physical function and your healthspan. One day, getting your deuterium level tested may be a routine part of your yearly physical. In the meantime, you can get ahead of the curve by discovering your deuterium level and using strategies such as DDW, detoxification, and mitochondrial support to fortify your body against this pervasive environmental stressor.