Depleted Deuterium Protocol

Deuterium in its depleted form has been considered by a small subset of the integrative oncology community as an anti-aging or longevity promoter as well as an anti-cancer agent. While this twin claim has some supporting evidence, (Section B), the scientific credibility of these claims has not been sufficiently established, nor its relevance. (Section C). Indeed, why spend 80 to 100 dollars for every two days for three liters of depleted deuterium when the body’s innate intelligence depletes deuterium endogenously as needed ? Furthermore, when the proponents of this anti-aging technique recommend a heavy keto diet with few if any fruits, key longevity and healing pathways are hindered. To better demonstrate the benefits and the limitations (flaws) of DDW (depleted deuterium water or “light water”) as an anti-care and longevity water, I first need to review the science of deuterium. (Section A)

Section A

The Science of Deuterium

Hydrogen comes in two flavors. On the one hand, we have the hydrogen which is called protium. and does not have a neutron in its nucleus. And deuterium which has all of the same properties as hydrogen except it’s twice as heavy. This is due to an added neutron to go with the proton in the nucleus. Because of this, deuterium is also referred to as “Heavy Hydrogen”.

In nature the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (D/H) is about 1:6600, which is interesting because this ratio is similar to the golden mean ratio that characterizes one of the key universal signatures of Life (See golden ratio file).

In terms of cellular life, this ratio signifies that the natural concentration of D is about 150 ppm (0.015 atom%). A world- wide survey of hydrogen isotopes in precipitation showed that the D content covers a range of 120 and 160 ppm depending mainly on the site of sampling (1). Furthermore,  there are several indications that the D/H ratio may not constant in living organisms . (2)

The effect of the replacement of hydrogen with deuterium in biological systems has been established. (3) Naturally occurring variations of deuterium concentration within cells can influence their cellular activity and cell growth. In this perspective, it has been shown that the activation of H+ extrusion membrane transport systems generates an increase in the D/H ratio in the intracellular space by preferentially eliminating the lighter isotope (e.g. H+-ATPase. (4) This increase appears to reflect the metabolic activity of the cell and may also serve as a signal that, in turn, triggers a change in enzyme activity.

Deuterium Depleted Water

Deuterium-depleted water (DDW), also known more ambiguously as light water, is water which has a lower concentration of deuterium than occurs naturally. Deuterium is a heavier isotope of hydrogen which has, in addition to its one proton, a neutron that roughly doubles the mass of the hydrogen atom. In Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water, deuterium occurs at a rate of 155.76 ppm. The production of heavy water involves isolating and removing deuterium within water. The by-product of this process is deuterium-depleted water. (Source)

Section B

Evidence with Regard to DDW and Cancer Metabolism.

The Hungarian Lab DDW authors claim that deuterium-depleted water can be applied to cancer therapy. The protocol is as follows: The daily drinking water of the patients is replaced by deuterium-depleted water, which is administered as an anticancer agent besides conventional therapy. These authors allege that DDW is the key agent that is responsible for a significant increase in survival time. Let us examine the evidence of these claims.

A study in four patients with brain metastases secondary to lung cancer found that DDW prolonged survival time compared with the average life expectancy in these cases. Survival times of 9.7, 26.6, 33.4, and 54.6 months are unique in the annals of brain metastases secondary to lung tumors (Krempels et al., 2008)

 Section under construction


Although advances in cancer therapies continue to develop, the shortness of the survival of lung cancer patients is still disappointing. Therefore, finding new adjuvant strategies is within the focus of cancer cure. Based on observations that deuterium depletion inhibits the growth of cancer cell lines and suppresses certain proto-oncogenes, we have conducted a clinical study in 129 patients with small cell and nonsmall cell lung cancers who consumed deuterium-depleted drinking water (DDW) as a nontoxic agent in addition to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Median survival time (MST) was 25.9 mo in males and 74.1 mo in female patients; the difference between genders was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Median survival of subjects with brain metastasis was 27.1 mo. Cumulative 5-yr survival probabilities were 19%, 52%, and 33% in males, females, and all patients with brain metastasis, respectively. Gene expression analysis in mouse lung indicated that DDW attenuates 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced expression of Bcl2, Kras, and Myc in females. In conclusion, DDW counteracts the DMBA-induced overexpression of Bcl2, Kras and Myc genes in mouse lung, and it may extend survival of lung cancer patients as a nontoxic anticancer dietary supplement, especially for women with tumors overexpressing cancer-related genes, because MST of DDW-consuming group was 2-4 times longer than it is generally observed in lung cancer patients.

Deuterium depleted water effects on survival of lung cancer patients and expression of Kras, Bcl2, and Myc genes in mouse lung. Gyöngyi Z, et al. Nutr Cancer. 2013. Show full citation

Critical Appraisal

1. No control group

2. Not a stand alone, short term benefit could have come fr conventional oncology

3. No follow up etc

4. Interventional studies, double blind, randomized, not seen.

Will keep looking

Section under construction

In vitro studies noted that D-depletion triggers apoptosis, exerts influence on proto-oncogenes and tumor suppression genes and weakens the expression of genes induced by exposures to carcinogens (Cong et al., 2010; Somlyai et al., 1993, 1998a,b).

 In a randomized, double-blind phase 2 study and in a prospective study in patients with prostate cancer consuming DDW parallel to the conventional therapy, prolonged survival was noted (Kovács et al., 2011). Based on these observations, DDW has been posited to offer anticancer activity as an adjunct to conventional therapy.

Previous studies showed the ability of DDW to induce apoptosis in several tumor cell lines (Somlyai et al., 2010).

DDW effect on Longevity

Excess Deuterium is Deleterious

D2O concentrations exceeding the natural level resulted in numerous adverse effects: (a) increased viral mutation rates (Konrad, 1960); (b) deuteration of synthetic estrogen hormones weakened its estrogenic properties (Thompson, 1963); (c) deuterated enzymes exhibited conformational changes, affecting their active sites (Van Hook, 1971); (d) the skin became enriched in deuterium along a temporal aging axis (Griffiths, 1973); (e) reduced the life-span of mice (Czajka and Finkel, 1960).

But what about too little Deuterium ?

Section under investigation


The present investigation shows that deuterium depletion in water reverses the intracellular effects of Mn exposure in C. elegans. We show that Mn caused reduction in DAF-16 and SOD-3 levels, which was associated with reduced life-span. Notably, treatment of Mn exposed worms with DDW (90 ppm) restored life-span, DAF-16 and SOD-3 levels to control levels. In conclusion, our study strongly suggest that low D concentrations can restore the Mn-induced reduced life-span in C. elegans, reiforcing the need of further studies to improve the understanding on DDW therapeutic mechanisms.


J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2018 Dec;50:629-633. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2018.05.004.

The effect of the deuterium depleted water on the biological activity of the eukaryotic cells.

Syroeshkin AV1, Antipova NV2, Zlatska AV3, Zlatskiy IA4, Skylska MD5, Grebennikova TV6, Goncharuk VV5.

Author information


Here we show the dependence of the unicellular biosensor S.ambigua lifespan on the water D/H isotopic composition. This dependence is bell-shaped with descents both in case of deficiency or excess of deuterium in water. The influence of the water D/H isotopic composition on the cell culture proliferative potential and colony forming efficiency in vitro was tested on the human dermal fibroblasts. We observed that the deuterium depleted water stimulates cell colony formation at the early passages. The dynamics of the cell doubling index in the deuterium depleted water-based growth medium showed higher proliferation potential compared to the water with normal isotopic composition. Using scratch assay, we have also studied the impact of the growth medium D/H isotopic composition on the cell motility of human cancer cell lines A549 and HT29. We have shown that the deuterium depleted water considerably suppressed cancer cell lines amoeboid movement in vitro.


Colony-Forming ability; Deuterium depleted water; Human dermal fibroblasts; In vitro; Isotopic composition of water; Monolayer scratch method; Proliferative potential; Spirotox

PMID: 29773469 DOI: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2018.05.004

Tentative Conclusion

For the last few years, there’s been lots of hype with regard to what is called DDW (deuterium depleted water) as a “cure” from everything from vascular disease, to cancer and accelerated aging. In this piece, I  examined the scientific evidence that supports it’s use as a healing approach, in particular for cancer and accelerated aging. While there is some evidence in petri dishes and animals that there may be benefits  from DDW, in terms of human trials, I have not seen strong evidence that DDW is superior to placebo.

But I have not finished investigation, so conclusion tentative.

Meanwhile, if Nature has provided mammalian organisms (including humans) with mechanisms that naturally deplete deuterium, then it could be argued that interfering with these mechanisms by replacing normal quality water with DDW and a wholesome diet based on seeds and fruits with an animal fat (keto) diet may be seriously deletrious long term.


Does the Body have Deuterium regulatory mechanisms

Hypothesis from this group

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it plays a huge role in everything our bodies do. What most people don’t realize is that hydrogen often brings an unwanted guest: deuterium, a heavy hydrogen isotope that wreaks havoc on our bodies and metabolism. When deuterium builds up in your body from your diet and environment, it changes chemical reactions at a cellular level, which can lead to a host of negative health consequences

Evolution has put systems in place to deplete deuterium and protect the “little engines” in our cell’s mitochondria called nanomotors from coming in contact with too much deuterium.

Cancer cells need carbs (sugar) to grow. What most don’t know is that it’s not actually the carbs themselves but the deuterium in the carbs. The metabolism of both normal and cancer cells use the hydrogens from the food we eat to make energy using the tiny nanomotors in our mitochondria. But these delicate motors are broken when they use deuterium rather than hydrogen as fuel. Normal cells become cancerous by switching to alternative metabolic pathways to make the energy they need.  The problem is that cancer cells need a lot more “fuel” because, unlike normal cells, they’re “always” growing, dividing, and making more cancer cells! Having high levels of deuterium is literally like pouring gas into your cancer’s fuel tank.

 ” Using scratch assay, we have also studied the impact of the growth medium D/H isotopic composition on the cell motility of human cancer cell lines A549 and HT29. We have shown that the deuterium depleted water considerably suppressed cancer cell lines amoeboid movement in vitro” (Source)

J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2018 Dec;50:629-633. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2018.05.004.

The effect of the deuterium depleted water on the biological activity of the eukaryotic cells.

Syroeshkin AV1, Antipova NV2, Zlatska AV3, Zlatskiy IA4, Skylska MD5, Grebennikova TV6, Goncharuk VV5.

Detection and modulation
Section under construction
However, when there’s too much deuterium and the body does not modulate correctly excess deuterium, when it can’t sufficiently deplete deplete deuterium, then it is hypothesized that that important mitochondrial  nanomotors can be undermined. (Source).
This starts a vicious cycle of deuterium building up and breaking more of our nanomotors. Less nanomotors means less energy and more sickness and disease.
In nature, deuterium helps things grow.  For example, high levels of deuterium is biologically wanted in babies, teenagers, and growing plants and animals. But once you stop growing, having too much deuterium in the cells, like having too much mTor and IGF-1, can lead to premature aging, metabolic problems, and diseases like cancer.
The “little engines” in our cells (the mitochondria), when functioning properly, actually deplete deuterium to protect critical functions of the cell.

But, due to our poor environments and bad lifestyle, we have way too much deuterium inside of the cell and this overwhelms our “little engines”.

This starts a vicious cycle of deuterium building up and breaking more of our mitochondria.

When our mitochondria break, our metabolism slows to a halt.




(1). Yurtsever, Y. and Gat, J.R. in: Stable Isotope Hydrology (J.R. Gal and R. Gonfiantini, Eds.), International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 1981, pp. 103-142. See also Craig, H. (1961) Science 133, 1702-1703.

(2). Rundel, P.W., Ehleringer, J.R. and Nagy, K.A. (1988) Stable isotopes in Ecological Research, Springer, New York.
(3).  Katz, J.J. and Crespi, H.L. in: Isotope Effects in Chemical Reac- tions (C.J. Collins and N.S. Bowman, Eds.) Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, pp. 286363.
[4] Kotyk, A., Dvo%kova, M. and Koryta, J. (1990) FEBS Lett. 264,


EXTRA For later

How to Measure Your Body’s Deuterium Levels

The Center for Deuterium Depletion has developed two unique “D-terminator” diagnostic tests to determine deuterium levels that are present in a patient’s tissues and biological fluids. They can also use sophisticated technology like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map the patterns of deuterium in your body—whether in your hair, nails, or even DNA. In short, the doctors see how overloaded you are with deuterium and then recommend a protocol to deplete it.

Why are People so Overloaded with Deuterium?

As you can imagine, diet and environment factors contribute heavily to high levels of deuterium. Processed foods, carbs, and synthetic supplements are all high in deuterium. From an environmental perspective, the doctors told us that river and tap water have high deuterium levels. They said the same about ocean water as well, so people who live on the coasts may be breathing in higher levels of atmospheric deuterium. Specific to nutrition, the doctors noted that healthy fats and green vegetables are low in deuterium, while fruits and other carbohydrates are higher.

How is Deuterium Depleted?

At the beginning of the depletion process, nutrition is key. After measuring your levels with the D-terminator tests, the doctors recommend the consumption of healthy fats & proteins, and other food sources that are low in deuterium. They also encourage patients to drink deuterium-depleted water, in the early phases, to get their levels down. The doctors explained how the body can make its own deuterium-depleted water, once someone’s deuterium levels are reasonably healthy.

The doctors at the Center for Deuterium Depletion believe that once your body is functioning properly, it can naturally regulate deuterium levels, allowing your cells to once again produce healthy amounts of ATP energy.

Section Under construction

Water is an essential requirement for life. It is the largest constituent of living organisms; the human body consists of 60–70% water dependent upon age. Intra- and extracellular water plays numerous physiological roles, providing an appropriate medium for chemical reactions in cells (Mitchell et al., 1945; Wang et al., 1999).

Hydrogen has a naturally occurring stable isotope, deuterium (D) with a mass number of 2, and it is present in surface water in the form of HDO [semiheavy water; water with light hydrogen (protium, 1H) and deuterium (D or 2H) in the mix] or D2O at a concentration of 16.8 mmol/L or 150 ppm (Katz and Crespi, 1971; Rundel et al., 1988). The two isotopes have the largest mass ratio among stable isotopes of the same element, resulting in significantly different chemical and physical behavior (Jancsó, 2003; Katz and Crespi, 1971; Rundel et al., 1988). Although the effect of D2O – due to its isotopic effect – at an elevated concentration in biological systems has been investigated (Czajka et al., 1961; Katz et al., 1962), the significance of naturally occurring D-concentration has yet to be addressed.


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