Water – which we consume every day as an essential food ingredient, is far more complex in its composition than we think. Considered as the vital constituent of life, water has a chemical formula of “H2O” but it is not as simple as it looks. Principally, natural water consists of three molecules, i.e., H2O, HDO, and D2O. These three variations occur because of the natural variations (called isotopes) of the Hydrogen atom. Deuterium Depleted Water, also known as light water, is a rare lower concentration water of Deuterium (a less common isotope of Hydrogen). On average, there are about six drops of heavy water HDO (containing Deuterium) in one liter of normal water.
What is Deuterium?
Deuterium is one of the three isotopes of Hydrogen. The first and most common isotope is Protium, which contains one proton, one electron, and no neutron. This isotope, Protium as it is scientifically known, is the most common type of Hydrogen isotope in nature. More than 99% of all Hydrogen atoms on earth are Protium.
The second isotope of Hydrogen that exists naturally is Deuterium, which is much less abundant (0.02% of ocean water) than Protium but twice as heavy (in terms of both conventional weight and atomic weight). Protium has one proton, one electron, and one neutron in its atom.
As a matter of fact, nature contains both Protium and Deuterium with oxygen to form water molecules. There is also an extremely rare isotope of Hydrogen called Tritium, which has one proton and two neutrons (atomic weight 3). Deuterium, however, naturally accounts for 0.02 % of Hydrogen in the ocean water.
The other sources of water, like water from rivers, streams, dams and some sprouts, contain a slightly different proportion of Deuterium in them. As Deuterium weighs more than the Protium (more common Hydrogen atom), it is also called heavy Hydrogen.
Similarly, the water with an increased concentration of Deuterium is called heavy water. Industrialists produce Heavy water artificially by a variety of methods, including distillation. The leftover aqua is called Deuterium Depleted Water or DDW. Though heavy water or Deuterium mixed water has many industrial and commercial uses, it is not particularly beneficial for human health. Especially if Deuterium water is consumed regularly for an extended period of time.
Why Remove Deuterium from Water?
The depletion of Deuterium is a present-day health practice for reducing Deuterium levels in our bodies. Scientists believe that a small amount of Deuterium removal from normal water could significantly result in great benefits.
When consumed in large quantities, Deuterium content in water interferes with the human body system. In addition, its excessive consumption can damage the mitochondrial membrane gradually. However, the consumption of DDW helps you reduce Deuterium content in your body. Studies have shown that regular consumption of DDW for 45-90 days substantially reduces the presence of Deuterium in the human body, leading to associated health benefits.
Usually, we don’t really bother with a few drops of heavy water in every glass of Adam’s ale we consume. Even if we get to know the percentage of Deuterium in the water we drink, it doesn’t seem a lot to us, but its cumulative effect on a human body is astonishing. In some cases, human blood contains fourfold more Deuterium than the most vital minerals and nutrients we need to live.
When the level increases, Deuterium infers with a body’s functions and slows down chemical reactions. This is called the Kinetic Isotope Effect, which may have serious implications on our health. The alarming thing is that most people are not aware of the negative consequences of unnecessarily increased levels of Deuterium on their bodies. Deuterium-Depleted Water naturally helps adjust the Deuterium levels in the body back to normal within a few weeks. But the million-dollar question remains, can you find Deuterium-depleted water in nature?
Does DDW Exist in Nature?
Pure Deuterium-depleted Water without any dilution doesn’t exist in nature. Natural water does contain some concentrations of Deuterium. The most perfect example of Deuterium-depleted Water is the ice and snow in Antarctica, which is approximately 89 parts per million (ppm).
It is indeed the lightest water existing on Earth. However, this is unfortunate that this water resource is inaccessible remotely for domestic purposes due to distance. Thus, for now, we can only access large quantities of Deuterium-depleted Water through artificial methods.
Deuterium Depleted Water Production
Heavy water has various applications in the field of organic chemistry, nuclear reactors, and drug development. Its production can get us the DDW as a by-product.
Mass production of Deuterium depletion water demands complex distillation, chemical, or electrical reactions. Almost all of these methods are expensive, energy-consuming, and a threat to a healthy environment. The Girdler Sulfide process is the most systematic, but it too uses toxic chemicals. The easiest by far the most convenient option is to buy authentic and commercially available Deuterium-depleted Water.
Can We Make Our Own DDW?
Yes, difficult, but you can, at least theoretically. Deuterium depleted water has a slightly higher boiling point and freezing point temperatures than the normal water.
This feature may be of use to make DDW through freezing or partial distillation on your own. This way, water with Deuterium would either freeze faster or evaporate slower. But still, you need some high-tech equipment to separate Deuterium molecules. And the costs would surely render the whole process infeasible.
Key Take Away Points
Deuterium concentration in natural water is about 150 parts per million, which is almost equal to a few drops per liter of water. However, DDW contains an even lesser concentration of Deuterium.
Conclusively, a human body can’t bear increased Deuterium levels in the blood. For this very purpose, we deplete Deuterium from the higher concentrated water on a mass scale. The production of DDW requires complex distillation and huge expense.
In the end, if you want to decrease the level of Deuterium in your body, drinking Deuterium Depleted Water is an effective solution. You may have to drink it for two to three months, and it will bring the Deuterium levels back to a healthy level.