Deuterium Drops Keep Fallin' on My Head...

Day 120, 72-48

Dr. Sunshine

5/1/20232 min read

How fitting that we should have another rainy day for the continued discussion of deuterium. Now that we know what it is and what it does, let's talk about how we can reduce our exposure, if we can! (Cue spooky music and lightning)

Fortunately, plants and animals have built in mechanisms to "distill" heavy water and deuterium and discard it. The key is balancing intake vs excretion, as it is possible to overload those mechanisms. To think about intake, think about what "heavy" water would do. It would tend to pool in standing water, and it would be the first water to fall out of a rain cloud. So it is relatively higher in concentration in ocean water and to a lesser extent lakes, and as storm systems move from West to East across the continental US, for example, most of the heavy water will precipitate in the west. Also, gravity and temperature affect relative concentrations, so water sources in higher latitudes and altitudes theoretically will have less deuterium compared to sea level and equatorial.

This is important to keep in mind when considering where your food comes from. Fruits and veggies grown out west may have relatively higher deuterium than those grown in the northeast. Also, animal products tend to have less deuterium than plant products because we excrete our deuterium whereas plants load it into the fruit and seeds in order to get rid of it. And those fruits and seeds are exactly the parts of plants we eat. Even worse is concentrating it into seed oils and junk foods. Now, you might be saying, "Dr. Sunshine, isn't this basically just saying eat keto and/or cut carbs?" And the answer is yes, at least to the carb cutting, but it's more than just "calorie in-calorie out". The point of this exercise is to consider that there are potentially many factors in deciding where and how we eat.

So, does this mean that Californians are just hosed when it comes to deuterium and food? No, because of the excretion side of the equation. There may be relatively more deuterium in California, but there is also a whole lot more sun! And good natural light exposure is key to optimal mitochondrial health, and effectively managing all that deuterium. The great thing about this is it gives a biological rationale to the locavore movement. In addition to reducing one's carbon footprint with decreased transport of food, eating locally and in season is just what the doctor ordered with respect to deuterium. Eating this way matches the deuterium in your food to the light exposure you are getting to manage it. It's a win-win!

If anything, us Nor-Easters are the unlucky ones, because we've gotten hooked on all those yummy avocados and tropical fruits from exotic locales, and a shorter growing season makes eating with variety difficult particularly in the winter. But there is a lot more to consider than just deuterium, so before driving your self crazy with some new-fangled diet or dropping big bucks on deuterium depleted water, remember that deuterium and heavy water is a miniscule fraction of all the water on earth and focus on the simple things that are well within your control: sunlight, clean food, clean water, exercise! Finally, talk to your doctor before standing in the sun, eating food, drinking water, or exercising.