Ion-free water for human consumption?

Nigel Arnot NRA at
Wed Oct 16 14:11:28 EST 1996

In article <3264F33F.64A1 at>, Jim Large <jml at> says:
>Depree, Jonathan A wrote:
>> Deuterium can replace hydrogen in biomolecules however, and it it
>> replaces a crucial hydrogen in either an enzyme or enzyme substrate
>> it can slow the rate of reaction significantly. I would also be
>> interested to know the effects of drinking water with an unusually
>> high deuterium content over a long period. I doubt there would be
>> much effect given the low proportion of deuterium and the low
>> chance of hitting those critical hydrogens.
>    WARNING: The following is a baseless, uninformed rumor, propagated
>    by a rank amateur.  Go on!  Read it.  You know you want to... 
>The way I've heard it, the altered physical properties of deuterium 
>bearing molecules can have a profound effect on processes that take 
>place on or near biological membranes.  Supposedly, consuming large 
>quantities of D20 can be harmful or even fatal, but in this case, 
>"large" means more than most of us are ever likely to see in our 

It's not just physical. Unlike other isotopes, the chemistry of D 
differs noticeably, though subtly, from H. Basically it sticks (bonds) 
to C, N, O more strongly than H does.

Searching the web, with altavista +D2O +ingestion, revealed one
completely surreal reference to the compound

which appears (to a non-chemist) to be written by someone with
some chemical skills and a penchant for ingesting the results of
his experiments. There is even some speculation about the relative
effects of D,H vs H,D at an optically active site which is the
target of an enzyme cleavage for the substance to .. er.. work.

Back on more solid ground, a friend of mine has tasted D2O. (Yes,
really). Said it tasted oily, and he spat it out. The small amount
ingested did no (obvious) harm. the bad taste could of course be
psychological in origin -- double-blind tests, anyone?

Substitution of all H2O intake by D2O would not be good for one.
I'm sure that someone must have poisoned a rat this way and recorded
the results, although a quick web search didn't find it.

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