Ion-free water for human consumption?

Depree, Jonathan A depreej at lincoln.ac.nz
Wed Oct 23 13:33:20 EST 1996


In article <543c10$kq6 at willow.cc.kcl.ac.uk> NRA at maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk (Nigel Arnot) writes:
>From: NRA at maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk (Nigel Arnot)
>Subject: Re: Ion-free water for human consumption?
>Date: 16 Oct 1996 19:11:28 GMT

>In article <3264F33F.64A1 at nomos.com>, Jim Large <jml at nomos.com> 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.
>>
Since I wrote this I've had a chance to think a little more about it. Enzymes 
may well exchange hydrogens during the course of the reaction which would 
mean thet they would be more likely to pick up a D atom. On the other hand 
this should also mean that the D atoms would be flushed out again. 

>>    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 
>>lifetimes.

>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
>3,4,5-Trimethoxy-beta,beta-Dideuterophenethylamine:
>http://hyperreal.com/drugs/pihkal/pihkal051.html

>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.

Yesterday I finished reading 'Mind Over Matter' by Ranulf Feinnes (apologies 
for possible mispelling of his name). At one point during their trek over 
Antarctica, He and Dr Mike Stroud drank some water which consisted of
Deuterium and an isotope of oxygen (O18 I think), this was to measure their 
metabolic rate or some such quality.
Both were under severe stress, neither was in terribly good shape, both made 
it to the other side of the antarctic continent alive. This would suggest that 
heavy water is not highly toxic, though I don't know what the long-term 
effects would be.
Jonathan Depree,
Lincoln University, P.O. Box 84, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Socrates was a famous Greek Teacher who went around giving
people advice. They killed him.   (school history howler)



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