Apparently the latest “health” scam is deuterium-depleted water. Excerpt:
The atoms of the most common isotope (99.99 percent) of hydrogen contain only one proton, one electron, and no neutrons. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen with one neutron and one proton in its nucleus.
There is also an extremely rare isotope, tritium, with one proton and two neutrons. It is radioactive and has been used as a radio-luminescent light source in watches and other devices. I have a keychain that a friend gave me with a tiny cylinder containing tritium; it glows in the dark so you can find your keys. I never lose my keys, so I don’t need it to find them. I appreciate it as a novelty item; I know any potential health risk from carrying it is negligible, and I’m not worried.
Deuterium accounts for 0.02 percent of the hydrogen in ocean water. Other water sources contain slightly different amounts. It is also known as heavy hydrogen, and water containing artificially increased concentrations of deuterium is known as heavy water. Heavy water can be produced by distillation and other methods. What’s left over is deuterium depleted water, or DDW.
That’s what deuterium-depleted water is. As to the scam, here’s the why:
A Chinese study claimed that studies had demonstrated that drinking DDW caused growth arrest of malignant cells in cancer patients and significantly prolonged patient survival with also improved quality of life. I looked for those studies but didn’t find much. I found this uncontrolled study of 129 patients with brain metastases from lung cancer who drank DDW and got conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The results are suspect because females survived three times as long as males. The only other human clinical study I found was a double-blind phase 2 trial in Hungary that found a greater decrease in prostate volume in prostate cancer patients randomized to drink DDW. They concluded that DDW “can act as a highly effective tool in cancer therapy,” a conclusion that goes way beyond the data.
One study, in China, using questionable techniques, and it’s only a matter of time before some scammers start… wait… They already have started selling this stuff! Penn & Teller, where are you when we need you?
A few years back when I was working in Silicon Valley, the latest Big New Thing among the hippies and New Age nuts out there was “raw water,” as in water taken directly from streams, no extra charge for the included typhus, cholera and giardia pathogens. So now we have deuterium-depleted water, of no discernible benefit to anyone, except for the scammers who will make bucks selling this stuff to the rubes – who will, of course, have no way of even confirming if the stuff in the bottle is really deuterium-depleted or not.
As one of our regular readers commented on the “raw water” story, there really is a sucker born every minute – and a lot of them live in California. (Gwyneth, are you listening?)