Deuterium in Foods

Some foods can concentrate more heavy hydrogen atoms in the body than others.

  • Fruits, starches, grains, legumes and high carb plants – rich in deuterium because plants store their deuterium in sugar. Fruit should be consumed only seasonally from your own environment
  • Processed foods like bread, sugar, chips, cookies, trans fats, vegetable oils etc – high in deuterium because of being processed with high deuterium water and foods
  • GMO foods like tomatoes, papaya, soy, corn, wheat – high in deuterium
  • Most supplements and meal replacements – high in deuterium because of being processed with deuterium rich water and foods
  • Grain-fed animals like beef, pork, and lamb – higher in deuterium than grass-fed animals because of eating high deuterium foods
  • Old food – higher in deuterium than young food because it loses its ability to remove deuterium with age

Combining high carb foods with deuterium rich foods and a lot of sugars really overloads the system with a lot of deuterium, which will compound the amount of heavy water in the system.

Deuterium Depleted Foods

The concentration of deuterium in foods varies quite significantly. But for optimal mitochondrial functioning, you’d want to focus on eating deuterium depleted foods.

  • Green plants and vegetables – the chloroplast depletes deuterium from green leafy plants and vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – deuterium depleted because of their low sugar and high-fat content
  • Grass-fed animals like beef, pork, and lamb – depleted in deuterium because of eating low deuterium food.
  • Fish and eggs – low in deuterium because of healthy fats. Cold water fish are lower in deuterium
  • Raw Dairy like kefir, milk, and cheese – low in deuterium because of low carb and high fat
  • Animal fats such as tallow, lard, ghee, butter – very low in deuterium because of the predominant carbon-hydrogen bonds in their composition. 7
  • Healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives – low in deuterium because of low sugar and high-fat content

Deuterium depleted fats are incredible for promoting mitochondrial function because the low deuterium content keeps the engines light so to speak whereas “Heavy water“ slows down the process of ATP production and makes the cells less efficient.

The crazy thing about it is that the body makes 1.1 kg of deuterium depleted water for every kg of fat consumed. During beta-oxidation (fat burning), the body creates its own water that’s depleted in deuterium. In ancient times, humans probably got most of their water from this process. This phenomenon can be seen in other animals like camels as well who don’t need to drink a lot of water.

Deuterium and Ketogenic Diets

Low glucose environments have anti-cancer effects by activating metabolic loops that lead to cell death 1.

Carbohydrate restriction shifts fuel usage from glucose to fatty acids and ketones, which lead to appetite suppression, weight loss, and improvement in markers of cardiovascular disease 2.

Ketone bodies are a deuterium depleted source of energy for the mitochondria and they’re created by beta-oxidation, which itself creates deuterium depleted water.

Ketogenic diets have been shown to be successful in treating type 1 diabetes 3, epilepsy 4, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 5, and cancer.

Fasting can also protect healthy cells against chemotherapy but not cancer cells, thus showing potential for future treatments 6. This effect will be greatly magnified with extended fasting and dry fasting during which your body will be producing a ton of deuterium depleted water.


Deuterium in health is still quite a new discovery and it turns out to be extremely important in syndromes of chronic fatigue, cancer, and disease.

Overall, you’d want to live a semi deuterium depleted state because it will keep your mitochondria functioning optimally. The modern world already poses us with many stressors and challenges that wreak havoc on our cells. Adding high amounts of deuterium on top of that doesn’t sound very appealing.

That’s also a reason to follow a low carb high fat ketogenic diet that incorporates intermittent fasting as well. It’s going to keep your deuterium levels low and allows your body to produce its own energy more efficiently. I mean, I you don’t even have to drink water because of burning your own body fat. How cool is that?

If you want to know how to start a deuterium depleted ketogenic diet, then check out the author: Siim Land’s book.


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One Comment

  1. Laura Kissmann

    Super article John – thanks for writing it. I am using it both for a client with cancer and in an upcoming Quantum Nutrition workshop. Your time was not wasted by doing this research and compilation of the ideas.

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