Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it plays a huge role in everything our bodies do. What most people don’t realize is that hydrogen often brings an unwanted guest: deuterium, a heavy hydrogen isotope that wreaks havoc on our bodies and metabolism. When deuterium builds up in your body from your diet and environment, it changes chemical reactions at a cellular level, which can lead to a host of negative health consequences.
So, if you have too much deuterium, what can you do about it? To find out, we visited the Center for Deuterium Depletion in Los Angeles, CA, and spoke with 3 of its founders—Dr. Anne Cooper, Dr. Que Collins, and Dr. Laszlo Boros—to learn more about what deuterium is and how you can lower your levels.
Can’t watch right now but ready for a quick read? Here’s a summary of our conversations with the doctors behind the Center for Deuterium Depletion.
What is Deuterium?
Deuterium, also known as “heavy hydrogen,” is one of two stable hydrogen isotopes. It occurs naturally in our bodies and helps children grow, but many adults have overly high deuterium levels because of environmental and dietary factors. Too much deuterium can have negative health consequences for your whole body, which we covered in our conversation with the doctors.
How Does Deuterium Negatively Impact Your Health?
Hydrogen is the basic building block for all our body’s biological processes. We get hydrogen from our food, and it ends up in the powerhouses of our cells, the mitochondria. The mitochondria are like thousands of engines running all the time, making the ATP energy we need to survive every day. Dr. Collins noted that most people only eat 3-5 pounds of food every day, but make over 170 pounds of ATP energy within the same timeframe. Human bodies are incredibly productive machines, but excess deuterium works against us.
Deuterium is like hydrogen’s evil twin. It’s twice as large and twice as heavy as hydrogen. Because of its weight and size, excess deuterium can destroy the nanomotors in your mitochondria, slowing down your production of ATP energy. Eventually, the wear and tear from these heavy hydrogen atoms can break your nanomotors altogether and lead to symptoms like poor sleep, impaired memory, muscle pain, lymph nodes, dehydration, and headaches. 
What is the Center for Deuterium Depletion?
Formerly called Cignature Health, the Center for Deuterium Depletion is the brainchild of Doctors T. Que Collins, Anne Cooper, Gabor Somlyai & Laszlo Boros. All four have extensive experience with metabolic therapies, functional medicine, and nutritional science. They believe deuterium is at the center of many of our health problems and formed a clinic to share their expertise and deuterium-depletion practice with the world.
Dr. Collins calls deuterium depletion “functional medicine at the most basic level” and says that once deuterium levels are down, your body will be able to make enough ATP energy for itself so you won’t have the need for pharmaceuticals and other supplements.
How to Measure Your Body’s Deuterium Levels
The Center for Deuterium Depletion has developed two unique “D-terminator” diagnostic tests to determine deuterium levels that are present in a patient’s tissues and biological fluids. They can also use sophisticated technology like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map the patterns of deuterium in your body—whether in your hair, nails, or even DNA. In short, the doctors see how overloaded you are with deuterium and then recommend a protocol to deplete it.
Why are People so Overloaded with Deuterium?
As you can imagine, diet and environment factors contribute heavily to high levels of deuterium. Processed foods, carbs, and synthetic supplements are all high in deuterium. From an environmental perspective, the doctors told us that river and tap water have high deuterium levels. They said the same about ocean water as well, so people who live on the coasts may be breathing in higher levels of atmospheric deuterium. Specific to nutrition, the doctors noted that healthy fats and green vegetables are low in deuterium, while fruits and other carbohydrates are higher.
How is Deuterium Depleted?
At the beginning of the depletion process, nutrition is key. After measuring your levels with the D-terminator tests, the doctors recommend the consumption of healthy fats & proteins, and other food sources that are low in deuterium. They also encourage patients to drink deuterium-depleted water, in the early phases, to get their levels down. The doctors explained how the body can make its own deuterium-depleted water, once someone’s deuterium levels are reasonably healthy.
The doctors at the Center for Deuterium Depletion believe that once your body is functioning properly, it can naturally regulate deuterium levels, allowing your cells to once again produce healthy amounts of ATP energy.
How Does Red Light Affect Deuterium?
In the short clip above, Dr. Boros explains how the therapeutic window of red and near infrared light resonates strongly with our body’s hydrogen bonds in a process similar to photosynthesis. When wavelengths of red and near infrared light between 600-950 nm are absorbed by our bodies, the water inside our cells become less viscous. That optimizes cellular respiration, which increases ATP energy production for your whole body.
According to Dr. Boros, it’s all about minimizing friction at the cellular level. The less friction created in our cells, the more efficient they can be. Red and near infrared light helps reduce the amount of friction by changing the viscosity of your body’s water, leading to higher energy output and cellular longevity.
For more information on deuterium depletion, make sure to visit the Center for Deuterium Depletion. And if you're interested in learning more about the clinical evidence for red and near infrared light therapy, check out our resource library.
 Center For Deuterium Depletion. ‘’Understanding diseases”. DDCenters, 2018.
The information provided in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It's not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.