Monday, April 2, 2007

A little deuterium for 10% increase in lifespan?

Meat And Two Neutrons: The Key To A Longer Life ScienceDaily 4/2/07 "Indulging in an isotope-enhanced steak or chicken fillet every now and again could add as much as 10 years to your life. Scientists have shown for the first time that food enriched with natural isotopes builds bodily components that are more resistant to the processes of ageing. The concept has been demonstrated in worms and researchers hope that the same concept can help extend human life and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases of ageing...A team led by Mikhail Shchepinov, formerly of Oxford University, fed nematode worms nutrients reinforced with natural isotopes (naturally occurring atomic variations of elements). In initial experiments, worms' life spans were extended by 10%, which, with humans expected to routinely coast close to the centenary, could add a further 10 years to human life...Food enhanced with isotopes is thought to produce bodily constituents and DNA more resistant to detrimental processes, like free radical attack. The isotopes replace atoms in susceptible bonds making these bonds stronger. 'Because these bonds are so much more stable, it should be possible to slow down the process of oxidation and ageing...Ageing experts are impressed with the isotopic approach. Aubrey de Grey, the Cambridge-based gerontologist, says it could be very relevant to the rates of several chemical and enzymatic processes relevant to ageing 'It is a highly novel idea,' he says. 'But it remains to be seen whether it can be the source of practicable therapies, but it is a prospect that certainly cannot be ruled out.'...Charles Cantor, a professor of biomechanical engineering at Boston University, said: 'Preliminary data indicates that this approach can potentially increase lifespan without adverse side effects. If this is borne out by further experiments the implications are profound.'...Deuterium, a natural isotope of hydrogen (with 2 protons rather than one) could be used routinely"

Just when you think there's nothing new under the sun regarding longevity research, up pops something like this. Isotopes? Who knew. Now lets hope that research cruises along to prove that adding deuterium to food is safe (doesn't mess with mitosis) and efficacious for us.

Site on deuterium. "Deuterium is a stable isotope of hydrogen, meaning that it is not radioactive and has a very long life span"

The biological effects of deuterium oxide (1998)- in the oxide form it is nasty at higher doses.

The PubMed abstract.

NY Sun article on this. "Every chemical element comes in different forms, called isotopes. And scientists have for the first time shown that food enriched with isotopes whose atoms contain extra neutrons seems to slow down the process of ageing..."What we are seeing is pretty amazing. But we expect to do better than that in the future."..."

Royal Society of Chemistry 3/22/07 "Food containing heavy isotopes of hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen could slow down the aging process. That's the claim1 of Oxford-based researcher Mikhail Shchepinov, who suggests that seeding key biological molecules with deuterium or carbon-13 could drastically reduce oxidative damage or even avert it altogether...Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a staple of ageing research, as they are believed to cause cumulative damage to biomolecules such as DNA, proteins, and lipids. Typically, breaking a carbon-hydrogen bond is the rate-limiting step of these reactions. But if the carbon or hydrogen atoms involved were replaced by a heavier version of the same element (13C or D), the reaction will be slowed down due to a well-established phenomenon known as the kinetic isotope effect...These isotopes could be smuggled into the cell in essential nutrients that the body cannot synthesise from scratch, such as certain amino acids. Nucleic acids are a more difficult target, however, as their building blocks can be synthesized in the body. However, Shchepinov argues that fasting could boost the uptake of isotope labelled building blocks of DNA...Shchepinov, who is an academic visitor at the department of biochemistry at the University of Oxford, has already filed several patents on the idea. He is confident that this is the way towards a longer and healthier human life span...Heavy water (D2O) is toxic to higher organisms, but Shchepinov argues that isotopes would only be incorporated in the sites that need to be protected from oxidation. 'Ideally, they will slow down the oxidation reaction so much that they will never be released to take part in other reactions. If some of them do break free, they will only occur in small concentrations...David Meredith, who investigates the metabolism of amino acids at the University of Oxford, warns that some of the heavy isotopes could get into general circulation. 'It would be impossible to ingest exactly the right amount and mix of amino acids that the body required for protein synthesis...Knud Nierhaus, who routinely uses organisms grown in heavy water for neutron scattering experiments on ribosomes at the Max Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany, thinks that small amounts of deuterium would be tolerated in the body. 'D2O is modestly toxic for animals at around 25 per cent concentration, and typically lethal at around 50 per cent,' he told Chemistry World. 'But if only a small proportion of the food hydrogen atoms are replaced by deuterium and only a small proportion of those leaked into the body, the resulting concentrations would be unlikely to cause any damage..."

Doesn't sound like the research is very far along yet and there still seems to be an active debate about the safety in higher mammals. So no deuterium buffalo wings and no deuterium tofurkey anytime soon.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Deuterium is toxic to animals in any concentration. Only be REMOVING deuterium from your body will you increase longevity.