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What does deuterium do to our bodies?

  1. Nov 14, 2012 #1
    This may seem like a pretty broad question, but ill try and narrow it down the best I can.

    Lets say, Me, or a insect, drink some Deuteriuim oxide (under the leathal dose).

    How does it(d20, deuterium oxide)) interact with out bodies, and what does it do to our bodies compared to regular water (H2o) ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2012 #2


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    You can look at
    Basically, bonds involving deuterium can be of a different strength than bonds with hydrogen-1, and since vibrations are slower with a heavier atom, chemical reactions are slowed down. This messes up some biochemical processes which are very fine tuned to work with normal water. For bacteria, they are slowed down but are still able to live and reproduce. In mammals, a large change in the concentration of D20 is fatal. It would take a very high amount of heavy water to kill someone, around a quarter of the weight of their entire body, but it is possible in principle.
  4. Nov 14, 2012 #3
    So bassicaly we have heavy water, which is Deuterium connecting to oxygen...and normal water, which is Hydrogen-1 connecting to oxygen.

    Since heuterium is heavier than hyrogen-1, the deuterium oxide will have a slower molecular vibration correct?

    Can you tell me other permutations of this?

    Mainly, can I have a few samples involving deuterium that have different molecular vibrations? (Besides just Heavy water and normal water?)
  5. Nov 14, 2012 #4


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