'Heavy water' could help us live longer
Drinking "heavy water" enriched with a rare form of hydrogen could prolong our lives by up to ten years, it has been claimed.
By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 12:30PM GMT 27 Nov 2008
Mikhail Shchepinov, a former Oxford University scientist, says that the modified drink protects against dangerous chemicals known as free radicals that are known to contribute to conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
He also claims that foods such as steak and eggs could be enriched with the special hydrogen isotope, known as deuterium, raising the possibility of people being able to "eat themselves healthy".
His research has shown that worms live 10 per cent longer and fruitflies up to 30 per cent longer when fed on heavy water, which is slightly sweeter than normal water.
Dr Shchepinov, who runs the biotech firm Retrotope, now wants to test his technology in pet foods, and believes that it could one day be introduced to the food chain to allow humans to enjoy its benefits without taking supplements.
"We don't have to be consuming isotopes as white powder. If you take a pig and feed these things to a pig, all you need to do is consume the pig in a normal fashion," he has said.
But other scientists have warned that Dr Shchepinov's theories are far from proven. Tom Kirkwood, of Newcastle University, told the Daily Mail: "Shchepinov's idea is interesting but . . . the history in the field is cluttered with hypotheses which are only partially supported by the data."