In December of 2019, I first became aware of the critical role of deuterium in health and disease. I was introduced to deuterium by Prof. Laszlo Boros, a Professor in pediatrics at UCLA, and an expert in the new field of deutenomics (the science of deuterium metabolism in the body). Deuterium is “heavy hydrogen” – a deuterium atom is a hydrogen atom with a neutron as well as a proton, making it twice as heavy and changing its biophysical and biochemical properties in dramatic ways.
Prof. Boros explained to me that deuterium is universally present in water in small amounts, and that the mitochondria (energy-producing organelles in the cells) are highly skilled in pumping protons selectively (avoiding deuterons) into the intermembrane space, to metaphorically “charge up the battery.” (Protons are positively charged hydrogen atoms and deuterons are positively charged deuterium atoms). The reason the mitochondria obsess on delivering protons rather than deuterons is because deuterons gum up the engine of the ATPase pumps in the membrane, that produce the ATP. If they get overloaded with deuterium, these pumps break, the mitochondria become inefficent at producing ATP, and they spew out toxic reactive oxygen species at high levels. This causes mitochondrial disease, which is a hallmark of many chronic neurological, metabolic and oncological diseases.
It did not take long for me to realize that glyphosate (the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup) and deuterium are synergistically toxic. At the time, I was just about to finish writing the first draft of my book on glyphosate (Toxic Legacy: How the weedkiller glyphosate is destroying our health and the environment). I had written all about how glyphosate specifically disrupts proteins that bind phosphate. With a little digging into the research literature on deuterium management in the body, it became clear that a whole class of proteins that bind phosphate called flavoproteins plays an essential role in protecting the mitochondria from excessive deuterium in their water. Flavoproteins catalyze many reactions that extract hydrogen atoms from one molecule and add them to another one. They have an elegantly designed active site that takes advantage of a physical property of protons called proton tunneling to assure that protons rather than deuterons are delivered to make the reaction product. Ultimately, these “high quality protons” are delivered to the mitochondrial intermembrane space. One flavoprotein that is very important to the mitochondria and shown to be disrupted by glyphosate in multiple studies is succinate dehydrogenase. It is the only enzyme that plays a role in both oxidative phosphorylation and the citric acid cycle in the mitochondria. This enzyme extracts two hydrogen atoms from succinate and adds them to ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10), to make ubiquinol, an essential antioxidant in the mitochondria.
When COVID-19 started to mushroom out of control last April, I immediately suspected that glyphosate is a major contributor to bad outcomes in COVID-19. Many of the risk factors that are linked to severe disease, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, are rising in prevalence in step with the rise in glyphosate usage on core crops. I began to delve into the steady stream of research papers where the authors were trying to figure out the toxic mechanisms of COVID-19 in the lungs. At the same time, I was curious as to whether deuterium might play a role in this disease as well. My investigations led me to a realization that the disease process itself could be a mechanism to restore mitochondrial health to the immune cells, by providing them with a pool of deuterium depleted water (the fluid in the lungs that gives the patient the perception that they are drowning).
In a recent interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola, I explained in as simple terms as I could the specifics of how the cascade of reactions that takes place in the lungs of a person developing symptoms of COVID-19 could be attempting to achieve the goal of repairing the health of the immune cells so that they are competent to clear the virus. It is a fascinating story, and I hope you will take the time to read Dr. Mercola’s description of it and/or listen to the interview. This is only a hypothesis at this time, but it leads to a whole new perspective on viral diseases.
Check out this Mercola interview The Troubling Role of Glyphosate in COVID-19
Be sure to read my book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment