iFood (isotopic food) contains nutrients in which some atoms are replaced with their heavier non-radioactive isotopes, such as deuterium 2H or heavy carbon 13C. Biomolecules that incorporate heavier isotopes give rise to more stable molecular structures with increased resistance to damages associated with ageing or diseases. In a scientific study Nematodes given ifood lived 15% longer than controls.
Medicines with some hydrogen atoms substituted with deuterium are called deuterated drugs, while substances that are essential nutrients can be used as food constituents, making this food "isotopic". Consumed with food, these nutrients become building material for the body. The examples are deuterated polyunsaturated fatty acids (iFat), essential aminoacids, DNA bases such as cytosine, or heavy water and glucose.
One of the most pernicious and irreparable types of oxidative damage inflicted by reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon biomolecules involves the carbon-hydrogen bond cleavage (hydrogen abstraction). Intriguingly, the biomolecules most damageable by this type of damage belong to the group of essential nutrients (10 out of 20 amino acids; nucleosides at certain conditions (conditionally essential); all polyunsaturated fatty acids). In theory, replacing hydrogen with deuterium "reinforces" the bond due to the kinetic isotope effect, and such reinforced biomolecules taken up by the body will be more resistant to ROS.
The company Retrotope pioneered the development a source of deuterated omega-6 fatty acid di-deuterated linoleic acid ethyl ester (RT001) as a food additive for potential treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Friedreich's ataxia and infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. FDA has granted it an orphan drug designation and it passed the Phase I/II clinical trials (as of 2018).
After publication in scientific literature, the concept of isotopic food moved on to popular science publications and even became a hot topic in mass media where the anti-ageing properties were often mistakenly attributed to heavy water.