The Science of Hydrogen and Health

Cancer and Radiation

Hydrogen therapy attenuates irradiation-induced lung damage by reducing oxidative stress

Before a bone marrow transplant, cancer patients often undergo total body irradiation (TBI) in order to prevent their immune system from rejecting the transplanted tissue.  This irradiation can create reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body, which can damage DNA and often causes injury to the lungs.

The scientists from Nippon Medical School in Japan studied whether hydrogen could protect the lungs from irradiation injury.  There were two parts to this study.  1) They did in vitro (test tube) testing on cultured lung cells to learn about the molecular mechanism of how hydrogen works as an ROS scavenger.  2) They exposed mice to irradiation while treating them with hydrogen gas to breath and hydrogen rich water to drink. 

The in vitro study showed that hydrogen reduced hydroxyl radicals and protected the cells from the damage of oxidative stress caused by irradiation.  This finding substantiated other studies, which have shown that hydrogen works as an antioxidant.  In the irradiated mice, it was found that hydrogen treatment reduced oxidative stress and suppressed both acute lung injury and long-term fibrosis of the lungs. 

Download this article from American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology  (Terasaki et al 2011)


Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on the quality of life of patients treated with radiotherapy for liver tumors
Cancer patients receiving radiation therapy often experience fatigue and impaired quality of life.  Scientists gave hydrogen-rich water to human patients who were receiving radiation therapy for liver tumors.  The patients drank 1.5 to 2 liters of hydrogen-rich water each day for 6 weeks.  Another group of patients also receiving radiation therapy for liver tumors were given regular water to drink (this is called a placebo).  Results reported in this study were:
  • Hydrogen water improved the quality of life of patients receiving radiotherapy
  • Hydrogen water mitigated oxidative stress marker during radiotherapy
  • Hydrogen water did not compromise the radiation treatment efficacies
  • Hydrogen treatment did not alter liver function or blood composition during radiotherapy
Download this article from Medical Gas Research  (Kang et al 2011)

Platinum Nanocolloid-supplemented Hydrogen-dissolved Water Inhibits Growth of Human Tongue Carcinoma Cells Preferentially Over Normal Cells
Scientists at the University of Hiroshima in Japan combined hydrogen-dissolved water (the same as hydrogen-rich water) with platinum nanocolloid.  Platinum nanocolloid is a solution of water with tiny nanoparticles of the element platinum dispersed throughout it.  They tested the effects of this combination in vitro (in test tubes or a petri dish, not in living subjects.)  They compared the effects to those of three other water solutions: normal purified water, platinum nanocolloid solution alone, and hydrogen rich water alone.

They tested these solutions on skin cancer cells from the human tongue grown in a laboratory cell culture and also on normal human tongue cells.  They found that the solution that contained both hydrogen and platinum was most effective at slowing the growth and formation of cancer cells, while the other solutions had little or no effect.  The growth of normal tongue cells was not affected by any of the solutions.  They concluded that hydrogen water with platinum "is expected to become a useful tool for clinical application to anti-cancer therapy..."

Based on previous studies, the scientists suspected that the anti-cancer effect of the combination of hydrogen rich water plus platinum is due to antioxidant activity.  They used a test called a DPPH-radical scavenging assay to test this.  DPPH is a powder composed of free radical molecules.  They mixed it with the the different solutions, and measured how much each one decreased the free radicals.  They found that both the platinum nanocolloid solution and hydrogen rich water plus platinum decreased the radicals after 10 minutes.  However, the combination of both hydrogen and platinum accelerated the scavenging activity to show a dramatic decrease after only 30 seconds.
Download this article from Experimental Oncology  (Saitoh et al 2009)

Molecular hydrogen alleviates nephrotoxicity induced by an anti-cancer drug cisplatin without compromising anti-tumor activity in mice
Nephrotoxicity is the poisonous effect of some medications on the kidneys.  Cisplatin is a drug used for chemotherapy that can cause kidney damage as a side effect (it is a nephrotoxin.)  This study showed that drinking hydrogen rich water reduces the side effects of cisplatin by reducing oxidative stress in the kidneys.  It reduced death rate, weight loss and kidney damage in mice.  However it did not reduce the beneficial anti-tumor activity of the cisplatin.  The paper notes that many antioxidants have been reported to protect against cisplatin toxicity, however, extremely high doses were required, higher than the amount humans could safely take.  Hydrogen has the advantage over other antioxidants, in that it is able to protect kidney cells within a safe dosage. 

Another important aspect of this paper is that the authors compared inhalation of hydrogen gas to ingestion of hydrogen rich water.  They found both equally effective, but noted that drinking hydrogen rich water may be more convenient.  They concluded, "Hydrogen has potential for improving the quality of life of patients during chemotherapy by effectively mitigating the side effects of cisplatin."

Download this article from Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology  (Nakashima-Kamimura et al 2009)

Website Builder