The Science of Hydrogen and Health


Hydrogen holds promise as a safe and effective antioxidant for alcohol

Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for chronic disease and injury.  Growing evidence suggests that increased oxidative stress caused by excessive use of alcohol is associated with many diseases.  Recent research has confirmed that molecular hydrogen can markedly decrease oxidative stress by selectively scavenging noxious reactive oxygen species (ROS), and protect cells and tissues against oxidative insults.  This article presents the hypotheses that hydrogen gas would be a favorable antioxidant additive for alcoholic beverages, noting that molecular hydrogen may also be administered by alternative methods (including oral intake of hydrogen rich water) to relieve the oxidative damage caused by alcohol, especially alcohol-induced liver disease.  It is important to note that this article presents the hypothesis and background information only.  No scientific study has yet been done to test this hypothesis. 
Download this article from Hypothesis Journal  (Lai 2012)

Hydrogen in drinking water attenuates noise-induced hearing loss in guinea pigs
Very loud sounds over a long period of time can cause "noise-induced hearing loss."   In this study, scientists gave guinea pigs hydrogen rich water or normal water for 14 days, then exposed them to very loud noise for 3 hours.  The animals' hearing was tested before and after the exposure, and periodically for two weeks afterward.  Their findings suggest that drinking hydrogen rich water can facilitate the recovery of hair cell function in the inner ear and reduce noise-induced temporary hearing loss.
Download this article from Neuroscience Letters  (Lin et al 2010)

Pilot study: Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise in elite athletes

Doctors from the Program in Sports Medicine at the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan noted that athletes take antioxidant supplements to mitigate muscle fatigue caused by oxidative stress during acute exercise.  They suggested that hydrogen-rich water might be an appropriate hydration fluid for athletes to provide hydrogen as an antioxidant.  They tested this hypothesis on 10 male soccer players, 19 to 22 years old. 

The players drank hydrogen rich water or placebo water before exercising (a half liter the night before, and one liter the morning of doing exercise tests.)  Blood samples were collected before, during and after a strenuous course of cycling and running.  The blood samples were tested for blood lactate levels.  Lactate is produced by the body during intense exercise and is considered to be one of the major causes of fatigue during exercise and muscle soreness after exercise.  Muscle fatigue was measured by attaching electrodes to a muscle in the thigh (the rectus femoris) to produce an electromyogram (EMG). 

The results showed that athletes who drank hydrogen rich water had lower blood lactate levels and less muscle fatigue compared to athletes who drank regular (placebo) water.  The authors of this study concluded, "Although further studies are absolutely warranted, drinking HW [hydrogen water] would be a novel and effective fluid hydration strategy for athletes."  Importantly, they also noted that, "considering the short life-span of hydrogen in circulation, more frequent drinking of HW [hydrogen water] during exercise might have additional effects... different drinking protocols should be investigated."

Download this article
from Medical Gas Research  (Aoki et al 2012)

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