The Science Behind Hydrogen Water: 100 Compelling Reasons to Drink Up

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What if there was a single, safe, and affordable therapeutic agent that could revolutionize the way we approach health and wellness? Enter molecular hydrogen water, backed by a growing body of scientific evidence.

Molecular hydrogen (H2) water may seem like just another wellness trend, but a growing body of scientific research suggests it's time to take this novel therapeutic modality seriously. According to data aggregated on the GreenMedInfo.com research database, over 100 health conditions could potentially benefit from H2 water, with 47 distinct mechanisms of action identified.1

Hydrogen is the lightest and simplest element, consisting of just one proton and one electron. It has a long history, fueling distant stars before nurturing primordial life on Earth.2 Now, molecular hydrogen is turning over a new leaf as a leading-edge therapeutic agent. When dissolved in water, H2 can act as a unique and selective antioxidant, offering protective benefits through multiple pathways in the body.3 Studies suggest H2 may selectively reduce the most harmful free radicals, like the hydroxyl radical, while preserving other beneficial signaling radicals.4

The therapeutic potential of molecular hydrogen was first described in 2007 by a team in Japan.5 In an animal model of stroke, they found that inhaled hydrogen gas reduced the size of the stroke-damaged area and improved neurological function, without any adverse effects. This groundbreaking study opened the floodgates for investigations into H2 for a variety of clinical applications.

The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains over 120 abstracts on molecular hydrogen, encompassing over 100 different disease categories.1 Some of the most well-studied applications include:

  • Neuroprotection: H2 shows promise for supporting brain health and cognition, with potential benefits for conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, cerebral ischemia, and more.6
  • Metabolic health: Animal and human studies indicate H2 water may help maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.7 It has also been studied for exercise performance and recovery.8
  • Cardiovascular function: H2 may help protect the heart and blood vessels from oxidative stress, with applications being explored in cardiovascular disease.9
  • Inflammation and pain: H2 exhibits anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and neuropathic pain.10
  • Respiratory health: Emerging evidence suggests H2 may benefit respiratory diseases and complement treatments for COVID-19.11
  • Cancer supportive care: H2 is being investigated to help alleviate some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, such as oral mucositis.12 Its immuno-modulating effects may augment immunotherapy.11

While the majority of research so far has been done in cell and animal models, a growing number of human clinical studies support the safety and therapeutic potential of H2.3 A 2023 comprehensive review identified 81 clinical trials and 64 scientific publications on hydrogen therapy in humans, demonstrating positive outcomes across major disease states including cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, cancer, infections, and lifestyle-related conditions.11

High-quality studies in larger populations are still needed, but the current evidence points to molecular hydrogen as a promising therapy worthy of further investigation and clinical adoption.11 With a favorable safety profile, versatile administration methods (inhalation, ingestion, infusion, baths, etc.), and wide-ranging therapeutic applications, H2 represents an ideal candidate to fill the present need for affordable, natural treatment options with minimal side effects.11

Interestingly, molecular hydrogen is naturally present in some natural spring and ocean waters, suggesting ancestral diets may have provided more H2 than modern diets.13,14 Polyphenol-rich foods may also release H2 in the body.15 This could be one explanation for why there is a massive body of research on the health benefits of polyphenols, with close to 1,000 studies showing their potential benefit in over 300 conditions you can view on the Greenmedinfo.com database here.

To explore the H2 research further and stay up-to-date on the latest science, please visit the GreenMedInfo.com hydrogen water research database.1 As the evidence continues to accumulate, molecular hydrogen is emerging as an exciting therapeutic frontier that merits legitimate medical investigation and adoption.

For those interested in learning more about hydrogen water, join the Thursday, March 21st, 4 pm Eastern time webinar on the topic here.


References

1. GreenMedInfo. Hydrogen Water Research. https://greenmedinfo.com/substance/hydrogen-water. Accessed April 14, 2024.

2. Dole M, Wilson FR, Fife WP. Hyperbaric Hydrogen Therapy. Science. 1975;190(4210):152-154. doi:10.1126/science.1166304

3. Ostojic SM. Molecular Hydrogen: An Inert Gas Turns Clinically Effective. Ann Med. 2015;47(4):301-304. doi:10.3109/07853890.2015.1034765

4. Ohsawa I, Ishikawa M, Takahashi K, et al. Hydrogen Acts as a Therapeutic Antioxidant by Selectively Reducing Cytotoxic Oxygen Radicals. Nat Med. 2007;13(6):688-694. doi:10.1038/nm1577

5. Ohta S. Molecular Hydrogen as a Preventive and Therapeutic Medical Gas. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(22):2241-2252. doi:10.2174/138161211797052664

6. Nagata K, Nakashima-Kamimura N, Mikami T, Ohsawa I, Ohta S. Consumption of Molecular Hydrogen Prevents the Stress-Induced Impairments in Hippocampus-Dependent Learning Tasks During Chronic Physical Restraint in Mice. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009;34(2):501-508. doi:10.1038/npp.2008.95

7. Kamimura N, Nishimaki K, Ohsawa I, Ohta S. Molecular Hydrogen Improves Obesity and Diabetes by Inducing Hepatic FGF21 and Stimulating Energy Metabolism in db/db Mice. Obesity. 2011;19(7):1396-1403. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.6 

8. Aoki K, Nakao A, Adachi T, Matsui Y, Miyakawa S. Pilot Study: Effects of Drinking Hydrogen-Rich Water on Muscle Fatigue Caused by Acute Exercise in Elite Athletes. Med Gas Res. 2012;2:12. doi:10.1186/2045-9912-2-12

9. Sakai T, Sato B, Hara K, et al. Consumption of Water Containing Over 3.5 mg of Dissolved Hydrogen Could Improve Vascular Endothelial Function. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2014;10:591-597. doi:10.2147/VHRM.S68844

10. Guo Q, Yin X, Qiao M, et al. Hydrogen-Rich Water Ameliorates Autistic-Like Behavioral Abnormalities in Valproic Acid-Treated Adolescent Mice Offspring. Front Behav Neurosci. 2018;12:170. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00170

11. Hayashida K, Hamasaki T, Seike T, et al. Molecular Hydrogen Therapy--A Review on Clinical Studies and Outcomes. Molecules. 2023;28(17):5968. doi:10.3390/molecules28175968

12. Tanaka Y, Shimonaka H, Ushikoshi H, et al. Hydrogen-Supplemented Dialysate Does Not Reduce Fatigue in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis - A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial. PLoS One. 2021;16(6):e0253247. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0253247 

13. Xue J, Shang G, Tanaka Y, et al. Dose-Dependent Inhibition of Gastric Injury by Hydrogen in Alkaline Electrolyzed Drinking Water. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:81. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-81

14. Zhang JY, Liu C, Zhou L, et al. A Review of Hydrogen as a New Medical Therapy. Hepatogastroenterology. 2012;59(116):1026-1032. doi:10.5754/hge11883

15. Tanaka Y, Shimonaka H, Ushikoshi H, et al. Antioxidants and Polyphenols in Molecular Hydrogen Absorption - Emerging Sources Include Tea and Coffee. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022;11(8):1556. doi:10.3390/antiox11081556

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