Hydrogen-Enriched Water: Myth or Miracle?
For the last few years, hydrogen water has rapidly risen in popularity within the wellness community. But is hydrogen-enriched water really all it’s claimed to be? In this article, we will look at the claims surrounding electrolyzed hydrogen water so that you can make well-researched, informed health decisions for yourself and your loved ones.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HYDROGEN
As the first element on the periodic table, hydrogen is, to our knowledge, the universe’s simplest element. It is also nature’s most abundant element. In 1766, scientist Henry Cavendish proved to the Royal Society of London that hydrogen was much lighter than air and that water was made when hydrogen and oxygen bonded with the help of an electrical spark. Hydrogen continued to gain popularity throughout the world as its various uses were uncovered. Japan then discovered the health benefits of adding hydrogen gas to water and began promoting electrolyzed hydrogen-enriched water products throughout the wellness industry. But is electrolyzed hydrogen water really better than regular water?
WHAT MAKES HYDROGEN-ENRICHED WATER DIFFERENT?
Simply put, electrolyzed hydrogen water is water with added hydrogen gas that has gone through electrolysis, giving the water a -400mV to -500mV Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP). Drinking water with this ORP supports healthy gut function and stimulates the growth of good gut bacteria. When we say that the water has added hydrogen in it, this does not mean that your water is changing from H2O to H3O. What this means is that the water contains the gaseous form of hydrogen. In other words, hydrogen water is water with bubbles of hydrogen moving through it.
Hydrogen is a highly unstable element which is, perhaps, its greatest advantage (1). Because it is so unstable, it is easily able to bind with other elements like oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. This allows it to have an exceptionally wide range of uses. One of these uses being that it is a therapeutic gas for various diseases (2). So stop buying that bottled water and invest in your health by looking into hydrogen-enriched water products. But how else is hydrogen beneficial to your health?
Antioxidants are essential for combating harmful oxidants and so are crucial to our health. Hydrogen acts as a selective antioxidant that neutralizes these harmful free radicals and protects your cells from the harmful effects of oxidative stress. In fact, dietary antioxidants do not function as well as hydrogen, which is a very effective selective antioxidant (3).
One study that proves the antioxidant benefits of hydrogen-enriched water was published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This eight-week study consisted of 49 people who were receiving radiation therapy for liver cancer. Half of the participants were required to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of hydrogen water per day while the other half made no changes. At the end of the study, it was discovered that those who drank the hydrogen water had decreased oxidative stress levels and maintained increased antioxidant activity after radiation treatment (4).
HOW DOES HYDROGEN-ENRICHED WATER IMPACT ATHLETES?
While you exercise, inflammation and lactic acid levels build, causing muscle fatigue. Hydrogen-enriched water works to reduce inflammation and lactic acid, thus allowing you to exercise longer and harder. Reduced inflammation and lactic acid also allows for rapid recovery (5).
One study conducted on male soccer players found that athletes who drank 1.5 liters of hydrogen water experienced lower blood lactate levels and decreased muscle fatigue compared to the players who hydrated with other liquids (6). Another study done on male cyclists found that athletes who consumed 2 liters of hydrogen water daily had greater power output during sprint sessions than those who drank plain water (7).
CAN HYDROGEN HELP WITH METABOLIC SYNDROME?
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions that increase risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. These conditions include increased body fat, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. A key contributor to this syndrome is chronic inflammation, which is more common than you may realize (8). Around 40% of all Americans experience chronic inflammation.
Here are the top five symptoms of chronic inflammation (9):
- Body pain: Muscle aches and joint pain, along with swelling, are all signs of chronic inflammation.
- Low energy: Do you constantly feel tired despite getting a good amount of sleep at night? Do you feel run down in general? Chronic inflammation increases how much cellular energy you need and depletes your body’s fuel, leaving you tired and depleted of energy.
- Digestion issues: Bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, leaky gut syndrome, and loose stool are all indicators that you are experiencing inflammation.
- High amounts of mucus: Constantly needing to clear your throat, continually having a blocked or runny nose, or incessantly coughing and sneezing are all signs that your mucous membranes are producing thick phlegm in order to protect your epithelial cells in response to harmful inflammation.
- Skin conditions: Inflammation leads to skin rashes (like eczema or psoriasis). These skin rashes are linked to individuals who have hyper-sensitive immune systems, which is likely caused by a greater number of inflammatory mast cells compared to the average person.
One research study published by The U.S. National Library of Medicine found that hydrogen-enriched water reduced the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Research participants who showed signs of metabolic syndrome were required to drink 1 liter of hydrogen water per day. By the end of the trial, it was discovered that the participants’ bad cholesterol was significantly reduced, their levels of inflammation were lowered, and they experienced an increase in good cholesterol and antioxidant activity (10).
DOES HYDROGEN WATER HELP GHRELIN PRODUCTION?
Before answering this question, we first need to understand exactly what ghrelin is. Ghrelin is a very important hormone: it is responsible for telling your brain that your body is hungry and lets you know when you are full. Ghrelin is necessary for learning, memory, the sleep-wake cycle, and regulating your metabolism (11)(12).
The major enemy of ghrelin are free radicals. Free radicals are caused by oxidative stress. They are harmful, unpaired electrons that cause damage to our DNA and RNA, and even cause cell death. Hydrogen-enriched water helps with ghrelin production by neutralizing the free radicals and diminishing the toxicity of harmful oxidants like peroxynitrite that cause tissue and cell damage.
HOW DOES HYDROGEN AFFECT KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS?
One research study found that drinking molecular hydrogen was shown to help prevent kidney transplant rejection. This is because by lowering the levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, and harmful free radicals, the transplant was less likely to be rejected (13).
DOES HYDROGEN-ENRICHED WATER HELP MAINTAIN A HEALTHY HEART?
Drinking hydrogen water has been proven to help your heart. Hydrogen-enriched water helps prevent buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other plaque substances in your arteries. It also aids in decreasing heart issues related to oxidative stress (14).
DOES HYDROGEN HELP BRAIN FUNCTION?
One research study published by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology found that when an individual is under cognitive stress, hydrogen water improves brain function (15). When you are in a stressful exam or trying to solve a difficult problem at work, your brain is put under stress, which may impair effective brain functioning. Hydrogen water effectively helped with this by reducing oxidative stress levels, in turn supporting better learning and memory compared to those subjects who did not receive hydrogen water.
CAN HYDROGEN WATER BE USED TO TREAT ACNE AND OTHER SKIN ISSUES?
As a powerful anti-inflammatory, hydrogen-enriched water has been proven to help treat mild to moderate acne (16). One study also found that hydrogen water was able to decrease visceral fat and help treat blotchy skin by lightening and reducing the size of dark spots (17). Another study found that hydrogen water was able to treat chronic inflammatory skin diseases, including patients with psoriasis and parapsoriasis en plaques (18). Hydrogen water does this by targeting inflammation and neutralizing harmful free radicals.
DOES HYDROGEN WATER LESSEN THE EFFECTS OF AGING?
Yes! Hydrogen water has indeed been proven to lessen the effects of aging. It does this by acting as a neuron protective that helps boost cognitive function and prevent memory decline (19). As an antioxidant, hydrogen water has been shown to increase longevity by protecting the cells against oxidants (20). One study done on older women found hydrogen-enriched water to improve brain function (21). It has also been proven to lessen the effects of aging by supporting heart health (22).
DOES HYDROGEN WATER HELP WITH NASAL ALLERGIES?
Molecular hydrogen holds therapeutic value for nasal allergies. Hydrogen helps treat nasal allergies by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation (23). By targeting inflammation, hydrogen is able to help treat chronic inflammatory conditions like Allergic Rhinitis (AR) (24). When your immune system overreacts to allergens in the air, you experience hay fever. Hay fever is characterised by a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, and red, itchy eyes. Hydrogen is able to treat hay fever by decreasing inflammation (25).
CAN HYDROGEN-ENRICHED WATER HELP IMPROVE BEHAVIORAL AND MOOD DISORDERS?
Drinking hydrogen-rich water has been proven to improve anxiety, overall mood, and daily autonomic nerve function (26). One study found that hydrogen water may be able to suppress anxiety by protecting the body against oxidative stress (27). Another study found that molecular hydrogen may be able to help prevent depression-like behavior (28). By acting as an antioxidant, molecular hydrogen targets oxidative stress and helps protect your neurons, which in turn helps prevent mood disorders.
DOES HYDROGEN WATER HELP WITH ASTHMA?
Hydrogen-enriched water may be able to help with asthma by alleviating inflammation and oxidative stress (29). One study done on subjects who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma found that hydrogen relieves airway inflammation, which helps fight both asthma and COPD (30). Hydrogen can also be used to treat allergic airway inflammation by reversing energy metabolic pathway switch (31). A metabolic pathway takes place in the cell and is a series of chemical reactions. ATP is energy that is produced in the cell. An energy metabolic pathway switch can lead to the growth of cancer cells, the activation of cell inflammation as an immune response, a rapid production of ATP, and allergic inflammation. A reversal of this switch will decrease inflammation and help support against inflammatory responses such as asthma.
CAN HYDROGEN WATER BENEFIT YOUR ORAL HEALTH?
Oxidative stress can lead to gum infection. Hydrogen water has been shown to help improve gum infections by decreasing oxidative stress (32). Hydrogen water has also been proven to help with gingivitis (inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria). Hydrogen water does this by decreasing inflammatory responses related to gingival oxidative stress (33). Hydrogen water that has been electrolyzed has also been proven to help combat oral bacteria (34) and help prevent strep throat (35).
DOES HYDROGEN PROTECT YOUR HEARING?
Hydrogen has been shown to have a protective effect on your hearing. Multiple studies have found that hydrogen-enriched water is able to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss. This is because hydrogen has an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effect (36). Free radicals lead to hearing loss. Hydrogen is able to protect auditory hair cells by neutralizing harmful free radicals (37). Another study found that hydrogen water was able to act as an antioxidant that neutralizes harmful oxidants (38). As a major contributor to hearing loss, by reducing harmful oxidants, hydrogen water was able to help prevent this type hearing loss.
DOES HYDROGEN IMPROVE THE SYMPTOMS OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
As an effective antioxidant, molecular hydrogen is able to reduce high blood pressure (39) and protect against pulmonary hypertension (PH). It does this by reducing the pulmonary inflammatory response (40). Hypertensive disorders are one of the most serious medical complications you can have during pregnancy. One study found that as a therapeutic antioxidant, hydrogen water is able to help decrease high blood pressure (41).
The strength of electrolyzed hydrogen-enriched water comes from its ability to help with a wide range of health concerns. From promoting gut health and increasing brain function to decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation, hydrogen water products have been proven to have a wide range of health benefits. There are quite a few health claims surrounding hydrogen water, so make sure to do your research to make sure you are making informed, scientifically backed health decisions for yourself and your loved ones. For more information on everything hydrogen water, visit us at www.synergyscience.com.