Watch Out, Coffee! There’s a New Drink in Town
Quite recently, there was a study conducted to evaluate the effects of coffee vs. water in regards to energy production and attention levels. Water is often overlooked when it comes to its importance in our diet, and now it can be utilized further than we originally thought.
DO THE BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE RISKS?
HYDROGEN WATER V. COFFEE
For the last 500 years, coffee has been a staple of many societies. Besides helping you wake up in the morning, it has been used as a cleaner, compost, diuretic, insecticide, and so on. As it stands, over half of American citizens utilize coffee within their daily routine and have become accustomed to its benefits. However, this is not without downsides. Coffee has also been linked to higher blood pressure (1), increased heart disease, insomnia, and anxiety, as well as a multitude of other ailments. (2)
Despite the downsides of your morning cup, people still decide to incorporate coffee into their diet. If hydrogen water can provide the same benefits of coffee but without the downsides, then drinking hydrogen water should be used as an alternate energy source.
In a recent study, we have discovered an alternative that provides the same energetic benefits of coffee without its downsides. Hydrogen water has been tested against its counterpart in relation to mental awareness in adults. This study took several individuals, of both genders in their 20s, and studied their aptitude in a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) through a randomized, controlled crossover pivot trial. In this study, they compared single-dose hydrogen-rich water and caffeine along this scale and found that they both induced similar awareness effects. Hydrogen water was found to have the same benefits of its counterpart, if not more, but without the downsides. Therefore, hydrogen water could be “… advanced as a safe and effective alternative to caffeine for sleep deprivation, although more studies are needed to corroborate and expand these preliminary findings.” (3)
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SCIENCE
This study, while acknowledging the benefits of hydrogen water vs. caffeine, fails to delve into the science behind hydrogen’s benefits. The mechanics of hydrogen water begin at the cellular level. It is a selective antioxidant that targets a free radical called hydroxyl. This free radical interferes with the energy production, or ATP, within the mitochondria. The powerhouse of your cell is essentially being crippled within this production by hydroxyl. Hydrogen effectively neutralizes this free radical, which in turn increases energy production. However, this is just one mechanism that is positively affected by hydrogen water.
“The second proposed mechanism is an indirect mechanism. When you drink hydrogen-rich water, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is often referred to as the hunger hormone. While it does serve as a gentle reminder that it is time to eat (don’t worry, drinking hydrogen-rich water is not going to make you hungrier), it also serves to protect the nerves in your central nervous system.”
– Dr. Brady, 2020
An easier way to understand this is by thinking about it in a survival context. If you were to have to hunt down your prey to survive in a primitive sense, you would be hungry at times. During this hunger, ghrelin would be produced to help you think clearly so you can adequately hunt. Thus, if hydrogen water produced ghrelin during this study, it could also improve mental acuity for the participants and in turn improve their VAS scores.
Again, we should emphasize that more studies should be conducted to corroborate this notion. A larger sample size should be examined, containing multiple ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, as well as other methods of scoring, as the VAS system is subjective for each participant. Understand that correlation does not mean causation, but this study is also a solid footing for further scientific examination. This study suggests that the benefits of drinking hydrogen water parallel caffeinated beverages while offering no downsides.
We as a society may have become addicted to the feel and taste of caffeinated beverages but need to understand the implications of our choices. Being better informed about our decisions before we make them is the responsible thing to do here and should be taken upon every member of society. Ultimately, moving away from caffeinated beverages and soft drinks and drinking hydrogen water instead is a “no-brainer” for your health.