In 1870 the famous author, Jules Verne in his story “The Mysterious Island” suggested that “water will one day be employed as fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light, of an intensity of which coal is not capable.” Verne believed that water would be the coal of the future and he was right and still is ahead of the curve. Little did he know, however, that hydrogen would also be very likely to become, and maybe not surprisingly, the next big thing in Biomedicine.

The Hydrogen Universe and H2 in Biomedicine

Three quarters of matter in the universe, including the sun, comprise or are powered by hydrogen. It really is the source of life. In 1783 Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, a French chemist, gave hydrogen its name – the “water-former”, after he identified it as a constituent of water. Since then many scientific advances have been made in terms of hydrogen power generation. It wasn’t until 2007 that hydrogen in its molecular form (H2), received a lot of press due to its proposed therapeutic properties.

A groundbreaking study was published in the Nature Medicine Journal stating H2 can be considered a novel strategic antioxidant and an effective antioxidant therapy, helping reduce inflammation in the body’s tissues by neutralising the most cell damaging hydroxyl radicals in cells’ mitochondria. 11 years and over 700 studies on tissues, animals and humans and publications later, hydrogen is thought of as the ‘perfect’ antioxidant, showing therapeutic benefits to very much every single organ in the body in a large number of health conditions.

Summary of therapeutic benefits of molecular hydrogen:

  • Antioxidant, Bioavailable
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-allergy
  • Cell protective and anti-ageing
  • Converts cell-damaging free radicals into water
  • Helps the body lower oxidative stress
  • Helps lower cholesterol levels
  • Protects against radiation damage
  • Helps with reducing glucose intolerance
  • Stimulates energy metabolism to prevent weight gain
  • Neuroprotective
  • Supports cognitive function
  • May help prevent erectile dysfunction
  • May help prevent age-related decline in cognitive capacity
  • Decreases lactate (lactic acid) build up during exercise
  • Supports skin health

Addressing the sceptics

Sceptics might suggest that that it’s nearly too good to be true. How can this be good for ‘everything’? Why haven’t we heard of it before?

Molecular hydrogen appears to be very simple, and sometimes a too simple concept might be too confusing to get your head around, especially when we look for ‘the complicated’. There are also no patents that can be attributed to hydrogen and this means that there can be no profit compared to a pharmaceutical drug.  Because hydrogen works on the antioxidant defence system inside your cells neutralising free radicals and also indirectly supports other antioxidants in the body, the effects you might experience are likely to differ from person to person.  Each of us have different weak links needing attention.

Another reasonable question might arise: Is there any toxicity of consuming H2? So far, no toxic effects have been documented. The byproduct after those hydroxyl radicals (OH) merge with H2 is nothing more hydrating than water. Any excess of hydrogen that the body doesn’t use is then released from the body through breath and flatulence.

Size matters

H2 is the smallest element on periodic table, and is far smaller compared to Vitamin C. It can quickly diffuse across various membranes, including the protective blood brain barrier. Because of this, it can effectively protect against oxidative damage. 

Delivery mechanisms

There are four ways hydrogen delivery:

1/ Our own hydrogen factory (the gut): The body’s designed to produce up to 12 litres of molecular hydrogen per day. In order for this to work, we have to have the right bacteria strains and eat fibre rich foods. When these foods are broken down the E. coli present in the intestinal tract will eat them. As a by-product of this process (flatulence), we end up with hydrogen, methane and a number of gases. The H2 produced in our gut then can get in through in intestinal tract into the body.

2/ Breathing in (inhalation) the hydrogen gas is also an option. It’s aimed to get through the lungs and the blood very quickly to get to the brain faster. This would be mainly used in clinical setting.

3/ Injecting saline (salt water) enriched with H2 is also used in a hospital setting.

4/ Drinking water with dissolved H2 gas is the most effective and most accessible method of administration to get an additional therapeutic dose of molecular hydrogen which gets absorbed in the intestinal tract. Skin bathing would be an additional way of exposing our body to hydrogen aimed for skin repair.  Studies have shown that supplementing the body with as little as 0.5ppm per day (and more) can have therapeutic effects.

Learn about the therapeutic effects of H2 at one of our upcoming lectures events

You might also fancy coming along to one of our lectures on Molecular Hydrogen and its effect on the microbiome organised in collaboration with ANP.

Download our e-book to learn more about Echo Hydrogen Enriched Water and how you can enjoy having daily access to your own H2 water.

 

RESOURCES

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n6/full/nm1577.html

www.molecularhydrogenfoundation.org

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660246/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393812/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/27993602/

N. L. Darnell: Electrochemically Activated Solutions: Potential New Tools in the Management of Diabetes and its Complications, Date: 9/21/2013, Version: 1.6.

Laurence O. Williams: Hydrogen Power: An Introduction to Hydrogen Energy and Its Applications, 1980

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