Selective Antioxidant = This means hydrogen will not neutralize every free radical in the human body. This is a good thing, because there are free radicals that are useful to the body!
Molecular Hydrogen reduces the most cytotoxic free radical of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body, the hydroxyl radical (OH*). The hydroxyl radical is the most dangerous ROS and the human body has no natural defenses to protect itself from it. The impressive part of this is that molecular hydrogen reacts with the hydroxyl radical to produce water. H2 & OH* (H2 + 2OH* => 2H2O)
Molecular hydrogen will also reduce a powerful oxidant peroxynitrite (ONOO-). 1
This would mean that Molecular Hydrogen has the potential to protect our DNA/RNA, proteins from damage (oxidative stress).
Up-regulates endogenous antioxidants = Molecular hydrogen is a endogenous antioxidant stimulator meaning it up regulates our body’s own antioxidant system via the Nrf2 pathways for increased production of glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. These are very powerful antioxidants that will reduce ROS and oxidative-stress within the body, which have been linked to nearly all human diseases. 3
Signaling molecule = Research is demonstrating that molecular hydrogen is a novel signaling molecule meaning it can influence/alter cellular signaling pathways. Adding additional therapeutic benefits by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines (damaging inflammation), up regulating anti-inflammatory cytokines (reducing inflammation) as well as anti-allergic effects and gene expression. Molecular hydrogen, because of its cell signaling and cell modulation functions, can exert a multitude of beneficial effects including, anti-cell death effects (apoptosis), anti-inflammatory, gene expression, anti-allergy, and more.
H2 has appeared to only reduce excessive amounts of oxidative stress or inflammation. The human body is suppose to have a basal level of measurable ROS and inflammation. This is normal to human biology and physiology. This study demonstrated that hydrogen did not reduce DNA damage and inflammation when the levels were normal but only when DNA and Inflammation was excessive. This is a great potential benefit of H2, as everyone’s body is different. Some individuals might not have high levels of inflammation or oxidative stress, where others might not. H2 has the potential to respond to different cellular situations and exert different therapeutic effects when needed.
H2 is extremely unique in it’s ability to be highly therapeutic but mild enough in it antioxidant ability not to perturb redox homeostasis. This means H2 does not affect healthy free radical activity. This is a great benefit because H2 will not thrust a cell into unwanted negative consequences when the cell is functioning optimally.
Molecular hydrogen’s cell signaling/modulation effects and gene regulation effects are tied very closely as they work synergistically with each other. Hydrogen appears to affect gene regulation by multiple mechanisms like cell modulation, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, etc. Most mechanisms still remain to be discovered. We know molecular hydrogen can up-regulate the gene expression of multiple genes, resulting in the synthesis/physical production of protective enzymes, proteins that enhances energy expenditure, etc. The possibilities for hydrogen therapy seem to be limitless and the research is still growing.
H2 helps the body perform more efficiently by “motivating” it to do what the body already has the capability of doing. Much of what H2 can do are things that the body already should do naturally. Things like aging and oxidative stress and genetic mutations can create roadblocks to having that optimal performance. H2 can help to protect, boost, regulate, adjust, or express what the body already makes so it can function optimally. If there is nothing for H2 to do, it will leave your body.
On top of that, our body already produces H2 in our gut. The micro anaerobic bacteria that lives in the intestine, also known as gut flora, produces H2 everyday. This is one way that we know H2 is natural and safe for the body. Research has shown that the body’s gut flora feeds on prebiotic food like apples, onions, oats, bananas, asparagus, etc. These foods are rich in fiber, which the bacteria feeds on. This process can be very therapeutic as the bacteria can produce large amounts of H2 (up to 10 liters a day, with a healthy diet). Science is actually discovering that H2 might play a vital role in why eating fiber rich food is so healthy. We know this process happens because the large amounts of the H2 that is produced can be measured as H2 exists the body via the lungs. Breath tests after eating fiber rich food have shown readings as high as 50 ppm of H2, so we know that because of this process H2 is circulating through the body via the blood, producing therapeutic effects. Some studies have demonstrated this with great results which leads to an exciting potential.
Molecular hydrogen is emerging as a remarkable medical gas. Hydrogen is and will continue to be a focal point for researchers and scientists. As molecular hydrogen research and awareness grows; hydrogen will undoubtedly become a household name in the US. With the scientific evidence discovered so far, molecular hydrogen is worth the time and attention. It is only a matter of time before people try to get their hands on this amazing molecule.
“It is not an overstatement to say that hydrogen’s impact on therapeutic and preventive medicine could be enormous in the future.” 1
“The future looks very bright and promising; hopefully hydrogen will be at the forefront of medicine and will make surging strides as simple treatments to the top ailments such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and a numerous amount of other diseases.” 2