Simple but Remarkable
- Molecular hydrogen has shown therapeutic effects in these areas: anti-oxidant effects, anti-inflammatory effects, anti-allergic effects, all with no cytotoxic effects and so much more.
- Molecular hydrogen is known as a medical gas or an emerging nutraceutical. (A nutraceutical is a food/substance containing health-giving additives and having medical benefit.)
What does H2 have to offer?
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).
- “We induced acute oxidative stress in cultured cells by three independent methods. H2 selectively reduced the hydroxyl radical, the most cytotoxic of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and effectively protected cells; however, H2 did not react with other ROS, which possess physiological roles.” 2
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
- “One mechanism that hydrogen uses to protect against oxidative damage is by the activation of the Nrf2-Keap1 system and subsequent induction of the antioxidant response element (ARE) pathway, which leads to the production of various cytoprotective proteins like glutathione, catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, heme-1 oxygenase, etc.”4
- “The consumption of hydrogen rich water for 8 weeks resulted in a 39% increase (p<0.05) in antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and a 43% decrease (p<0.05) in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in urine.” 5
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.
- “We have shown that hydrogen suppresses signaling pathways in allergies and inflammation without directly scavenging reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. Signaling molecules that are modulated by hydrogen include: Lyn, Ras, MEK, ERK, p38, JNK, ASK1, Akt, GTP-Rac1, iNOS, Nox1, NF-κB p65 or NF-κB, IκBα, STAT3, NFATc1, c-Fos, GSK-3β, ROCK. Activities and expressions of these molecules are modified by hydrogen. Master regulator(s) that drive these modifications remain to be elucidated.” 1
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.
- “Notably, H2 reacts with strong oxidants such as •OH in cells but remains mild enough to neither disturb metabolic redox reactions nor affect signaling ROS. In addition, H2 rapidly diffuses into tissues and cells. Thus, H2 can be used as an effective antioxidant therapy.” 1, 2
- “Importantly, hydrogen only activates the Nrf2 pathway when there is an assault (e.g. toxin, injury, etc.)  as opposed to constituently acting as a promoter, which could be harmful.” 3
- “Hydrogen-rich saline significantly decreased levels of MDA, a marker of oxidative stress(A). And oxidative DNA damage was assessed by 8-OHdG immunoreactivity. Shown are 12 hours after irradiation, intestinal 8-OHdG concentrations in normal, γ-irradiated and H2 pretreated groups(B). Relative to the Control, H2 significantly decreased the concentration of 8-OHdG. Values are mean ± SEM ( n=6 )” 4
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.
- “These studies all point to the notion that hydrogen modulates intracellular signal transduction systems and regulates the downstream gene expressions to mitigate disease processes.” 1
- “Molecular hydrogen can suppress the release of cell adhesion molecules, as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines. H2 could elevate anti-inflammatory cytokine levels. H2 enhanced HO-1 expression and activity, which suggest that H2 could suppress excessive inflammatory responses and endothelial injury via an Nrf2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2 p45 related factor 2)/HO-1 pathway . In addition, it has been proposed that molecular hydrogen has the capabilities to affect several pathways and assist in the gene regulation or protein expression of MPO (myeloperoxidase), MCP, Caspase-3, Caspase-12, TNF (tumor necrosis factor), interleukins, Bcl-2, Bax, and Cox-2.” 2
- “In this study, H2 caused the up-regulation of 548 and down-regulation of 695 genes in rat liver. Among these, the up-regulation of redox-related genes was especially prominent. The results raised the possibility that, while minimal in magnitude, numerous effects on the gene expression caused by H2 may shift indirect molecular reactions in an organism.” 3
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.
- “In conclusion, supplementation with H2-rich water seems to decrease serum LDL-C and apoB levels, improve dyslipidemia-injured HDL functions, and reduce oxidative stress, and it may have a beneficial role in prevention of potential metabolic syndrome.” 1
- “Long-term drinking of H2-water significantly decreased body and fat weights, and the levels of plasma glucose, insulin, and triglyceride. Importantly, the db/db mice ingested the same amounts of water and diet. Moreover, we found enhanced expression of a hepatic hormone, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), which is known to function to enhance fatty acid and glucose expenditure.” 2
- “These results suggest the potential benefit of H2 in improving obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. In fact, drinking H2-water improved nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) model mice7 and a clinical study indicated that it caused a decrease in low-density lipoprotein in patients with metabolic syndrome.” 3
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.
- “Lactulose administration accelerates posthepatectomized liver regeneration in rats by inducing hydrogen, which may result from attenuation of the oxidative stress response and excessive inflammatory response.” 4
- “Lactulose, a synthetic sugar not able to be digested and absorbed by human beings, is widely used to treat constipation and hepatic encephalopathy clinically. Through fermentation by the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, lactulose can produce considerable amount of hydrogen, which is protective for ischemic stroke as a unique antioxidant. We propose that lactulose can induce the production of endogenous hydrogen that in turn reduces oxidative stress and ameliorate the stroke damage in human beings”. 5
- “Based on these observations and experimental results, H2 has been proved effective in DSS-induced mice colitis (Crohn’s disease) and acarbose was thought to generate H2 in gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, we hypothesize that acarbose may be a novel and promising therapeutic option for UC as an indirect antioxidant. It may significantly restrict inflammation and alleviate clinical UC symptoms, improving the life quality of patients, and that these benefits can be attributed at least in part to the abilities of acarbose to neutralizmme oxidative stress by increasing the production of H2 in the gastrointestinal tract.” 6
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