Molecular hydrogen, which is a medical gas and therapeutic bio-molecule has been demonstrated to have therapeutic potential for pain management and the ability to reduce chronic pain. Molecular is appearing to accomplish this in a number of ways.
Here are a few of the ways science is observing how H2 can potentially reduce pain:
Molecular hydrogen is appearing to be a novel signaling molecule, having the ability to decrease the expression or down-regulation of specific pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with pain. Some of them being "IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α". These specific cytokines are involved in the process of pathological pain. Since molecular hydrogen has the potential to down-regulate these proteins, molecular hydrogen may have a significant therapeutic effect on pain management. Science has even observed that molecular hydrogen can inhibit the activation of the TNF-a pathway. Excessive activation of this pathway has been associated with elevated pain or evoking nociceptors (pain receptors), neuropathic pain, even mediating inflammatory diseases. Molecular hydrogen also has been shown to up-regulate anti-inflammatory cytokines, which can inhibit the negative effects associated with the elevated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines or the activation of the TNF-a pathway. Molecular hydrogen appears to up-regulate the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. It has been said that anti-inflammatory cytokine L10 might be the key to chronic pain since clinical studies have discovered that low blood levels of this protein have been found in patients with chronic pain widespread.
Molecular hydrogen has demonstrated to decrease the expression of the protein p38MAPK or (p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases). The increased production of this protein has also been associated with neuropathic and chronic pain. Molecular hydrogen may also be aiding to the reduction of chronic pain because of this effect.
Lastly, molecular hydrogen may be preventing or diminishing the sensation of certain types of pain altogether. Since molecular hydrogen can neutralize or decrease the concentration of the hydroxyl radical and peroxynitrite within the cell, it can inhibit these dangerous molecules from excessively activating the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Peroxynitrite can actually enhance the communicating process of nociceptive messages and proinflammatory cytokines can irritate or even evoked nociceptor (pain cells). Molecular hydrogen has the potential to reduce both of these effects that elevate pain.
Molecular hydrogen has an exciting and promising future as a medical gas. These were just a few of the effects hydrogen can have on pain. In time, I'm sure researchers will elucidate more!