Assessing the Effectiveness of Hydrogen-Rich Water: How Beneficial Is It?
We originally wrote this blog in 2014, and back then it wasn't so much a blog as an introduction followed by a link to an open-label pilot study called 'Effectiveness of Hydrogen Rich Water on Antioxidant Status of Subjects with Potential Metabolic Syndrome'.
In the years since the publication of that particular paper, hydrogen-rich water has gone overground, becoming a hot topic in the wellness world not only as "a novel therapeutic and preventive strategy for metabolic syndrome", as suggested in that 2010 paper, but a possible therapeutic aid against all manner of health challenges.
In this article, we intend to summarise just some of the literature which has been published on this topic, and suggest ways in which the mighty antioxidant might be of value.
What Does Hydrogen-Rich Water Do?
As noted in the aforementioned 2010 study, “consumption of hydrogen-rich water for 8 weeks resulted in a 39% increase in antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and a 43% decrease (p<0.05) in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in urine.
“Further, subjects demonstrated an 8% increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and a 13% decrease in total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol from baseline to week 4.”
These results were noteworthy, to be sure, but there have been many studies since which have broadened our appreciation for just what hydrogen-rich water can do. Let us look firstly at some of the most recent ones.
• Effects of the long-term consumption of hydrogen-rich water on the antioxidant activity and the gut flora in female juvenile soccer players from Suzhou, China (2018): After 8 weeks of drinking hydrogen-rich water, subjects exhibited “significantly reduced serum malondialdehyde, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-? levels; then significantly increased serum superoxide dismutase, total antioxidant capacity levels and haemoglobin levels of whole blood.”
What’s more, “the consumption of hydrogen-rich water improved the diversity and abundance of the gut flora in athletes,” leading researchers to suggest that its “selective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities” were responsible.
With gut diversity credited as one of the key metrics for overall health, this was an especially fascinating finding.
• Hydrogen-rich water for improvements of mood, anxiety, and autonomic nerve function in daily life (2018): The study aimed to assess the efficacy of drinking hydrogen-rich water on Quality of Life markers among adult volunteers. Researchers used psychophysiological tests including questionnaires and tests of autonomic nerve and cognitive function.
Subjects in the hydrogen-rich water group drank two glasses per day, for four weeks, while the placebo group drank regular water. Findings suggested that “administration for 4 weeks may have improved the Quality of Life of adult volunteers in terms of improved mood and anxiety and reduced activity of the sympathetic nervous system at rest.”
• Protective effect of hydrogen-rich water on liver function of colorectal cancer patients treated with mFOLFOX6 chemotherapy (2017) : The potential for hydrogen-rich water to mitigate against liver injury caused by this particular method of chemotherapy was studied, with the ‘damaging effects’ of mFOLFOX6 represented by increased ALT, AST and IBIL levels.
While “the hydrogen-rich water group exhibited no significant differences in liver function before and after treatment… the placebo group exhibited significantly elevated levels of ALT, AST and IBIL. Thus, hydrogen-rich water appeared to alleviate the mFOLFOX6-related liver injury.”
• Effects of hydrogen-rich water on depressive-like behaviour in mice (2016): Chinese researchers investigated the effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on the depressive-like behaviour of mice exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress. They concluded that “Hydrogen-rich water significantly attenuated the depressive-like behaviour exhibited by the stress group mice, suggesting that hydrogen-rich water may prevent the development and progression of depressive-like behaviour.
“Our data suggest that the beneficial effects of hydrogen-rich water on depressive-like behaviour may be mediated by suppression of the inflammasome activation resulting in attenuated protein IL-1? and ROS production.”
It’s not just dense, jargon-rife studies, either: with articles in Elle and Huffington Post, among others, hydrogen-infused water is becoming more well-known by the day.
How to Make Hydrogen-Rich Water
There are several ways of producing hydrogen-rich water, as demonstrated by the various administration methods favoured in scientific studies.
Options include hydrogen-rich water, intravenous drip infusion of hydrogen-rich saline, hydrogen baths (typically for topical conditions) and even inhalation with 2-3% hydrogen gas.
Suffice to say, though, that hydrogen-rich water is the route you want to go down: at least outside of a clinical setting. The only drawback is that most hydrogen water devices cost upwards of £1,000.
At Water for Health, we offer several hydrogen-rich water systems which won’t break the bank. Most of them are special water alkalisers whose bioceramic minerals stimulate the release of H2 into the water. However, we also stock the super powerful HydroTab, which provides a much higher concentration of molecular hydrogen: 10 parts-per-million.
By simply dropping a tablet into a glass of water, you can have ready-made H2-rich water in under two minutes.
The bio-benefits of molecular hydrogen are sure to warrant continued scientific investigation, although at this stage it would be defeatist to claim “the jury is out”. The results of the aforementioned studies, and many more like them, are nothing short of remarkable.
Hydrogen-infused water is GRAS Certified by the FDA, assuring product safety (i.e. an absence of side effects), and as the positive reviews and research papers continue to pile up, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.
Of course, if you’re already failing to consume enough H20 – you know, plain water without any dissolved hydrogen gas – that is something you should probably look to remedy as soon as possible!
In one 2018 study, consumption of hydrogen-rich water improved the diversity and abundance of the gut flora in athletes.