Obesity, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are collectively called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome sufferers often end up with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These three deadly disease are rampant in industrialised countries and is increasing in developing countries because of our unhealthy food production methods that we are exporting to them.
Oxidative Stress Causes Metabolic Syndrome
Researchers have established that oxidative stress contributes to the development of metabolic syndrome. If we can prevent or reduce the oxidative stress, we may manage to control the occurrence of metabolic syndrome and its accompanying evils.
Oxidative Stress in Stored Fat
Accumulated stored fat is packed with reactive oxygen species (or ROS), which are basically oxygen-containing molecules that have high oxidative reactivity with lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. These ROS then cause considerable oxidative stress in the stored fat. Not only does oxidation increase, but antioxidative enzymes are reduced. This has been found to be a common cause of obesity-associated metabolic syndrome. In fact, it is one of the earliest signs that metabolic syndrome may develop.
Oxidative Stress Cause Insulin and Leptin Resistance
- If the body has too much or too little of these hormones, or if it responds incorrectly to these hormones, metabolic syndrome occurs because they govern appetite control, energy expenditure, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, correct blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. There are two ways in which oxidative stress cause resistance to these essential energy and metabolism-related hormones:
- Oxidative stress brings about insulin resistance within the fat tissue in which there is oxidative damage.
- Oxidative stress in the brain causes insulin and leptin resistance throughout the body by attacking the brain's centres that help regulate these hormones. Mechanisms in the central nervous system and hypothalamus have been found to make important contributions to the body's levels and correct responses to these hormones. When researchers injected a substance that caused oxidative stress to the brains of animals, they found that the resulting oxidative brain stress produced glucose intolerance, blood pressure increase, and hormone resistance in the liver and throughout the body in just three days.
Oxidative Stress in the Brain
The brain is extremely strongly threatened by oxidative stress because it uses a huge amount of oxygen to carry out its normal functions. Researchers have concluded that poor nutrition, or more precisely overnutrition, can trigger intracellular oxidative stresses, especially in the brain and central nervous system.
Hydrogen Rich Water to the Rescue
Hydrogen water is receiving a lot of attention for its seeming ability to combat oxidative stress. If it is true that it can control oxidation, then it can help prevent one of the biggest contributing factors to metabolic syndrome and its accompanying risk of cardiovascular disease.
One study discovered that 1.5 litres of hydrogen rich water, made by portable magnesium stick, reduced oxidation by approximately 40 per cent and cholesterol by 13 per cent.
An even earlier study concluded that hydrogen rich water could reduce the occurrence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and could thereby prevent brain injury caused by oxidative stress. It also established that hydrogen water, due to its small size and weight, was able to pass easily and quickly through membranes, which improved its potential as a powerful antioxidant. There may, thus, be a way to prevent the brain damage that leads to the hormone resistance discussed above.
Hydrogen water can scavenge for and neutralise free radicals that are responsible for oxidative damage to cells.
Hydrogen water also triggers the activation of the body's own antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione. It, therefore, enables the body to lead its own fight against oxidative stress by making available the enzymes that lead this fight.
- Hydrogen water is not a magic bullet. Drinking litres of hydrogen water while stuffing your body with trans fats and empty refined carbohydrates is not a solution to metabolic syndrome. It will simply be overwhelmed by the oxidation caused by the unhealthy food. In addition to a healthy diet, however, it could be effective. Even better, if you used to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and have now changed your ways, it may help to undo the damage.
- The overwhelming majority of the research on hydrogen water is less than ten years old. While researchers have produced dozens of studies that have all confirmed the antioxidant properties of hydrogen water, the extent of its antioxidant power has not been well established. In other words, we know that it fights oxidative stress, but we do not know how well it does so. This is why you should not rely on it as a panacea against all oxidative damage until some long term studies have provided substantial proof. In the meantime, maintain a healthy diet and exercise program and use the hydrogen water as a supplement.