Essential To The Origin of Life
Approximately 3.6 billion years ago Molecular Hydrogen served as the original energy source for Primordial cellular life, fueling its metabolic processes and protecting it from the hostile environment of early Earth. Without it, life would not exist. Health researchers worldwide are rediscovering these forgotten benefits in a big way. There are now more than 1000 peer-reviewed scientific papers*, including animal and human studies, demonstrate that Molecular Hydrogen can be a beneficial nutrient in nearly every facet of human physiology, especially at the cellular level.
What is Molecular Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the first and most abundant element in the Universe! Two atoms combine to form hydrogen gas (H2) the smallest and most mobile molecule. This exclusive property gives it a greater cellular bioavailability than any other nutrient or nutraceutical. Molecular Hydrogen can rapidly diffuse into cells, mitochondria and fluids throughout the body to deliver its unique and abundant benefits.
What Can Molecular Hydrogen Do For Health?
The following evidence-based health benefits are among the many advantages of supplementing with Molecular Hydrogen due its ability to support cell metabolism, cell-signaling and gene expression:
Anti-apoptotic (premature cell death) effects
and many other natural benefits to help bring back the body to homeostasis.
Methods Of Administration
Molecular hydrogen can be administered via inhalation, ingestion of dissolved hydrogen-rich solutions (e.g. water, flavored beverages, etc.), topical administration of hydrogen-rich media (e.g. bath, shower, and creams), hyperbaric treatment, ingestion of hydrogen-producing material upon reaction with gastric acid, ingestion of non-digestible carbohydrates as prebiotic to hydrogen-producing intestinal bacteria , rectal insufflation, hydrogen-rich hemodialysis solution, intravenous injection of hydrogen-rich saline, and other methods..
Hydrogen’s unique physicochemical properties of hydrophobicity, neutrality, size, mass, etc. afford it with superior distribution properties allowing it to rapidly penetrate biomembranes (e.g. cell membranes, blood-brain, placental, and testis barrier) and reach subcellular compartments (e.g. mitochondria, nucleus, etc.) where it can exert its therapeutic effects.
Although various medical clinics in Japan use intravenous injection of hydrogen-rich saline, the most common methods are inhalation and drinking hydrogen-rich water. The pharmacokinetics of each method are still under investigation, but are dependent on dosage, route, and timing. An article published in Nature’s Scientific Reports compared inhalation, injection and drinking with different hydrogen concentrations and found helpful insights for clinical use. Based on this and various studies, we briefly summarize the pharmacokinetics of inhalation and drinking.
Inhalation Of Hydrogen
For inhalation, a 2-4% hydrogen gas mixture is common because it is below the flammability level; however, some studies use 66.7% H2 and 33.3% O2, which is nontoxic and effective, but flammable. Inhalation of hydrogen reaches a peak plasma level (i.e. equilibrium based on Henry’s Law) in about 30 min, and upon cessation of inhalation the return to baseline occurs in about 60 min.
Drinking Dissolved Hydrogen
The concentration/solubility of hydrogen in water at standard ambient temperature and pressure (SATP) is 0.8 mM or 1.6 ppm (1.6 mg/L). For reference, conventional water (e.g. tap, filtered, bottled, etc.) contains less than 0.0000002 ppm of H2, which is well below the therapeutic level. The concentration of 1.6 ppm is easily achieved by many methods, such as simply bubbling hydrogen gas into water. Because of molecular hydrogen’s low molar mass (i.e. 2.02 g/mol H2 vs. 176.12 g/mol vitamin C), there are more hydrogen molecules in a 1.6-mg dose of H2 than there are vitamin C molecules in a 100-mg dose of pure vitamin C (i.e. 1.6 mg H2 has 0.8 millimoles of H2 vs. 100 mg vitamin C has 0.57 millimoles of vitamin C).
The half-life of hydrogen-rich water is shorter than other gaseous drinks (e.g. carbonated or oxygenated water), but therapeutic levels can remain for a sufficiently long enough time for easy consumption. Ingestion of hydrogen-rich water results in a peak rise in plasma and breath concentration in 5-15 min in a dose-dependent manner. The rise in breath hydrogen is an indication that hydrogen diffuses through the submucosa and enters systemic circulation where it is expelled out the lungs. This increase in blood and breath concentration returns to baseline in 45-90 min depending on the ingested dosage.
Although a significant amount of research in cells, tissues, animals, humans and even plants have confirmed hydrogen’s effect in biological systems, the exact underlying molecular mechanisms and primary targets remain elusive.
It was initially suggested that the beneficial effect of hydrogen was due to an antioxidant as hydrogen selectively neutralized cytotoxic hydroxyl radicals in vitro. However, although H2 reduces *OH radicals, as has been shown in various systems, it may not occur via direct scavenging, and it also cannot fully explain all the benefits of hydrogen. For example, in a double-blinded placebo controlled trial in rheumatoid arthritis, hydrogen had a residual effect that continued improving the disease symptoms for four weeks after hydrogen administration was terminated. Many cell studies also show that pre-treatment with hydrogen has marked beneficial effects even when the assault (e.g. toxin, radiation, injury, etc.) is administered long after all the hydrogen has dissipated out of the system. Additionally, the rate constants of hydrogen against the hydroxyl radical are relatively slow (4.2 x 107 M-1 sec-1) , and the concentration of hydrogen at the cellular level is also quite low (micromolar levels), thus making it unlikely that H2 could effectively compete with the numerous other nucleophilic targets of the cell. Lastly, if the mechanism were primarily associated with scavenging of hydroxyl radicals, then we should see a greater effect from inhalation compared to drinking, but this is not always the case. In short, we consider it inaccurate or at least incomplete to claim that the benefits of hydrogen are due to its acting directly as a powerful antioxidant. Indeed, hydrogen is selective because it is a very weak antioxidant and thus does not neutralize important ROS or disturb important biological signaling molecules. Nevertheless, a metabolic tracer study using deuterium gas demonstrated that, under physiological conditions, deuterium gas is oxidized, and the oxidation rate of hydrogen increases with an increasing amount of oxidative stress, but the physicochemical mechanism for this may still not be direct radical scavenging. However, not all studies show that hydrogen is oxidized via mammalian tissues, and it has also been reported that deuterium gas did not exert a therapeutic effect in the model studied whereas 1H did (unpublished data).