Water is perhaps the most important substance on the planet as far as life is concerned. In humans, water is needed for a ginormous list of biological and biochemical reactions in the body, most of which take place at the molecular level. From regulating your body temperature to keeping your cells/tissues supple, lubricating the joints, energy production, and helping the organs to get rid of toxins, your body requires water for many functions. Needless to mention, this is the main reason we’re advised by our doctors to stay hydrated and drink lots of water every day.
Now there are various types of drinking water, ranging from the ordinary tap water to spring water, mineral water, and purified bottled water. During the process of purification, certain elements may be added to the water to make it more superior in providing certain health benefits. One such example is molecular hydrogen water, which is said to have a plethora of benefits to the consumer’s health. In this piece, we will take a comprehensive look at molecular hydrogen water and some of its purported benefits. We will also decipher some myths and misconceptions to help you decide on whether you should actually drink it.
Defining Molecular Hydrogen
If you took a chemistry class back in the day at high school, you must have come across the periodic table. Now, Hydrogen is the first element you learned about. With an atomic number of 1, Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. When two atoms of Hydrogen fuse together, they form a Hydrogen molecule (gas), whose symbol is H2. It is the lightest and molecule and since it is extremely tiny, molecular hydrogen can be available in the body in its atomic or ionic forms.
Now, Molecular hydrogen has been found to have numerous benefits in the body and can easily penetrate sub-cellular structures. In line with the folks at Trusii.com, molecular hydrogen is a safe, medical-grade, odorless, colorless, and nonmetallic gas that played a crucial role in the formation of life and the creation of the universe. A lot of studies have demonstrated how it improves cell signaling and acts as a selective antioxidant once inside the body. It has also been shown to help boost immunity by turning on the body’s natural antioxidants. In addition to inhalation systems and hydrogen-based skincare products, hydrogen-infused water is gaining huge popularity as a way to reap the many benefits of molecular hydrogen in/on the human body. This brings us to the most important question; what is hydrogenated water?
Molecular Hydrogen Water: What Is It?
Well, back to the basics of chemistry, the ordinary tap water contains hydrogen since water is created from the fusion of hydrogen and oxygen atoms/ions. In molecular hydrogen water, however, additional hydrogen gas is dissolved in the water without altering its structure, pH, taste, color, or odor. To get hydrogen water, pure hydrogen gas is bubbled in purified water or through the process of electrolysis. In the latter, the water molecule is decomposed to hydrogen gas and oxygen.
Well, there is a big difference between taking hydrogen-infused water and plain water. This is because, in plain water, the hydrogen is bound to oxygen, and thus less bioavailable to the body. When additional hydrogen is dissolved in water, the body can absorb it more effectively, providing the purported benefits we shall discuss below.
All the same, molecular hydrogen water is stored in aluminum cans or pouches as opposed to plastic containers. This is because, in plastic containers, the dissolved hydrogen gas can easily escape considering its light tiny nature. These days, consumers can make their hydrogen water at home using hydrogen water machines. Hydrogen tablets are also available, which can be added to carbonated or plain drinking water to make hydrogen water.
The Benefits of Hydrogen Water
As mentioned earlier, hydrogen-infused water is said to provide certain health benefits to the consumer. These range from fighting inflammation to reducing pain, boosting energy, and enhancing cognitive function. Just like water obtained from some springs around the planet, it is said to have some amazing healing properties, which is why some refer to it as the “healing water”. Some of these benefits have been shown in research studies, even though research is still ongoing to provide more information and proof for some of the said beneficial effects. In a nutshell, some benefits of molecular hydrogen water include:
Protect the Cells from Oxidative Stress: Antioxidant Benefits
Oxidative stress is one of the most common causes of inflammation and disease in the body. This is caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules formed in the body from various biochemical reactions. Now, one of the major benefits of molecular hydrogen is that it combats free radicals, just like other antioxidant substances we get from a regular diet and supplements. However, the best thing about molecular H2 is that it is smaller and lighter compared to antioxidants like Vitamin C and E.
When consumed in water, the hydrogen molecule doesn’t need to be digested and processed before it can find its way into the cells. It is readily absorbed in the stomach lining and can access the cells almost instantaneously. This makes molecular hydrogen more effective in fighting free radicals and protecting the cells from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. It has been shown that once in the body; a single molecule of H2 separates into two H atoms that neutralize one free-radical each. The process also leads to the formation of water as a byproduct, which hydrates the cells. Additionally, molecular hydrogen is said to selectively target the bad free radicals in the body, such as the superoxide and oxygen radicals.
May Boost Athletic Performance
Molecular hydrogen water has also been touted as having the ability to enhance athletic performance. For instance, it has been shown to help reduce the accumulation of lactate after working out, which often leads to fatigue, muscle damage, and a decline in endurance. By slowing down the lactic acid formation and reducing inflammation, the H2 can help improve recovery time overall performance in the athlete. Also, more oxygen is used up when we exercise, and this often leads to increased oxidative stress from the higher number of oxygen radicals generated. As discussed above, the antioxidant properties of molecular hydrogen water can thus benefit an athlete by protecting their cells and muscles from free radical damage.
Moreover, molecular hydrogen water increases hydration in the body, which helps fight fatigue and pain while enhancing flexibility. Last but not least, studies have also shown that molecular hydrogen boosts the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the major component required to keep the cells fuelled up. This means higher energy levels and better performance for the athlete. In a nutshell, H2 water can help boost athletic performance by:
- Fighting inflammation and fatigue
- Protecting the cells from oxidative stress
- Boosting recovery time
- Improving energy levels
- Keeping the body hydrated
A Potential Remedy for Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a complex medical condition composed of several medical issues occurring together. These include high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, excess fat around the waist, high triglyceride levels, and increased cholesterol. These conditions are said to increase one’s risk of diabetes type 2, heart disease, and stroke. Studies suggest that chronic inflammation could be a major contributing factor in metabolic syndrome.
Well, apart from being an effective way of fighting inflammation and oxidative stress, H2 water is thought to help improve the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. From a past study conducted in people experiencing the signs of metabolic syndrome, the results concluded that the daily intake of hydrogen-enriched water could help significantly reduce “bad” LDL as well as inflammation while increasing antioxidant activity.
Owing to poor nutrition and other unhealthy practices of modern lifestyle, poor general health, and chronic diseases have been on the rise. With too many health challenges and increased oxidative stress, the modern-day human beings age at a faster rate compared to some decades back. Thanks to the various health-promoting benefits of molecular hydrogen, however, hydrogen water has been seen by some as a way to naturally slow down the process of aging or fight the decline that comes with it. Some anti-aging effects we can get from the hydrogen-infused water include:
- Combating pain and inflammation – As you age, body aches, pains, and inflammation becomes more common. Molecular hydrogen, as we saw earlier, can help soothe the muscles and joints, improve flexibility, keeping pain and inflammation at bay.
- Cognitive boost – The brain is among the most susceptible organs of the body to oxidative stress. But it requires oxygen to keep functioning and as is expected, free oxygen radicals are constantly formed in the brain. Taking H2 water can help fight those free radicals, leading to a boost in cognitive function. In addition to this, research has also shown that hydrogen water could help improve mood, fight anxiety, and boost nerve function. All these benefits are paramount as we get older and could help improve one’s quality of life.
- Better cellular health – As we age, various parts of the body become less effective in playing their roles. For instance, the cells become larger, and their ability to divide/multiply faces a decline. Cellular health deteriorates with aging. As we saw earlier, molecular hydrogen benefits cellular health in various ways. It alters cell metabolism, promotes cell signaling, and improves gene expression. All these are beneficial for your overall wellness and can help reduce the rate at which your cells age.
- The antioxidant effect – Apart from acting as an antioxidant, hydrogen also activates the natural production of antioxidants in the body. It specifically triggers the activation of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, which are crucial in protecting the cells from different kinds of free radical damage.
Is Hydrogen-Infused Water Safe?
Well, Hydrogen exists freely in the environment. In most cases, it occurs in water, air, and many naturally-occurring compounds. As a matter of fact, the body produces tiny amounts of hydrogen gas from various reactions. Molecular hydrogen is harmless once inside the body. When consumed in water, it is even more effective in producing the said benefits when on higher concentrations. As long as pure, medical-grade H2 is used to make the water, hydrogen-infused water is safe and healthy for anyone to drink. Hydrogen water is approved for human consumption by the FDA and no information regarding harmful effects has been provided.
Should You Drink Molecular Hydrogen Water?
As far as safety is concerned, we’ve already seen that it is FDA-approved and doesn’t have any harmful effects on the body. Although many research studies have demonstrated the amazing benefits of hydrogen water, there’s still a huge information gap on its effectiveness and what it can do. For instance, most of these studies do not mention exactly how much of the hydrogenated water one should consume to get the maximum benefits. Additionally, concentrations may vary widely depending on the product you choose and the manufacturer.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to try out hydrogen water for the said potential benefits, and as earlier mentioned, it is best to pick products packaged in aluminum-based containers. Considering that there’s a lot of hype and buzz surrounding hydrogen water, the possibility of coming across a fake product is also there. This makes it important to do your homework well to ensure you’re buying the product from a reputed and experienced company.
Moreover, it is important to note that hydrogen water doesn’t serve as a substitute for a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle. It also shouldn’t substitute prescribed medication for those with health issues related to the benefits it provides. As earlier hinted, H2-infused water is best consumed as a supplement to enhance one’s overall health and wellness. It might be a bit more expensive compared to kinds of drinking water, but it is worth it at the end of the day. So, to answer the burning question, you have more than a dozen reasons to start drinking molecular hydrogen water!