Published on September 21, 2020
Reading time: 5 minutes.
Molecular hydrogen is a powerful tool in the arsenal against inflammation, which is the root cause of most disease and illness. This is particularly relevant during the Covid pandemic where we are realising that underlying inflammation puts people at higher risk of being infected and also increases the severity of infection.
Molecular hydrogen’s size and its ability to selectively seek out free radicals, the molecules that are responsible for a lot of the inflammation in our bodies, is what makes it so beneficial to us. These benefits have been increasingly validated, over the last 10 years, and there are now in excess of 300 research studies showing the benefits of H2 in a variety of disease models.
This article covers:
- What is molecular hydrogen (H2)?
- How does H2 work in the body?
- Free radical creation and the antioxidant system
- H2 to the rescue
- Most practical way to supplement with H2 and where to find it
What is molecular hydrogen (H2)?
Molecular hydrogen or H2, is a chemical molecule that is composed of two hydrogen atoms bonded to each other (H-H). H2 does not commonly occur in nature since hydrogen atoms will quickly bond to other atoms, for example, H2 will quickly bond to an oxygen atom to form a water molecule (H2O).
As well as being fundamental components of water, Hydrogen atoms are fundamental components of many organic molecules such as DNA but also carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.
In humans, bacteria in our intestines actually generate H2 by way of fermentation of fibre that we cannot digest. However, the H2 is not created at high enough concentrations to provide therapeutic benefits and leaves the body through flatulence and breath.
How does H2 work in the body?
The main way in which H2 works is through the enhancement of the body’s antioxidant system. Through the very act of being alive and what that involves, the cells in our body are under constant attack from free radicals (also more scientifically known as Reactive Oxygen Species or ROS).
Free radicals are the byproducts, or waste products, of energy production in the mitochondria, which are the part of the cell which creates the energy required to power the cell’s biochemical reactions. A free radical has an unpaired electron making it very unstable and it will steal an electron from a nearby molecule in order to achieve stability.
Whilst free radicals are short lived, they can be very damaging when elevated to high levels over time.
Normally our antioxidant system can mop up these free radicals before they cause much if any damage, however when your antioxidant system is low or overwhelmed – particularly as you get older, but increasingly because of unhealthy diets and lifestyles – free radicals begin to cause real problems.
Oxidative stress (otherwise know as long-term free radical damage) is linked to many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and diabetes.
Free radical creation and the antioxidant system
Mitochondria produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which provides cells with a source of chemical energy, and oxygen is critical to that process. However, 2-5% of the oxygen involved in energy production is converted into free radicals, and when free radicals aren’t eliminated quickly, they can convert into more dangerous free radicals such as the dangerous hydroxyl radicals.
The hydroxyl radicals are also created through diet, lifestyle and environmental factors like stress, EMF, viruses and bacteria, alcohol, chemicals, drugs and antibiotics.
Hydroxyl radicals are highly reactive free radicals that will steal an electron from any other molecule, thereby damaging them. All they need is a hydrogen atom and an electron to become water. Their desire to stabilise into water is so powerful that they can easily steal hydrogen atoms and electrons from any molecule around them to satisfy themselves. Usually the victims are DNA, proteins, and lipids that make up your cells.
H2 to the rescue
H2 can protect us from oxidative stress in ways that other antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 can’t.
There are three main reasons for this:
- Its size – the other antioxidants are very large by comparison. They need to get into the blood via the digestive system before they can start to scavenge free radicals, whereas H2 penetrates through the digestive system lining and starts acting inside cells immediately. H2 is also in a gaseous state which helps it to essentially float through our cells rapidly. Its small size also means it can cross what is called the blood-brain-barrier to protect the brain from free-radicals.
- Selectivity – H2 specifically targets only hydroxyl radicals, which only serve to damage our cells.
- No toxicity – a molecule of H2 converts 2 hydroxyl radicals into water which serves to hydrate the cell at the same time, so there are no toxic byproducts created by the reaction and H2 itself has no toxicity. Other antioxidants can actually become weak free radicals themselves after donating an electron.
Most practical way to supplement with H2 and where to find it
If you feel that you’re not as healthy as you should be, for example you feel fatigued, have brain fog, experience muscle and/or joint pain or are regularly sick, a root cause is likely oxidative stress. You need to boost your antioxidant defence system so that it can neutralise excess free radicals efficiently.
The good news is that you can enhance the antioxidants inside your cells by supplementing your diet with antioxidant-rich foods, following a healthier lifestyle, and utilising H2.
There are 4 ways you can supplement with H2:
- H2 inhalation – sitting hooked up to an H2 generator device wearing a face mask. This is both expensive and not very practical.
- H2 saline injection – sitting hooked up to saline solution enriched with H2. Again not very practical.
- Creating H2 rich water – using a hydrogen generating water machine to create high concentration H2 water. These are expensive to buy.
- And most straightforward, dissolving H2 tablets in water to create high H2 concentration water. You simply drop a tablet in a glass of water and let the tablet dissolve to create a super-saturated hydrogen solution which is usually measured in ppm (parts per million). These are the most practical and cost effective.
I’ve been using H2 tablets for a couple of years now and have seen noticeable improvements in both my mental and physical health, including more energy and better focus. At first I was taking 3-4 tablets a day and sometimes 3 in a row and in my experience this is the best way to see noticeable results – after the 3rd glass I felt calmer, more relaxed and there was a feeling of stillness across my body. I also used them before and after workouts to help with stamina and recovery and the effects are definitely noticeable.
Two years on, and now that I have improved my diet and lifestyle, I don’t feel like I need to take a tablet everyday. Sometimes I take one in the morning first thing to hydrate, otherwise I will take one every now and then.
The tablets aren’t cheap but to know of the good that they bring to my body and mind and the protection they offer against illness and disease – they pay for themselves.
And there are ways to test the concentration of hydrogen in the water – including watching people test the concentration put out by different brands on YouTube.
About Robbie Mack
Robbie is a lawyer not a doctor. Robbie took an interest in nutritional and lifestyle health research after developing depression in his early 30s. Some years later his research has helped him find the answers to his problems. He believes that everyone should have access to the correct diet and lifestyle information based on the evolution of the human species. Robbie has taken full responsibility for his own health and thinks that everyone should try to do this.
Robbie-mack.org is the result of thousands of hours of research found on the internet and platforms like YouTube, where you can access the impartial and honest views of real experts on health and wellbeing.
Robbie isn’t a doctor so please don’t rely on his articles as medical advice as they are not intended to be used in this way.