What effects has Molecular Hydrogen on our health? That’s the topic of this article.
Hydrogen is able to potentially inhibit/suppress the hydroxyl radical (OH•) within the cell. Science is still trying to elucidate how hydrogen is able to induce this effect. However, here are some examples of how hydrogen may be accomplishing this effect based on scientific speculation.
Hydrogen is able to potentially inhibit/suppress ONOO- (Peroxynitrite) within the cell, thus reducing oxidative stress.
Our cells have their own natural defense system and produces natural antioxidants, such as CAT, SOD, GSH, etc. It has been demonstrated that hydrogen up-regulates our endogenous antioxidants by activating the Nrf2 keap1 system via hydrogen’s signal-modulation properties.
Molecular hydrogen efficiently reduces oxidative stress which is mentioned in our antioxidant section. Oxidative stress can play a pivotal role in the inflammatory process of the cells and the human body. ROS/excessive ROS (oxidative stress) is known as a key mediator for cell growth, cellular apoptosis and the inflammatory response (via the Nf-kB pathway). Since hydrogen effectively reduces oxidative stress in the cells, this can lead to less stimulation of the NF-kB pathway leading to less production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFa and others, that stimulate inflammation. This is one of the potential ways hydrogen decreases inflammation by reducing oxidative stress.
Molecular hydrogen can down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines in a number of ways. To name a few: Hydrogen decreases lipid peroxidation and the release of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), therefore decreasing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, hydrogen up-regulates the hormone acyl ghrelin which also inhibits the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Lastly, it may down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines by influencing and regulating the Ca2+ (ionic Calcium) signal transduction pathway and by suppressing the NFAT signaling pathway, leading to the down-regulation of the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These are just a few examples and there are many more potential ways that we could have discussed, such as hydrogen suppressing the release of cell adhesion molecules. There are many more mechanisms that are yet to be elucidated in regard to this topic.
Molecular hydrogen can up-regulate powerful anti-inflammatory cytokines, thus reducing inflammation and more. Hydrogen appears to up-regulate highly therapeutic anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10 and IL-22. Science is still figuring out how hydrogen is doing this. Nevertheless, the data is clear that hydrogen appears to be very effective at up up-regulating these protective enzymes.
Molecular hydrogen can inhibit inflammatory cell infiltration and inhibit the production of chemokines (MCP-1, MPO, etc), suppressing a variety of immune and/or inflammatory responses in various white blood cells (neutrophils, macrophages, monocytes, etc). These effects can prevent the elevation of excessive inflammation and can have a potential anti-inflammatory effect on the human body.
Molecular hydrogen (via hydrogen water, hydrogen inhalation, etc) has the potential to prevent, protect, or reduce the effects of allergic reactions. It has been demonstrated through scientific studies that hydrogen gas exhibits these effects in not only one hypersensitivity or allergy type, but two. Hydrogen has been shown to inhibit type 1 allergic reactions and type 2 allergic reactions.
Type 1 allergic reactions or immediate sensitivity are the typical known allergic reactions. Some examples being Hay Fever/Seasonal allergies, peanut allergies, asthma, etc.
Type 2 allergic reactions or cytotoxic hypersensitivity are antibody mediated (IgM, IgG) disorders and are prominent in autoimmune diseases such as, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, myasthenia gravis, etc. A few of the ways hydrogen gas exhibits these anti-allergic effects is due to its gaseous-modulator properties inhibiting the infiltrations of white blood cells into the target site and by decreasing the expression of allergic/inflammatory reaction molecules, such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), histamine, and proinflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and IL-13, etc).
Hydrogen gas’ potential for preventing cellular death is littered throughout the scientific literature. Molecular hydrogen appears to accomplish this effect in numerous ways, far too many to list them all.
- Through the reduction of oxidative stress
- Inhibiting the activation of apoptotic enzymes and signaling pathways (caspase-3, Ras-ERK1, 2-MEK1/2 and Akt, bax, etc)
- Up-regulating anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, etc)
- By protecting the mitochondria of the cell
These effects mean not only does hydrogen protect our cells, but it promotes cell viability and survival.
Hydrogen gas appears to prevent, reduce, or suppress the progression of cellular aging by reducing/preventing oxidative stress of the cell, inhibiting mitochondrial DNA damage, suppressing mitochondrial oxidative stress, and inhibiting cellular senescence, all of which are hypothesized to be linked to the aging of the human body and cells. One study demonstrated that drinking hydrogen-rich water for 12 months (1 year) had a significant anti-aging effect on periodontal tissues. Another study demonstrated that hydrogen rich water effectively suppressed alveolar bone loss which is a result of aging and/or periodontal inflammation. So, taking all together, hydrogen’s antioxidant-like and anti-senescence effects may slow the progression of aging and may increase longevity!