It’s tasteless, odorless, and even flammable, but H2, the world’s smallest antioxidant, could help fight some of our biggest killers. There seems to be a never-ending list of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplements claiming to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic disease. Antioxidants “rescue” cells and tissues from damaging free radicals. Tthe most well-known example of free radical damage is sunburn. Perhaps the most unusual is molecular hydrogen, consisting of one H2 molecule (two hydrogens bonded together). As molecular hydrogen is not patented and targets the root causes of illness, it may be an affordable investment for your health.
H2 Molecules And Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, two of the most widespread yet devastating chronic illnesses. Its underlying pathology involves excessive inflammation, oxidative stress, and cellular dysregulation. Diagnosis requires at least three of five criteria:
- High blood pressure (over 130/85mmHg)
- Prediabetes or diabetes (fasting glucose over 110mg/dL)
- Central obesity (waist circumference of over 80cm for women and 90cm for men)
- Low HDL cholesterol (under 40mg/dL for men and 50mg/dL for women)
- High triglycerides (over 200mg/dL)
A clinical trial of 60 people with metabolic syndrome tested the effects of H2 molecule supplementation on measurements such as inflammation, oxidative stress, glycated hemoglobin, blood glucose, and cholesterol. After six months, their levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and certain inflammatory markers significantly fell. Their levels of vitamins C and E rose too. Interestingly, their average BMI fell from 28.9 to 28.2. Some of the antioxidant effects may be from improved blood glucose control. Unabsorbed glucose binds with proteins, creating advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs cause oxidative stress and increase chronic inflammation, leading to issues including faster biological aging and complications of diabetes. Another study on people with metabolic syndrome found higher antioxidant enzymes after H2 molecule supplementation.
Other Potential Benefits Of H2 Molecules
Researchers have examined a total of 63 diseases and injuries for how H2 molecule therapy may help. The vast majority of the studies have only been in the pre-clinical stages. For example, a study on a rat model of Alzheimer’s disease found restoration of the normal rate of brain regeneration, and therefore prevention of cognitive decline. A human clinical trial involving people receiving radiotherapy for liver tumors showed improved antioxidant status and quality of life. Another study on patients with brain tissue die-off from lack of oxygen demonstrated improved imaging results when a pharmaceutical antioxidant was combined with intravenous hydrogen.
H2 Molecules And The Coronavirus
The question right now on everyone’s lips when it comes to natural and integrative therapy is whether or not this promising new therapy can be used against the coronavirus. In fact, in China some coronavirus protocols already include molecular hydrogen therapy. A pilot investigation found significant relief of dyspnea (difficult breathing) in most patients using hydrogen-oxygen mixed gas.
Data from three hospitals in Wuhan and Guangzhou found that the use of molecular hydrogen as a gas improved breathing in patients. Easing airway resistance was found to be partly responsible for increased blood oxygenation. Professor Zhong Nanshan, renowned as “one of the greatest doctors in China” for his work in treating SARS, favors hydrogen therapy too. He lists the benefits of hydrogen-oxygen mixed gas as reducing inflammation, neutralizing oxidative stress, regulating cellular signaling, and possibly reducing apoptosis. However, we need more placebo-controlled clinical trials to thoroughly quantify the effect of H2 molecules in cases of coronavirus. These are already going ahead, including one in Guangzhou approved in February 2020. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine currently lists four clinical trials involving hydrogen, oxygen, or a combination of the two for treating coronavirus.
What about feedback from real-world patients? When a woman at Wuhan Hanyang Hospital was interviewed about her experience, she said that her chest pain was only relieved after treatment with molecular hydrogen. “Today, for the first time, I feel free now,” she said before thanking Professor Wei Chunhua.
This video by Tyler LeBaron from the Molecular Hydrogen Institute shows more positive testimonials from patients using H2 molecules as a mixed gas for coronavirus:
Could H2 Molecules Help People At Risk Of Complications?
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of H2 molecules may also help to mitigate the effects of air pollution and in turn help ease conditions that can make people more vulnerable to a virus like the novel coronavirus. China and northern Italy’s levels of air pollution have been associated with increased respiratory illness and mortality for years. The summer of 2019 even saw protests over poor air quality in Wuhan, the first epicenter of the outbreak. Air pollution, especially particulate matter, causes inflammation and oxidative stress. These effects are linked to high blood pressure and increased cardiovascular disease and deaths. In Italy, one-third of people who have died from the coronavirus had cardiovascular disease, and over three-quarters had high blood pressure.
Coronavirus complications are driven largely by inflammation. Research on the respiratory benefits of H2 molecules has found that the therapy prevents airway inflammation by reversing changes to cellular energy metabolism. Activated pro-inflammatory immune cells first switch from oxygen-dependent energy production to only relying on oxygen-independent pathways. This helps produce substances required for the inflammatory response. H2 molecule supplementation is able to reduce the production of lactate, a substance made in oxygen-independent energy pathways while increasing the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes. Lactate also stimulates the activation of immune cells involved in respiratory inflammation.
Which Form Of H2 Molecule Supplementation Is Best?
Early clinical use of molecular hydrogen in China has involved its gaseous form, but this may not be the best option. A study on both humans and rats found that hydrogen-infused water was superior to hydrogen gas in increasing concentrations of the molecule. Additionally, a clinical trial on people with Parkinson’s disease taking hydrogen-infused water found a one-point improvement in their Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores after almost one year. The placebo group’s UPDRS scores worsened by 4.5 points over the same time. In contrast, a study on gaseous molecular hydrogen found no benefit in Parkinson’s disease, but the study period was only eight weeks. Researchers speculate that this may be because it takes a higher volume of gaseous molecular hydrogen to have the same effect as infused water. The clinical trial on metabolic syndrome discussed above also used infused water.
Supplementing with H2 molecules could be a game-changer for your cellular health. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and overall protective effects may help you prevent or even heal both chronic illnesses, such as metabolic syndrome, and acute infections.
At HoneyColony, we stock Hydra+ Molecular Hydrogen, which contains H2 and ingredients that support cellular energy and antioxidant production.
Alexandra Preston is an Australian naturopath, passionate about empowering others to take charge of their health and healing the planet. Her special area of interest in natural health is antiaging; she also loves the beach and is a semi-professional dancer.