Hydrogen-Rich Water: The Facts

Why Drink Electrolyzed-Reduced Water?

Water produced by a K8 water ionizer, Electrolyzed Reduced Water (ERW), has legitimate therapeutic potential. While many people claim that drinking alkaline water can cure your body of many diseases, it has been widely studied that the pH of ERW is more of a by-product rather than the main focus of the positive attributes of the water.

ERW does not “alkalize” the body, as doing so would likely be very detrimental to your health!  What happens in a water ionizing machine, is hydrogen ions (H+), the acidic component of water, which also dictates the pH of water, is reduced to form hydrogen gas (molecular hydrogen) and as a by-product the pH of the water is increased. Molecular hydrogen (medical gas) appears to have incredible therapeutic effects on the body. 

Molecular hydrogen is the smallest molecule in the world, but don’t let its size fool you, molecular hydrogen or H2 can be noted as one of the most potent antioxidants available to us. Being the very first element, hydrogen has been a part of evolution from the origins of the universe. The use of molecular hydrogen to support health has been well studied in both clinical trials and animal studies with some recent studies on many topics of interest. The multidimensional benefits of hydrogen have shown to influence detoxification pathways, brain health, healthy aging and longevity, influence post exercise recovery as well as have an exercise mimicking effect on the body. Let’s explore further these concepts along with the benefits and applications of supplemental hydrogen for optimal health.

Today, research has shown the benefits of molecular hydrogen being wide-spread, acting as a powerful antioxidant, supporting cognitive health and athletic performance, promoting healthy metabolism, and helping in the activation of the body’s natural detoxification system.

Molecular hydrogen or diatomic hydrogen is made up of two hydrogen atoms bonded together, consisting of 2 electrons and 2 protons, creating a neutrally charged molecule. Thanks to its high lipid solubility and permeability, molecular hydrogen is able to both cross the blood-brain barrier and diffuse through cell membranes to influence the cytosol (fluid within cells), mitochondria (cell’s energy powerhouse) and nucleus (“brain” of cells).

Within the human body, hydrogen is a naturally produced byproduct of fermentation by the microbiota, the development of microorganisms within the intestinal tract; however, production can vary due to factors such as the individual’s environment, diet, and overall health. The symbiotic relationship between gut health and immune health continues as studies show the benefits of molecular hydrogen facilitating intestinal fermentation and gut health, even promoting the growth of beneficial short-chain fatty acids.

HYDROGEN & DETOXIFICATION

Hydrogen is also known to behave like an adaptogen, promoting overall balance within the body as well as supporting a healthy inflammatory response. The therapeutic benefits of molecular hydrogen have been shown in multiple studies, mainly noted for inflammation modulation and activating the body’s natural detoxification process. The use of molecular hydrogen has also been shown to have protective benefits as it supports the body’s natural antioxidant pathways by activating Nrf2 expression.

Another study showed an increase in antioxidant enzyme activity and a decrease in TNF-alpha levels and peroxide levels with the use of molecular hydrogen. Antioxidant enzymes increase when adding molecular hydrogen to water during a 4 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Participants were evaluated at baseline and after 4 weeks, the group of men receiving the hydrogen-rich water showed an increase in serum levels of two endogenous antioxidants, superoxide dismutase and glutathione, when compared to the placebo receiving tap water only.

Along with antioxidant and detoxification effects, hydrogen is showing promise in having multi-faceted benefits rather than a unidirectional effect like some conventional methods. An example includes hydrogen’s effect on supporting healthy inflammatory mediators such as NF-kBa family of transcription factors which support cell apoptosis and growth. Studies show the activation of this signaling pathway (duration, speed and time of activation also playing a part) can positively benefit the system.

THE EXERCISE MIMICKING EFFECTS OF HYDROGEN

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a supplement that provides some of the same benefits of exercise without having to sweat?

Exercise is often thought of myopically, but it can mean something different to everyone, ranging significantly in the level of intensity, type of activity/movement, frequency, and duration. While the physical exertion of a weekend warrior or elite athlete has beneficial effects, it also creates room for activation of stress hormones and other signaling pathways.

A closer look at clinical studies shows that molecular hydrogen mediates the same beneficial metabolic pathways that are activated through healthy and consistent exercise, helping us further understand hydrogen as an “exercise mimetic”. This means that hydrogen mimics the biological effects of exercise. Not only can hydrogen mimic many of the effects of exercise, it also has been found to help promote recovery.

We all know that exercise is good for us but did you know that it causes a temporary spike in stress hormones and reactive oxygen species (ROS)?  This response is known in nature as “hormesis”, which is a biological reaction in which something that produces negative effects at a HIGH dose for a long period of time will opposingly produce beneficial effects at a LOW dose for a short period of time. In the case of exercise, the short-term increase in stress hormones and ROS helps stimulate the beneficial effects associated with physical exertion. Interestingly, molecular hydrogen has been found to have similar biological effects as exercise!

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