There’s no doubt that staying hydrated is important for overall health. In fact, water makes up about 60% of the human body (15). While sugary beverages may quench your thirst in a pinch, plain old water remains the best choice for optimal hydration and health. But what if your water could do more than just keep you hydrated? Enter hydrogen water. This type of water is infused with molecular hydrogen, which is claimed to offer a variety of potential health benefits. While research on the effects of hydrogen water is still in its early stages, some preliminary studies suggest that it may offer benefits for exercise performance, recovery, and general health (7). Here’s a closer look at the potential benefits of hydrogen water and whether you should believe the hype.
What Is Hydrogen Water?
Hydrogen water is simply water that contains molecular hydrogen or H2 (14). This gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
While molecular hydrogen is found naturally in water, it is present in very low concentrations, just about 4.7 parts per million (ppm) (16). In contrast, the hydrogen water sold commercially contains much higher levels of H2, typically ranging from 0.5 to 1.6 ppm (13).
The idea behind using molecular hydrogen as a supplement is that it is said to help your body in various ways by scavenging harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS), reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, and improving mitochondrial function (6).
However, research in this area is very limited, and many health experts are skeptical about the potential benefits of hydrogen water.
Benefits Of Hydrogen Water: What Does Science Say?
A few studies in humans have looked at the potential benefits of hydrogen water.
The potential benefits include:
Help Reduce Oxidative Stress And Inflammation
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between ROS and the body’s ability to detoxify them. This can damage cells, proteins, and DNA.
Inflammation, on the other hand, is a normal immune response to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation is associated with various diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s (4).
Studies suggest that molecular hydrogen may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity (9).
May Help Reduce Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage
Exercise is good for you, but it can also lead to muscle damage. This is especially true if you’re just starting out or dramatically increasing the intensity of your workouts.
The process of exercise-induced muscle damage is known as eccentric contraction. It occurs when your muscles are forced to lengthen under load, such as when you lower weight during a bicep curl (2).
Eccentric contraction leads to inflammation and oxidative stress, which can cause muscle soreness and damage (2).
However, drinking hydrogen water may help reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. It’s believed that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of hydrogen play a role.
For example, one pilot study found that drinking hydrogen water before exercise decreased levels of markers of muscle damage and inflammation after exercise, compared to plain water (11).
May Help Protect Your Brain From Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive loss of function and death of neurons.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of neurodegenerative disease. It’s characterized by the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain, which leads to inflammation and oxidative stress.
Studies suggest that molecular hydrogen may help protect your brain from damage caused by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases (8). In theory, it does this by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
May Help Reduce The Risk of Obesity And Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by a cluster of risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
These risk factors include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, and low HDL cholesterol.
Because molecular hydrogen has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, it may help reduce the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome (1).
There isn’t enough evidence to say for sure whether hydrogen water can help with weight loss or metabolic syndrome, but a few animal and test-tube studies suggest it may have benefits.
May Improve Athletic Performance
Athletic performance relies on many factors, including exercise capacity, VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise), and time to exhaustion.
Molecular hydrogen might improve all of these factors, at least in theory. It may reduce inflammation and slow the accumulation of lactate in your muscles, which leads to fatigue (11).
A few small studies have looked at the effects of drinking hydrogen water on athletic performance. While results are promising, more research is needed.
May Help Treat Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints.
RA is characterized by inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints. It can eventually lead to joint damage and disability. Studies suggest that molecular hydrogen may help treat symptoms of RA by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation (10).
Helps You Stay Hydrated For Longer
Aside from the potential benefits above, hydrogen water can also hydrate you just like regular water.
While the best way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of plain water throughout the day, adding molecular hydrogen to your water may help you stay hydrated for longer. This is because hydrogen water is thought to enter your cells more easily than plain water and helps keep them hydrated.
Is Safe To Drink
Molecular hydrogen is safe to drink in moderate amounts. There’s no evidence that it has any adverse effects, even when consumed in large amounts.
Of course, it’s always important to speak with your doctor before drinking any new type of water, especially if you have a medical condition.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Although there isn’t much research on hydrogen water, many people are curious about it.
Here are some of the most common questions about hydrogen water, along with answers:
How Much Hydrogen Water Should I Drink A Day?
There’s no official recommendation for how much hydrogen water you should drink per day. However, drinking 2 to 3 liters (68 to 101 ounces) of water in general is what you need to drink per day to stay hydrated.
Which Is Better, Alkaline Water Or Hydrogen Water?
Alkaline water is water that has a higher pH than plain water. Hydrogen water has molecular hydrogen dissolved in it.
There isn’t much evidence to say which is better for you. However, drinking hydrogen water is a good way to increase your intake of molecular hydrogen, which has many potential health benefits.
Is Hydrogen Water Good For The Stomach?
Yes, hydrogen water is good for your stomach.
In fact, it may help alleviate symptoms of some digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (6). It is thought to have these effects because it might reduce inflammation in the gut. More research is needed to confirm these effects.
Is Hydrogen Water Good For The Skin?
Yes, hydrogen water may be good for your skin. It is thought to have anti-aging effects because it can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation (3). Hydrogen water is also hydrating and may help improve the appearance of your skin, especially if you are dehydrated.
Read More: The Salt Water Detox: Does It Work?
How Do I Make Hydrogen Water?
You can make hydrogen water at home using a hydrogen water machine or a molecular hydrogen tablet.
Hydrogen water machines work by electrolyzing (breaking down) water molecules into their atomic components, hydrogen, and oxygen. The gas is then dissolved into the water, making it molecular hydrogen water.
Molecular hydrogen tablets work similarly. You add the tablet to water, and it breaks down into molecular hydrogen and oxygen gas. The gas is then dissolved into the water, making it hydrogen-rich.
What’s The Best Way To Drink Hydrogen Water?
There’s no wrong way to drink hydrogen water. However, some people prefer to drink it cold, while others prefer to drink it at room temperature.
How Long Does Hydrogen Water Stay In Your System?
Molecular hydrogen is quickly absorbed from your gut and enters your bloodstream within minutes.
What Are The Side Effects Of Drinking Hydrogen Water?
There are no known side effects of drinking hydrogen water. However, it’s always important to speak with your doctor before drinking any new type of water, especially if you have a medical condition.
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The Bottom Line
While more research is needed to understand all of the potential health advantages of hydrogen water, it’s safe to say that this type of water has many potential benefits. If you’re looking for a way to improve your hydration, hydrogen water may be worth a try.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Drinking Molecular Hydrogen Water Is Beneficial to Cardiovascular Function in Diet-Induced Obesity Mice (2017, nih.gov)
- Eccentric Muscle Contractions: Risks and Benefits (2019, nih.gov)
- Effects of hydrogen-rich water bath on visceral fat and skin blotch, with boiling-resistant hydrogen bubbles (2019, nih.gov)
- Fight Inflammation to Help Prevent Heart Disease (2022, hopkinsmedicine.org)
- Hydrogen Water vs Alkaline Water (2022, saveourh2o.org)
- Hydrogen, a Novel Therapeutic Molecule, Regulates Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Apoptosis (2021, frontiersin.org)
- Hydrogen-rich water for improvements of mood, anxiety, and autonomic nerve function in daily life (2017, nih.gov)
- Molecular Hydrogen as a Neuroprotective Agent (2017, nih.gov)
- Molecular hydrogen: a preventive and therapeutic medical gas for various diseases (2017, nih.gov)
- Molecular Hydrogen: New Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Related Diseases (2013, nih.gov)
- Pilot study: Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise in elite athletes (2012, researchgate.net)
- Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics (2018, nih.gov)
- The Disinfection of Drinking Water (2017, nih.gov)
- The Preventive Role of Hydrogen-Rich Water in Thioacetamide-Induced Cholangio Fibrosis in Rat Assessed by Automated Histological Classification (2021, frontiersin.org)
- The Water in You: Water and the Human Body (2019, usgs.gov)
- Water Chemistry (2016, libretexts.org)