According to the latest statistics, more than 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and by 2050, it’s estimated that as many as 16 million Americans will have the condition. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease that destroys a sufferer’s memory and cognitive skills. The damage it causes is irreversible and, frighteningly, at present there is no known cure.
Fortunately, researchers have been looking at alternative therapeutic methods that may offer some relief for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and they’ve found some good news in the form of molecular hydrogen. A number of studies have looked at the role that molecular hydrogen may play in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s and they have come to some promising conclusions.
To understand how molecular hydrogen can help to slow down Alzheimer’s disease, let’s first take a closer look at the disease and how it progresses. Researchers have found that patients with this disease have tiny plaques that build up on the nerve tissue in the brain. These plaques cause tangles within the nerve cells that block cell-to-cell signalling and may eventually lead to cell death. It’s unclear exactly what causes these plaques to form but oxidative stress and inflammation have been shown to play a role.
This is where molecular hydrogen comes in. Molecular hydrogen has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that make it an ideal candidate to halt or even prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Due to it’s very small size, molecular hydrogen is able to easily diffuse across the blood brain barrier. And unlike other antioxidants, molecular hydrogen can permeate cells to provide protection from the free radicals before they cause damage.
In a recent study published in the journal Medical Gas Research, researchers looked at the effect of molecular hydrogen on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. After reviewing numerous studies in which molecular hydrogen was administered, either in the form of molecular hydrogen gas or via the consumption of hydrogen rich water, researchers concluded that hydrogen inhibited the production of the protein that caused plaques, improved memory function, and ameliorated neurodegeneration within the brain. One animal study even showed an increased lifespan in mice with Alzheimer’s disease who consumed hydrogen rich water when compared to mice with Alzheimer’s disease who did not.
As the authors of this study note, molecular hydrogen has “great developmental prospects” in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s some much needed good news for those who have been diagnosed with the condition and their families.