What is hydrogen water (and does it actually work)?
Back in high school science class, you probably learned that the chemical formula for water is H2O. That’s two parts hydrogen for every one part oxygen. So if water is already made of up hydrogen, what is this hydrogen water you keep hearing about? And should you bother drinking it?
Hydrogen water is water with extra hydrogen molecules added in. It’s made using machines or specially-designed hydrogen water bottles that infuse hydrogen gas into pure water. Think of it like creating a souped-up version of your average glass of water.
Why would you need to add extra hydrogen to your water? Hydrogen is a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to reduce the inflammation which can cause a host of symptoms and conditions ranging from allergies to Alzheimer’s disease to diabetes. Due to its extremely small size, hydrogen can penetrate into areas of the cell that other antioxidants miss, protecting vital cell components from damage.
Proponents of hydrogen water claim that consuming it can help increase energy levels, reduce muscle recovery after exercise, decrease inflammation, and prevent cell damage.
Does it work?
Although hydrogen water has been used in Japan for centuries (where it is known as the “Shin’nooru solution,”) it is still relatively new to the U.S., so studies on its use are limited. However, the studies that have been conducted have yielded some seriously promising results.
For example, in this study, published in the journal Medical Gas Research, researchers found that participants who drank 51–68 ounces of hydrogen water each day had lower levels of oxidative stress and stronger antioxidant activity that those in the control group who drank that same amount of regular water.
In this study researchers found that patients with metabolic syndrome who consumed 30-34 ounces of hydrogen water each day had lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, greater antioxidant activity, and reduced levels of inflammation.
Beyond disease prevention, the consumption of hydrogen water may help boost athletic performance. In this 2012 study of 10 male soccer players, researchers found that the men who were given hydrogen water experienced less muscle fatigue (according to blood tests) after workouts than those who drank only regular water.
Similar studies have found that hydrogen water may help prevent cell damage in patients with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and psoriasis.
Bottom line: It’s a well known fact that drinking water is good for your health. And the new research coming in confirms that drinking water that has been infused with hydrogen may help boost those health benefits in a number of ways.