Hydrogen Water: Quenching Our Thirst for Health

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You know that regular water is important for hydration and for the body’s systems to run smoothly. But have you heard of the potential health benefits of hydrogen water? Touted around the world as an incredible cure for many ailments and powerful anti-aging compound, there is some fascinating research to support these claims. However, much of what’s available currently has been done in animal studies and it’s difficult to know if hydrogen water is the answer to your health worries or if it’s just a very expensive way to meet your water needs.

Medicinally, hydrogen water is used:

  • As an antioxidant
  • To support brain health and mood
  • To calm inflammation in a variety of disease states including arthritis, cardiovascular, eye, bladder and skin conditions
  • As an anti-aging support for wrinkled skin
  • To reduce muscle pain, enhance sports performance and recovery
  • To lower cholesterol and blood sugar
  • For weight loss
  • To boost energy metabolism on a cellular level
  • For anti-cancer support
  • To boost wound healing

Always be cautious of something touted as a ‘miracle cure’ which hydrogen water is when doing light reading about it on the internet. Diving into the research and understanding what the studies say is critical to learning about the potential benefits and negatives as well as how it works in the body.

3d illustration with water molecule. Abstract molecule microbiology or science background.

Hydrogen water contains hydrogen molecules that act as antioxidants, quenching free radicals that can damage normal, healthy cells. In addition to drinking it, hydrogen water can also be used topically, in a bath, intravenously, or inhaled. Like all antioxidants that our bodies produce or that we get through food or supplements, these compounds are known to reduce inflammation and help improve some disease states.

Use caution, however, because free radicals in the body are also a normal occurrence and like so many things, the balance here is important to understand and respect. Like so many substances, more antioxidants don’t necessarily equal more health and consuming antioxidants can’t make up for other lifestyle choices like unhealthy eating, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, environmental exposure to toxins or not being physically active.

Understanding the benefits of hydrogen water is challenging because it has only recently been used therapeutically, starting in the 1990’s (though there were a few, small animal studies before this time). Studies in humans are small; one of the first uses was in three divers to help them overcome the effects on the brain from pressure when submerged in deep water.

plastic bottle of water and splash around itNo clinical trials to date have been done on more than 70 people. Three quarters of all available studies are on animals so it’s hard to know at this time the safety and efficacy in humans, especially long-term since research in this area is new.

With all new potential therapies, hydrogen water is very exciting and the research coming out is promising, especially for support in the brain and with cognition; yet it’s best to proceed with caution. Keep an eye on research being done and let your doctor know if you’re using it and for what use. There isn’t much evidence currently that it could be harmful but using it could get expensive with some therapies costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars at this time.

What are your thoughts on hydrogen water? Have you used it? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Ichihara M, Sobue S, Ito M, Ito M, Hirayama M, Ohno K. Beneficial biological effects and the underlying mechanisms of molecular hydrogen-comprehensive review of 321 original articles. Medical gas research. 2015;5(1):12.

Ohsawa I, Ishikawa M, Takahashi K, Watanabe M, Nishimaki K, Yamagata K, et al. Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals. Nat Med. 2007;13(6):688–94.

About Ginger Hultin, MS RDN CSO

Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO, LDN, is a health writer and owner of Champagne Nutrition specializing in integrative health and whole food-based nutrition. She serves as Immediate Past President for the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chair-Elect of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and is a Media Representative for the Illinois Academy. Read Ginger's blog, Champagne Nutrition, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Ginger Hultin MS RD CSO LDN gingerhultin@hotmail.com | @GingerHultinRD Chair-Elect, Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group ChampagneNutrition.com  
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.