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Hydrogen Benefits

Anti-aging
Treating disease
Athletic performance
Prevention and wellness

Anti-aging

The free radical theory of aging was conceived by Denham Harman in the 1950s. Two sources inspired Harman:

  1. the rate of living theory, which holds that lifespan is an inverse function of metabolic rate which in turn is proportional to oxygen consumption, and
  2. Rebecca Gershman's observation that hyperbaric oxygen toxicity and radiation toxicity could be explained by the same underlying phenomenon: oxygen free radicals.

Noting that radiation causes "mutation, cancer and aging", Harman argued that oxygen free radicals produced during normal respiration would cause cumulative damage which would eventually lead to loss of organ functionality, and ultimately death.

In later years, the free radical theory was expanded to include not only ageing per se, but also age-related diseases. Free radical damage within cells has been linked to a range of disorders including cancer, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes amongst many others. There has been some evidence to suggest that free radicals and some reactive nitrogen species trigger and increase cell death mechanisms within the body such as apoptosis, and in extreme cases necrosis.

In 1972, Harman modified his original theory to what has become known as the mitochondrial theory of ageing. In its current form, this theory proposes that reactive oxygen species that are produced in the mitochondria, cause damage to certain macromolecules including lipids, proteins, and most importantly mitochondrial DNA. This damage then causes mutations which leads to an increase of ROS production and greatly enhances the accumulation of free radicals within cells. This mitochondrial theory has been more widely accepted that it could play a major role in contributing to the aging process.

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Treating Disease

There is now considerable research that indicates how Hydrogen Therapy can assist in the treatment of a great many diseases in mutiple organs around the body. It is especially beneficial in areas receiving poor tissue perfusion such joints, and where membranes such as the Blood Brain Barrier can restrict the access of therapeutic  agents due to their large molecular size.  Being the smallest element of the Periodic Table, hydrogen can reach the parts other elements and compounds cannot reach.

Neuro-Protection

Chronic degenerative conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's and Dementia are most commonly seen in senior citizens but can start much earlier in life too. There have been encouraging results using Hydrogen Therapy on similar disease models that have been experimentally induced in test animals that warrant further investigation into use on people. With the extremely high safety margin for Hydrogen Therapy, given that high levels of H2 gas (45%) are used in gaseous mixes to treat and prevent Decompression Sickness (aka "The Bends") in divers, there is no reason why Hydrogen Therapy shouldn't be utilised more widely already. With an aging population and also an increasing life-expectancy, estimates have been increasing regarding the predicted incidence of neuro-degenerative conditions. The increased cost not only to personal dignity but also the burden of the costs of care warrant a much closer look at encouraging the use of Hydrogen Therapy - not only for treatment, but as prevention too. There are few, if any, more cost-effective options currently available and the benefits of encouraging preventative action sooner rather than later far outweigh other considerations in delaying for further research.

Neuro-degeneration is not restricted to the old. There has been encouraging research regarding the benefits of Hydrogen Therapy in neonates with mild-moderate problems during difficult births which is backed up by other research that shows the neuroprotective effect and benefits for other organs by administering H2 in ischaemic situations.

Levels of autism in children have been steadily increasing over the past coupe of decades in particular. There have been encouraging research results and anecdotal reports of using Hydrogen Therapy with autism where there have been improvements in function, and reduced seizures in some more seriously affected cases too.

Diabetes

Diabetes is another lifestyle-related disease that is becoming increasingly common where Hydrogen Therapy has been shown to help. It helps the body to regulate blood glucose by encouraging glucose uptake by muscles, whilst at the same time having anti-obesity effects which counter the main cause behind Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The anti-inflammatory effects and protective benefits from tissue ischaemia which is a common side-effect of diabetes could have significant positive effects in this area, both to the health of the individual and in terms of treatment costs. Other metabolic syndromes have also been shown to benefit from Hydrogen Therapy.

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Athletic performance

There are many different aspects to athletic performance beyond just musculoskeletal physique and cardiovascular fitness. Hydrogen has been found to enhance mitochondrial energy production and mitochondria biogenesis. Mitochondria are the powerhouse/engine of the cells. Increasing mitochondria numbers and enhancing their ability to produce energy ensures that the muscles, heart and brain are functioning as optimally as possible. 

Certain sports such as golf, or certain roles within a sport (whoever is the play-maker) are more cerebral and require significant fuel to the brain, which is frequently under-estimated. Ensuring optimal brain function not only improves speed of thought and decision making, but improves and maintains fine motor skills and co-ordination.  The ability to cope with stress and to move on and not dwell on mistakes is an important part of the psychology of sport. Hydrogen supports neurones that produce dopamine, an important neurotransmitter for mood, motivation, and motor control.

Sports such as Rugby and Boxing have drawn attention due to the adverse effects of repeated concussions and bangs to the head that have implications for other body systems such as the digestive tract and can lead to significant neurodegeneration later on in life too.  Many older soccer players are also seeing varying degrees of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) from repeated heading of the ball and other physical knocks over many years.  Hydrogen has a neuroprotective role in concussion that is better if hydrogen is already in the body before such an injury occurs, but also has advantages if administered after an event too.

With regards to hydrogen's affect on muscles it supports sustained exertion, improving peak power output and reducing fatigue. It enhances lung function, increasing VO2 max and time to exhaustion, thereby attenuating exercise-induced increases in lactic acid.  Reduced lactic acid during performance, along with improvements in muscle recovery after intense physical activity ensures the quickest possible soft tissue recovery, that reduces scaring and maintains joints' range of motion.

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Prevention & Wellness

The current paradigm in medicine still relies mostly on treating disease that has already established itself. Biohacking where people try to optimise their health before it goes wrong is gaining in popularity and credibility, especially as it is increasingly necessary to opt for private health care you want to be seen quickly for chronic illnesses. Treatments are becoming more expensive too, along with health insurance premiums. The idea of living a healthy lifestyle including a good diet and exercise is no longer a fringe activity for "health nuts"!

Everything that helps hold off illness, and keeps us healthier for longer represents an improvement in our quality of life. Steps we take in our 30s and 40s will help support our health, exercise and recovery now, but the most important gains will be the lack of deterioration that we will experience in our old age. We want to be the rare but normal 80-year old who hasn't got arthritis, who is still physically active, and is still as mentally sharp as a tack!

Regular hydrogen intake as part of a healthy lifestyle supports this ideal. It provides safe antioxidant activity for all organs of the body, and most importantly our central nervous system where other antioxidants products struggle to penetrate.

Reducing Side-effects from other Treatments

As well as maintaining our health, hydrogen can ameliorate for frequently experienced problems for those occasions when we need treatment. Foreign substances in the body can cause unwanted side-effects, some of which may be attributable to increasing the generation of free-radicals and oxidative stress. Other influences such as radiation therapy are known to increase free radical production. In these cases, scavenging free radicals with hydrogen will have theoretical benefits in ameliorating unwanted effects resulting from free radical damage. With cancer predicted to affect 1 in 2 people at some stage of their life, a significant number of the population will be exposed to such ionising radiations including other imaging techniques such as X-rays, MRI, bone scintigraphy etc. Hydrogen consumption has shown encouraging benefits in helping protect healthy tissues from Radiotherapy but without interfering in its action. Any cancer resulting from free radical damage may well benefit from Hydrogen Therapy in its own right as suggested by some research already. Further investigation into this field is being carried out.

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COVID-19

The following video explains why Hydrogen Therapy is being investigated as a means to reducing a cytokine storm.

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The subject of concussion deserve closer scrutiny, if only to increase awareness of the signs and ongoing effects from not taking this brain injury seriously enough, just because it happens on a sports field, or looks like an innocuous bang on the head.  The following graphic lists the symptoms to look out for in the immediate aftermath of a bang on the head, and indicates when treatment is required.

 

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

CTE deserves a special mention within the First Aid usage. Full contact combat sports such as Boxing, MMA and other Martial Arts are obvious contenders where routine drinking of saturated Hydrogen water before, during and after bouts would help limit brain inflammation and nerve damage as a result of repetitive concussive impact to the head.

CTE that has manifested later in life has been identified at significant levels in individuals years after retirement from competitive contact sports including Rugby and American Football. World Rugby - the governing body for Rugby Union worldwide, has recognised the dangers of CTE and has introduced measures and procedures for Medical staff to perform Head Injury Assessments during matches and to withdraw players from playing during a match if necessary. There is a statutory period of rest after a confirmed concussion within which players are prevented from playing in order to allow sufficient time for recovery. If in doubt, sit it out. Your brain health isn't worth risking, because it's not just your short term welfare at stake.

Concussions that are not treated correctly, whether at all or inadequately, can lead on to issues in other seemingly unrelated body systems such as the digestive tract, as the following diagram explains.