The scientific community is now uncovering hydrogen water’s mechanisms of action, which are diverse. They refer to the potential for increasing antioxidant activity, inhibiting inflammation, modulating immune regulation and regulating autophagy, circadian rhythm and mitochondria.1 (Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer,healthier cells.) Each of these beneficial anatomical activities is believed to help boost overall energy levels and health.
Because hydrogen is such a small molecule, the lightest in the periodic table, it can more easily dissolve throughout the cells as compared with traditional antioxidants.2 Hydrogen has the characteristic of protecting nuclear DNA and mitochondria and can permeate biomembranes to help reduce the risk of lifestyle-related issues caused by oxidative stress.3 In other words, drinking hydrogen-rich water may improve our overall ability to function, which elevates our quality of life.
Mitochondria are specialized structures that perform various jobs inside cells. They’re membrane-bound with two different membranes. These membranes function for the purpose of the mitochondria, which is to generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions.4 That means mitochondria are the powerhouses within our cells.
Energy is produced by the conversion of chemicals within the cell. These chemicals go through pathways to be converted. The process of conversion produces energy in the form of a small molecule known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Different cells have different amounts of mitochondria—depending on how much energy they require. For example, the muscles have a lot of mitochondria, as do the liver and kidneys and to a certain extent, the brain, which lives off the energy those mitochondria produce.5
What do these energy-producing mitochondria have to do with hydrogen water? Clinical studies on hydrogen-rich water show that it helps improve mitochondrial function.6 When the mitochondria are functioning at high or optimal levels, our energy levels are correspondingly high. An abundance of energy makes all the difference to how we feel. It impacts our moods, our activity levels, and in essence, creates a domino effect of Active Wellness. When we are energetic, we tend to be happier and more active. When we are more active, each internal organ (heart, liver, lungs, etc.) gets a workout, which helps fight oxidative stress.
There are ongoing clinical trials on the effects of hydrogen water. From enhancing athletic performance to alleviating muscle fatigue,7 from helping to fight metabolic syndrome8 (a condition characterized by high blood sugar, triglyceride levels and cholesterol) to positively influencing the gut microbiome,9 these research studies appear to support the use of hydrogen water for a variety of reasons, most of which relate to increasing antioxidant activity, helping to reduce inflammation and regulating our immune systems.
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2, 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6096066/
4, 5 https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria
7, 8 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hydrogen-water#benefits