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Hydrogen Water: Healthier Water or Marketing Gimmick?

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Hydrogen water - Dr. Axe

Hydrogen water is a product that’s gained widespread popularity among health-conscious consumers. In fact, there are tons of different hydrogen water testimonials out there, reporting that it can do everything from fight fatigue to slow signs of aging.

Conversely, others call it out as a hydrogen-rich water hoax, claiming that it comes with a steep price tag and provides no added benefits over regular water when it comes to how to stay hydrated or boosting health.

So is hydrogen-infused water good for you? Is it worth investing in, or should you skip it altogether?

Here’s what you need to know about hydro water and how it can impact your health.

What Is Hydrogen Water?

Hydrogen-infused water is a type of water that has additional hydrogen molecules added to it.

Hydrogen gas is a colorless, odorless molecule that is considered the most abundant substance in the  entire universe. It’s found in a wide range of compounds, including water, hydrogen peroxide, table sugar, ammonia and more.

There are several methods for how to make hydrogen water, but electrolysis is among the most common. Electrolysis is a process that passes an electric current through the water to break it down into its individual components.

What is water made of?

Regular water contains one oxygen molecule and two hydrogen molecules. Once electrolysis has broken water down into individual hydrogen and oxygen molecules, additional hydrogen molecules are infused into the mixture  to make hydrogenated water.

So what is hydrogen used for, and why is hydrogenated water beneficial?

Hydrogen acts as an antioxidant to prevent oxidative stress and protect cells against damage. For this reason, proponents of hydrogenated water claim that adding extra free hydrogen molecules to the water can enhance its absorption, resulting in benefits like reduced inflammation, increased energy levels and enhanced muscle recovery.

How Does It Compare to Other Water?

How does your hydrogen water bottle stack up against other popular water varieties? Let’s take a closer look.

  • Regular water: Using a hydrogen water maker breaks down oxygen and hydrogen bonds in water through electrolysis and then infuses additional hydrogen molecules back into the solution. Regular water is composed of two hydrogen molecules and one molecule of oxygen, without the addition of extra hydrogen molecules.
  • Alkaline water: This type of water has a high pH, which is supposed to help promote an alkaline environment in the body to protect against the development of chronic disease. While the pH of alkaline water can range between 8–9, the average hydrogen water pH is similar to regular water, hovering around 7–7.5.
  • Structured water: Often called the most “natural” form of water, structured water is a type of water that has not been filtered, cleansed or processed in any way. Although there’s a lack of research to support the potential benefits of structured water, proponents claim that it can increase energy levels, enhance sleep quality and extend longevity.
  • Mineral water: Typically derived from a mineral spring, mineral water contains key micronutrients like magnesium and calcium. Hydrogen-enriched water, on the other hand, uses a hydrogen water generator to add infuse extra molecules of hydrogen into the solution. However, unlike mineral water — or sparkling water — it does not contain any other added minerals.

Potential Benefits

1. Decreases Oxidative Stress

One of the top hydrogen water benefits is its as a high-antioxidant beverage. Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals and protect against cell damage in the body.

What’s more, research also suggests that antioxidants could aid in the prevention of many chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Several studies have confirmed that hydrogenated water could help prevent the formation of free radicals and increase antioxidant status. In fact, one study published in Medical Gas Research found that giving hydrogenated water to patients receiving radiotherapy for liver cancer significantly improved quality of life and reduced oxidative stress compared to a placebo.

2. Promotes Heart Health

Some research has found that consuming hydrogen bond water could support better heart health as well. In one study out of China, drinking hydrogenated water for 10 weeks reduced both total and LDL cholesterol levels in people with metabolic syndrome.

Not only that, but hydrogenated water was also found to improve the functionality of good HDL cholesterol and decrease markers of inflammation, both of which could also be beneficial when it comes to heart health.

3. Improves Mood

Although hydrogenated water may be most well-known for its positive impact on physical health, some studies display that it could also improve mental health and mood as well.

For example, a 2018 study out of Japan showed that giving hydrogenated water to 26 participants for four weeks altered central nervous system functions to improve quality of life. According to researchers, this could potentially help enhance mood, reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve autonomic nerve function.

4. Boosts Physical Performance

Hydrogenated water may be especially beneficial for athletes, along with those looking to take their exercise routines to the next level. In one study conducted by the University of Udine in Italy, swapping out regular water for hydrogenated water increased peak power output in cyclists performing prolonged intermittent exercise.

Several studies have also found that hydrogenated water could speed up muscle recovery after a workout as well. For instance, one study in 10 soccer players showed that drinking hydrogenated water improved exercise-induced decline of muscle function and reduced levels of lactate, which is used as a marker of muscle fatigue.

Is the Research Legit?

So is drinking hydrogen water good for health?

Despite the studies showing benefits of hydrogen water, the availability of hydrogen water research is still very limited. Additionally, because there are no set guidelines or standards for how much hydrogen should be added to the water, it’s unclear exactly how much you need to drink in order to reap the potential rewards.

That said, hydrogenated water is generally recognized as safe by regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, while more research is needed to understand how hydrogenated water can impact health, it can be safely enjoyed in moderation.

Should You Drink It?

Hydrogenated water has been linked to several impressive health benefits, from reduced oxidative stress to improvements in heart health. However, more research is still needed to answer questions like: “How much hydrogen water should you drink a day?” and “Can you drink too much hydrogen water?”

Additionally, because there are no set standards in place for producing hydrogenated water, the amount of hydrogen present can vary widely between different hydrogen water brands.

It can also be tricky figuring out where to buy hydrogen water. Although it can be found in some specialty stores, health food shops and online retailers, it can also get pretty pricey, costing between $2.50 to $3 for a single 12-ounce serving.

Investing in a hydrogen water machine can be even more expensive, ranging between a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Finally, there are several other options available to squeeze some extra antioxidants into your diet, along with a range of other important vitamins and minerals. Filling your diet with a variety of fruits, veggies and other nutrient-dense foods can bestow a similar set of benefits, without the need to drop lots of extra cash on pricey “miracle water” products.

Related: Raw Water Trend: Healthier Hydration or Unsafe to Drink?

Risks and Side Effects

Currently, there is limited research available on the potential hydrogen water side effects. However, this type of water is generally recognized as safe and can be consumed in moderation with limited risk of adverse effects on health.

More studies are needed to understand how hydrogenated water can impact long-term health. If you do experience any negative side effects or have any questions or concerns, be sure to consult with a trusted health care practitioner.

Final Thoughts

  • Hydrogenated water is made by infusing regular water with extra hydrogen molecules. It’s often made through a process called electrolysis, which breaks down oxygen and hydrogen bonding in water using an electric current before adding extra hydrogen into the water.
  • Proponents claim that this method of breaking down water hydrogen bonding can enhance the absorption of hydrogen in the body, which is thought to enhance energy levels, decrease inflammation and support muscle recovery.
  • What are the benefits of drinking hydrogen water? While more research is still needed, some studies have found that it could reduce oxidative stress, promote heart health, improve mood and enhance physical performance.
  • However, it can also be pricey, and there is limited evidence available to evaluate the long-term effects on health.
  • Staying well-hydrated and filling your diet with fruits, veggies and other antioxidant-rich foods can also help support better health and boost antioxidant intake just as effectively.
Josh Axe

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