Mildly alkaline water (pH 8-10) is marketed as healthy drinking water. It is produced from water ionizers via electrolysis. Alkaline water containing molecular hydrogen is produced at the negative electrode (cathode). There are many names given to this water including: alkaline water, ionized water, alkali ion water, cathodic water, electrolyzed reduced water, and many more.
Electrolyzed reduced water (ERW) is the most common term in the scientific literature. It is called electrolyzed because the water underwent electrolysis and is called reduced because the water at the cathode was reduced to hydrogen gas and hydroxides, and this alkaline water has reductive characteristics due to the dissolved hydrogen gas.
ALKALINE IONIZED WATER CHARACTERISTICS
ERW for drinking purposes has a pH between 8-10 and a negative oxidation-reduction potential between -100 mV to -700 mV. It contains dissolved molecular hydrogen gas (responsible for the –ORP) and low dissolved molecular oxygen gas.
EMERGING HEALTH BENEFITS
Studies on ERW began in the 1930’s in Japan and in 1965, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare approved ERW as a medical substance with potential to improve gastrointestinal symptoms (Read the details about this here). Over the ensuing decades, anecdotal and scientific evidence accumulated substantiating many other benefits of ERW; such as, protecting DNA from radical damage, increasing glucose uptake, improving diabetes, preventing premature cell death, offering liver protection, preventing lipid oxidation, and others.
However, it was uncertain as to how ERW was producing these benefits. Some marketers, and unfortunately some scientists, started promoting ideas like microclustering, reduced surface tension, negatively charged water molecules, free electrons, active hydrogen, and others.
*See ERW Skeptics and Pseudoscience
MOLECULAR HYDROGEN IS KEY TO ERW’S HEALTH EFFECTS
However, all these ideas have failed to pass scientific scrutiny, leaving the beneficial empirical and scientific observations without a rational explanation. It is now well-recognized that the primary agent responsible for the benefits is attributed to the dissolved molecular hydrogen gas. One leading ERW researcher from Kyushu University tested all the properties of ERW and the only one that exerted a therapeutic effect was the molecular hydrogen. This same observation was made by one of our advisors Dr. Lee from Korea who was a pioneer in ionized water research in the 1990s and now the leading Korean hydrogen scientist, as well as the the President of the Korean water society. He made the following statement:
"About 17 years ago (1990’s) I began studying alkaline ionized water and published scientific articles on its antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-diabetic effects, but did not really understand why the water worked. It was difficult to believe. Upon further investigation I have now confirmed that the benefits from the alkaline ionized water are attributed to the hydrogen gas produced during electrolysis. The more I research and learn about hydrogen the more dedicated and passionate I become in educating and helping others."
The first time a link was suggested between ERW and hydrogen (although this was atomic or [“active”] hydrogen) appears to be in 1995. However, molecular hydrogen was not established and well-recognized as therapeutic until 2007. Prior to this time, articles on ERW made no mention of molecular hydrogen—at least not as an active component. However, starting in about 2010, articles on ERW began focusing almost exclusively on molecular hydrogen. Many recent articles will include molecular hydrogen in the title of the article; for example, “…molecular hydrogen saturated alkaline electrolyzed water…”.
This is also clearly illustrated in a recently published article. The researchers used fresh ERW at pH 8.5 and 9.5 with a low H2 concentration in one group, and ERW with a pH of 8.5 and 9.5 with additional H2 gas (via bubbling) in another group. The results show that the ERW with a low H2 concentration did not offer any therapeutic effects. However, the ERW at pH 8.5 and 9.5, with the additional H2 gas, provided significant therapeutic protection.
Importantly there was not a statistically significant difference between the pH 8.5 and 9.5 with the same higher H2concentrations. This further shows that it is the dissolved molecular hydrogen that is responsible for the therapeutic effects of ERW and not the alkaline pH or any other enigmatic properties.
In fact it is so well recognized that molecular hydrogen is the key component of ERW, that some studies will remove the molecular hydrogen from the ERW and use it for the control group.
For example, this research group prepared three types of waters: filtered water FW, electrolyzed reduced water ER, and ER with the H2 dehydrogenated (removed) DR. They made fresh samples twice daily and delivered it by a metallic straw from a closed bottle.
It was observed in the study that the only type of water that provided the protective effects was the ER containing the dissolved hydrogen gas. Just a note, the ORP was only -148 mV, which one would expect it to be much more negative at that pH and H2 concentration. However having done this for so long, I realize that ORP is an invalid measurement. I have tested ERW and received similar results and then tested it again after cleaning the probe and got -800 mV (see this article on ORP). So the lower ORP should not be a concerning issue. The water ionizer they used was a top commercial water ionizer in Japan TRIM ION TI-9000 system (Nihon Trim), which is also certified as a medical device.
Another study confirmed that it is the hydrogen gas and not the pH or minerals, or other properties of the alkaline reduced water that is responsible for the therapeutic benefits. They used three waters: regular water (RW) pH ≈7, degassed alkaline reduced water (DW) pH ≈9.5, and hydrogen alkaline reduced water (HW) pH ≈9.5. Their results (see below) showed that only the water containing the hydrogen gas was effective at reducing various metalloproteinase enzymes (MMP2, MMP3), markers of oxidative stress (nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, 8OHdG, MDA), vascular inflammation (ICAM, ETA, TNFα, IL-6), intimal hyperplasia and macrophage infiltration (ED1).
One more study that helps illustrate that it is the hydrogen gas that is responsible for the therapeutic effects of ionized water, is one by Ignacio and colleagues. These researchers used four types of water:
Four groups of hairless mice were exposed to UVB radiation and then each group was bathed in one of these different waters. The results show that only the ionized water with the higher hydrogen gas concentration increased the antioxidant activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and reduced inflammatory cytokines.
Consumers of ERW already know that the water is most effective when ingested as fresh as possible. This is because the molecular hydrogen starts to leave the water (as seen by the loss of the –ORP). Researchers now administer the water as fresh as possible, as well as use other methods to increase the concentration of molecular hydrogen. 33
Another method researchers are now choosing to produce molecular hydrogen-rich water is simply bubbling molecular hydrogen gas into pure water. This also eliminates any potential variables and assures saturation is achieved.
NOT ALL MACHINES ARE CREATED EQUAL.
Lastly, one recent review article specifically states that studies/researchers have “explicitly proved that molecular hydrogen but not alkaline in the electrolyzed alkaline water exerts therapeutic effects”. This information is important to the ionized water industry and consumer because it increases the importance of knowing and having water with a decent hydrogen gas concentration. Not all machines are created equal, and perhaps differences in H2concentrations (not ORP or pH) is responsible for differences in the observed therapeutic effects.
MOLECULAR HYDROGEN CONCENTRATION IN ERW
Some types of electrolysis units are manufactured to produce water that is saturated (1.6 ppm) or even supersaturated (2-3 ppm) with molecular hydrogen by these are often not conventional alkaline water ionizers. Some may be a batch type machine that maintains a neutral pH, but saturates the water with molecular hydrogen or a flow through system that can also maintain neutral pH. Water ionizers produce alkaline water and depending on a number of factors (e.g. flow rate, conductivity, etc) can produce between 0.05 to over 2 ppm. However, many machines only produce about a 6% saturated level (0.1 ppm) at a pH of 9.5. By running the water very slowly, these machines may increase the molecular hydrogen concentration, but the resulting pH is above 11.0 making the water unpalatable.
The ability to produce high concentrations of molecular hydrogen at a palatable pH (less than 9.5 or neutral), and what is required to maintain this concentration are an important parameters when considering one of these machines.
Although the evidence is overwhelming that molecular hydrogen is the key to ERW’s benefits, most water ionizer companies make no mention of molecular hydrogen as a selling point. Not only do they not know what their water’s molecular hydrogen concentration is, but also they do not even know that it is the molecular hydrogen that is responsible for the benefits. This is simply because of the fact the importance of H2 was not even known by the scientists until 2007, which is decades after water ionizers were developed. Importantly, the market is generally about 10 years behind the science. Since molecular hydrogen was established in 2007, ten years from that time, about 2017, will be the year that the market will really start to take off exponentially promulgating the benefits of molecular hydrogen.
Hydrogen-rich water improves neurological functional recovery in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mice.
Zhao M1, Liu MD2, Pu YY2, Wang D2, Xie Y2, Xue GC2, Jiang Y2, Yang QQ2, Sun XJ3, Cao L4.Author information
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The high costs, inconvenient administration, and side effects of current Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs often lead to poor adherence to the long-term treatment of MS. Molecular hydrogen (H2) has been reported to exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, and anti-cancer effects. In the present study, we explored the prophylactic and therapeutic effects of hydrogen-rich water (HRW) on the progress of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model for MS. We found that prophylactic administration of both 0.36mM and 0.89mM HRW was able to delay EAE onset and reduce maximum clinical scores. Moreover, 0.89mM HRW also reduced disease severity, CNS infiltration, and demyelination when administered after the onset of disease. Furthermore, HRW treatment prevented infiltration of CD4(+) T lymphocytes into the CNS and inhibited Th17 cell development without affecting Th1 cell populations. Because HRW is non-toxic, inexpensive, easily administered, and can readily cross the blood-brain barrier, our experiments suggest that HRW may have great potential in the treatment of MS.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.
KEYWORDS: CD4(+) T lymphocytes; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Hydrogen-rich water; Multiple sclerosis; TH17
[PubMed - in process]
Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on the quality of life of patients treated with radiotherapy for liver tumors.
Kang et al. Medical Gas Research 2011, 1:11 http://www.medicalgasresearch.com/content/1/1/11
Background: Cancer patients receiving radiotherapy often experience fatigue and impaired quality of life (QOL). Many side effects of radiotherapy are believed to be associated with increased oxidative stress and inflammation due to the generation of reactive oxygen species during radiotherapy. Hydrogen can be administered as a therapeutic medical gas, has antioxidant properties, and reduces inflammation in tissues. This study examined whether hydrogen treatment, in the form of hydrogen-supplemented water, improved QOL in patients receiving radiotherapy.
Methods: A randomized, placebo-controlled study was performed to evaluate the effects of drinking hydrogen- rich water on 49 patients receiving radiotherapy for malignant liver tumors. Hydrogen-rich water was produced by placing a metallic magnesium stick into drinking water (final hydrogen concentration; 0.55~0.65 mM). The Korean version of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer’s QLQ-C30 instrument was used to evaluate global health status and QOL. The concentration of derivatives of reactive oxidative metabolites and biological antioxidant power in the peripheral blood were assessed.
Results: The consumption of hydrogen-rich water for 6 weeks reduced reactive oxygen metabolites in the blood and maintained blood oxidation potential. QOL scores during radiotherapy were significantly improved in patients treated with hydrogen-rich water compared to patients receiving placebo water. There was no difference in tumor response to radiotherapy between the two groups.
Conclusions: Daily consumption of hydrogen-rich water is a potentially novel, therapeutic strategy for improving QOL after radiation exposure. Consumption of hydrogen-rich water reduces the biological reaction to radiation- induced oxidative stress without compromising anti-tumor effects.
Download the full report here
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are often associated with persistent pains such as neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Hydrogen gas can reduce ROS and alleviate cerebral, myocardial, and hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injuries. In the present study, authors aim to investigate whether hydrogen-rich saline can reduce neuropathic pain in a rat model of chronic constriction injury (CCI). Thirty SD rats were randomly divided into three groups: sham group was administered sodium chloride by intrathecal injection (n=10); control groups underwent CCI surgery and were administered sodium chloride by intrathecal injection (n=10); vehicle group underwent CCI surgery and was administered hydrogen-rich saline by intrathecal injection (n=10). Drugs were administered in the dose of 100ul/kg once a day at 0.5 hours before and 1-7 day after CCI surgery. The mechanical thresholds were tested at one day before and 3-14 day after CCI surgery. Authors found that hydrogen-rich saline significantly elevated the mechanical thresholds of neuropathic pain compared to vehicle (physiologic saline) control in CCI rats (p<0.05); it also decreased the levels of myeloperoxidase, maleic dialdehyde, and protein carbonyl in spinal cord by 7 days post-chronic constriction injury(p<0.05). In addition, hydrogen-rich saline also suppressed the expression of p38-mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the spinal cord by 7 days post-chronic constriction injury (p<0.01, p<0.01, respectively), but had no effect on P2X4R (p>0.05), an ATP receptor. Intrathecal injection of hydrogen-rich saline can decrease oxidative stress and the expression of p38MAPK and BDNF that may contribute to the elevated threshold of neuropathic pain in rat CCI model.
Chen Q, Chen P, Zhou S, et al. Hydrogen-rich saline attenuated neuropathic pain by reducing oxidative stress. Can J Neurol Sci. 2013 Nov;40(6):857-63.
by Ian Stuart
By Ian Blair Hamilton, Alkaway Australia
What single biological function has been essential to every living organism’s growth, health and advancement – and is more important than any other?It’s called cell signalling; the ability for one cell in the body to ‘talk’ to another.
Now here’s another question for you. What biological process does one in every three pharmaceutical drugs attempt to assist?
Now there’s a link between today and our lifeforms all the way back to ‘slime’.
University of British Columbia researchers have identified a common ancestral gene. This gene’s function – cell signalling – enabled the evolution of advanced life over a billion years ago.
Found in all complex organisms, including plants and animals, it ‘encodes’ for a large group of enzymes known as protein kinases that enable cells to rapidly transfer information from one cell to another.
“If the duplications and subsequent mutations of this gene during evolution didn’t happen, then life would be completely different today,” said Steven Pelech, a professor in Division of Neurology in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. “The most advanced life on our planet would probably still be bacterial slime.”
Plants, animals, mushrooms and more all exist because they are made up of eukaryotic cells that are larger and far more complex than bacteria. Within these eukaryotic cells are hundreds of organelles that perform billions of diverse functions to keep them living, just as different organs do for the human body.
The new research, published this week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, identified the gene that gave rise to protein kinases. On a cellular scale, these highly interactive signaling proteins play a role similar to the neurons in the brain by transferring information throughout the cell by a process known as protein phosphorylation.
This ability to transmit signals from one part of the cell to another not only enabled cells to become more complex internally, but also allowed cells to come together to form systems, paving the way for the evolution of intelligent life.
Research into these enzymes is obviously very important to medicine. There are more than 400 human diseases like cancer and diabetes linked to problems with cell signaling.
Disease occurs when a cell gets misinformed or confused.
Today about one-third of all pharmaceutical drug development is targeted at protein kinases. For more than 30 years, researchers have known that most protein kinases came from a common ancestor because their genes are so similar.
“From sequencing the genomes of humans, we knew that about 500 genes for different protein kinases all had similar blueprints,” said Pelech. “Our new research revealed that the gene probably originated from bacteria for facilitating the synthesis of proteins and then mutated to acquire completely new functions.”
Cell signalling has another ally which is most unlike any pharmaceutical drug. Molecular hydrogen is the subject of 700 scientific studies, over a 150+ range of disease conditions, and as well as been identified as a potential selective antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic, it has also been studies for its ability to assist cell signalling.
Why should we care? We have our cupboard full of pills and potions. Why should we try molecular hydrogen?
The secret lies in its nature. H2 – molecular hydrogen is the smallest molecule in the universe, made up of two of the smallest atoms in the universe. This gives it unique properties that place it in a class of its own. Firstly, its size means the once in the body it has the ability to pass through nay part of the body, including bone, muscle, even into the mitochondria within a single cell. Secondly, it is a simple molecule. What it does – it’s shouldn’t do. Pharma giants are shaking their heads in disbelief at the results users are claiming – results normally reserved for expensive and complex formulated drugs. In truth, at this stage of research, no-one knows why it has so many therapeutic effects, but the results are certainly obvious in the studies.
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