By Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw
Hydrogen therapy for the prevention and treatment of a variety of diseases—particularly those associated with ROS (reactive oxygen species) and inflammation—has become a hot research subject. Many reports in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, including in vitro and animal studies, plus some clinical trials in humans, have already been published. Diseases that may be beneficially affected by hydrogen therapy include, to name a few, atherosclerosis, ischemia-reperfusion injury (as occurs in heart attacks and strokes), diabetes, stress-induced cognitive impairments, Parkinson’s disease (as shown in animal models), and various aspects of the metabolic syndrome (e.g., insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and endothelial function).
As reported in an excellent review (1) on the “recent progress toward hydrogen medicine,” the author describes various methods being used in published animal and human studies to administer hydrogen: inhalation of hydrogen gas, oral ingestion by drinking hydrogen water, hydrogen baths (because hydrogen easily penetrates the skin and distributes throughout the body via blood flow),(1) injection of hydrogen saline, direct absorption of hydrogen (as in hydrogen containing eye drops), and INCREASED PRODUCTION OF HYDROGEN BY GUT BACTERIA. Note: One reason for the use of hydrogen water and hydrogen saline is that it is possible to reliably control the dose administered to experimental animals, which is important in determining results such as dose-response relationships. In the case of gut bacteria-provided hydrogen, it is less easy to determine the hydrogen “dose,” although one way to at least partially overcome this problem is to measure the hydrogen gas excreted by the lungs.
Reference: 1. Ohta. Recent progress toward hydrogen medicine: potential of molecular hydrogen for preventive and therapeutic applications. Curr Pharm Des 17:2241-52 (2011).
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