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Hydrogen-supplemented drinking water, just soda or an elixir of life?*

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Metabolic syndrome is characterized by cardiometabolic risk factors that include obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Oxidative stress is known to play a major role in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome. The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of hydrogen rich water (1.5-2 L/day) in an open label, 8-week study on 20 subjects with potential metabolic syndrome. Hydrogen rich water was produced, by placing a metallic magnesium stick into drinking water (hydrogen concentration; 0.55-0.65 mM), by the following chemical reaction; Mg + 2H(2)O --> Mg (OH)(2) + H(2). The consumption of hydrogen rich water for 8 weeks resulted in a 39% increase (p<0.05) in antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and a 43% decrease (p<0.05) in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in urine. Further, subjects demonstrated an 8% increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and a 13% decrease in total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol from baseline to week 4. There was no change in fasting glucose levels during the 8 week study. In conclusion, drinking hydrogen rich water represents a potentially novel therapeutic and preventive strategy for metabolic syndrome. The portable magnesium stick was a safe, easy and effective method of delivering hydrogen rich water for daily consumption by participants in the study.
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Acute oxidative stress induced by ischemia-reperfusion or inflammation causes serious damage to tissues, and persistent oxidative stress is accepted as one of the causes of many common diseases including cancer. We show here that hydrogen (H(2)) has potential as an antioxidant in preventive and therapeutic applications. We induced acute oxidative stress in cultured cells by three independent methods. H(2) selectively reduced the hydroxyl radical, the most cytotoxic of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and effectively protected cells; however, H(2) did not react with other ROS, which possess physiological roles. We used an acute rat model in which oxidative stress damage was induced in the brain by focal ischemia and reperfusion. The inhalation of H(2) gas markedly suppressed brain injury by buffering the effects of oxidative stress. Thus H(2) can be used as an effective antioxidant therapy; owing to its ability to rapidly diffuse across membranes, it can reach and react with cytotoxic ROS and thus protect against oxidative damage.
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Recent evidence suggests that molecular hydrogen has therapeutic value for disease states that involve inflammation. We hypothesized that drinking hydrogen-rich water (HW) daily would protect cardiac and aortic allograft recipients from inflammation-associated deterioration. Heterotopic heart transplantation with short-course tacrolimus immunosuppression and orthotopic aortic transplantation were performed in allogeneic rat strains. HW was generated either by bubbling hydrogen gas through tap water (Bu-HW) or via chemical reaction using a magnesium stick [Mg + 2H(2) O → Mg (OH)(2)  + H(2) ] immersed in tap water (Mg-HW). Recipients were given either regular water (RW), Mg-HW, Bu-HW, or Mg-HW that had been subsequently degassed (DW). Graft survival was assessed by daily palpation for a heartbeat. Drinking Mg-HW or Bu-HW was remarkably effective in prolonging heart graft survival and reducing intimal hyperplasia in transplanted aortas as compared with grafts treated with RW or DW. Furthermore, T cell proliferation was significantly inhibited in the presence of hydrogen in vitro, accompanied by less production of interleukin-2 and interferon-γ. Hydrogen treatment was also associated with increased graft ATP levels and increased activity of the enzymes in mitochondrial respiratory chain. Drinking HW prolongs survival of cardiac allografts and reduces intimal hyperplasia of aortic allografts.
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Oxidative stress is implicated in atherogenesis; however most clinical trials with dietary antioxidants failed to show marked success in preventing atherosclerotic diseases. We have found that hydrogen (dihydrogen; H2) acts as an effective antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress [I. Ohsawa, M. Ishikawa, K. Takahashi, M. Watanabe, K. Nishimaki, K. Yamagata, K. Katsura, Y. Katayama, S, Asoh, S. Ohta, Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals, Nat. Med. 13 (2007) 688–694]. Here, we investigated whether drinking H2-dissolved water at a saturated level (H2–water) ad libitum prevents arteriosclerosis using an apolipoprotein E knockout mouse (apoE−/−), a model of the spontaneous development of atherosclerosis. ApoE−/− mice drank H2–water ad libitum from 2 to 6 month old throughout the whole period. Atherosclerotic lesions were significantly reduced by ad libitum drinking of H2–water (p = 0.0069) as judged by Oil-Red-O staining series of sections of aorta. The oxidative stress level of aorta was decreased. Accumulation of macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions was confirmed. Thus, consumption of H2-dissolved water has the potential to prevent arteriosclerosis.
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Arterialized vein grafts often fail due to intimal hyperplasia. Hydrogen potently protects organs and cells from many insults via its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We investigated the efficacy of oral administration of hydrogen-rich water (HW) for prevention of intimal hyperplasia. The inferior vena cava was excised, stored in cold Ringer solution for 2 h, and placed as an interposition graft in the abdominal aorta of syngeneic Lewis rats. HW was generated by immersing a magnesium stick in tap water (Mg + 2H(2)O → Mg (OH)(2) + H(2)). Beginning on the day of graft implantation, recipients were given tap water [regular water (RW)], HW or HW that had been subsequently degassed water (DW). Six weeks after grafting, the grafts in the rats given RW or DW had developed intimal hyperplasia, accompanied by increased oxidative injury. HW significantly suppressed intimal hyperplasia. One week after grafting, the grafts in HW-treated rats exhibited improved endothelial integrity with less platelet and white blood cell aggregation. Up-regulation of the mRNAs for intracellular adhesion molecules was attenuated in the vein grafts of the rats receiving HW. Activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and MMP-9 was also significantly inhibited in grafts receiving HW. In rat smooth muscle cell (A7r5) cultures, hydrogen treatment for 24 h reduced smooth muscle cell migration. Drinking HW significantly reduced neointima formation after vein grafting in rats. Drinking HW may have therapeutic value as a novel therapy for intimal hyperplasia and could easily be incorporated into daily life.
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Recent extensive studies have revealed that molecular hydrogen (H(2)) has great potential for improving oxidative stress-related diseases by inhaling H(2) gas, injecting saline with dissolved H(2), or drinking water with dissolved H(2) (H(2)-water); however, little is known about the dynamic movement of H(2) in a body. First, we show that hepatic glycogen accumulates H(2) after oral administration of H(2)-water, explaining why consumption of even a small amount of H(2) over a short span time efficiently improves various disease models. This finding was supported by an in vitro experiment in which glycogen solution maintained H(2). Next, we examined the benefit of ad libitum drinking H(2)-water to type 2 diabetes using db/db obesity model mice lacking the functional leptin receptor. Drinking H(2)-water reduced hepatic oxidative stress, and significantly alleviated fatty liver in db/db mice as well as high fat-diet-induced fatty liver in wild-type mice. Long-term drinking H(2)-water significantly controlled fat and body weights, despite no increase in consumption of diet and water. Moreover, drinking H(2)-water decreased levels of plasma glucose, insulin, and triglyceride, the effect of which on hyperglycemia was similar to diet restriction. To examine how drinking H(2)-water improves obesity and metabolic parameters at the molecular level, we examined gene-expression profiles, and found enhanced expression of a hepatic hormone, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), which functions to enhance fatty acid and glucose expenditure. Indeed, H(2) stimulated energy metabolism as measured by oxygen consumption. The present results suggest the potential benefit of H(2) in improving obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
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Recent basic and clinical research has revealed that hydrogen is an important physiological regulatory factor with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic protective effects on cells and organs. Therapeutic hydrogen has been applied by different delivery methods including straightforward inhalation, drinking hydrogen dissolved in water and injection with hydrogen-saturated saline. This review summarizes currently available data regarding the protective role of hydrogen, provides an outline of recent advances in research on the use of hydrogen as a therapeutic medical gas in diverse models of disease and discusses the feasibility of hydrogen as a therapeutic strategy. It is not an overstatement to say that hydrogen's impact on therapeutic and preventive medicine could be enormous in the future.
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) contribute to the development of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy seen in chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN). As molecular hydrogen gas can act as a scavenger of ROS, we tested the effect of treatment with hydrogen water (HW) in a model of kidney transplantation, in which allografts from Lewis rats were orthotopically transplanted into Brown Norway recipients that had undergone bilateral nephrectomy. Molecular hydrogen was dissolved in water and recipients were given HW from day 0 until day 150. Rats that were treated with regular water (RW) gradually developed proteinuria and their creatinine clearance declined, ultimately leading to graft failure secondary to CAN. In contrast, treatment with HW improved allograft function, slowed the progression of CAN, reduced oxidant injury and inflammatory mediator production, and improved overall survival. Inflammatory signaling pathways, such as mitogen-activated protein kinases, were less activated in renal allografts from HW-treated rats as compared with RW-treated rats. Hence, oral HW is an effective antioxidant and antiinflammatory agent that prevented CAN, improved survival of rat renal allografts, and may be of therapeutic value in the setting of transplantation.
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Seven patients on dialysis with renal failure received transplants from mismatched cadaver donors and were treated with cyclosporin A (CyA), initially as the sole immunosuppressive agent. CyA was effective in inhibiting rejection but there was clear evidence of both nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. A cyclophosphamide analogue was added to the CyA treatment in six of the patients. Five patients are out of hospital with functioning allografts, and two of these have received no steroids. One patient required an allograft nephrectomy because of pyelonephritis in the graft. Another died of systemic aspergillus and candida infection. Further careful study of this potentially valuable drug will by required before it can be recommended in clinical practice.
Molecular hydrogen improves obesity and diabetes by inducing
  • N Kamimura
  • K Nishimaki
  • I Ohsawa
  • Ohta
Kamimura N, Nishimaki K, Ohsawa I, Ohta S. Molecular hydrogen improves obesity and diabetes by inducing