Benefits of Hydrogen for Exercise
Athletes and Active People
When it comes to exercise and fitness we are all different, yet ironically we all want the same thing. This is true whether you are 20 or 80 years old, a walker, a jogger, a recreational athlete or a serious competitor. Whether you weight train or enjoy cross-fit, yoga or aerobics. Whether you are a recreational athlete or a serious competitor training at an elite level. In spite of our differing approaches we all want an easy, safe and natural way to get more enjoyment and benefit out of the time and effort we invest in our physical activities and fitness. What if there was a convenient and natural way for you to have more energy while also reducing fatigue, lactic acid buildup and oxidative stress? A way to recover faster, elevate your performance and allow you to enjoy your activities more?
There is a growing body of highly credible science that shows molecular hydrogen – or H2 – offers all of those benefits, and more. The best way to get H2 is by drinking H2 or hydrogen infused water. H2 captured the attention of scientists about 10 years ago. Since then, there have been over 1,000 peer reviewed papers published showing that hydrogen offers therapeutic benefits in 170 disease models and health conditions and virtually every organ of the body. A growing collection of these studies have shown H2 has significant benefits for athletic performance and during routine exercise.
What Makes Activities / Exercise Hard?
Whether you are fitness walking or training for the Olympics, the answer is the same. Logically, any activity or training above a resting state immediately increases our body’s needs for energy and oxygen to power the activity. Any activity that is more intense than what your body is used to, stresses your system causing a cascade of effects.
The increased oxygen produces more cell damaging oxygen (free) radicals, which cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress silently attacks your cells behind the scenes leading to loss of cell viability and cell death, causing muscle damage, weakness, fatigue and inflammation.1-3 This is especially true with exercise induced oxidative stress.
If your activity is intense enough, you will use up available ATP for energy and your body will burn glycogen. When that happens you will feel the burn from lactic acid build up, which leads to fatigue and possible muscle soreness. All of this leads to decreased endurance, reduced performance, poor results and less enjoyment.
H2 Water Increases your Energy
ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is the energy currency for all the activities of your body. The food we eat and oxygen we breathe create ATP in the mitochondria, powering each of our cells and our activity. H2 water for ATP. However, free radicals are also produced every minute from the oxygen we breathe. It's simply a fact of aerobic metabolism. Free radicals – especially oxygen radicals – damage your mitochondria. When damaged mitochondria cannot produce the necessary levels of ATP, the body turns to metabolizing stored glycogen. Glycogen stores are found mostly in the liver where they are accessed and used for energy.
A growing body of research shows that H2 infused water improves mitochondrial function, increases ATP production and potentially induces mitochondrial biogenesis.4 H2 is the smallest molecule in the universe and so rapidly diffuses through our cell membranes, and neutralizes the damaging free radicals. Its protective properties allow the mitochondria to produce optimal levels of ATP, providing you with more energy. When you have to dig deep and go beyond your ATP production, as we all sometimes do during activity or training, research has shown that H2 can support an increase of glycogen stored in your liver.4
The research is in. Drinking H2 saturated water increases energy through improved ATP production while increased glycogen stores help decrease fatigue and muscle damage. Go longer. Go stronger.
H2 Water Can Increase your VO2 max
A recent study5 showed that drinking hydrogen-rich water increased VO2 max, time to exhaustion and total work when compared to the placebo group who were given tap water. The study noted there were no side effects or contraindications.
Hydrogen Water Reduces Lactic Acid Buildup
Anytime your body starts burning stored glycogen you start to produce lactic acid. Increased lactic acid buildup in turn leads to greater fatigue, muscle soreness and slower recovery. Exercise-induced metabolic acidosis is common among some highly active individuals and many highly trained athletes. It's another silent, behind the scenes effect; if you have acidosis you don’t know it, except by seeing and feeling that you are not performing at your best.
H2 Water for Reducing Muscle Soreness
One recent study found that hydrogen rich water can positively impact athletic performance in elite athletes. Both muscle fatigue and lactate (levels of lactic acid in the blood) were decreased in the control group of elite, highly trained athletes when they consumed H2 rich water before undergoing intensive exercise controlled by strict test protocols.6
A similar study found that H2 infused water had a beneficial effect on the maximal rate of perceived exertion and lactic acid build-up at critical running speed during maximal exercise. While the exact mechanism was not identified, the study concluded that hydrogen-rich water decreases the physical stress during maximal exercise.7
A quote from one of the multiple research papers on this topic says it succinctly:
"Adequate hydration with hydrogen-rich water pre-exercise reduced blood lactate levels and improved exercise-induced decline of muscle function."
~Kosuke Aoki, et al Medical Gas Research, 2012.
H2 Water Protects Against Oxidative Stress
Any increase in activity results in an increased level of oxidative stress. Unusual or intense physical activity over a short period of time (think weekend warriors, interval training, competition, etc.) causes higher levels of oxidative stress and lactic acid buildup (exercise-induced metabolic acidosis). This causes the symptoms of overtraining such as increased fatigue, residual muscle soreness, micro-tears to the muscle fibers, and inflammation. Oxidative stress in any form, and no matter how you got there, is not good.
Scientists have known for a long time that H2 readily neutralizes free radicals, specifically the hydroxyl radical (*OH–) and oxide radical ion (0+).8-10 Especially important is that H2 appears to selectively target the hydroxyl radical which is the most toxic to the cells. Other free radicals (e.g. nitric oxide radical) are actually important to cell physiology and homeostasis.8,9 Unlike other non-selective antioxidants, H2 leaves these good radicals unchanged, making it a superlative antioxidant.
H2 Improves Recovery Time and Healing
Recovering from your activity or training is multifaceted and encompasses more than just muscle repair. Recovery (as athletes call it) involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state, and more. Sometimes we strain a muscle or connective tissue. So proper recovery requires addressing many things.
Studies have found H2 water to be beneficial in treating injuries and conditions related to oxidative stress and inflammation, and in treating soft tissue sports injuries.10 H2 has been shown to help maintain homeostasis of enzymes including glutathione, superoxide dismutase, catalase and others.4 H2 has also demonstrated cell signaling capability critical to the brain and neurological function.4,14 These properties make hydrogen water far more than a simple recovery drink focused only on repairing muscles.
Hydrogen Water Improves Your Hydration
As H2 molecules neutralize the hydroxyl radical and oxygen radicals, the only thing that is left inside of the cell from this reaction is water, leading researchers to deduce that H2 also improves cellular hydration. This also explains why no published study has found any negative effect of consuming H2 saturated water.
The H2 Solution
It's safe. It's 100% natural. Research shows H2 water directly addresses so many of the issues we face in having more enjoyment, success and results in our activities, fitness and athletics. And it is effective for a broad range of conditions related to oxidative stress – far beyond those caused by our activities or fitness efforts. In fact, the majority of research on H2 has been focused on chronic disease conditions caused by oxidation. Studies show H2 infused water has a positive impact on a number of conditions that are related to oxidation, like metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and even side effects of cancer treatment.12,13 It’s also readily accessible and affordable.
Where Can I Get H2 Water?
Some of the world’s best known "healing water" springs, have been studied and shown to be contaminant free plus slightly alkaline. These waters also contain a negative ionization and dissolved molecular hydrogen.
Our proprietary UltraWater™ Filtration Technology has been independently tested against 172 contaminants, reducing virtually all of them to 99.9%. Once the water is cleaned up, AlkaViva’s H2 Infusion technology adds the documented benefits of alkaline, ionized and H2-rich water.
1. Djordjevic D, Cubrilo D, Macura M, Barudzic N, Djuric D, Jakovljevic V. The influence of training status on oxidative stress in young male handball players. Mol Cell Biochem. 2011;351(1–2):251–259.
2. Tanskanen M, Atalay M, Uusitalo A. Altered oxidative stress in overtrained athletes. J Sports Sci.2010;28(3):309–317. doi: 10.1080/02640410903473844.
3. Jackson MJ. Muscle damage during exercise: possible role of free radicals and protective effect of vitamin E. Proc Nutr Soc. 1987;46(1):77–80. doi: 10.1079/PNS19870010.
4. T. Lebarron The Actions of Molecular Hydrogen in the Body, MHI, March 4, 2013.
5. Sergej M. OSTOJIC, Darinka KOROVLJEV, et al, 28-Days Hydrogen-Rich Water Supplementation Affects Exercise Capacity, Applied Bioenergetics Lab, Faculty of Sport and PE, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
6. Pilot study: Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise in elite athletes. Med Gas Res. 2012 Jul 12;2:12. doi: 10.1186/2045-9912-2-12.
7. Ostojic SM, Stojanovic MD. Hydrogen-rich water affected blood alkalinity in physically active men. Res Sports Med 2014; 22: 49–60.
8. Ohsawa I, Ishikawa M, Takahashi K, Watanabe M, Nishimaki K, Yamagata K, Katsura K, Katayama Y, Asoh S, Ohta S. Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals. Nat Med. 2007;13(6):688– 694. doi: 10.1038/nm1577.
9. Kosuke Aoki, Atsunori Nakao, Takako Adachi, Yasushi Matsui, and Shumpei Miyakawa Hong Y, Chen S, Zhang JM. Hydrogen as a selective antioxidant: a review of clinical and experimental studies. J Int Med Res 2010; 38: 1893–1903.
10. Hong Y, Chen S, Zhang JM. Hydrogen as a selective antioxidant: a review of clinical and experimental studies. J Int Med Res 2010; 38: 1893–1903.
11. Ostojic SM, Stojanovic MD, Hoffman JR. Effectiveness of molecular hydrogen in the management of musculotendinous injuries. Med Sci Sport Exerc 2014; 46: S156–S157.
12. Huang CS, Kawamura T, Toyoda Y, Nakao A. Recent advances in hydrogen research as a therapeutic medical gas. Free Radical Res 2010;44(9):971–982.
13. Ohta S, Nakao A, Ohno K. The 2011 Medical Molecular Hydrogen Symposium: An inaugural symposium of the journal Medical Gas Research. Med Gas Res 2011;1(1):10.
14. Kenji Dohi, Brian C. Kraemer, Michelle A. Erickson, Pamela J. McMillan, Andrej Kovac, Zuzana Flachbartova, Kim M. Hansen, Gul N. Shah, Nader Sheibani, Therese Salameh, and William A. Banks. Molecular Hydrogen in Drinking Water Protects against Neurodegenerative Changes Induced by Traumatic Brain Injury, Injury PLoS One. 2014 Sep 24;9(9):e108034.