What is Hydrogen Water, and Should You Drink It?
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Hydrogen water. You’ve probably seen celebs and influencers raving about its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects on social media. But with so much “ballyhoo” around it, you might wonder if it’s yet another over hyped specialty water or if there’s any science behind those bold health claims.
Stick around as we take a realistic look at the evidence and unanswered questions to help you separate fact from fiction.
What is hydrogen water?
Hydrogen water is essentially water infused with hydrogen gas. How exactly is this extra hydrogen added, you ask? Some brands use electrolysis, which involves using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and add the split hydrogen back into H2O. Others bubble pure hydrogen gas through the water to dissolve the molecules, while many put magnesium sticks in the water to produce hydrogen.
What about the cost?
Hydrogen water isn’t cheap. An 11-ounce can will set you back about $3. One famous company sells a 30-pack of 8-ounce (240-ml) cans for $90 and suggests consumers drink at least three cans daily. Additionally, hydrogen tablets meant to be added to water go for upwards of $1 each, and a 500-dollar machine can turn tap water into hydrogen water.
Is regular water not healthy anymore? Why hydrogen water?
Plain water already contains hydrogen. However, the claim is that the two hydrogen atoms in regular H2O aren’t enough to reap real benefits. And so, companies choose to add more H2, supposedly making it healthier than ordinary water.
Molecular hydrogen acts as a powerful antioxidant inside the body, helping fight inflammation and neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells. The extra hydrogen turns your cells into tiny antioxidant factories to protect them from oxidative stress. This is the basis for hydrogen water’s purported health and anti-aging benefits.
Potential Benefits of Hydrogen Rich Water: Promising, but the Evidence is Limited and Inconclusive.
Many experts believe hydrogen water is superior to ordinary water for many reasons. Some make some pretty big claims about its potential health benefits, but according to WebMD, there’s not enough evidence to prove it’s beneficial.
Let’s look more closely at a few of the purported health benefits:
- Relieves side effects from radiation therapy. A study of 49 people with liver cancer showed that drinking hydrogen-rich water for six weeks reduced side effects such as fatigue and hair loss.
- Has antioxidant properties. Hydrogen water is said to help prevent oxidative stress caused by normal body functions and external forces like sun exposure and industrial chemicals.
- Lowers inflammation. Preliminary studies suggest that hydrogen water may be anti-inflammatory, which could reduce the risk of heart disease and other life-threatening diseases. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to serious health problems. Drinking hydrogen water supposedly helps reduce inflammation in the body.
- Boosts energy levels. Hydrogen water increases energy, reduces inflammation, and reduces recovery times after exercise, according to a pilot study investigating the effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise in elite athletes.
- Improves mood, anxiety, and autonomic nerve function. A study of 31 healthy adults suggests that consuming hydrogen-rich water for four weeks improved mood, anxiety, and autonomic nerve function.
- Reduces inflammatory responses and prevents apoptosis of peripheral blood cells. A randomized, double-masked, controlled trial of 41 participants found that hydrogen-rich water increased antioxidant capacity and reduced inflammatory responses in healthy adults.
- Improves physical performance. A study of trained and untrained subjects found that consuming hydrogen-rich water for seven days improved physical performance. A total of 37 volunteers participated in the study.
There are plenty of other studies like these, and while they all suggest that there might be some benefit to drinking hydrogen water, more research is needed to verify these purported perks. Plus, no scientific conclusions can be made given the relatively small size of each study.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Right now, there isn’t enough evidence around the safety of hydrogen water. So far, experts haven’t pointed out any risks from drinking it, so it seems reasonably safe to drink—at least in moderation. We don’t know much about how regularly drinking hydrogen water could impact your health over months or years. More time and research should give us those answers.
Should I Try Hydrogen Water?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes hydrogen water as safe, posing no health risks. After all, it’s just regular water infused with extra hydrogen, so it should be harmless, right? Well, not exactly.
Consider the following before adding this beverage to your daily hydration routine:
- Optimal dosing is unknown, and high intake is unstudied. First, there’s no set standard on how much hydrogen should be added to water or the amount you should consume to reap the potential benefits. While moderate amounts may seem okay, higher doses haven’t been well studied, so it’s unclear what complications could occur if you drink too much.
- Water source and contamination risks need consideration. The source and quality of the water being hydrogenated also matter. For example, Dr. Perricone Hydrogenated Water, an increasingly popular hydrogenated water brand in the U.S., gets its water from a well in Virginia. Artesian water, as it’s called, gets filtered as it journeys through porous soil—which is likely not enough to remove common contaminants. Unless this water is filtered again at the factory, you risk exposure to various potentially dangerous pollutants. It’s now a question of whether the potential benefits of high levels of hydrogen in water outweigh the potential downsides of drinking water that may contain harmful contaminants.
- Effects of regular consumption over months/years require investigation. Despite the hype, research on the benefits of hydrogenated water remains limited. As such, experts urge caution until more rigorous studies are done. For instance, nutrition professor Sarah L. Ash of North Carolina State University says there is some data about the benefits of hydrogen water, “but to date, most of it comes from non-randomized, open-label, or single-blind trials on limited numbers of people for short periods and therapeutic, not general health, effects.”
- Interactions with medications remain unclear. It’s unknown how hydrogen water interacts with certain medications or supplements. As with any supplement, exercise caution and talk with your doctor first.
- Not all health claims made by hydrogen water brands are FDA-reviewed and -approved. Also, note that hydrogen-rich water is marketed as a functional drink supplement and is not intended for therapeutic intervention for existing diseases. Many of the claims and benefits of commercial products on the market aren’t reviewed and approved by the FDA, so trod carefully.
If you still insist on drinking hydrogen water despite the above concerns, go for it. Just try not to overdo it! Remember: like with anything, moderation is key. Talk to your doctor about any adverse reactions or concerns about hydrogen water. Also, make sure to buy hydrogen water stored in an aluminum pouch. Otherwise, the hydrogen will escape the container, and you’ll likely be drinking plain water by the time the product gets to you.
Filtered Water: A Healthier Alternative?
If hydrogen water is beyond your budget or you don’t want to drink it, it’s best to do things the old-fashioned way and drink tap water. You’ll still get the hydrogen without spending all that extra cash. But depending on where you live, you might need to filter the water before drinking it.
Filtering removes all kinds of nasties that could make you sick while improving the water’s taste, smell, and appearance. Springwell offers a unique line of premium water filtration systems designed to tackle common pollutants in water—chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, and many others.
Our under-counter and whole-house water filters are two popular options. However, we offer many more affordable and reliable solutions based on your water source, budget, and filtration needs. So, contact us today to learn more about our offerings and for help finding the best water filter system for home.
Learn more: The Best Water Filtration Systems for Your Home
We’re Just Catching Up On the Hydrogen Water Trend
For many of us Americans, hydrogen-infused water seems like a new thing. However, it’s reportedly been a pillar of Japan’s wellness culture for at least a decade.
Recognizing hydrogen’s potential health benefits, Japan started producing ready-to-drink hydrogen water products and manufactured home hydrogen water machines. But beyond drinking hydrogen-infused water, people in Japan also used it for health-related purposes. Not too long ago, Japan’s Ministry of Health approved hydrogen-infused saline IVs to treat infections.
But how did this trendy beverage end up in the U.S.? Well, it’s said that American doctors and entrepreneurs visited Japan, discovered what the buzz was about, and brought hydrogen water back home to an eager U.S. market, ready to try bottled hydrogen drinks and at-home infusion machines that were already mainstays across Japan.
In 2017, HFactor launched the first commercial hydrogen water product in America. Their convenient pouches garnered massive publicity, as they were included in the Academy Awards gift bags given to nominees this year.
While hydrogen water took some 50 years to catch on in America, it’s now making waves. However, Japan remains the original hydrogen-infused wellness trendsetter that sparked a timeless transpacific health craze.
The jury is still out on whether hydrogen water is good for you. Some studies show it may reduce stress, boost physical performance, lower inflammation, etc., but they need to be more extensive and conclusive enough to justify the hype and high price tags.
While potentially safe in moderation, hydrogen water could be a way to capitalize on people’s willingness to pay premiums for the next big wellness fad. But to be fair, the studies show hints of certain benefits that could be solidified over time.
For now, clean, fresh, filtered water reigns supreme for affordability and healthy hydration. So, consider investing in a water filtration system for your home. If it’s the antioxidants you’re after, you can get your fill from fresh fruits, veggies, and other antioxidant-rich foods.