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Hydrogen water or Hydrogen infused water is water infused with hydrogen gas (H2) because the two atoms of hydrogen in a water molecule just aren't enough, right? It is promoted as a healthy beverage due to the hydrogen's antioxidant properties and it goes without saying that some market it as absolute God juice which will improve all of your bodily functions and probably cure whatever STDs you have. While there is some evidence of beneficial effects from hydrogen gas in some situations (see below), there is no evidence that drinking it brings any particular health improvements, and there are lots of other beverages with antioxidant properties sold more cheaply (e.g. tea).
Hydrogen water is simply regular water with molecules of hydrogen (H2) dissolved in it. It should not be confused with acids, which have H+ ions; depending on the strength, drinking acids can result in a sour taste, or throat damage and death - molecular hydrogen water is pH neutral, safe for human consumption, and nobody seems offended by the taste. One problem with infusing hydrogen into water is that hydrogen gas is not especially soluble: 0.16 mg per 100 g water, compared to 4.3 mg oxygen or 169 mg carbon dioxide (solubilities at 293 K, 1 atm). So you will not get a huge amount of hydrogen in your bottle.
One small study published in 2011 showed that consuming "hydrogen-rich water" improved quality of life measures of patients undergoing radiotherapy for liver tumors. Radiotherapy can be very unpleasant with nasty side-effects, so anything that can help patients is good, although it must be emphasised there was no effect on the actual cancer. This study created hydrogen water by placing magnesium sticks into water, which is different to the method of manufacturing most commercially-available hydrogen water.
Animal studies seem to show that molecular hydrogen has antioxidant properties and can reduce inflammation, but these have not been reproduced in human beings. A spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Robin Foroutan, has said, "We don’t know anything about dosing or the frequency you need to drink hydrogen water to get health benefits".
Based on the animal studies, it has been touted for treating dementia and brain damage; however as yet there is no evidence in humans, and neurologist Maurice Preter has cast doubt on the treatment, saying "I don't want to shoot down hydrogen-water therapy. We're badly in need of new treatments for dementia, and there's a need to keep an open mind and look for alternate stuff. ... But we don't know how long term [its effects] are."
A very small-scale study (6 subjects) showed that bathing in hydrogen water can reduce wrinkles.
But the real fun with hydrogen water are the shockingly fantastic health benefits that are almost too amazing to be true! Those suffering bad bladder control may find hydrogen water will make trips to the bathroom less frequent even though it means you're consuming more liquids. Amazing. Tired of radiowaves crashing through your body and messing up your chi or whatever? Hydrogen is a radio-protector apparently, so if you drink enough of it then your wifi router won't be badgering you all day long with its invasive signals. Do you find you just never have enough time to consume as much hydrogen water as you'd like? According to reliable sources hydrogen water can lengthen your life meaning you'll have all the more time to drink more and more longevity potion, perhaps if you consume enough over time the effects it will cascade exponentially into a crescendo of heath amazingness it just might be the actual elixir of perpetual youth!
Commercial manufacture and retail
A number of companies sell devices online for manufacturing hydrogen water. Near the top of the market is the Echo 9 Ultra H2 Water Machine, retailing for £ 2616, reduced from £ 3594. This machine works by electrolysis, as do most products on the market.
Companies also sell hydrogen water by the bottle, with Time quoting a figure of US$3 per bottle. One problem with buying bottled hydrogen water is that the gas diffuses very quickly through most substances, including glass and plastic, so you may find it is rapidly out of the bottle.
- Antioxidant Activity of Black Tea vs. Green Tea, Ki Won Lee, Hyong Joo Lee, Chang Yong Lee, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 132, Issue 4, 1 April 2002, Pages 785, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/132.4.785
- What Is Hydrogen Water and Should You Drink It?, Elle, Apr 7, 2017
- Solubilities of Gases in Water at 293 K, Wired Chemist; Reference: G.W.C. Kaye and T.H. Laby, "Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants," 15th ed., Longman, NY, 1986, p. 219.
- Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on the quality of life of patients treated with radiotherapy for liver tumors, Ki-Mun Kang et al, Medical Gas Research. 2011; 1: 11. Published online 2011 Jun 7. doi: 10.1186/2045-9912-1-11
- Molecular Hydrogen in Drinking Water Protects against Neurodegenerative Changes Induced by Traumatic Brain Injury, Kenji Dohi et al, PLoS One, September 24, 2014 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108034
- Is Hydrogen Water Actually Good For You?, Time, Aug 21, 2017
- Echo 9 Ultra H2 Water Machine, hydrogeninfusedwater.co.uk, accessed 23 July 2018