Each scroll through our newsfeed presents us with the opportunity to learn more about health and wellness - or so it would seem. Sifting through the noise of flat tummy teas and BPA-free eyelash extensions can be tedious and overwhelming to those of us who are open to exploring new wellness trends. Thanks to the internet, we are perpetually bombarded with product placement and pseudo-scientists promising miracles, leaving us to our own devices in terms of discerning between fads and legitimate advancements in wellness. The latest buzz is surrounding hydrogen-rich water, or HWater, which is essentially purified water infused with molecular hydrogen and is said to be rich with antioxidants and other factors which help ease inflammation and pain. But is this trend a fad, or is there actually some science behind it?
“There are many reasons to be skeptical about hydrogen water,” notes Tyler LeBaron, Biochemist and Founder and Executive Director of the science-based nonprofit Molecular Hydrogen Foundation/Institute (MHF). MHF’s objective is to help advance the research, education, and awareness of hydrogen as a therapeutic medical gas, as scientific data is scarce. LeBaron notes that these misconceptions and stigmas surrounding the water is “usually is due to a lack of understanding about what ‘hydrogen-rich water’ is. For example, some people think that it is alkaline water, which it is not, or that the water molecules themselves have more hydrogen on them, it is not. It is simply H2 gas dissolved in the water.“
Findings in double-blinded placebo controlled trials suggest that Hydrogen has therapeutic potential in over 170 different human and animal disease models. Athletes who have added hydrogen-rich water to their regimens have reported a drastic improvement in their recovery process, arthritis patients have claimed that their consumption of hydrogen-rich water has helped ease the pain and reduced inflammation, and every day users have conveyed the positive effects of hydrogen water in the context of anti-aging and overall energy increases.
“In my quest to guide patients on a path to aging gracefully, I came across the revolutionary bio-benefits of molecular hydrogen. At first, I found studies of molecular hydrogen-infused water in medical journals, detailing its ability to efficiently reduce oxidative stress with potential for the improvement of mitochondrial diseases,” notes Dr. Carolina G. Sierra, a leading Internist and Endocrinologist in Manhattan. “Given the clinical evidence of reduced oxidative stress and mitochondrial diseases, all these areas - inflammation, hydration, pain, improved skin health - can benefit from hydrogen-infused water. The mere fact that it encourages patients to drink more water, then coupled with the benefits of molecular hydrogen, immediately provides patients an advantage in their pursuit for overall wellness.”
What to look for when shopping for hydrogen-rich water
Not all hydrogen products are legitimate. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to the retail distribution of hydrogen-rich water. “Glass and plastic can not and will not contain hydrogen,” explains Gail Levy, CEO of HFactor, a start-up which produces hydrogen-infused water packaged in BPA-free pouches reminiscent of Capri Sun. Levy was first introduced to concept of hydrogen-rich water while she was researching alternative pain solutions for her best friend Laurie, who was undergoing treatments at the time for ovarian cancer. Laurie’s unfortunate passing was the inspiration for Levy to relentlessly continue her quest for solutions to ease the pain and inflammation suffered by cancer patients. After consulting with scientists and making a pilgrimage to Japan, who is leading scientific research regarding the benefits of hydrogen consumption, Levy founded HFactor with the intention of creating a hydrogen-rich product that is effective and accessible. “There are two ingredients in HFactor: pure water and pure hydrogen. My motto is, if you can’t pronounce it, you should not be consuming it,” shares Levy.
While scientists continue their research into the hype surrounding hydrogen-rich water, doctors and specialists nationwide continue to back this product. Hydrogen-infused water is GRAS Certified by the FDA and continues to receive an influx of testimonials from patients who will attest to the natural benefits of consumption.