Does Hydrogen Water Bathing help with Muscle Soreness?
It’s that time again, and I am happy to announce another research publication in humans on our hydrogen tablet technology. This study, while being very small (n=6) was a double-blind placebo controlled crossover study utilizing our H2 Relief tablets for bathing to relieve muscle soreness in young, healthy males after high-intensity eccentric exercise. This initial exploratory pilot study found solid and promising results that were in line with the anecdotal reports we hear every day. This area of exploration of the potential benefits of molecular hydrogen is still quite new; however, there was a sampling of corroborating evidence that gave further notion to believe there was plausibility.
To date, there is one study regarding delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after hydrogen water bathing that found significant results on the VAS scale, but there were no significant differences in terms of measured levels of biomarkers1. It is important to consider that in this study, the bath duration was 20 minutes, as opposed to the 30-minute bath included in our recent study using our H2 Relief tablets, and that the concentration of hydrogen in the bath is not declared in the abstract (nor in the full text). I am aware of another study which explored drinking hydrogen rich water for two weeks and found significant differences in levels of some biomarkers and visual analogue scale (VAS) scores (unpublished data from a manuscript in preparation obtained by private communications).
Further, there is evidence that hydrogen bathing can exert beneficial results following soft tissue injury, such as our recent clinical trial on hydrogen baths vs RICE protocol for ankle sprains, a previous trial utilizing oral and topical molecular hydrogen delivery for soft tissue injuries,2 our case study on a grade 2 ankle sprain in a professional soccer player,3 and the body of evidence suggesting that topical hydrogen water can address various skin issues.
I’ve previously written about my experiences with hydrogen water bathing and detailed some of the experiences from others. One of the reasons I actively pursued jump-starting research on the topical front was the overwhelming amount of feedback we have received from the pro athletes we work with. As part of our policy on honest messaging, we never work with athletes before they have been using our products and can honestly and objectively relay positive feedback on observed benefits. We’ve taken note that more often than not, regarding pro athletes, they are most excited about the reduced muscle soreness after the soaks. We also get positive feedback regarding drinking hydrogen water from athletes, particularly regarding its “pick-me-up” effect when they are feeling tired and run down, giving them a bit more “gas in the tank” in later rounds. Nevertheless, the reduced soreness from the baths seems to be the most common benefit reported to us.
This makes sense, as the demands of professional athletes are very different from what may benefit the average person. Drinking hydrogen water is more likely to benefit the average consumer in terms of the promising metabolic improvements, protective benefits, and beneficial effects regarding recovery from sleep deprivation.
Our pilot trial, just published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, found significant differences in VAS scores between participants who took hydrogen water baths and those who did not. VAS is a subjective, but validated, measurement for acute and chronic muscle soreness. Additionally, the results (p=0.02 directly after intervention and p=0.03 at the 24hr follow up), showed significant differences in VAS scores, despite administration of only a single bath, in just 6 participants. Due to the small sample size, only large differences can be statistically significant, showing the potential promise of this intervention.
Additionally, results regarding biomarker levels demonstrated significance in reduction of circulating creatine kinase (CK) (p=0.04). Importantly, the CK levels in the HRW bathing group closely corresponded to the baseline data, while the control group was significantly elevated. CK is a well-established biomarker for post-exercise muscle soreness 4,5,6,7.
The changes in levels of other biomarkers demonstrated weak statistical trends towards significance that may become statistically significant when examined in larger study groups, such as levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of inflammation, as well as lactate dehydrogenase and aspartate transaminase, which had undergone a small reduction in athletes who took hydrogen water baths. In addition, no participants experienced any major side effects of H2 Relief tablets.
I am very interested in examining the levels of these biomarkers in trials utilizing larger study groups, with repeated administration of hydrogen water baths vs. control baths over an extended period of exercise and intervention. It would be interesting and meaningful to explore any compounding results that may occur.
This study was very small and preliminary; however, it is not far out of line with earlier data, and corresponds to anecdotal reports. Professional athletes may be the ones benefiting from hydrogen baths with our product right now; however, any amateur exercise enthusiast and weekend warrior knows the struggles of muscle soreness all too well. Reduction in discomfort is not just for the pro athletes – it is for everyone.
I personally find tremendous benefits of hydrogen water baths for muscle soreness, and aiding in soft tissue injuries. What’s more, as always, with our hydrogen water products, we offer a “no questions asked, first order money back guarantee.” Give it a try and discover the benefits for yourself.