Hydrogen Water Scam: Fake Hydrogen Tablets
As the popularity of hydrogen infused water, and specifically hydrogen tablets, gains momentum, we will see increasing attempts of copycat brands trying to jump in on the market. There are numerous issues with this regarding hydrogen tablets, and hydrogen water in general, to a lesser extent. Hydrogen water is awfully difficult to make properly, and there are many factors that need to be considered, both in manufacturing and strategy.
As for the hydrogen tablets, it gets even more complicated. Magnesium salts cannot react with water to produce hydrogen gas. I repeat, magnesium salts, such as the ones found in supplements, cannot and will not react with water to create hydrogen gas. This does not seem to sink in for many people, and even for some with science backgrounds. One of the regulatory consulting firms I initially interviewed to build a portfolio in order to obtain New Dietary Ingredients (NDI) status for the hydrogen tablets suggested I use “magnesium citrate instead, as it is pretty reactive.” I halted communication with them on that note. If I recall correctly, the consultant who made this statement had a PhD in a relevant science. To this day, some private labels of mine continue to be baffled by the concept of how the magnesium we use could be different than other magnesium products they sell, despite them being able to test the reaction, and having had it explained countless times.
When individuals with backgrounds in science who are participating in the dialogue pertaining to exactly what is going on have a hard time grasping this (and they shouldn’t), it is no wonder that e-commerce brands that likely employ zero scientists are going to get confused. The first line of garbage copycats will be magnesium-based products that do not react with water to release H2. That is the point in question with HumanX and with another brand I have notified the Federal Trade Commission about, as they are much larger in size.
Even if these brands figure out the right type of magnesium to use, there are inherent risks. The manufacturing process is incredibly dangerous if done improperly. The levels of heavy metals in various grades of magnesium are wide ranging, and the reaction kinetics are incredibly challenging to master. It is incredibly unlikely that another brand will rush to market with a safe and effective hydrogen tablet, even if they figure out what needs to be done to make hydrogen water.
Let’s look at HydrogenX Molecular Hydrogen:
H2 Blue Dissolving Time and Titration
These are important things to note:
The tablet takes 20 minutes to dissolve in warm water.
The solution contains no detectable H2, even in the entire volume of 500ml.
The tablet is white; elemental magnesium turns the tablets grey/silver.
Why You Should Beware
Marketing companies have all sorts of scams. For instance, HumanX likely paid for fake Amazon reviews as they launched. In a matter of a couple of short weeks, they generated over one hundred 5-star reviews on Amazon, followed by two 1-star reviews stating the tablet doesn’t dissolve within 30 minutes:
I do believe this is a case of stupidity and not purposeful deceit, as following the two 1-star reviews, the company opted to remove the product from both Amazon and their website:
Other False Claims
Readers can take note of one ridiculous false claim; the tablet contains hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), which is a binding agent.1 You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT manufacture a tablet without a binding agent. A binding agent, which is always a carbohydrate (either a simple or complex sugar or a fiber), is necessary to hold the other ingredients together. Without a proper binding agent, no matter how much pressure you apply, the powders you are attempting to make into a hard tablet will just crumble back into powder immediately. I cannot fathom how they do not know this, or more accurately, how the manufacturing facility they hired did not advise them of this and reject the label.
I originally believed this to be an intentional hydrogen infused water scam, as this company has added sodium bicarbonate, which will release CO2into the water to make sparkling water and could fool unsuspecting consumers. I was going to send these tablets off to a third-party lab to confirm my findings. However, seeing they have removed the product from the market voluntarily, I am saving my money and chalking it up to ignorance on their part. In my opinion, they showed a facility real hydrogen tablets and asked if they could make them. Moreover, the manufacturer likely had no idea what hydrogen tablets were, and assumed they were regular effervescent tablets to release CO2. The company, HumanX, likewise had no idea what the hydrogen tablets were or how to make them, so they approved the random formula.It’s amusing to me that even in this scenario, their effervescent tablets are trash and don’t work, taking 20–30 minutes to dissolve. Most manufacturing facilities will not attempt to make effervescent tablets, as they are too difficult to produce, and the facility does not employ anyone with the skill to formulate them. The hydrogen tablets are exponentially more complicated to create than typical effervescent tablets intended to release CO2, with virtually no trade knowledge available in the public domain for aspiring manufacturers to even educate themselves and attempt this. I can attest to this, as I invented and formulated the hydrogen tablets and have also been involved in formulating effervescent CO2 tablets to be used as placebos, delivering identical magnesium with similar appearance, dissolve time and appearance of reaction. It took exponentially more work to design the hydrogen tablets, and the normal effervescent tablets were confined to the parameter of matching the hydrogen tablets.
For all would-be consumers: Be wary of hydrogen water scams and look for the “Powered by Drink HRW” logo when in doubt, or for brands that have had me on their podcast.