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Hydrogen and Sports Training

When I first started drinking hydrogen water I was arguably at my peak physical condition. I was cross training across multiple fields once a week, running, both track training and mid distance every week, lifting heavy weights once a week, logging upwards of 9 hours of martial arts training (primarily Brazilian jiu jitsu, and full contact Muay Thai sparring), attending a HIIT workout once a week and training CrossFit 4x a week. I was also recreationally competing in CrossFit, and my free time was typically spent hiking both high grade or leisurely. Suffice it to say, I was pushing my body to the max of what most non-professional athletes can accomplish in a week.

When I first started drinking hydrogen water, I was maintaining this regimen while the grim realization that my osteo arthritis was starting to impact my training. I was taking copious amounts of a prescribed naproxen a day (a non-steroidal anti inflammatory) which was allowing me to continue training and had received a cortisone injection (a steroid shot to reduce inflammation). Both allowed me to continue training at the level I wanted, but neither were long term solutions. I was also taking ice baths and scheduling a cryo sauna at least once a week. Eventually, the NSAIDs caught up with me.

I fainted/collapsed multiple times in a short period (less than 2 weeks), during high intensity training. Apparently, I had developed ulcers, as well as some other gastro intestinal issues. I immediately stopped taking the naproxen, and almost as fast my shoulder completely froze. During this time, I had been drinking water from an ionizer that had promised to be delivering hydrogen. Unfortunately, that was mostly a lie. Agitated I had spent over $4000 on a machine that seemingly provided me with no relief or benefit, I went back to PubMed (a free archive of scientific studies) and started scouring the databases for anything new and emerging that could help me be who I knew I could still be.

At first and somewhat irritatingly, hydrogen kept popping back up. I originally sprung for the machine on the notion of hydrogen being a selective antioxidant, as well as showing some promise in down regulating certain pro inflammatory cytokines. The latter didn’t seem to be working for me. Frustrated, I kept reading the studies and started noticing that the researchers were not preparing hydrogen water using an ionizer, like the acquaintance I bought mine through assured me was the absolute best way to get the highest concentration. I then went about trying to figure out if I was actually getting any hydrogen, and if so, how much?

Just like anything else, the dose is what is important. I found a chemical reagent used in the community and by researchers called H2Blue designed to measure hydrogen, and to my simultaneous anger and excitement, the ionizer I had purchased was retaining none of it in the water! From there I went about figuring out exactly how I was going to get this stuff. Back then, little other methods were commercially available in North America. So I started experiment, obtaining the needed raw materials and venturing down the DIY path- with the help of a PhD chemist I hired to ensure I wasn’t going to harm myself.

As I started experimenting with early hydrogen tablets already on the market and hand pressing my own first prototype tablets, test for H2 and drink, something amazing happened. My shoulder started loosening. At that point I hadn’t been able to put on a jacket or lift my arm above my head for weeks. I had stopped training martial arts and was beginning to seriously over train my legs. Wanting to remove any doubt, I stopped drinking the water and my shoulder began to freeze again. I waited days, and eventually I was back to square one. I then started back up on my routine, while measuring the mobility in my shoulder, and astonishingly I was improving in leaps and bounds after only a few days. My mobility was almost normal after two weeks, with only a dull pain. My other joints that had been stiffening as well at the same time, notably my left hip, also loosened back to almost normal. I was amazed. I started training again, lifting weights with my upper body, and that is when I began to experience something else, something new.

My muscle endurance had shot through the roof. Anyone counting reps in a HIIT circuit pushing themselves to 100% or competing in CrossFit knows how every round your #s fall with fatigue. While drinking the hydrogen water from the tablets I had been hand pressing my first rounds were unchanged, unaffected. My 2nd, 3rd and beyond- now that is a different story. My muscles were holding out way longer, and I wasn’t gasping for air or running hot between rounds. I also stopped getting ‘dizzy spells’ after particularly insane trains, a phenomenon that would require me to either sit at the gym for 20 minutes after a work out or in my car, lest I lose my vision and focus while driving. What I started realizing shortly after was as, if not more, amazing. I wasn’t sore. I’ll repeat that, I wasn’t sore. At least not how I was used to. Most noticeably was in my legs. Any of you reading who are used to a hard train can empathize with leg pain. That deep stiffness that makes looking at stairs cause anxiety, and leaves you tossing and turning at night with that dead feeling. My legs were ‘tired’, but I could get by. Just for that alone I was sold.

Now, years later my age and almost two decades of contact sports have caught up to me. I have arthritis in virtually every joint. A car accident left me with a partially torn rotator cuff and labral tear in the very shoulder I have arthritis in. Nice. A fairly nasty grade 2 calf tear, torn hamstrings, Achilles tendonitis in both legs, plantar fasciitis and a handful of other small ailments round out my damage.

Spelling it out it sounds like I am permanently on the shelf. That said, the high dose hydrogen tablets I have developed help me function. I work out 6 times a week, usually multiple times a day. I installed a Muay Thai ‘banana bag’ on my patio and roll out of bed to do my first hard round to get my heart rate up. Some days I throw 1200+ kicks while throwing too many punches to count. As I write this, I am off to an indoor soccer game on a hard turf. Everything I do aggravates my damage. When I finish my game tonight, I’ll probably be limping so hard people will think they won’t see me for a month.

A bit of hydrogen water, with a hot foot bath with more H2 tablets for good measure, and I’ll be back to normal tomorrow to give my heavy bag some punishment, then off to the gym in the evening to lift some weights. Don’t get me wrong, hydrogen isn’t magic. I can’t punch particularly hard with my left, until I get my surgery anyways, and can’t throw a hook up top. Only light jabs and tight hooks to the body. I can’t lift free weights with my upper body as my left has no stability. But I can train. My pain is low, manageable, and I can sleep at night ( Hydrogen & its effect on sleep )

What does the science say on hydrogen and sports?

Athletic Performance & Recovery

Hydrogen has received a considerable amount of research regarding its benefits for athletes. Studies have focused on decreasing healing time by speeding up healing of soft tissue injury, decreasing inflammation, and plasma viscosity[i], or rather proteins in our blood which coincide with inflammation. Hydrogen also helps by decreasing blood lactate levels leading to increased work completed before fatigue [ii][iii][iv], over all peak performance [v] as well as potentially decreasing time needed for recovery [vi]. Hydrogen has shown to increase work capacity, time to exhaustion and VO2 max[vii], decrease soreness post exercise when administered topically [viii],and regulate our redox to eliminate exercise induced oxidative stress without blunting gains[ix][x][xi]. We have two other planned studies this year to further gather evidence on how hydrogen can be so impactful for athletes, first on recovery from muscle tears, followed by recovery from concussions in the second half of the year.

While I have heard countless reports from others just like me, in awe of how high dose hydrogen has helped their performance and recovery, we acknowledge these are just anecdotes. While the body of science on the subject is growing every year, it is still green. Some have reported they didn’t see an improvement and whether they just weren’t paying attention or hydrogen didn’t actually help them, we don’t know. What we do know is we truly believe in our product and believe it will absolutely help you. We stand by the science and the overwhelming amount of positive feedback, and if you don’t find the tablets have helped you, we will fully refund the price of your bottle. There’s nothing to lose. Order now and allow your body to perform at levels you didn’t think were possible.

[iv] Sergej M. Ostojic & Marko D. Stojanovic Hydrogen-Rich Water Affected Blood Alkalinity in Physically Active Men Research in Sports MedicineVol. 22 , Iss. 1,2014

[v]Da Ponte A, Giovanelli N, Nigris D, Lazzer S. Effects of hydrogen rich water on prolonged intermittent exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2017 Apr 26. DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.06883-9

[vi] P.DridabT.TrivicaC.CasalscS.TrivicdM.StojanovicabS.M.OstojicabIs molecular hydrogen beneficial to enhance post-exercise recovery in female athletes? Science & Sports Volume 31, Issue 4 , September 2016, Pages 207-213

[vii] Ostojic, Sergej, M.; Korovljev, Darinka; Stajer, Valdemar; Javorac, Dejan
8-Days Hydrogen-Rich Water Supplementation Affects Exercise Capacity in Mid-Age Overweight Women: 2942 Board #225 June 1 330 PM - 500 PM
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 5S - p 728–729
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000538402.25953.d2

[viii] Takuji Kawamura 1 ; Yuko Gando ; Masaki Takahashi ; Reira Hara ; Katsuhiko Suzuki ; Isao Muraoka Effects of hydrogen bathing on exercise-induced oxidative stress and delayed-onset muscle soreness Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine 2016;65(3):297-305

[ix] Yue-Peng Sun, Liang Sun Selective protective effect of hydrogen water on free radical injury of athletes after high-intensity exercise. Biomedical Research 2017; 28 (10): 4558-4561 ISSN 0970-938X

[x] Shibayama, Yudai & Takeuchi, Kaito & Dobashi, Shohei & Koyama, Katsuhiro. (2017). Hydrogen-rich Water Modulates Redox Status Repeated Three Consecutive Days Of Strenuous Exercise.: 3298 Board #203 June 2 3. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 49. 941. 10.1249/01.mss.0000519562.97355.a8.

[xi] Nogueira, Jonatas & Passaglia, Patricia & Mota, Clarissa & M. Santos, Bruna & E. Batalhão, Marcelo & C. Carnio, Evelin & G.S. Branco, Luiz. (2018). Molecular hydrogen reduces acute exercise-induced inflammatory and oxidative stress status. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 129. 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2018.09.028.