Hydrogen Tablets Increase Alertness Equivalent to Caffeine
One of the most, if not the most, common anecdote we get regarding hydrogen tablets is a sudden increase in energy when people feel run down. To be more exact, when tired, there is an absence of the tired feeling shortly after consuming the high dose hydrogen water, a quite different sensation to the buzzing energy boost from caffeine or other stimulants. This anecdotal evidence was so frequently repeated we started becoming confident in it as a benefit. However, as always, the hypothesis needed to be tested with scientific methods.
Recently, a paper was published exploring how the tablets compared to 100 mg of caffeine following 24 hours of sleep deprivation, as tested by the standard Attention Network Test, designed to measure alerting, orienting and executive control.i,ii Limitations exist in that the study, while directly comparing the hydrogen tablets vs caffeine, was not placebo controlled, and no biological markers were tested. Still, it included 23 participants and was a crossover design, meaning each participant was measured with either caffeine or hydrogen, and then on a separate date with the other therapy.
Since this was the first article exploring this use of hydrogen water, this design was appropriate in an exploratory manner. Future studies will look for better controls (which we are already advocating), such as proper placebo controls, several experimental and control groups (i.e. placebo/placebo, caffeine/placebo, hydrogen/placebo, hydrogen/caffeine), and testing of various markers to determine physiological changes after each treatment. For now, these results act as an initial support of the most common anecdote we hear.
So, what did the study say? First off, the results determined that high dose hydrogen water produced by our hydrogen tablets were statistically equivalent to 100 mg of caffeine (roughly a cup of coffee), and that both the hydrogen water and caffeine were very significant over baseline measurements. Within the tests and study group, some key differences emerged that may assist in future research. First off, 9 of the 23 subjects responded significantly better to hydrogen water than caffeine, while only a few responded to caffeine better than hydrogen water (the remainder had no statistical difference). Caffeine has a well-known responder effect, and I have hypothesized in recorded talks with hydrogen researchers that molecular hydrogen seems to have a very prominent super responder, responder and non-responder breakdown, as well (to which the researchers seem to agree).
Further, the study showed key differences in the domains of attention that were altered. Caffeine was very effective in alerting whereas hydrogen water had little to no impact. Hydrogen water was very effective in orienting whereas the caffeine had little to no impact, and both were effective in executive control, although caffeine was more effective in this measurement. All in all, hydrogen saw a greater trend towards improvement over baseline, with a smaller standard deviation compared to caffeine. However, the statistical significance between caffeine and hydrogen water was p=0.92, so the two treatments were almost identical in efficacy. These are important findings, and if replicated and expanded on, hydrogen water could be utilized with caffeine for an additive or even synergistic benefit.
You should be asking at this point, is there a rationale for this? First, we need to investigate what happens to us after sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation has shown to disrupt the redox status in our cells due to excess oxidative stress and blunted glutathione production, depletion in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is our cells energy source, and alter epigenetic status.iii I speak regularly about molecular hydrogen’s ability to regulate our redox status via NRF2 activation,iv with human evidence on our tablets for improved redox status.v Hydrogen water has also shown to protect ATP levels after acute events, such as traumatic brain injury.vi Molecular hydrogen has also shown to alter the expression of thousands of genes towards homeostatic function.vii It is important to note that the linked study on sleep deprivation alteration of these metabolic biomarkers were from an acute event, similar to the study utilizing our tablets, and not a result of any cumulative sleep deprivation. From the article:
“Importantly, we found that the metabolic biomarkers were not associated with self-reported or actigraphy measured sleep patterns despite the average sleep time of 6 hours and 10 minutes the week prior to sleep deprivation. This indicates that prior sleep behavior did not have any bearing on the biochemical measures after sleep deprivation. In other words, it was the isolated consequences of overnight total sleep deprivation that influenced the above metabolic and molecular changes, not a combination of accumulated prior sleep behavior and sleep deprivation.”iii
A single night of sleep deprivation has also shown to acutely raise circulating levels of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFa and IL-6, both of which were significantly inhibited in the recent study on metabolic syndrome using our hydrogen tablets.v However, I don’t personally believe 30 minutes post-administration of hydrogen is sufficient enough to alter these levels. Further, a single night of sleep deprivation can lead to a temporary diabetic-like state, creating significant insulin resistance.viii Another recent study using our tablets found an increase in insulin sensitivity, measured by HOMA2 analysis, after 28 days of use.ix
All of this is on top of the existing rodent research regarding molecular hydrogens potential to ameliorate the side effects of sleep apnea.x,xi,xii,xiii Sleep apnea’s symptoms are caused both by decreased oxygen and fragmented sleep. Of course, hydrogen has shown in multiple human studies to benefit oxygen limitations, such as in various stroke models xiv,xv,xvi,xvii as well as the use of hydrogen water to ameliorate pro-inflammatory cytokines in infants in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.xviii Of course, these studies support the other side of sleep apnea by targeting oxygen deprivation and not necessarily sleep deprivation. There are several reasons to suspect that molecular hydrogen could positively impact sleep. Without disclosing confidential information not yet published, some major institutions are looking at hydrogen water, from our hydrogen tablets, to improve sleep quality and aid in ameliorating the side effects in sleep disruption.
Studies using Drink HRW hydrogen tablets are now 6 for 6 in human clinical trials, 2 for 2 in human case studies, and the rodent data we are seeing ahead of publication is also quite fascinating. It may seem like hydrogen waterworks for everything, but I want to assure you, it certainly does not. Every day I respond to emails advising hopeful customers there is no good evidence or rationale for hydrogen water working on what they hope it does. Remember, research is typically only conducted when there is a sound rationale for it to work. This study, while not large enough or controlled well enough to draw firm conclusions, is an important step towards understanding our most common anecdote, namely energy improvements when people are feeling run down. This information, tied to everything else we are learning regarding molecular hydrogen, will be useful to researchers to further explore hydrogen water, how it works and when it should be applied. Importantly, it is studies like this that leads to further success and understanding.
To read the full study, follow the link here.