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What is Hydrogen Water?

The concept of utilizing molecular hydrogen water is so innovative that the mainstream is just now catching on. This influx of interest presents the challenge of “where to start” in unpacking all of the research and benefits associated with hydrogen water.

Many people wonder,

  • “Exactly, what is hydrogen water?”
  • “What are the benefits of hydrogen water?”

Further confusing many, the exact wording on what hydrogen water is called often changes from research group to research group, or company to company. Common ways to refer to hydrogen water include hydrogen-rich water (HRW), hydrogen-infused water, molecular hydrogen water, and sometimes even hydrogenated water; although, in the case of hydrogenated water, the term is not accurate as the water has not been “hydrogenated”. Additionally, many groups talk about “hydrogen therapy” or “hydrogen-rich therapy”, which includes both hydrogen water as well as other ways to administer hydrogen gas, such as hydrogen inhalation.

The conscientious want to see reputable scientific research, and the inquisitive few who’ve done their research want to know how our hydrogen water technology stacks up against other methods of delivering hydrogen water.

We designed this “Discover Hydrogen Water” page with all of these questions in mind.

Below is a comprehensive guide to help you understand hydrogen water, its benefits, the findings from clinical research, and also the research specifically being done utilizing our hydrogen water tablet technology.

No other commercial entity has compiled more data on hydrogen water supported by clinical research. We invite you to explore our updated list of human clinical research, which is among the most comprehensive in the world.

If you are confused about what exactly hydrogen water is, you will find answers to the most common questions below. We are excited to provide the information you need to truly discover hydrogen and understand how hydrogen water could benefit your health and the health of your loved ones.

Hydrogen Water Benefits, Simplified

Are you looking to get a basic grasp on what molecular hydrogen does inside our bodies and how it optimizes our health, but don’t have the time to take a deep dive into pages of research? The page linked below is a great place to start.

Here we describe how our hydrogen water Drink HRW tablets work to:

  • Protect your body
  • Improve your health
  • Help you recover more rapidly
  • Improve overall athletic performance

We also detail how a daily hydrogen water supplement can combat oxidative stress and assist your body in maintaining a healthy inflammatory response. You’ll also be very interested to read about how hydrogen water compares to NSAIDs in managing inflammation. Molecular hydrogen works in a very different way as compared to most anti-inflammatory drugs, with results that are often superior for overall health; without the nasty side effects.

Molecular Hydrogen Research

Do you have the time to do a deep dive? We have you covered. We’ve compiled a list of all the human trials on molecular hydrogen, the majority of which utilize hydrogen water as the primary delivery method.

We have organized the studies into these categories:

  • Metabolic and Mitochondrial
  • Athletic Performance, Recovery, and Athlete Health
  • Brain Recovery From Acute Injury, Neurological Conditions, and Brain Health
  • Skin
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Dialysis Support
  • Chemo & Radiation Side Effect Reduction
  • Cancer
  • Antioxidant
  • Other

We are happy to provide this resource for you to educate yourself on the incredible findings researchers have observed as they study the effects of hydrogen water in the human body. No need to search in PubMed for hours, it’s all here in one central location!

Hydrogen Water Studies Utilizing Drink HRW

Drink HRW is leading the way in therapeutic hydrogen water technology. We have collected exponentially more data from research teams than any other molecular hydrogen or hydrogen water tech development company. And we are excited about the innovations on the horizon with many more studies underway.

Explore the linked content below to see how researchers have observed Drink HRW to benefit:

  • Metabolic Health
  • Athletic Performance and Recovery
  • Injury and Acute Event Recovery

And also discover the exciting registered clinical trials on Drink HRW’s hydrogen water tablets that are underway.

Comparing Hydrogen Water Technology

With so many different products and technologies on the market that offer a dizzying variance of claims, it can be quite confusing for consumers. We break down the pros and cons of the different hydrogen water technologies currently available for consumers.

Find out below how our open cup hydrogen water tablet delivery compares to other delivery methods like:

  • Swallowed Tablets or Powders
  • “Sealed container” infusions
  • Hydrogen water Powders and Sticks
  • Hydrogen water producing machines
  • Hydrogen inhalation machines

We also explore the differences in Hydrogen ionizers like:

  • Countertop
  • Constant flow
  • Handheld/portable
  • “Natural stone” ionizers

Read how these systems compare to Hydrogen Machines, designed to be either batch or constant flow hydrogen water systems.

We also discuss the burgeoning market of Ready to Drink Hydrogen Water in pouches and cans. And lastly, we unpack how all these hydrogen water delivery methods compare to the inhalation of molecular hydrogen gas.

Drink HRW Hydrogen Water Tablet Technology

Learn how our open cup hydrogen tablets work, and see the reports on our claimed levels. No smoke and mirrors here, just thorough engineering and science!
Through the link below you’ll find:

  • The gas chromatography results on our hydrogen water tablets.
  • The report from the lab responsible for the International Hydrogen Standards Association (IHSA) testing in North America.
  • Our IHSA certification
  • How Drink HRW’s hydrogen bubbles stay in the water
  • How Drink HRW achieves therapeutic levels of hydrogen water with our open-cup delivery system.

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Got a question?

For most, the concept of hydrogen water is brand new, and as such, they’d expect only a brief history. In reality, the “water” in hydrogen water is simply the delivery method for the hydrogen gas. For a proper history, we need to dive into hydrogen therapy; and as we dive into hydrogen therapy, the history leads us back to the beginning of our planet, even the universe. So let’s take a walk back in history; through reverse.

“If God did create the world by a word, the word would have been hydrogen.”

Harold Shapley, Head of the Harvard College Observatory (1921-1952)

Hydrogen water is only now starting to gain some mainstream attention. The first clinical trials utilizing hydrogen water began just over a decade ago, shortly after a seminal article was published in Nature Medicinei demonstrating that molecular hydrogen has antioxidant left effects; although a single article was published in Science back in 1975 demonstrating beneficial effects of hydrogen gasii. So the research dates back several decades. For most of the last 10+ years, both the research on hydrogen water and the commercial market have been largely based out of Japan. This is not by accident, as another technology that has been widely popular in Japan for decades, water ionizers, were was working as the first “hydrogen water” machines all along, despite them not realizing it was the sole health benefit of their machines.

Brief History of Water Ionizers

Water ionizers were first invented in the early 1900s, with Japanese research on electrolyzed water first taking place in 1931. The devices gained popularity in the 1950s, as they began to gain followers claiming they had “healing effects.” In 1962, two separate companies applied to have their ionizer machines classified as medical devices. However, according to information available at the Molecular Hydrogen Institute, this designation had more to do with the need to add calcium lactate to a solution in order to produce the alkaline water, due to insufficient mineral content in the source water the manufacturers desired at the time. For more on why these machines would need to add extra minerals before electrolysis, see our article “Comparing Hydrogen Water and Gas Technologies.” For more on the false and pseudoscientific claims perpetuated largely by the water ionizer industry, see our article debunking the claims.

Before We Knew Hydrogen Gas Was Therapeutic

The accidental use of the combination magnesium and hydrogen therapy dates back decades before the water ionizer industry accidentally stumbled across hydrogen water (without knowing it until circa 2010). This accidental utilization came in the way of magnesium implants that reacted within the tissue, delivering hydrogen gas and magnesium ions — the same concept as how our hydrogen tablets work in water. The first case report utilizing metallic magnesium implants dates back to 1878, and the use of magnesium metal (by way of alloys) in medical implants is still a field of research today! In fact, one review states that “nearly all patients” benefit from the use of hydrogen-producing magnesium implants.

Before We Existed

As our CEO details through the published hypothesis paper “Evolution, Adaptive Stressors and Molecular Hydrogen,” hydrogen gas, and even hydrogen water, have evolutionary origins. In short (and for a more detailed explanation, please read the linked paper), the “hydrogen hypothesis” posits that our mitochondria evolved from a hydrogen-dependent organism. Further, molecular hydrogen played a critical role in the evolution of our atmosphere, and through this atmosphere, life on our planet. Even the ancient waters tested, deep underground, in modern times have detectable hydrogen gas. The oldest waters ever discovered, over a billion years old, could be termed as “hydrogen water.”

A Message from Our CEO

There’s a dichotomy regarding hydrogen water and skepticism: Those who first hear about it, either health experts or the general population, automatically default to abnormally high levels of skepticism. Because of this, it’s a common trend among those promoting hydrogen water products to default to the belief that the science is being “unfairly attacked.” With 1500+ publications showing a benefit in 170 models across every organ in the mammalian body, including about 100 publications on humans and prominent Phase III clinical trials underway, how could anyone in their right mind ridicule it as pseudoscience and not see it as a promising area of research with potential, and at this point with likely significant benefits? With millions of testimonials across the world and ongoing research from public teams, how can skeptics say it is no better than placebo? How can the average individual default to stating “all water has hydrogen” over and over, when this misconception and lack of understanding is corrected continuously, and the correct explanations are easily available?

Let’s get this straight for all my friends and allies: Skeptics are in the right for questioning hydrogen water for many reasons. First, the onus of proof is on the claimants (us), which we can provide in ample amounts, and have throughout this website. As proponents we need to understand the science on hydrogen therapy, whether it be hydrogen water, inhalation, or saline. We also need to understand how the scientific process works, and formulate factual and logical positions, accurate with the findings, incorporating appropriate reservations regarding limitations and what we do not yet know. Over and over again hydrogen water, and hydrogen therapy, proponents do not do this. They market products, often complete scams or with dosages and concentrations so low they cannot be efficacious, and greatly exaggerate, or misunderstand, the claims and potential benefits. This is why I started the “Hydrogen Water Reviews” and “Hydrogen Water Scams” pages, to root out the bad actors in the industry.

Testimonials Are Not Good Evidence

As I wrote about in my Open Letter Regarding Testimonials, while testimonials are important and need to be considered, and are often the basis of why pilot research begins, they are the lowest form of evidence. Regarding hydrogen water and other hydrogen therapies, the majority of the research is in vitro or in animal models. The human research is predominantly small pilot studies on many indications with little replication work (outside perhaps exercise and metabolic conditions), with some being uncontrolled trials and others case studies. This is changing year by year, and as the trials are becoming larger and more controlled, with better dosing regimens, the results have actually been trending stronger. This is important. If it was just “noise,” the larger and more controlled studies would be showing negative results, but they aren’t. They are overwhelmingly becoming more significant. Each year it is more apparent molecular hydrogen therapy, most prevalently hydrogen water, is exerting beneficial outcomes in many human models. The questions remaining include the following:

  1. When should hydrogen therapy be administered? (as in preventative, in a rescuing manner, for what populations, and what time of day, etc.)
  2. What dosages are ideal?
  3. What administration route is best? (i.e., hydrogen water, hydrogen-rich hydrotherapy, hydrogen saline, hydrogen inhalation, or combinations of any of these)

Literature Reviews vs. Systematic Reviews

While there are many reviews on hydrogen therapy for various targets, they are literature reviews and not systematic reviews. Literature reviews are subjective articles, opinion-based, and designed to give an overview on a subject. Systematic reviews are far more thorough and assess the credibility and merit of each individual study and are done in a manner attempting to remove bias. A full comparison between the differences on literature and systematic reviews can be found here.

While hydrogen therapy research is working its way up the pyramid, it isn’t all the way up. There are a lot of questions we still need to answer and years of clinical research to be done to formulate clear protocols for different situations, if at all.

Reasons for Skeptics to Default to Derision

The next question that often comes up in those convinced of the benefits of hydrogen water is why is the research in this area attacked more fervently than others with far less science? Molecules with a few in vitro articles and even less in rodents, none in humans, are often heralded as “promising” and given a boost in the media, garnering attention and further research, while the mainstream media on hydrogen research has been largely devoid of positive coverage on hydrogen water. The coverage it gets is often that it has “no basis in science” and has “no evidence.” While I could begrudge the situation and lay blame, I’d prefer to dissect the reasoning and pursue solutions regarding education, encouraging discourse with those skeptical.

Why do skeptics default to immediate skepticism and derision? The same reasons I did, the same reason my cofounder Dr. Holland did, and the same reasons many, many others have. As I detail in my “hydrogen tablets origins series,” I knew of the potential of molecular hydrogen for years before I finally became excited about it. I engaged in heated arguments with proponents of ionized water and their illegal and dubious claims. Dr. Holland’s original first email to me stated this:

“I have been designing and synthesizing drugs for over 15 years and have a lot of experience in the requirements needed for a compound to prove its effects in a double blind randomized clinical trial, and this formulation would never pass those requirements. The formulation that you are talking about is pseudo science at best and has absolutely no health benefits other than those experienced by placebo.”

— Dr. Holland, 2015

As many of you know, within a few months he was a partner in the company and excited about hydrogen water research and what we were doing. As he stated in our recorded conversation, he isn’t sure how many patents he has, but the work we did on our hydrogen tablets is one of his proudest achievements.

Most skeptics, or individuals with appropriately developed critical thinking skills, have a formed heuristic regarding “magic water” and immediately dismiss and attack any claims as such. Unfortunately, many proponents of hydrogen water position it as a magical panacea, which it is not, and many others insert other pseudoscientific water-related claims, further muddying the science. I discussed this in my “100 voices” article: What has happened in Korea and Japan and why I decided to private label my technology.

“A desperate situation may arise if a new skill, the efficacy of which is open to doubt, is given a false interpretation by its discoverers.”

— Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a PostCcritical Philosophy

Health Experts and Hydrogen Water Skepticism

Further complicating matters and increasing skepticism is that the first reaction of most educated in biochemistry, physiology, or even chemistry, and engineers trained in gas solubility is that none of this makes sense. Hydrogen gas is inert, and most do not expect it will have any biological effect. This is further exacerbated by the fact it is not particularly soluble in water. In fact, carbon dioxide is over 1000x as soluble! While this would seem to further drive the nail in the coffin of hydrogen water, literature reviews on the topic have noted that hydrogen gas dissolved in water is roughly 100x as effective per dose as inhalation. i As I have noted in a published hypothesis paper, this could have evolutionary explanations. One liter of saturated hydrogen water produces just 1.6mg of molecular hydrogen. While 1.6mg seems like a very small amount, particularly for a gas most deem to be inert, when considering “moles,” 1.6mg of H2 is comparable to 139mg of Vitamin C. Even when considering in milligrams, many molecules have an effect at levels far below 1.6mg. Of course, one of our tablets provides about 4x this amount, and some of the clinical research using our hydrogen tablets administers several tablets per day.

Our hydrogen tablets get further skepticism from engineers, chemists, and physicists for the fact that we deliver several times what is allowable under standard ambient temperature and pressure (SATP), when considering both dissolved and quasi-dissolved gas. We at Drink HRW were even extremely skeptical of what was going on, and our discovery was not a “eureka” moment, but a “that’s funny” moment, in line with one of my favorite quotes from Isaac Asimov:

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'”.

We feel comfortable with our claims, as before we made them, we submitted them to numerous skeptical third parties to falsify, while simultaneously attempting to falsify ourselves. In science, assertions cannot be “proven true,” they simply fail to be “proven false.” After a battery of tests, including thorough gas chromatography, and the attempted attacks from all competitors, what we have done has not been “proven false,” with results replicated through many tests and many third parties. This simply means the results are “likely true,” although with new technology, controls, and testing methods in the future, our position and claims may need to be adjusted based on new evidence.

Even with the knowledge regarding moles, our ability to deliver several times the dosage, and the existing literature, many other issues still exist. Importantly, we do not yet know the exact mechanism of action of hydrogen gas. Meaning, we know many of the pathways it works by, have noted thousands of changes in gene expression, etc., but we do not know how it does this. Even if the hydrogen gas as a form of hormesis hypothesis holds true, we do not know why it is a form of physiological stress, as the safety is so well established, and the dosing is so much lower than even slight narcosis during deep sea diving. My hypothesis paper on evolutionary origins could partly explain this, and I have proposed a trial design to several teams that could further elucidate on molecular hydrogen’s role in our cells. However, as of yet it is just an untested hypothesis.

Complicating this matter further, many of the early, and current, research papers draw conclusions that do not make sense. This often happens, especially in green literature, when researchers do not have an expert appropriate to one area to correct conclusions. For instance, a conclusion based on the data from a medical doctor may seem absurd to a biochemist. What is important is that we do not disregard the data due to erroneous conclusions. We do need to seek correct conclusions and clarifications especially when the prevailing conclusions have yet to be reconciled with other known facts. It is our duty to pursue correct conclusions and drive towards a greater and more coherent understanding of the subject.

“Whenever truth and error are amalgamated in a coherent system of conceptions, the destructive analysis of the system can lead to correct conclusions only when supplemented by new discoveries. But there exists no rule for making fresh discoveries or inventing truer concepts, and hence there can be no rule, either, for avoiding the uncertainty of destructive analysis.”

— Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy

Knowledge is growing at an unfathomable rate. So is pseudo-knowledge. We need to form snap judgements to dismiss ideas that seem inappropriate in order to prioritize what we learn and what we avoid. Often the media seeks quotes from doctors or health specialists who have no background knowledge in hydrogen water, asking these experts for an opinion potential benefits. Since often they have never heard of hydrogen water, and typically have formed heuristics regarding “magic waters”, the tendency is for them to be immediately dismissive of hydrogen water. The overwhelming odds are that they are completely unfamiliar with the research, and as such have to state they are skeptical of any benefits. This has more to do with “lazy journalism” with authors failing to understand that expertise in one area does not necessarily translate to an accurate and trustworthy opinion in another area. Further exacerbating this is the trend of negative articles, so journalists read what their peers have published and enter the subject with a bias.

I do not fault the journalists, or even the experts quoted for this. I do not fault the skeptics for their skepticism. The blame falls solely on the proponents of hydrogen water and gas research that have not been loud enough, coherent enough, and convincing enough. Without education, debate, and attention, there is no way to educate those skeptical to change their opinions.

“This example should stand for many others which teach the same lesson; namely that to deny the feasibility of something that is alleged to have been done or the possibility of an event that is supposed to have been observed, merely because we cannot understand in terms of our hitherto framework how it could have been done or could have happened, may often result in explaining away quite genuine practices or experiences. Yet this method of criticism is indispensable, and without its constant exercise no scientist or technician could keep a steady course among the many spurious observations which he has to set aside unexplained every day.”

— Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy

Conversely, as proponents of the research we need to do our best to reject dubious claims and educate other proponents towards accurate statements. Our allies are in a position to do us more harm than good, running the risk of a “guilt by association” situation. Even claims that seem innocuous can lead to a false perception of the truth, or increase skepticism. Recently, my friend Prof. Ostojic published a paper regarding false claims on hydrogen water. ii He touched on important topics such as unsubstantiated claims made from a medical perspective and products claiming the benefits of H2 that contain no, or below the therapeutic threshold of, Hii . He also touched on something that surprised me and gave me pause to consider my own opinions and reflect on what I have stated before without proof.

In a search of the literature, he found no mention of hydrogen levels in the “miracle spring waters” at sites such as Nordenau and Lourdes. This is something that is heavily referenced in marketing and writing across all proponents of hydrogen water, and I have heard other researchers state it as well. Perhaps there are trace amounts of hydrogen water at these sites, but we need to publish proof of it. It is not preposterous to think there could be. For instance, sampling the oldest water ever discovered in the world (Ontario, Canada estimated to be 1 billion years old) detected dissolved hydrogen gas. iii The onus of proof is on the claimant, and to make even an innocuous claim as such, proof must be provided.

Further, we must do our best to be critical of the research coming out on hydrogen water, to search for errors and flaws. We cannot use every new study as a form of confirmation bias. The more we want something to be true, the more critical of the results we must be. If we are not, those attacking the field will be, and if we have not considered all of the possibilities even if we are right and the results are true, we will not be prepared to debate.

True knowledge leads to true doubt. Experts are not experts in a field because they know everything, they are experts because they understand the limitations and what is not known and realize others have not made it to this realization yet. By using new information as confirmation bias, we risk depriving ourselves from ever obtaining true understanding and true expertise.

Science relies on skepticism to move forward. Without challenges to ideas, it cannot evolve and grow. Without skepticism, both from active researchers on the subject and those outside the field, there is no direction except towards confirmation bias. That outcome is not science, but engineering a result to prove a hypothesis, or pseudoscience. Skeptics make us all better, and we should thank them. Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed. If we want to call hydrogen water real science, we must do likewise and continuously adjust our positions when confronted with new evidence. We must also understand the science behind our positions, so we can work towards adjusting the views of skeptics — the only path towards truth.

While my enthusiasm of hydrogen water is very high, I am much more hesitant to make grand claims than others. The more I understand, the more hesitant I am. For all of you reading, while hydrogen water has great promise and the research is exciting, it has a long way to go. The greater the claims you make, the greater the evidence needed to justify them.

“Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.”

— Christopher Hitchens

Of course, I also argued why we know enough about how hydrogen therapy works. If you want to continue reading, I suggest my article “We Know Enough About How H2 Works.”