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Plain water is the healthiest choice to keep your body hydrated. However, some beverage companies claim that adding elements like hydrogen to water can enhance health benefits.
This article reviews hydrogen water and its purported health effects to help you decide whether it’s a smart choice.
Hydrogen water is simply pure water with extra hydrogen molecules added to it.
Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas that binds to other elements like oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon to form various compounds, including table sugar and water (1Trusted Source).
Water molecules consist of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, but some assert that infusing water with additional hydrogen produces benefits that plain water cannot deliver.
It’s thought that the body can’t effectively absorb the hydrogen in plain water, as it’s bound to oxygen.
Certain companies claim that when extra hydrogen is added, these hydrogen molecules are “free” and more accessible to your body.
The product is made by infusing hydrogen gas into pure water before packing it into cans or pouches.
Hydrogen water can be pricey — with one popular company selling a 30-pack of 8-ounce (240-ml) cans for $90 and suggesting consumers drink at least three cans per day.
Additionally, hydrogen tablets meant to be added to plain or carbonated water are sold online and in health food stores.
Hydrogen water machines can also be purchased by those wanting to make it at home.
Hydrogen water is marketed to decrease inflammation, boost athletic performance, and even slow your aging process.
However, research in this area is limited, which is why many health experts are skeptical of its supposed benefits.
SUMMARY Hydrogen water is pure water infused with extra hydrogen molecules. It can be purchased in pouches and cans or made at home using special machines.
May Provide Antioxidant Benefits
Molecular hydrogen fights free radicals in your body and protects your cells from the effects of oxidative stress (3Trusted Source).
In an eight-week study in 49 people receiving radiation therapy for liver cancer, half the participants were instructed to drink 51–68 ounces (1,500–2,000 ml) of hydrogen-enriched water per day.
At the end of the trial, those who consumed the hydrogen water experienced decreased levels of hydroperoxide — a marker of oxidative stress — and maintained greater antioxidant activity after radiation treatment than the control group (4Trusted Source).
However, a recent four-week study in 26 healthy people demonstrated that drinking 20 ounces (600 ml) of hydrogen-rich water per day did not decrease markers of oxidative stress, such as hydroperoxide, compared to a placebo group (5Trusted Source).
More studies are needed to confirm if drinking hydrogen decreases the effects of oxidative stress in both healthy people and those with chronic conditions.
May Benefit Those With Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by high blood sugar, increased triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, and excess belly fat.
Chronic inflammation is suspected to be a contributing factor (6Trusted Source).
Some research shows that hydrogen water may be effective at reducing markers of oxidative stress and improving risk factors related to metabolic syndrome.
One 10-week study instructed 20 people with signs of metabolic syndrome to drink 30–34 ounces (0.9–1 liter) of hydrogen-enriched water per day.
At the end of the trial, participants experienced significant reductions in “bad” LDL and total cholesterol, increases in “good” HDL cholesterol, greater antioxidant activity, and reduced levels of inflammatory markers, such as TNF-α (7Trusted Source).
May Benefit Athletes
Many companies promote hydrogen water as a natural way to enhance athletic performance.
The product may benefit athletes by reducing inflammation and slowing the accumulation of lactate in the blood, which is a sign of muscle fatigue (8Trusted Source).
A study in ten male soccer players found that athletes who drank 51 ounces (1,500 ml) of hydrogen-enriched water experienced lower levels of blood lactate and decreased muscle fatigue after exercise compared to a placebo group (9Trusted Source).
Another small two-week study in eight male cyclists demonstrated that the men who consumed 68 ounces (2 liters) of hydrogen-enriched water daily had greater power output during sprinting exercises than those who drank regular water (10Trusted Source).
However, this is a relatively new area of research, and more studies are needed to fully understand how drinking hydrogen-enriched water may benefit athletes.
SUMMARY Some studies suggest that drinking hydrogen water may decrease the effects of oxidative stress, improve metabolic syndrome, and boost athletic performance.