Molecular Hydrogen (H2) has already been studied in depth and found to be an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. But what about diabetes and obesity?
The development of type 2 diabetes is linked to increased oxidative stress (free radical damage). A study using diabetic mice found that giving them H2 water improved obesity and diabetes parameters.
Scientists divided mice into two groups; one that received hydrogen rich water, and one group that didn’t. The mice were allowed to eat and drink as much food and water as they wanted.
Ah, what a life!
Long term drinking of hydrogen rich water, which for these mice meant 3 months, controlled fat and body weights, and it also alleviated fatty liver. (Fatty liver, if left untreated, can develop into cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer). There was also an improvement in the levels of blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides; three of the big ones when it comes to the development of metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. The study also found that H2 accumulates in liver glycogen and there was an increase in the levels of FGF21, a liver hormone the enhances use of fatty acids and glucose..
The organs and muscles of the body use glucose as fuel. Carbohydrates, protein and fats need to be converted to glucose to be used. Glycogen is the form in which glucose is stored in both muscles and the liver. From the liver, glycogen can be released to be used as energy by organs and muscles in the body when required. H2 accumulates in liver glycogen stores after being consumed via Hydrogen Rich Water. This means that H2 is available to be used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory when required by the body.
As liver glycogen is the form in which glucose is stored for use by every organ and muscle in the body when required, when glucose is needed by any part of the body, that organ or muscle is also receiving H2. So therefore the body’s antioxidant mechanisms are improved and this decreases the free radical damage to the body. As free radical damage is one of the main contributing factors to the development of diabetes it is thought that this increase in antioxidant functions in the body can impede the development of diabetes. The mice receiving H2 water had lover levels of the molecules that indicate free radical damage; in fact the H2 mice had levels of these molecules that were almost the same as non-diabetic mice.
For weight watchers in general, here’s the big one.
The group of mice drinking hydrogen rich water had less body fat than those drinking normal water. Scientists suggest that this reduction in weight gain is because H2 stimulates energy production and the increase in energy produced means less is stored as fat.
One of the mechanisms they found for this was an increase in the hormone FGF21, which is a hormone released from the liver that enhances the use of fatty acids and glucose for fuel and results in improved insulin sensitivity and glucose clearance. This indicates not only increased energy production and lower fat storage, but also lower levels of blood glucose and triglyceride levels.
To measure energy consumption scientists measure the oxygen an animal inhales and the carbon dioxide it exhales. The difference between the two shows how much energy is being produced. The mice on the Hydrogen rich water produced more energy than the normal water mice; this was with no discernable increase in movement.
For diabetics there is also good news. In diabetic mice, the consumption of Hydrogen Rich Water improved diabetic parameters. We need to be careful in extrapolating from animal studies to humans. However, there have now been numerous human studies showing that H2 can reduce oxidative stress and blood parameters in patients with diabetes. The theory is that drinking hydrogen rich water improves blood parameters and body weight in diabetics and people with insulin resistance by increasing FGF21 and energy consumption. Of course, it warrants further investigation – but if it is true…
Hydrogen rich water can be accessed by a number of methods. An electronic water ionizer will deliver low levels of H2 with the water using electrolysis. A natural water ionizer will deliver up to 4 times the amount at far less cost. A new tablet will deliver even more by dissolving in water. Stay tuned.
- Hepatic FGF21: Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21) A liver hormone the enhances use of fatty acids and glucose.
- Energy Metabolism: The conversion of nutrients into fuel to be used by the body.
- db/db Mice: Mice with diabetes.
- Liver glycogen: Form in which glucose is stored in the liver. It can then be released into the blood stream to supply muscles and organs with energy when required
- Fatty acid: form in which fats circulate in the blood and are stored in the liver.