Molecular hydrogen is one of the best bodily protection molecules.
It’s also the smallest molecule in the universe.2,000+ studies have shown molecular hydrogen improves the well-being and performance of healthy users, as well as helps 200+ disease models Click To Tweet
Benefits of hydrogen therapy include improved:
- Disease resilience
- Healthspan & anti-aging
It’s a selective antioxidant, meaning that it only neutralizes molecules bringing the body out of balance.
Yet for some reason, the incredible health uses of hydrogen remain largely unknown outside of advanced science labs.
Only cutting-edge doctors and medical professionals are using this with their patients. To great success.
Best of all, molecular hydrogen therapy is incredibly safe, available at home, and far more affordable than other alternative treatments. So in this guide, we’ll cover everything you should know about H2 therapy for health & performance. From the use cases to the benefits to the different administration options.
What is Molecular Hydrogen
Molecular hydrogen is a special lipid-soluble form of diatomic hydrogen. Hydrogen is the smallest molecule in the universe, and it’s the gas that powers the sun. The hydrogen hypothesis posits this molecule was the key to the creation of eukaryote cells. And it’s relevant to this day. H2’s tiny size grants it unique health-benefiting properties.
While most drugs only target one particular organ or pathway, hydrogen is effective in every organ and system throughout the body.
Normally, the microbiome helped humans get adequate hydrogen through digesting food. Indeed, our intestinal flora produces gallons of hydrogen gas per day. Yet it’s not enough for therapeutic purposes. Especially considering that most people don’t digest and assimilate properly. Poor digestion equals poor hydrogen utilization. That’s why I generally recommend folks start by following these tips to biohack their gut microbiome.
Hydrogen has tons of applications. The energy industry has studied it because MH is 3X more energy dense than gasoline.
But today we are focusing on the health benefits. There are several things that make H2 special:
- If levels ever get too high, we simply exhale excess through the breath
- Supplementing it bypasses digestion and ensures adequate levels
- It scavenges damaging free radicals like hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite without interfering with beneficial signaling free radicals like nitric oxide and superoxide
Overall, making hydrogen an excellent adjunctive therapy.
The science behind how molecular hydrogen therapy works
Molecular hydrogen appears to benefit most tissues and organs throughout the body. This novel molecule works through many different mechanisms.
So far, over 2,000 studies have investigated this molecule.
Some of molecular hydrogen’s core mechanisms of action include:
- NRF2 pathway activation
- WNT pathway regulation
- Reactive oxygen species (ROS) selective neutralization
- NOX enzyme and iNOS downregulation (and improves eNOS)
- Cellular redox status improvements
- Epigenetic modulation and protection
- Fasting mimetic
- PGC-1a activation
- Heat shock protein (HSP) induction
And a whole lot more.
Basically, molecular hydrogen is anti-inflammatory, a genetic regulator, a cell signaling enhancer, and a selective antioxidant.
It also brings each of the mechanisms back into proper balance.
We generally think more or less of something is always better. But that’s not the case.
This therapy works well because it blunts excess oxidative stress (which underlies just about every degenerative disease). This is one of the primary hallmarks of aging. Improving this balance (redox) is protective against many diseases of aging.
Oxidation isn’t all bad.
On the other hand, insufficient oxidation, for example, can lead to more misfolded proteins.
NRF2 is the body’s master endogenous antioxidant pathways. Toxins can downregulate this system and make us susceptible to further damage.
The strongest activators of NRF2 aren’t always better. Overactivation of NRF2 is also a problem. For example, cancer is a potent NRF2 activator. Studies show that NRF2 rebalancing is a core mechanism behind H2’s benefits.H2 is the adaptogenic regulator of cellular energy balance Click To Tweet
Best of all, the further you’re away from homeostasis, the more benefits you’ll find in H2 therapy.
Top Benefits of Molecular Hydrogen Therapy
With every passing week, researchers discover new benefits and use cases of molecular hydrogen therapy.
At the same time, the new data often strengthens the previously known benefits.
Every tissue and organ system studied appears positively impacted.
Overall, H2 acts like a super protectant for the body.
To summarize the health & performance benefits of molecular hydrogen:
- Athleticism & aerobic capacity
- Workout recovery & muscle soreness
- Weight management & hormones
- Longevity & anti-aging
- Energy & alertness
- Metabolism & mitochondria
And resilience against a wide variety of chronic and degenerative diseases.
H2 appears especially beneficial against any oxidative stressors or therapies.
Let’s dig in.
Athletic performance & recovery
Athletes and sports pros were among the first healthy folks to begin regularly using molecular hydrogen. Although most still haven’t heard of hydrogen therapy, it shows some impressive ergogenic benefits.
Essentially because: better aerobic respiration —> less lactate protection —> less exercise-induced fatigue.
Athletes generally make bad decisions and their performance declines as their heart rate increases. H2 maintains smart decisions by keeping their HR lower.
Other research found that hydrogen-rich water (HRW) reduced perceived effort, oxygen utilization, and blood lactate.
Muscle soreness & workout recovery
Long-term elite performance requires elite recovery. While hydrogen delivers direct performance benefits, it also optimizes this side of the equation.
Extreme muscle soreness not only interferes with training but can also indicate excess muscle damage. H2 can help. It reduces exercise-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, and cellular stress.
The net impact is accelerated recovery and less soreness without interfering with beneficial training stimuli.
Metabolic health & mitochondria
Metabolic function is one of the best indicators of overall health. Therapeutics that improve this complicated system generally have profound systemic effects.
Tyler LeBaron explains some of the mechanisms behind H2 benefitting the metabolism.
First, it increases PGC-1a. This is an important protein responsible for the creation of new mitochondria. Which impacts energy expenditure, weight loss, energy generation, and performance.
Other research shows it improves various parameters of metabolic health:
Molecular hydrogen also mimics one of the fasting pathways. A study showed that hydrogen-rich water had the same effect as 20% caloric restriction (but without suffering).
Hydrogen also controls appetite by mediating the production of hunger hormones like ghrelin.
Overall, this research suggests molecular hydrogen protects against metabolic dysfunction as well as alleviates symptoms.
Organ health & anti-disease
MH has become famous for its broad-spectrum organ protection and support.
Research has already validated it in both human and animal models against 200+ disease models.
I’d imagine that the dominant mechanism underlying its myriad defense is the redox rebalancing and improving cellular signaling throughout the body and mind. Since it’s so small, it can easily enter cells.
So far, molecular hydrogen shows potential to improve:
- Lung health
- Skin health
- Gut health
- Microbiome balance
- Metabolic health
- Immune health
- Liver health
- Brain health
- Cardiovascular health
And much more.
Making it one of the original, low-risk body protection compounds.
Cognition & neuroprotection
Among the first discoveries, researchers noted that molecular hydrogen improves brain health, performance, and neuroprotection. This is also one area that’s receiving significant attention.
There’s research supporting its brain protection, injury recovery acceleration, and anti-dementia benefits.
This 2021 review remarked, “Further, H2 is easy to use and has neuroprotective effects with no major side effects, indicating that H2 administration is a potential therapeutic strategy in clinical settings.”
A recent April 2023 paper called Molecular Hydrogen: an Emerging Therapeutic Medical Gas for Brain Disorders explained,
“Due to its excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, hydrogen therapy via different routes of administration exhibits great therapeutic potential for a wide range of brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury, ischemic stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.”
It also appears beneficial when applied post-injury,
“We also present evidence that, following ischemia, hydrogen improves cognitive and neurological deficits and prevents or delays the onset of neurodegenerative changes in the brain. The available evidence suggests that molecular hydrogen has neuroprotective properties and may be a new therapeutic agent in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as neurodegeneration following cerebral ischemia with progressive dementia. We also present the experimental and clinical evidence for the efficacy and safety of hydrogen use after cerebral ischemia.”Molecular Hydrogen Neuroprotection in Post-Ischemic Neurodegeneration in the Form of Alzheimer’s Disease Proteinopathy: Underlying Mechanisms and Potential for Clinical Implementation-Fantasy or Reality?
One review particularly stood out,
“Although most neurological disorders are currently incurable, these studies suggest the clinical potential of H2 administration for their prevention, treatment, and mitigation.”Molecular Hydrogen as a Neuroprotective Agent
There are few studies on H2 directly improving cognition as nootropics do.
Hypothetically, protecting neurons against oxidative damage would reduce inflammation and facilitate the transfer of information.
Secondly, it likely increases resilience to stress. Stress is one of the chief blocks of sustained peak performance.
MH would likely also protect against the performance decline associated with poor sleep or the buildup of toxic metabolites (which are also inevitably formed as a byproduct of the energy generation process).
Radiation & EMF protection
There’s an abundance of research into how molecular hydrogen benefits radiation exposure. Both ionizing (X-ray, nuclear fallout, etc) and non-ionizing (cellphones, WiFi, etc).
In fact, one 2022 paper even suggested the MH protects against the damage caused by a weapon designed to destroy all electronic systems within its radius (called electromagnetic pulses or EMPs for short).
Most of the ionizing radiation-induced damage is caused by hydroxyl radicals (OH) from radiolysis of H2O. Since hydrogen can mitigate such damage through multiple mechanisms, it presents noteworthy potential as a novel radio-protective agent.Molecular hydrogen: A potential radioprotective agent
Then, in 2021, this study elucidated some of the mechanisms,
“Animal experiments and clinical trials have reported that H2 exhibits a highly safe radioprotective effect. This paper reviews previously reported radioprotective effects of H2 and discusses the mechanisms of H2, not only as an antioxidant, but also in intracellular responses including anti-inflammation, anti-apoptosis, and the regulation of gene expression. In doing so, we demonstrate the prospects of H2 as a novel and clinically applicable radioprotective agent.”Molecular Hydrogen as a Potential Clinically Applicable Radioprotective Agent
Another recent study concluded,
“Irradiation of the rats caused a significant increase in lipid peroxidation, which was mitigated by pre-treatment of the animals with molecular hydrogen.”Molecular hydrogen: potential in mitigating oxidative-stress-induced radiation injury
Basically indicating that hydrogen before exposure fortifies the body’s defenses and shields intracellular fats.
Longevity & anti-aging
Perhaps the most famous and interesting of all. Around the internet, molecular hydrogen is making the list of top longevity supplements. It’s the (selective) antioxidant that researchers sought for decades. And a lot more.
Molecular hydrogen’s true anti-aging benefits likely stem from its pleiotropic electromagnetobiochemical effects:
- Mitochondrial improvements
- DNA damage reduction & genomic stability
- Cellular senescence mitigation
- Systemic organ protection
- AMPK/mTOR regulation
Essentially, H2 promotes cellular regeneration on many levels.
Then we have my favorite investigations that link increased H2 to slower biological aging.
The 2022 study called Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Ageing and Ageing-Related Diseases showed how it improves most of the hallmarks of aging,
“It has antioxidative properties as it directly neutralizes hydroxyl radicals and reduces peroxynitrite level. It also activates Nrf2 and HO-1, which regulate many antioxidant enzymes and proteasomes. Through its antioxidative effect, hydrogen maintains genomic stability, mitigates cellular senescence, and takes part in histone modification, telomere maintenance, and proteostasis. In addition, hydrogen may prevent inflammation and regulate the nutrient-sensing mTOR system, autophagy, apoptosis, and mitochondria, which are all factors related to ageing. Hydrogen can also be used for prevention and treatment of various ageing-related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, and cancer.”
This is huge news and will usher in new research focused on the anti-aging potential of hydrogen.
One thing that the study didn’t mention is the aging hallmark of epigenetics. Luckily, a randomized controlled trial did,
“A strong trend for treatment vs. time interaction was found for a degree of DNA methylation (P = 0.166), with the methylation increased in the HRW group (from 120.6 ± 39.8 ng at baseline to 126.6 ± 33.8 ng at follow up) and decreased after taking control water (from 133.6 ± 52.9 ng to 121.2 ± 38.4 ng).”The effects of 6-month hydrogen-rich water intake on molecular and phenotypic biomarkers of aging in older adults aged 70 years and over: A randomized controlled pilot trial
Methylation is the body’s ability to switch off genes in response to lifestyle. Hydrogen-rich water improving that function satisfies yet another hallmark of aging.
How to Use
Now that we’ve covered the background and benefits, you may wonder how to actually use hydrogen.
It’s fairly simple once you understand the basics.
We’ll want to note a few things:
- Best ways to administer it
- Optimal protocols
We’ll start with the different ways of using H2.
Methods of Administration for Molecular Hydrogen Therapy
There are three common ways to administer molecular hydrogen (and several less common).
The three best (in order) are:
- Inhaling hydrogen gas
- Consuming hydrogen water
- Topically applying hydrogen water or gas
The first and second options are the majority by a landslide.
Some people also use hydrogen gas topically, but that’s less common.
Inhalation is ideal because you can get the same dose as drinking water in just ~10-20 seconds. And you can inhale for as long as you want, for extremely cheap (basically just electricity cost). The tradeoff is the high upfront cost of the machine.
Most machines also generate water you can drink.
It’s essential to find a high-quality, third-party-tested machine to ensure you’re not accidentally inhaling toxic byproducts like chlorine. Toxic byproducts can form when contaminants in water mix with low-quality, corroding electrodes. Also, note that hydrogen is HIGHLY explosive. Smart manufacturers build in all kinds of safeguards to protect you.
H2 tablets are a super cheap, portable, and convenient way to add molecular hydrogen into your routine. Tablets just dissolve in water and then you immediately drink them. They vary drastically in potency and cost, but tablets get expensive if you use them regularly.
Topical hydrogen is generated from one of the two above methods, but instead of consuming/inhaling it, you apply it to the body. Delivering molecular hydrogen directly to the skin is ideal for skin health & disorders and beauty purposes.
Most folks prefer to start with any of these top molecular hydrogen tablets and then buy a machine once they’ve experienced the benefits for themselves.
Hydrogen dosing gets tricky.
There’s a lot of deception around these products.
Years ago, Japanese regulators found 17 of the 19 products tested either contained zero dissolved hydrogen or didn’t meet the therapeutic minimum.
That’s why I only recommend several approved vendors.
You’ll see dosages measured in parts per million (PPM), milligrams (mg), or milligrams per liter (mg/L). Inhalation is even more complicated.
For H2 tablets, PPM is the most common unit of measurement. Higher is better (more potent). But PPM fails to convey concentration.Concentration of the total dissolved molecular hydrogen is the key variable Click To Tweet
1 PPM = 1 mg/L when dissolved in 1L of water.
The volume of water is the variable that’s manipulated.
Most of the research shows molecular hydrogen dosed at 0.5-1.5mg (up to 5mg) per day is optimal.
This thorough article explains how to properly dose MH.
H2 works best when it’s pulsed/cycled. If you’re dosing multiple times per day, it’s best to space it out.
Note that first-time users should test it in the morning because hydrogen sometimes has an energizing effect.
You’ll also want to consider how to best use H2.
If you have an acute exposure upcoming (flying, CAT scan, MRI, nuclear radiation exposure, etc), Tyler LeBaron recommends pre-treating starting full three days in advance.
That’s how you maximally saturate your tissues and induce the greatest possible protection.
I’m a big fan of hydrogen and use it daily. I’ve done so for years and will continue.
For over two years, I thoroughly researched and evaluated several molecular hydrogen machines. Yet I never pulled the trigger.
Then I came across shocking research on a special form of molecular hydrogen. It’s called Brown’s Gas, and it’s the ultimate H2 upgrade.
Brown’s Gas is naturally rich in molecular hydrogen but also contains other powerful constituents. Compounds within the gas (and water) make it far more therapeutic at the same or even lower doses.
I’ve recorded several interviews with one of the world’s leading experts on the science of Brown’s Gas and molecular hydrogen where he highlighted and simplified the key takeaways.
The two that stood out most to me:
- Just 12-seconds of inhalation via a quality BG machine provides the same H2 as a typical tablet (plus additional therapeutic benefits)
- A recent study of BG found it provided more benefit than pure H2 gas in considerably lower doses
This is certainly a few leagues above H2 tablets or the hydrogen water/gas generator machines.
Learn why I now own two units and use them daily in my Ultimate Brown’s Gas Machine Review.
Molecular Hydrogen Questions & Answers
Is molecular hydrogen safe?
Clinical trials show that hydrogen therapy is both safe and effective for both healthy and sick users.
What are the side effects of molecular hydrogen?
There are currently no known side effects of molecular hydrogen.
Molecular Hydrogen Therapy: “Bulletproof” Full-Body Protection?
Like peptides, molecular hydrogen therapy is becoming quite popular due to the fantastic results users enjoy, paired with its incredible safety profile.
Molecular hydrogen is one of the safest substances available.
It’s so small that it easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier and makes its way to protect sub-cellular components.
This interesting molecule seems to fortify the body’s built-in resilience and protective mechanisms.If it was patentable, H2 would be a multi-billion-dollar drug Click To Tweet
MH is an invaluable supplement in any health, performance, and longevity stack.
Elite athletes use it to recover faster and bounce back from injuries (and especially to help mitigate TBI). The elderly use it to maintain their vitality and vigor. Every day folks use it to protect against some of the ravages of modern living.Molecular hydrogen is the Molecule of Homeostasis Click To Tweet
Best of all, we know it works for all kinds of things, and at the same time, don’t even know exactly how,
“Two enigmas, however, remain to be solved. First, no dose-response effect is observed. Rodents and humans are able to take a small amount of hydrogen by drinking hydrogen-rich water, but marked effects are observed. Second, intestinal bacteria in humans and rodents produce a large amount of hydrogen, but an addition of a small amount of hydrogen exhibits marked effects.”Molecular hydrogen as an emerging therapeutic medical gas for neurodegenerative and other diseases
Though I am a huge fan of MH, most of the time I’m using its therapeutic relative, Brown’s Gas. I get just as much H2 and tons of other beneficial biomolecules.
Do you use molecular hydrogen therapy? Let me know your experience in the comments below and let’s make this a conversation!