Hydrogen Therapy

By taming free radicals and combating cellular stress, inhaled H2 may offer a pipeline to improved health and well-being.

By Tapp Francke

Inhaled hydrogen is making positive waves as the new “it” therapy on the integrative medicine scene. Why? Because molecular hydrogen (H2) is a potent cellular antioxidant with the capacity to increase the body’s pH and give us energy. Oxidative stress, which can come from both external and internal sources, is the big bad wolf in our current culture. Working too much, not enough downtime, not enough rest, poor food choices, chemical exposures and infections can all contribute to this stress-based energy-sucker. Cellular damage from oxidative stress is a part of the natural process of aging. As the body gets older, it loses the ability to fight as efficiently against these free radicals. Examples of the outward manifestations of this are wrinkles and decreased energy.

Adding additional stress to the natural stress of aging is like adding fuel to the fire. More stress equals more free radicals. Free radicals are the bad guys. Free radicals are un-paired electrons that roam around your body stealing other cell’s electrons. Our cells, like people, naturally want to be paired up. When they are single electrons (free radicals) they seek to find another electron to pair up with in order to stabilize them. What this does to the molecules the free radicals steal from is to destabilize them through a process called oxidation. This process can cause damage to the cell’s proteins, DNA and cellular membranes. This creates systemic inflammation and tissue damage, and is thought to be at the root cause of most diseases. What the inhaled hydrogen does is to bind to those free radicals, satisfying them and rendering them harmless. Like match.com for electrons, the inhaled H2 provides a plethora of easily accessible antioxidants to pair up with the free radicals and make them happy and content. In short, if everyone has a dance partner, no one feels the need to steal someone else’s.

But why hydrogen? Hydrogen is one of the most plentiful elements in the human body. Along with oxygen, nitrogen and carbon, these elements make up 96 percent of a per-son’s constitution. Hydrogen is present in the body mostly in the form of water. H20 is a molecule made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. As water makes up approximately 60 percent of the body, you can see how essential hydrogen is for our basic survival. H2 is particularly well-suited to this particular task because of its unique ability to disseminate through membranes—even through the hard-to-cross blood-brain barrier. What this means is that inhaled H2 can help to reduce oxidative stress damage throughout the body, including the brain.

Inhaled hydrogen therapy usually consists of inhaling the odorless gas through a nasal cannula, which takes half an hour. What the clients in my office report after using this therapy is that they feel happier and more energetic. As H2 can protect your cells against oxidative damage, it can help both chronic and acute causes of cellular stress. Chronic infections, methylation problems and autoimmune diseases all respond well to this helpful tool, as does anyone who experiences external stress from traffic, work, toxic relationships, or—let’s be real—just life. Continued use of this therapy can help to reduce both the internal and external signs of cellular damage and help us all to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Inhaled hydrogen therapy is available at STANDwellness in Water Mill. standwellness.com