Sticking to a normal rhythm of drinking hydrogen water – 1-3 cups a day – can have more benefits than you might expect.
A study found that it is linked to improvements in cognitive function and mood, as well as reduced feelings of anxiety and depression.
The study, published last December in the Medical Gas Research, looked at hydrogen water and its effects on the quality of life (QOL) of 26 adults. It measured QOL with psychological questionnaires and autonomic and cognitive function with computer tests, to assess mood, anxiety and cognitive function. The participants had no history of chronic illness, or medication and were all around the age of 34 years old.
Researchers found that – individuals drinking hydrogen water – had decreased anxiety. They also had improved mood and sense of well being, based on computer generated tests and psychological questionnaires. For half of the participants (16) drinking hydrogen water involved chugging 300 mL (roughly 1.3 cups) of .8 to 1.2 ppm of hydrogen water in an aluminum pouch twice per day. For the other half drinking placebo water involved chugging 300 ml of 0 ppm hydrogen for 4 weeks.
Mental health proxies such as mood and anxiety were measured using a mental health questionnaire. Sympathetic activation was measured with electrocardiography and cognitive function via computer test. That participants took the study at baseline 4 weeks into the study and 8 weeks into the study.
Would a higher concentration of hydrogen-rich water have an even more beneficial effect? Considering higher concentrations of H2 have been shown to be more effective than lower concentrations of H2, it’s a reasonable assumption.
It’s becoming increasingly known that H2 is good for health and wellbeing. That’s not a big surprise,” says Dr. Sasaki, medical doctor of medical physiology and share at the Osaka City University Center for Health Science Innovation, and author on the study. “But what’s less well known and what comes out of this work is that a daily routine of drinking hydrogen water cannot only improve physical health but also mental health; improving cognition, mood, anxiety and even motivation.
The findings were found to be consistent even when controlling for a number of influential factors like sex and body mass index,” Sasaki said.
“One of the striking things we found was the consistency in the direction of our association across everything we look at in terms of mental health” Sasaki said.
Hydrogen water eliminates oxidative stress which accumulates in our cells as a result of daily workload, stress and exercise. Oxidative stress has been linked to a variety of neurocognitive and neuropsychology effects like moodiness, anxiety, increased sympathetic function and declined cognitive function. These findings are consistent with research showing hydrogen water improve neuropsychiatric disorders. Another 2017 study found that subjects who drank hydrogen water for 10 days had decreased symptoms of depression.
However, the new study is the first investigation of hydrogen water on HEALTHY individuals, according to Dr. Sasaki. “The present study provided new findings that HRW affect not only physical condition but mental condition such as mood, anxiety and autonomic nerve function.
Previous studies have only looked at hydrogen water’s effects on the neurologically diseased like those with Alzheimer’s and memory loss… However this study is the first to show hydrogen water improves the quality of life in healthy population. In this conclusion is by no means subjective and self-reported, but rather based on objective device base measures,” he added.
Those findings have significant public promise; especially for those living in urban densely populated areas were cognitive and psychiatric function are impaired because of pollution and busy work induced oxidative stress, according to Sasaki.
By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities. We know that living in an urban environment can be noxious to your health because of all the pollution, noise and stressful work can cause your body to suffer from oxidative stress. So we try to find ways to get rid of oxidative burden. Hopefully that will help people to feel more vital, motivated and function sharper. For those who would like to achieve peak cognitive performance and motivation, drinking as little as 4 cups of 1.2 ppm h2 per day has been proven to be enough.
Taking enough H2 every day is important, Sasaki said. But equally important is taking H2 in the morning AND afternoon, so you can feel the cognitive and psychiatric boost around the clock.
The study involved only 16 healthy participants. So we can’t say anything about its impact on people of all backgrounds – education levels, races, and health statuses. And it’s likely to affect people differently, he added.
The researchers also looked exclusively at the effects of only 1.2 ppm hydrogen water meaning the results may or may not apply to elite athletes who have different oxidative loads and total antioxidant status.
If you’re an elite athlete, you’re likely in better psychiatric and cognitive health, so it’s questionable whether lower concentrations of H2 will have significant results… you might need to up the ante with high-dose hydrogen.
But the study adds more credence to the idea that a daily routine of drinking hydrogen water could be an important component to maintain good mental health, according to Sasaki.
“It’s an exciting time for this research because it’s beginning to have some real world application. And from my point of view as a physician, I think it’s probably under recognized how much our mood, anxiety, and cognitive function are impaired from daily hassles of life induce ROS, and how much hydrogen water can help; but it’s an area we are trying to develop.”
Mizuno, K., Sasaki, A. T., Ebisu, K., Tajima, K., Kajimoto, O., Nojima, J., … Watanabe, Y. (2017). Hydrogen-rich water for improvements of mood, anxiety, and autonomic nerve function in daily life. Medical Gas Research, 7(4), 247–255. http://doi.org/10.4103/2045-9912.222448