Berries, broccoli and brussel sprouts are all good sources of antioxidants and are beneficial for your gut flora. And now according to recent studies, hydrogen gas infused into water may also not only be extremely beneficial for your gut, but very helpful for people suffering from IBD.

Researchers from The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University recently conducted a study, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, how hydrogen, which acts as a novel antioxidant, that has anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and selective properties, could affect the body.

To do so, they experimented with 24 healthy mice, for about 14 days.

For the first week, three-quarters of the group ate dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) – a salt known to cause IBD in animals -, while the other group served as the healthy control.  

For the second week, one group of IBD mice received normal saline (DSS); once in the morning and once at night, while the second group had hydrogen rich water at the same times (DSS+HRW).  The third group had DSS, HRW and ZnPP – an anti-inflammatory inhibitor.

The fourth group, the healthy control, received normal saline.

Scientists collected blood and colon tissue samples which were tested for oxidative stress, inflammation, ER- stress, weight loss and HO-1 expression.  They also measured colonic shortening and wall thickening.

After analyzing the results; they said the DSS + HRW group was protected from colonic shortening and colonic wall thickening in contrast to the DSS group, and DSS + HRW + ZnPP group.  The researchers also noted that they did see a reduction in cellular endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the DSS + HRW group.

They did notice an increase in a metabolic enzyme associated with gut health and a decrease in an inflammatory protein in the blood called TNF-alpha, which has been linked to cancer and depression.

They also noticed a drop in oxidative stress parameters like MDA and MPO which are linked to cellular damage in the colon.  Finally they noticed a reduction in weight loss in the DSS + HRW group.

This study is important because it is the first to show: “HRW can treat IBD, by inhibiting inflammatory factors and oxidative stress,” author Nai-Ying Shen said in a statement.  “Moreover this study verifies the detailed mechanism that inhibits the secretion of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress to alleviate IBD.”

The researchers now hope to further their investigations and promote hydrogen more as a treatment for gut health.  They said hydrogen already has been used in clinical trials for the past 10 years.

Over 62 million people suffer from digestive issues including: “inflammation of the colon, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weakness and weight loss,” lead author Nai-Ying Shen said.  Hydrogen might provide an alternative to “anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressive agents, antibiotics, and probiotics.”

Works Cited

Kim, E. R., & Chang, D. K. (2014). Colorectal cancer in inflammatory bowel disease: The risk, pathogenesis, prevention and diagnosis. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG, 20(29), 9872–9881. http://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v20.i29.9872

Overview of Digestive Diseases. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.endo-world.com/resources/e-learning-patient-education/general-guides/overview-of-digestive-diseases/


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