What if there were one simple and natural thing you could do that, in addition to significantly boosting your athletic performance and shortening your recovery time between workouts, could dramatically improve your long-term health as well? A new scientific breakthrough emphatically answers that question with a resounding YES! In fact, elite athletes – from NFL and NBA stars, to college football players on the nation’s top teams, to well-known fitness professionals are currently experiencing tremendous and comprehensive performance benefits due to this new technology. Read on to find out about how molecular hydrogen (H2) is an absolutely groundbreaking discovery for sports and fitness in addition to total wellness optimization.
In the world of fitness and performance, there is a not-so-quiet revolution going on. Fitness supplements have typically been loaded with chemicals that, while potentially effective for short-term gains, may come at a tremendous cost to one’s long-term health. However, as more and more fitness addicts start to embrace a holistic, health-oriented lifestyle, a new wave of natural products are hitting the market designed to flood the body with molecules that neutralize “oxidative stress,” the primary source of chronic inflammation along with many limitations athletes find themselves combatting – among them fatigue, micro-injuries, burnout, and soreness.
Molecular hydrogen is at the forefront of this revolution, and although you may not have heard much about it yet, H2 is already an absolute phenomenon in Asia and is growing rapidly in popularity in the United States.
What is H2?
Molecular hydrogen is a gas consisting of molecules of two bonded hydrogen atoms. One of the building blocks of life, the hydrogen atom contains only one proton and on electron, making H2 the smallest and lightest molecule on earth.
Referred to by many as “the real fountain of youth,” the most current and credible bodies of research (over 850 peer-reviewed studies) have deemed molecular hydrogen to be a “selective” antioxidant and powerful cell-signaling molecule. At low concentrations (typically infused in water), H2 has repeatedly been shown to exhibit tremendous therapeutic health and performance benefits, and most importantly, has absolutely no negative side effects.
Molecular hydrogen works in 3 main ways:
H2 acts as a selective antioxidant.
That means H2 scavenges only the most toxic and damaging free radicals (sources of inflammation, DNA damage, fatigue, and chronic disease) while avoiding those free radicals which are essential to the body. Thus, H2 effectively works to reduce excessive oxidative stress ONLY under conditions leading to the destruction and damage of our cells. Additionally, as the smallest molecule in the universe, H2 can easily penetrate any cell membrane, including brain cells, neutralizing certain intracellular free radicals that other antioxidants are unable to reach.
H2 naturally boosts the immune system.
For example, H2 activates the NRF2 pathway, the body’s own self-defense system against free radicals, but only when there is an assault (such as a toxin or an injury). In turn, by modulating the expression of antioxidant proteins, H2 naturally boosts the body’s immune system, consequently preventing the onset of numerous diseases and conditions. H2 also has the capacity to reduce the formation of free radicals by down-regulating the NADPH oxidase system when necessary (a system responsible for generating the reactive oxygen species (ROS)).
H2 has beneficial metabolic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cell death properties.
H2 has been shown to successfully regulate the expression of over 200 biomolecules, including over 1,000 variations of gene expression. For example, H2 has been shown to down-regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are involved with promoting systemic inflammation.
So what are some of the specific performance benefits of H2? Let’s focus on two specific benefits.
Improved Muscular Endurance
Before we dig into how molecular hydrogen can powerfully augment performance, we need to first establish some clarity about how muscles get fatigued. For many decades, “lactic acid” has been blamed for the burning sensation and fatigue during intense exercise. If we could only somehow reduce lactic acid, the muscles wouldn’t tire as easily. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, the body does not actually create lactic acid but rather a combination of lactate and hydrogen ions (H+), which happen to be acidic. Lactate is actually a very powerful fuel synthesized through certain processes inside our body. Here’s what really happens from beginning to end, in as simplest terms as possible:
In order for us to do anything, our cells need to somehow produce something called ATP, the “energy currency” used by the entire body, including our muscles. Most of the time this process is “aerobic,” meaning our cells use oxygen to convert nutrients to ATP. However, when the energy (ATP) demands of the body are greater than the ability of our cells to regenerate aerobically, our cells utilize a process called glycolysis.
Essentially our muscles are able to quickly convert glucose (sugar) into pyruvate, which can then be synthesized into ATP. The problem is that this process leaves behind another harmful byproduct – hydrogen ions (H+). An accumulation of hydrogen ions will cause “acidosis,” aka a lowered pH level, which leads to the burning sensation we feel during exercise.
Where does lactate come into the equation? If too much pyruvate is created during intense exercise to the point that the mitochondria cannot convert it quickly enough back to ATP, excess pyruvate will then take some hydrogen ions and convert itself to lactate. This means lactate is actually created through removal of hydrogen ions so without lactate, we would feel the burning sensation along with muscular fatigue FASTER!
What’s more, lactate is quite useful for our muscles, as they can actually convert a good amount of excess lactate to ATP inside the mitochondria while the rest leaks through the blood. This means that if our mitochondria are functioning more effectively, more lactate can be used as energy. Lactate leaked through the blood can be shuttled into other muscles, the heart and brain for energy, or it can be converted back to sugar by the liver. Confused yet? I’m almost there, so stick with me.
Now that we have an understanding that acidosis (from hydrogen ions) is true culprit when it comes to the burning sensation and muscle fatigue, how can molecular hydrogen benefit athletes? In a study conducted with soccer players in 2012, Molecular hydrogen was been shown to prevent metabolic acidosis, protect the mitochondria while helping ATP formation inside the body and convert excess lactate back to ATP, leaving less lactate inside the blood.
The simplest way of saying all this is that H2 may be able to significantly help delay muscle fatigue, allowing you to push harder, go faster, and run longer!
Optimizing your recovery is the holy grail of fitness, and H2 might just be the most powerful tool for recovery ever discovered.
Because of it’s profound effects reducing excessive oxidative damage and inflammation, H2 can help you to get back into the gym or onto the field more quickly. This may also help you prevent and reduce the severity of micro injuries, overtraining, and even help improve recovery from more significant sports injuries.