Molecular hydrogen. Can it improve deep sleep?

After Nature Medicine published the now well-known study by a group of Japanese scientists [1] describing hydrogen’s selective antioxidation capacity, hydrogen was widely featured in Japanese media who reported potential health benefits of molecular hydrogen for humans. At the same time, many companies including Itoen, a major beverage company in Japan, started marketing their hydrogen products. Already in 2008 Japan had a wide variety of hydrogen water products to choose from. Following a study in 2012 [2] demonstrating decreased complications and improved survival rate from a cardiac arrest among rats, in 2016 hydrogen gas inhalation was approved as a medical intervention for patients who suffered from brain oxygen depletion following a cardiac arrest.

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There are many reasons to love molecular hydrogen. Studies show its benefits both as a therapeutic agent for an acute trauma, such as an agent to reduce risks of complications caused by a cardiac arrest, and a preventive measure to fight daily free radical damages i.e. aging. Unlike other antioxidants such as vitamins and hormones, hydrogen doesn’t work by binding to specific receptors. Rather it gets to the blood stream and organs through diffusion, process by which also other gases such as oxygen get into the body. Molecular hydrogen can cross the blood-brain barrier, as seen in the 2012 study.

Despite an ever-increasing number of scientific evidences showing molecular hydrogen’s benefits, scepticism still exists. In a 2018 survey, approximately 50 % of Japanese responders mentioned hydrogen water when asked which health products they consider questionable. This saddens me, but I can understand such scepticism, because the scientific discoveries do not get translated into consumer products as it should. Not all molecular hydrogen products are created equal, and it is very important to choose a legitimate source that delivers a therapeutic dosage of molecular hydrogen at an affordable price.

Over the years I’ve tried:

· A dozen or so ready-to-drink hydrogen water in various packaging materials. Among them, only one that was tested by an independent 3rd party felt effective at any level. At these times I did not have any self-quantification device such as the Oura ring, so sadly cannot back my finding beyond subjective feeling of well-being

· IV molecular hydrogen. I did IV after a strenuous event such as an intercontinental flight. Afterwards I was able to recover from the jetlag faster and felt less tired. As above I did not have a quantification device, though

· Skincare product. More precisely, this product claimed to produce hydrogen when drops of water were mixed with it. The ingredients contained both magnesium and glycerine known to produce hydrogen, but I did not notice any positive improvements on my skin

· Bath product that claimed to produce ”an equivalent amount of molecular hydrogen as 200 bottles of hydrogen water”. The bathing felt relaxing, but not more than regular bath

· Different brands of molecular hydrogen tablets including Drink HRW the only hydrogen product I have experienced a measurable improvement so far. Tablets can provide a portable, convenient way of taking molecular hydrogen with a little initial cost. Here again, however, not all hydrogen tablets are created equal. Curiously, studies show that an acute high dose of molecular hydrogen is effective, but a continuous hydrogen administration is not, even at the same dose or higher. So, you need to look for tablets that reliably produce a high dose hydrogen in amount of water drinkable at once. Drink HRW’s hydrogen tablets uses a unique gel technology and produces 7.2 mg of hydrogen per tablet, most of which can be retained in the water for a brief period while the water is white with bubbles.

The most noticeable benefit from HRW hydrogen tablets is my deep sleep measured with the Oura ring. I routinely score over 2 hours of REM per night but struggle to get a good amount of deep sleep, which can dip to less than 30 minutes. The morning after my first glass of HRW Rejuvenation, I saw this:

Literally it was my longest deep sleep ever! I couldn’t link the sleep score with the hydrogen water at the previous night though and forgot to take hydrogen tablet for few days. My deep sleep decreased as it used to do for me, and it was then I started to wonder if it was the hydrogen water, the only change introduced to my life at that point.

The screenshot on the right is the one from the night I re-introduced hydrogen water.

Today I make sure not to miss my Drink HRW hydrogen water every night 2-3 hours before sleep. Even the very initial dramatic effect never repeated itself, my deep sleep seems consistently longer.

Please note that this is only my N=1 experiment and my own personal experiences. It is not intended as a claim that hydrogen water would improve the deep sleep, and I’m not aware of any study investigating hydrogen water’s benefits on sleep even though such a study would be very interesting. Until the science catches up, I hope that you find interesting the observations from my personal N=1 experiment.

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