Molecular hydrogen (H 2 gas) appears to be a biological signaling molecule like nitric oxide (NO*), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) with marked therapeutic potential. Since the selective antioxidant activity of hydrogen was reported in a 2007-Nature Medicine publication, over 600 scientific articles have confirmed hydrogen’s therapeutic effect in 170 different human disease models, and essentially every organ of the human body. Researchers from Loma Linda University reported that hydrogen has therapeutic potential for the top 8 of 10 fatality-causing diseases as listed by the CDC. The Japanese government recently approved H 2 inhalation as a medical procedure for post-cardiac arrest patients. Molecular hydrogen is small, neutral and hydrophobic, which allows it to rapidly diffuse though the blood-brain-barrier, cells, and into the subcellular compartments. H 2 selectively reduces cytotoxic hydroxyl radicals (*OH) and peroxynitrite (ONOO - ) without eliminating the beneficial signaling molecules (e.g. H 2 O 2 , NO*, O 2 2- ). Among other mechanisms, H 2 can stimulate the Nrf2 pathway leading to increased endogenous antioxidants (e.g. glutathione, superoxide dismutase, catalase). The cell-modulating properties of H 2 affords it with anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, anti-apoptotic, and anti-obesity effects. The safety of hydrogen is illustrated by its basal levels in blood and breath from intestinal bacteria. Hydrogen has also been used for decades in deep sea diving to prevent decompression sickness. There are many ways to consume molecular hydrogen including inhalation, H 2 hyperbaric chamber, H 2 -rich saline, and bathing in or drinking H 2 -rich solutions. The high safety profile, ease of use, and therapeutic potential of H 2 warrant further in-depth investigations of H 2 ’s underlying molecular mechanisms, and more well-controlled human clinical trials.
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