Molecular hydrogen (H2) has been accepted to be an inert and nonfunctional molecule in our body. We have turned this concept by demonstrating that H2 reacts with strong oxidants such as hydroxyl radical in cells, and proposed its potential for preventive and therapeutic applications. H2 has a number of advantages exhibiting extensive effects: H2 rapidly diffuses into tissues and cells, and it is mild enough neither to disturb metabolic redox reactions nor to affect signaling reactive oxygen species; therefore, there should be no or little adverse effects of H2. There are several methods to ingest or consume H2; inhaling H2 gas, drinking H2-dissolved water (H2-water), injecting H2-dissolved saline (H2-saline), taking an H2 bath, or dropping H2-saline into the eyes. The numerous publications on its biological and medical benefits revealed that H2 reduces oxidative stress not only by direct reactions with strong oxidants, but also indirectly by regulating various gene expressions. Moreover, by regulating the gene expressions, H2 functions as an anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic, and stimulates energy metabolism. In addition to growing evidence obtained by model animal experiments, extensive clinical examinations were performed or are under investigation. Since most drugs specifically act to their targets, H2 seems to differ from conventional pharmaceutical drugs. Owing to its great efficacy and lack of adverse effects, H2 has promising potential for clinical use against many diseases.
I was recently introduced to molecular hydrogen in a webinar endorsed by Quicksilver Scientific (QS). QS sells a product that makes tiny amounts of hydrogen gas when you drop a tablet in a bottle of water. I posed a question to Dr. Chris Kessler, the speaker that night and before long I was off in a new direction investigating this “new” yet well-researched element. Along the way I found these statements which made the topic very personal to me. While I do not claim to understand these mechanisms very well, when I see similar words and phrases repeating themselves in documentation written by those who do understand them I take note.
In Wikipedia I found a discussion of four major hypotheses to explain the profound fatigue after an epileptic seizure. Remember that I do not have epilepsy, per se, yet this literature often explains the symptoms that I experience. [This may answer the questions a family member of mine (retired anesthesiology nurse) recently had when I described being bedridden 12-18 hours per day due to 2-10 hours per day of convulsive episodes. Yes, indeed!] One mechanism that pointed the potential benefit of hydrogen gas in raising seizure thresholds stated the following:
While not an example of active inhibition, acidosis of the blood could aid in ending the seizure and also depress neuron firing following its conclusion. As muscles contract during tonic-clonic seizures they outpace oxygen supplies and go into anaerobic metabolism. With continued contractions under anaerobic conditions, the cells undergo lactic acidosis, or the production of lactic acid as a metabolic byproduct. This acidifies the blood (higher H+ concentration, lower pH), which has many impacts on the brain. For one, “hydrogen ions compete with other ions at the ion channel associated with N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA). This competition may partially attenuate NMDA receptor and channel mediated hyperexcitability after seizures.” It is unlikely that these effects would be long-lasting, but by decreasing the effectiveness of NMDA-type glutamate receptors, high H+ concentrations could increase the threshold needed to excite the cell, inhibiting the seizure and potentially slowing neuronal signaling after the event.
That last sentence was the most intriguing part: suggesting that high concentrations of hydrogen gas could be a mechanism preventing further seizures after an episode. This not only could explain the fatigue but to me raise the possibility of hydrogen ions preventing a reoccurrence altogether?
Now singling out the concept of oxidative stress, it was easy to find research that supports the idea of oxidative stress being a factor in many types of seizure activity. Here is one summary (abstract) of an extensive review article:
Combined, this review highlights pharmacological mechanisms associated with oxidative stress in epileptic seizures and the potential for neuroprotection in epilepsy that targets oxidative stress and is supported by effective antioxidant treatment.
A person can find research to support just about any hypothesis these days. I tend to look for findings published by public/non-profit and not private organizations/companies; review articles that summarize many related studies; topics with lots of published studies in peer-reviewed journals; and of course consistency of themes, mechanisms and findings. Individual studies are best when conducted with larger sample sizes, and whose conclusions state both positive and negative implications of the results. The smaller studies and case histories have some benefits as well when you can see the exact protocols used and I can relate to the characteristics of the subjects. You know, test dummies like “lab rats” and zebra fish . . . NOT! :J
There was one negative implication for me that I found should some upcoming testing implicate the presence of a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). I am battling right lower abdominal pain that has yet to be diagnosed. Gratefully the pain is decreasing with tolerance of addition of an enteric-coated probiotic and bacteriophage version of another pre/probiotic. Good golly this gets complicated! If the release of hydrogen gas (which is found with methane gas in the diagnosis of SIBO) is a bad thing as some suggest then I will need to revisit this whole idea of molecular hydrogen as a treatment intervention. Oh dear, aren’t we talking about a different kind of bad gas here? Not sure yet. Eeeeek!
If my results with this new direction are positive, you’re gonna read about it Gentle Reader! Gratefully a well-known researcher has agreed to assist me as a test-case, beginning with a product that generates molecular hydrogen (MH) via an additive in a bottle of water. I understand that this additive relates to “alkalinity” more than the making of alkaline water, per se. This process is also different from ingestion of hydrogen peroxide which, while touted as beneficial in the epilepsy communities, can be dangerous! If MH balances anti-oxidants and pro-oxidants, modulates gene expression, has the potential to raise the seizure threshold, and has a beneficial impact on ph then those seem like good things to me.
Lord willing, I am going to get well! I will write more later on this subject as I dig a little deeper. And be sure to follow this blog for updates. JJ