Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Development and Aging Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Japan. [email protected]
Persistent oxidative stress is one of the major causes of most lifestyle-related diseases, cancer and the aging process. Acute oxidative stress directly causes serious damage to tissues. Despite the clinical importance of oxidative damage, antioxidants have been of limited therapeutic success. We have proposed that molecular hydrogen (H(2)) has potential as a “novel” antioxidant in preventive and therapeutic applications [Ohsawa et al., Nat Med. 2007: 13; 688-94]. H(2) has a number of advantages as a potential antioxidant: H(2) rapidly diffuses into tissues and cells, and it is mild enough neither to disturb metabolic redox reactions nor to affect reactive oxygen species (ROS) that function in cell signaling, thereby, there should be little adverse effects of consuming H(2). There are several methods to ingest or consume H(2), including inhaling hydrogen gas, drinking H(2)-dissolved water (hydrogen water), taking a hydrogen bath, injecting H(2)- dissolved saline (hydrogen saline), dropping hydrogen saline onto the eye, and increasing the production of intestinal H(2) by bacteria. Since the publication of the first H(2) paper in Nature Medicine in 2007, the biological effects of H(2) have been confirmed by the publication of more than 38 diseases, physiological states and clinical tests in leading biological/medical journals, and several groups have started clinical examinations. Moreover, H(2) shows not only effects against oxidative stress, but also various anti-inflammatory and antiallergic effects. H(2) regulates various gene expressions and protein-phosphorylations, though the molecular mechanisms underlying the marked effects of very small amounts of H(2) remain elusive.
Use of small amounts of hydrogen gas as a therapeutic is one of those things that, if it didn’t really exist, would be laughed out of court. But the effects are real. All the more reason for Pubmed to be publishing the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
The paper that originally proposed hydrogen as therapy is, I believe, this one from 2007 that appeared in Nature Medicine: Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals
Ohsawa I, Ishikawa M, Takahashi K, Watanabe M, Nishimaki K, Yamagata K, Katsura K, Katayama Y, Asoh S, Ohta S.
Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Development and Aging Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, 1-396 Kosugi-cho, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki City 211-8533, Japan.
Acute oxidative stress induced by ischemia-reperfusion or inflammation causes serious damage to tissues, and persistent oxidative stress is accepted as one of the causes of many common diseases including cancer. We show here that hydrogen (H(2)) has potential as an antioxidant in preventive and therapeutic applications. We induced acute oxidative stress in cultured cells by three independent methods. H(2) selectively reduced the hydroxyl radical, the most cytotoxic of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and effectively protected cells; however, H(2) did not react with other ROS, which possess physiological roles. We used an acute rat model in which oxidative stress damage was induced in the brain by focal ischemia and reperfusion. The inhalation of H(2) gas markedly suppressed brain injury by buffering the effects of oxidative stress. Thus H(2) can be used as an effective antioxidant therapy; owing to its ability to rapidly diffuse across membranes, it can reach and react with cytotoxic ROS and thus protect against oxidative damage.