Unveiling Hydrogen Water: Benefits, Science, and Cynicism

Written by: Natalie Louise Burrows


Healf Journal

The name could understandably confuse you. After all, water already has hydrogen! H2O stands for 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. So what is hydrogen water? And does more H’s on your H2O make water better?

In recent years, hydrogen water has emerged as a trendy beverage, touted for its potential health benefits and antioxidant properties. As interest in alternative wellness practices grows so does curiosity about the science behind hydrogen-infused water and the validity of its claims. After all, we want to spend our hard-earned money in the right places.

Natalie Louise Burrows, Registered Nutritional Therapist and Clinic Director of Integral Wellness, a nutrition and health clinic specialising in CardioMetabolic Health, dives into this new water craze.

What is Hydrogen Water?

Before we dive into the potential benefits and what the science says, it’s worth answering the question - what actually is hydrogen water? Simply put, hydrogen water is water that has been infused with molecular hydrogen (H2). This can be achieved through various methods, but the most common is electrolysis, where water is split into hydrogen and oxygen through an electrical charge.

When an electric current is passed through water, oxygen appears at positive anodes and hydrogen is released from the negative cathodes and 2x more hydrogen is produced than oxygen. Water doesn't conduct electricity well, but a proton exchange membrane technology can extract hydrogen from water as the membrane provides the necessary transport between anodes and cathodes.

The results - hydrogen-rich water.

What does more H in our H2O claim to do for our health?

One of the primary claims surrounding hydrogen water is its antioxidant properties. Molecular hydrogen is believed to act as a powerful antioxidant, scavenging harmful free radicals, such as hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite, and reducing oxidative stress. Hydrogen molecules can penetrate cell membranes, cross the blood-brain barrier and reach cellular compartments, where they can exert their antioxidant effects.

And it’s the neurological benefits that are enhancing the hype. Hydrogen’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier gives daily benefits such as energy, alertness and performance.

Studies have indicated that hydrogen water, through this mechanism, may help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammation, oxidative stress-related diseases and ageing, including mood, anxiety and nerve function. There’s evidence for hydrogen use to protect from neurodegenerative brain changes following a traumatic brain injury.

From a metabolic health perspective, which is driven in part by oxidative stress, a small study has shown promising benefits in reducing LDL levels in participants and improve oral glucose tolerance.

Research has also highlighted the benefits of hydrogen water to enhance athletic performance and aid in post-exercise recovery. By neutralising oxidative stress and reducing muscle fatigue, hydrogen water may offer athletes a natural edge in their training and competitions.

However, it's important to note that while many of these studies show positive outcomes, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and the long-term effects of hydrogen water on human health. Not all evidence shows statistical improvements and this may be why some of the jury are still out.

Is Hydrogen Water Healf Certified?

Should we be sceptical or jump on board with more hydrogen in our water?

Despite the growing body of research supporting the benefits of hydrogen water, scepticism and cynicism persist. Critics argue that the evidence supporting its efficacy is limited and that hydrogen water may simply be another overhyped wellness fad. After all, hydrogen is insoluble in water and the parts per million are limited and may not reach your bloodstream.

And while it is essential to approach emerging wellness trends with a critical eye, hydrogen water offers an intriguing glimpse into the potential of molecular hydrogen as a therapeutic agent. Its antioxidant properties and ability to neutralise oxidative stress - an inflammatory driver of many diseases and conditions - have captured a lot of interest and have shown to be worthy of further research.

Will I be trying it? Yes. I’m positively intrigued by free-radical neutralisation and its impact on cholesterol, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Making diet and lifestyle changes aren’t always easy but drinking hydrogen water may be an easy, manageable switch for some that’s worth encouraging.


This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Healf