During the hot (So hot. Unbearably hot. By the hammer of Thor, why is it so hot?) summer, drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential for your health and wellbeing. If you do not consume enough water while having fun out in the blazing summer sun, you risk more than a dry mouth from dehydration.
Dehydration can cause confusion, mood changes, overheating, constipation, kidney stone formation, and, worst of all, shock, a severe condition that causes your vital organs and tissues to shut down for lack of blood supply. In the case of dehydration, your blood basically becomes too thick.
Water is the medium in which all life-sustaining biological processes take place. Water keeps your joints lubricated, your bones and tissues protected, your temperature stable, your skin looking healthy, and wastes from building up in your body.
So, how much water should you drink? It depends. While the general rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, your actual needs will vary based on your age, gender, activity level, and life stage, such as pregnancy.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) currently advises men over the age of 19 to drink about 104 ounces per day and women of the same age range to drink at least 72 ounces. These figures only represent the amount of water adults need to drink. Men and women should actually consume about 125 and 91 ounces of water, respectively. The remaining recommended daily fluid intake should come from what you eat.
And if you exercise, especially in the blistering summer heat, you should probably add about 12 to 20 ounces of water to your daily intake.
While you’re doing your body good by drinking plenty of water, every glass of fluid is an opportunity to potentially protect and boost your health by adding molecular hydrogen, a potent antioxidant.
And if you’re thinking “But doesn’t water already have hydrogen? I mean, H-two-oh, obviously”, you’d be right; however, the hydrogen in water is bound to oxygen, meaning it isn’t readily available in the same way as molecular hydrogen. Let’s explore this fascinating molecule and its potential health benefits.
What is molecular hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the most abundant and lightest element found in the Universe. Molecular hydrogen is simply two hydrogen atoms bonded together to form the gas H2. Due to its small size, molecular hydrogen can quickly penetrate cells and tissues throughout the body, including the highly protective blood brain barrier, allowing it to work within tissues most other pharmaceuticals cannot reach. Additionally, H2 does not interfere with vital metabolic processes or cell signaling, meaning there are generally little to no adverse side effects.
You can ingest or administer molecular hydrogen to reap its many health benefits in various ways, including inhaling H2 gas, injecting H2-dissolved saline, taking an H2 bath, dropping H2-saline in the eyes, or drinking H2-dissolved water. Drinking H2-infused water is the most practical method, of course, and has virtually the same potency as any other route.
What are the health benefits of molecular hydrogen?
Researchers suspect molecular hydrogen has been shown to prevent, reverse, or alleviate a range of conditions due to its possible functions as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic (i.e. prevents cell death), anti-allergic, and energy metabolism booster.
Have we piqued your interest? Well then, here are 3 science-based reasons you should add molecular hydrogen to your water this summer (well, year-round really):
- Molecular hydrogen has been shown to have preventative effects against metabolic syndrome, a cluster of co-occurring conditions (elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the midsection, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels) that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Animal studies have shown H2 stimulates cellular respiration (i.e. energy metabolism, or the conversion of nutrients into the energy-molecule ATP). Through this metabolic boost, molecular hydrogen reduced glucose, insulin, and triglyceride levels, as well as fat and body weight.
- A buildup of lactic acid is thought to be associated with muscle fatigue, though the exact mechanism remains unclear. Molecular hydrogen may interact with lactic acid to help people perform better during strenuous physical activities and recover quicker from exercise.
Young athletes were divided into two groups: one that received placebo water and another that received H2-water. Those that received H2-water were able to maintain peak muscle force for longer periods of time during exercise and had lower levels of lactic acid in their blood. In short, molecular hydrogen appeared to significantly reduce muscle fatigue associated with exercise.
- Speaking of exercise, intense workouts can create an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, a state known as oxidative stress. While this is normal and generally resolves itself, chronic oxidative stress may lead to a whole range of health conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cataracts.
Studies have shown drinking H2-water had protective effects against neurodegeneration, of which chronic oxidative stress is one widely accepted cause. During one such study, mice were subjected to chronic physical restraint stress, which spiked oxidative stress and impaired memory and learning. When the mice were treated with H2-water, not only was oxidative stress improved, but nerve growth was restored in areas of the hippocampus.
While molecular hydrogen certainly isn’t a cure-all, combined with a healthy diet and exercise, drinking H2-water may give your overall health a boost.