Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless and non-toxic diatomic gas molecule, which is less dense than air and insoluble in water. It can be converted into colorless liquid and snow-like solid at a certain pressure and temperature. It is stable at room temperature, difficult to chemically react with other substances, and has flammability, reducibility and oxidation.
But if someone tells you that hydrogen can be used to cure diseases, maybe you will think it is a fantasy!
But hydrogen does have such a magical effect. In recent years, there are more and more researches on hydrogen in medicine, and the number of related articles is exploding.
Up to now, more than 700 related research papers have been published internationally. A variety of diseases treatable by hydrogen are reported, including neonatal ischemic encephalopathy, delayed encephalopathy caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, arthritis, pancreatitis, sepsis, radiation injury, diving decompression sickness, oxygen poisoning, diabetic retinopathy, etc.
Mechanism of action of hydrogen
The mechanism by which hydrogen exerts its therapeutic effect is now widely accepted as its selective antioxidant effect. When it comes to this mechanism of action, we first need to know that hydrogen has a selective antioxidant effect. It selectively removes hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite anions with high toxicity in the body, but does not have any effect on free radicals with important biological effects and low toxicity to human body.
At the same time, due to its small molecule, hydrogen molecules can be dispersed in almost all parts of the body to play a role, and no toxic or side effects have been found at present.
Research progress in treatment of hydrogen diseases
From 2007 to the end of 2017, people used a variety of animal models and clinical observations, and successively determined that hydrogen had different degrees of therapeutic effects on more than 200 diseases, of which 17 were clinically observed.
Hydrogen has biological effects in many tissues and diseases, such as brain, spinal cord, liver, heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, small intestine, blood vessels, muscles, cartilage, metabolic system, perinatal diseases and inflammation, etc. Among them, it has the most significant effect on diseases with oxidative stress, such as neonatal brain hypoxia, Parkinson’s disease, tissue ischemia-reperfusion injury, etc.
A large number of studies have confirmed that the biological effects of hydrogen are relatively typical diseases such as nervous system diseases and liver diseases. Central nervous system diseases mainly include cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral thrombosis and cerebral infarction, while chronic diseases mainly include neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The pathological processes of the above diseases all involve oxidative stress and/or inflammatory reaction. According to this, scientists have done a lot of research, and the results show that hydrogen has obvious protective effect on the above diseases. At present, preliminary clinical research has been carried out on cerebral ischemia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Hydrogen has a very broad application prospect in the treatment of liver diseases. Up to now, there are seven preliminary clinical research reports of hydrogen treatment diseases, namely type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hemodialysis, inflammation/mitochondrial myopathy, brain stem ischemia, side effects of radiotherapy and systemic lupus erythematosus.
How to use hydrogen to treat diseases?
The main ways of hydrogen entering human body are breathing hydrogen, drinking hydrogen water, soaking in hydrogen bath, injecting saturated hydrogen saline, spreading through skin and inducing Escherichia coli to produce endogenous hydrogen.
Among them, breathing hydrogen was first used in diving medicine, and hydrogen water can enter human body as daily drinking water, which is simple and easy. Hydrogen bath allows hydrogen to enter the human body through skin diffusion.
However, the other methods are still in the experimental stage, and the injection of saturated hydrogen saline will have the most development prospect in clinical application in the future.
The prospect of hydrogen in the field of medical application is worth looking forward to. Although the mechanism of hydrogen is still in the research stage, the clinical application research is less.