Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 1 • January 2013


Wiley’s Dictionary: Perfect health:
The slowest possible rate at which one can die.
— John L. Hart Studios

Scientists have odious manners, except when you prop up their theory; then you can borrow money of them.
— Mark Twain

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy; neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
— John W. Gardner

There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.
— Daniel Dennett

An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.
— Pliny the Younger, Letters

The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.
— Will Rogers

No very deep knowledge of economics is usually needed for grasping the immediate effects of a measure, but the task of economics is to forestall the remoter effects, and so to allow us to avoid such acts as attempt to remedy a present ill by sowing the seeds of a much greater ill for the future.
— Ludwig von Mises,
Austrian economist


Protection Against Atherosclerosis in Rats

A new paper1 reports protection by hydrogen-rich saline against oxidative stress and markers of atherosclerosis following balloon angioplasty in rats. This is a commonly used animal model of endothelial injury that induces atherosclerotic changes. Balloon angioplasty is, of course, a clinical method commonly used in the treatment of arterial hyperplasia (proliferation) of vascular smooth muscle cells in humans. It is a rather blunt instrument treatment, basically smashing down the neointimal growth of proliferating vascular smooth muscle cells that threaten to occlude an artery. The endothelial injury that accompanies this medical treatment and frequently leads to reocclusion is a highly undesirable side effect; much research has been done to find ways to prevent it. Treatments that have been reported to have preventive effects against vascular smooth muscle cell hyperplasia in response to oxidative stress and inflammation have included powerful antioxidants/antiinflamatories, such as resveratrol2 or omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.3

Hydrogen has some advantages over other antioxidants in that as a gas it can penetrate biomembranes, such as mitochondrial membranes and the blood-brain barrier, thus reaching tissues harder to access with most other antioxidants. Moreover, hydrogen is more active against the highly toxic hydroxyl radical and the potent oxidant peroxynitrite and less active against other ROS (reactive oxygen species), such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide that, at low concentrations, are important as physiological signaling molecules. “[Hydrogen’s] mild reductive reactivity allows it to minimize the disturbance on metabolic oxidation-reduction or ROS involved cell signaling …”1 “Moreover, H2 also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in acute pancreatitis, colon inflammation, and liver inflammation.”1 To find out more on hydrogen therapy, see our article , “Hydrogen Therapy,” in the June 2012 issue of Life Enhancement.

The researchers1 first detected macrophage infiltration at the injured site, indicating the release of inflammatory molecules that attract macrophages there. Treatment with hydrogen-rich saline reduced the number of infiltrating macrophages, consistent with the expected antiinflammatory effect of hydrogen. The proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 levels were observed to be decreased at both the mRNA and protein levels, and the TNF-alpha/NF-kappaB proinflammatory pathway was inhibited by hydrogen.1 The authors suggest that “[d]rinking HRSS [hydrogen-rich saline] may be a simple, economic and safe supplemental treatment for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) [balloon angioplasty] patients.”1 This does not represent a major advance in the therapy of vascular smooth muscle hyperplasia (even in rats), but you have to remember that the hypotheses for the protective effects of hydrogen against oxidative stress and inflammation have to be proven by experiment, not just asserted.

“Proof of principle” in animal models leads the way to consider hydrogen as a therapeutic intervention for a variety of medical disorders in humans caused by oxidative stress and/or inflammation. Since it is possible to increase the endogenous production of hydrogen by the gut microbiota with appropriate prebiotics, the use of hydrogen for medical therapies can be cheap, safe, and has the distinct advantage of not requiring one to jump over government-imposed hurdles such as “qualifying” for treatment under the rules and regulations of Medicare bureaucrats or even the hassle of getting a prescription. Although you don’t need a prescription for prebiotics to increase hydrogen production by your hydrogen-producing gut microbiota, we highly recommend working with a knowledgeable nutrition-oriented physician who can help make sure you get appropriate lab tests and help you evaluate the results.


  1. Qin et al. Hydrogen-rich saline prevents neointima formation after carotid balloon injury by suppressing ROS and the TNF-alpha/NF-kappaB pathway. Atheroscler 220:343-350 (2012).
  2. Csiszaar et al. Age-associated proinflammatory secretory phenotype in vascular smooth muscle cells from the non-human primate Macaca mulatta: reversal by resveratrol treatment. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 67(8):811-820 (2012).
  3. Pakala et al. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid selectively attenuate U46619-induced smooth muscle cell proliferation. Lipids 34(9):915-920 (1999).

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