Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 2 • February 2013

The Hydrogen Therapy Series Continued Measurement of Hydrogen Gas Emitted From the Skin During Inhalation of Hydrogen-Rich Air

As we have mentioned, after the production of hydrogen in the lower intestinal tract by resident microbes, the hydrogen diffuses throughout the body and is exhaled from the lungs. But the gas also leaves the body by being released from the skin, as discussed in a paper1 presented in a poster session on May 15, 2011 at a scientific c-onference held at the Colorado Convention Center. The researchers propose that the measurement of this skin-emitted hydrogen is a convenient way to monitor the increase and then decrease of hydrogen following the inhalation of hydrogen gas. The “skin gases were obtained from perfusion gas passing through a chamber covered by the palm and the forearm skin gas in a Tedlar bag.”1 This would also appear to be a useful way to monitor hydrogen gas production by the resident microbiota in the lower digestive tract.

The poster reported that “[t]o reach the equilibrium levels of skin H2 during H2 inhalation, at least 30 min. was needed, whereas the skin H2 rapidly decreased after the cessation of H2 inhalation and recovered to the baseline level within 10 to 20 min.” The production by resident microbiota of hydrogen gas by processing of a meal containing indigestible carbohydrates that reach the lower digestive tract can result in increasing hydrogen gas for hours before decreasing to baseline levels. The ability to monitor this increase and the following decrease by skin-emitted hydrogen could be very convenient and likely to be relatively inexpensive. The hydrogen flow through the skin would also provide significant protection against exposure to the skin of environmental substances that increase oxidative stress and inflammation (particularly when it involves hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite) such as radiation, ultraviolet light, or ozone.


1. Shimouchi and Nose. Changes in Hydrogen Gas Release from the Skin During Inhalation of Hydrogen-rich Air. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 183:A1682 (2011).

Hydrogen and Radiation Protection

A new paper,2 published Sept. 2012, reports (“for the first time”) the protective effect of hydrogen gas in irradiated cells and in mice. “A randomised, placebo-controlled investigation also showed consumption of H2 can improve the quality of life of patients treated with radiotherapy for liver tumours. These encouraging results suggested that H2 has a potential as a radioprotective agent with efficacy and non-toxicity.”

The researchers note that, as we have mentioned before, hydroxyl radical is the determinant species for reactions with biological molecules. “It was estimated that 60–70% of the IR [irradiation]-induced cellular damage was caused by hydroxyl radical.”2 “Studies in the late damages in cardiac myocyte and pulmonary alveoli showed pretreatment of H2 significantly suppressed the radiation-induced fibrosis.”2 For survivors of cancers treated with radiotherapy, late appearing damage can show up years or even decades after the radiation treatment, with serious life-shortening effects such as accelerated atherosclerosis or fibrosis. Hence, hydrogen could be a useful method of reducing these late effects.

2. Chuai et al. Molecular hydrogen and radiation protection. Free Radic Res. 46(9):1061-7 (2012).

Hepatic Oxidoreduction-Related Genes Are Upregulated in Rats By Hydrogen-Saturated Drinking Water

This recent paper3 reports on an experiment in which rats drank hydrogen-saturated water for four weeks and resulting gene changes in the liver were studied with DNA microarrays. “Our major finding in the present study was that drinking of hydrogen water altered the hepatic gene expression profile. Taken together with previous studies, the hepatic oxidoreduction-related gene uprregulation observed in this study appears to confirm the findings reported to date concerning the antioxidant effect of hydrogen water.”

Interestingly, the researchers observed upregulation of genes for cholesterol biosynthesis. However, they also observed that primary bile acid synthesis pathway and steroid hormone biosynthesis pathway-related genes such as Cyp27A1, Cyp3A2, and Hsd17b6 were upregulated in the hydrogen water-drinking group.

This suggests, they propose, that pathways of cholesterol catabolism (disposal) were promoted by the hydrogen water, which resulted (as a compensatory effect) in upregulation of the genes for cholesterol synthesis to normalize levels of cholesterol.

Another result was the decrease of liver TBARS (a measure of lipid peroxidation) detected by DNA microarray analysis, indicating reduction of oxidative stress by hydrogen water.

3. Nakai et al. Hepatic oxidoreduction-related genes are upregulated by administration of hydrogen-saturated drinking water. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 75(4):774-6 (2011).

FREE Subscription

  • You're just getting started! We have published thousands of scientific health articles. Stay updated and maintain your health.

    It's free to your e-mail inbox and you can unsubscribe at any time.
    Loading Indicator