In supplemental trigger-form …

Hydrogen Slows Aging
By disarming the hydroxyl radical
and the potent oxidant peroxynitrite

By Will Block

T

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he history of hydrogen begins a long, long time ago. In fact, hydrogen ions are thought to have occurred first during the “virtual moment,” and hydrogen atoms shortly thereafter, only 380,000 years after the “big bang.” The prevailing cosmological model finds that the big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago, and the universe has been expanding ever since.

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The Invasion of Mitochondria

Many billions of years later, one of the greatest events in the history of life as we know it was the advent of the eukaryote, a nucleus-based one-celled organism.

This could not have happened without the co-occupation of cells by mito­chondria, a form of bacteria.

Mitochondria have many features in common with prokaryotes, which are one-celled organisms without a nucleus. Originally derived from endosymbiotic prokaryotes, mitochondria are “original” organelles that reside within our cells where they help generate ATP, the energy currency of life.

The Rise of Multicellular Life

Without mitochondria, life on Earth would look very different.

The origin of mitochondria on Earth marks a profound threshold in the geological record.

Eukaryotes and Mitochondria Empower Each Other

• The rise of mitochondria presages the arrival of multicellular life.

• Supports the ever-expanding array of more and more life forms, culminating in us.

Mitochondria Make Energy

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ATP synthesis requires oxygen and produces carbon dioxide and water as waste products.

Every complex animal on Earth uses this biochemical pathway by virtue of its collective mitochondrial electron transport chain.

Mitochondria in eukaryotic cells produce more energy through oxidative respiration than their anaerobic brethren, and multicellular life profits from this by investing that additional energy in development, growth, movement, and complexity.

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Our Debt to Mitochondria

The number of mitochondria found in a eukaryote is a strong indicator of the kind of activity that a specialized cell performs.


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Our muscle cells enjoy a much higher density of mito­chondria than our blood cells, for instance. This is because muscle cells require a tremendous amount of energy to move our bodies.

Without mitochondria, complex life forms like animals almost certainly never would have emerged. Mitochondria are microscopic power plants that provide energy for our cells. Without them, there simply isn’t enough energy in microbial metabolism to provide enough juice to power any complex animal.


Mitochondria are microscopic power
plants that provide energy for
our cells.


All Complex Life Was Able to Emerge

Through the game-changing endosymbiotic event—the partnership of eukaryotes and mitochondria—all complex life was able to emerge. So the origin of mitochondria is fundamental to understanding the origin of complex life on Earth.


Through the game-changing
endosymbiotic event—the
partnership of eukaryotes and
mitochondria—all complex life
was able to emerge.



Past research has found exercise spurs the birth mitochondria …
Alternatively, a cell could have lost the genes that code for its cell wall. Without a cell wall to hold it back, this cell could live free with only a cell membrane keeping its cytoplasm separate from the rest of the outside world.

This cell would be able to fold onto itself and swallow other cells whole instead of filter-feeding organic molecules that floated nearby. But instead, it ingested a live cell that didn’t get broken down by lysosomes or digestive enzymes. And this mitochondrion stowaway was useful; it could reduce any toxic oxygen molecules in the cytoplasm that would otherwise poison the cell.


A cell could have lost the genes that
code for its cell wall. This cell would
be able to fold onto itself and
swallow other cells whole instead of
filter-feeding organic molecules that
floated nearby.


This relationship persisted for millennia until the engulfed cell became merely a stripped-down set of genes responsible only for a select set of chemical pathways.

First Nucleus & Hijacked DNA

To pre-capitulate, there were two endosymbiotic events that transformed a new kingdom of before the advent of mitochondria that led to animal life.

First, a virus that failed to infect a bacterium evolved a mutualistic relationship that culminated in the creation of the first nucleus. This virus hijacked the cell’s DNA, but was unable to use the cellular machinery to replicate itself. [Fortunately!]


A virus that failed to infect a
bacterium evolved a mutualistic
relationship. This virus hijacked the
cell’s DNA, but was unable to use the
cellular machinery to replicate itself.


Eventually, the virus’ protein coat served as a citadel for the cell’s genetic material against future viral sieges, making it harder for future viruses to infect this proto-eukaryotic cell.

Electron Transport Chain Ubiquitous for Animal Life

The virus’ protein coat would become the cell’s nucleus, directing the cell’s biological activities from a fixed, centralized location bound to the cell membrane.

The second endosymbiotic event occurred when a sulfate-reducing organism was engulfed in another bacteria cell. Not only could this organism detoxify the environment within the cell (by converting sulfur compounds into useable forms), it could store those sulfur compounds internally and release them when food availability for its host was poor.


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The final endosymbiotic event in Earth history created the mitochondria, a cell with built in housekeeping mechanisms that reduce oxygen and sweep the toxic peroxides out of the cell.

Eventually, this process gets exploited by the host cell for making sugars because the process of reducing oxygen in the electron transport chain is so energetic.

That electron transport chain in mitochondria is ubiquitous for animal life. Furthermore, it is the power source for our ability to grow, move, reproduce, and maintain our cellular complexity.


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Dr. Denham Harman’s Free-Radical Theory of Aging

Scientific “skepticism” has arisen because in diseases ­involving reactive oxygen species (ROS), studies have shown little progress in developing effective antioxidant treatments.

Mega-doses of dietary antioxidants have generally failed to prevent human disease, in part because they do not decrease oxidative damage in vivo (as revealed by robust biomarkers).

However, some supplement strategies are known to delay disease onset, at least in part by decreasing oxidative damage levels.


Some supplement strategies are
known to delay disease onset.



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Harman (Continued)
The Mitochondria Theory of Aging Hydrogen Therapy Is a Big Deal!

Hydrogen therapy for the prevention and treatment of a variety of diseases—particularly those associated with ROS (reactive oxygen species) and inflammation—has become a hot research subject.

In published animal and human studies about the administration of hydrogen, various methods have been used: (Ohta, 2011)


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1. Inhalation of hydrogen gas

2. Oral ingestion by drinking hydrogen water

3. Hydrogen baths

4. Injection of hydrogen saline, direct absorption of hydrogen (as in hydrogen containing eye drops)

5. INCREASED PRODUCTION OF HYDROGEN BY BACTERIA

Hydrogen Is a Selective Antioxidant

It scavenges dangerous radicals but not radicals important as physiological signaling molecules.

Hydrogen has been known to have antioxidant properties for a long time. (Hong, 2010)

But its recognition as having some advantages over conventional antioxidants and its potential use as a therapeutic agent have only recently been explored. (Hong, 2010)

Reaches Nucleus and Mitochondria

Moreover, hydrogen is able to diffuse extremely rapidly into tissue and “effectively reaches the nucleus and mitochondria,” suggesting “preventive effects on lifestyle-related diseases, cancer, and the aging process.” (Ohta, 2011)

Hydrogen also passes through the blood-brain barrier, although most antioxidant compounds cannot do this.

Hydrogen Is a Novel Antioxidant

Hydrogen is a novel antioxidant. It scavenges the toxic hydroxyl radical (the strongest of the oxidant species) (Hong, 2010) along with the potent oxidant peroxynitrite (formed by the reaction of superoxide and nitric oxide). (Ohsawa, 2007)

But it is far less effective in scavenging physiological radicals such as superoxide and nitric oxide, important (at low concentrations) as signaling molecules. (Hong, 2010)

Safety of Hydrogen

Hydrogen (H2) is reported to have no cytotoxicity, even at high concentrations. (Ohta, 2011)

The safety of H2 for humans is demonstrated by its application as part of an exotic breathing gas mixture of 49% H2, 50% helium and 1% O2, which is used to prevent decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis during very deep technical diving.

A Free Gift from Your Gut Bacteria

Hydrogen does not require a prescription.

Long-chain fructooligosaccharides are a food (prebiotic) for gut bacteria that produce hydrogen. (Rumessen, 1998)

Many papers describe the effects of various types of non-digestible carbohydrates (foods, called prebiotics, for gut bacteria) that reach the lower digestive tract and are there converted to (mostly) hydrogen by gut bacteria in the process of their extracting energy from them.

Improving Gut Health

One paper advocates that, “A slow, extended fermentation profile would be desirable to provide low initial gas and short-chain fatty acid over a longer period of time.” (Ito, 2011)

Also, “[t]he distal colon is typically the site of protein fermentation, which leads to the production of such compounds as ammonia, phenol, p-cresol, and indoles resulting in a risk of mucosal insult.

Enhancement of carbohydrate substrate availability to the distal colon microbiota may accordingly improve gut health by production of beneficial SCFA [short-chain fatty acids] and promotion of saccharolytic bacteria.”

Short-Chain Shortcomings

“Ingestion of fructans is limited by various abdominal symptoms such as osmotic diarrhea, pain, bloating, and flatulence due to colonic fermentation and production of bacterial end-products,” including hydrogen gas. (Rumessen, 1998)

These side effects occur more frequently with the shorter-chain inulin fructans, and with higher doses.

Long-Chain Inulin Fructans

The longer-chain fructans have a longer transit time as compared to the shorter-chain ones, which is likely to be advantageous in terms of reaching the lower digestive tract for fermentation by gut microbes. (Rumessen,1998)

One nice aspect of inulin is that, while it increases the gas output of your digestive tract, it reduces the “smelly” aspects of that gas by decreasing the fecal excretion of skatole. (Hong, 2010)

Benjamin Franklin on Farts

No less than American Revolutionary Ben Franklin proposed that the invention of ways to promote pleasant smelling wind would be of great benefit to mankind.

“Were it not for the odiously offensive Smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are in spitting, or in blowing their Noses.” (“To the Royal Academy of Farting,” c. 1781)


It reduces the “smelly” aspects of
that gas by decreasing the fecal
excretion of skatole.


Franklin’s Wholesome & Not Disagreeable Smells

There should be a prize made available “[t]o discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreeable, to be mix’d with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.”

“And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments, and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for.”

To read the entire essay by Franklin, if you must, see URL:http://www.TeachingAmericanHistory.org/library/index.asp?documentprint=470

Breaking Up Gas Bubbles

To help prevent bloating and discomfort, the use of simethicone is suggested.

It is an FDA approved GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) dietary ingredient used daily by many millions of people to relieve the discomfort of gas. It is synthetic but quite safe and really works.

Dietary Ingestion of Inulin May Increase Satiety

A paper examined the effects of either inulin or oligofructose on gastrointestinal peptides that have been shown to play a role in food intake or satiety. (Delzenne, 2005)

The authors had previously found that the addition of inulin-type fructans at the dose of 10% (w/w) in the diet for several weeks decreased triglyceride (fat) accumulation in the liver and epididymal mass, both in normal and obese Zucker fa/fa rats.

“Most of the effects of inulin-type fructans on lipid metabolism correlated with a decrease in food-derived energy intake, mainly due to a lower caloric value of the fructans-containing diet.” The authors wanted to find out what mechanisms were responsible for the satiating effect of inulin-type fructans.

Hydrogen for Prevention or Treatment of Disease

Prevents the decline in the proliferation of progenitor neural cells and impairment of cognitive function in stressed mice. (Nagata, 2009)

Reduces infarct size in the rat model of reperfusion injury in heart attacks (Reperfusion damage has been attributed largely to hydroxyl radicals. “Studies in animal models of acute myocardial infarction show that reperfusion injury accounts for up to 50% of the final size of a myocardial infarct.” (Hayashida, 2008)

Hydrogen May Alleviate Pain

Interestingly, peroxynitrite, a potent oxidant derived from the chemical reaction of superoxide radicals with nitric oxide, has been linked to PAIN. (Ndengele, 2008) (Yeo, 2008)

Hence, reducing peroxynitrite may be an effective way to decrease pain associated with oxidative stress/inflammation-induced arthritis.(Ndengele, 2008) (Yeo, 2008)

A Better Strategy

“[T]argeting PN [peroxynitrite] may be a better therapeutic strategy [for treating pain] than targeting SO [superoxide].” (Janes, 2012) “This is because, unlike PN, which has no currently known beneficial role, SO may play a significant role in learning and memory.”


“[T]argeting PN [peroxynitrite] may
be a better therapeutic strategy [for
treating pain]”


Prevention of Joint Diseases

In another study, researchers concluded that “... novel pharmacological strategies aimed at selective removal of [peroxynitrite] may represent a powerful method for preventive and therapeutic use of H2 for joint diseases.” (Hanaoka, 2011)

In a study of model mice, treatment with hydrogen dissolved in water prevented the rapid atherosclerosis that usually occurs in these genetically disabled animals. (Ohsawa, 2008)

Hydrogen Lessens Cognitive Impairment

During 18 weeks of hydrogen water drinking by mice, researchers observed decreased neurodegeneration in the hippocampus, while marked loss of neurons in the hippocampus was noted in the controls. (Gu, 2010)

In the same study, the results of a Morris water maze indicated that “HW [hydrogen water] prevented the loss of some cognitive abilities in the SAMP8 [senescence-accelerated prone mouse 8] mice.”


“HW [hydrogen water] prevented the
loss of some cognitive abilities in the
SAMP8 [senescence-accelerated
prone mouse 8] mice.”


Hydrogen Provides Neuroprotection

In a cerebral ischemia-reperfusion model in rats, hydrogen saline provided protection against oxidative stress in the brain. (Liu, 2011)


Hydrogen saline provided protection
against oxidative stress in the brain.


The authors of the above study further noted that the therapeutic effects of hydrogen saline were more profound than those they found in studies using hydrogen inhalation. (Liu, 2011)

Hydrogen Protects Intestines from Ischemia-Reperfusion

In a rat model of ischemia-reperfusion injury, the superior mesenteric artery of the small intestine was clamped and ischemia (blood flow blockage) maintained for 45 minutes, after which reperfusion (reflow of blood) was initiated when the clamp was removed. Assessed by microscopic examination, intestinal protection by hydrogen was observed. (Zheng, 2009)


Intestinal protection by hydrogen
was observed.


Also, there were significant reductions in measures of inflammation, lipid peroxidation, and protein carbonyl and myeloperoxidase activity, while no significant changes were observed in the animals treated with nitrogen-rich saline.

Hydrogen Gas Suppressed Liver Damage


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Another study of a mouse model of ischemia-reperfusion injury showed protective effects in mice with complete occlusion for 90 minutes of the portal triad to the left lobe and the left middle lobe of the liver, followed by reperfusion for 180 minutes. (Fukuda, 2007)


Hydrogen inhalation suppressed
liver cell death.


Hydrogen inhalation suppressed liver cell death and reduced levels of serum alanine aminotransferase and malondialdehyde. In contrast, helium gas provided no protection.

Metabolic Syndrome Improved with Hydrogen

When severe enough, metabolic syndrome—categorized by insulin resistance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia—converts to type 2 diabetes. A recent study examined the effects of hydrogen- rich water on antioxidant status of 20 subjects for 8 weeks who were at risk of developing full-blown metabolic syndrome in a pilot study. (Nakao, 2010)

Though there was no significantThough there was no significant change in fasting glucose levels, there was a 39% increase in antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), and a 43% decrease in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in urine. Subjects also had an 8% increase in HDL-cholesterol and a 13% decrease in total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol from baseline to week 4.


There was a 39% increase in
antioxidant enzyme superoxide
dismutase (SOD), and a 43%
decrease in thiobarbituric acid
reactive substances in urine.
Subjects also had an 8% increase in
HDL-cholesterol and a 13%
decrease in total cholesterol/HDL-
cholesterol from baseline to week 4.


“The [hydrogen rich water] represents a potentially novel therapeutic and preventive strategy for metabolic syndrome.”


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Better Lipid and Glucose Metabolism in Type 2 Diabetes

In a double-blind study, 30 type 2 diabetes patients controlled by diet and exercise therapy and 6 patients with impaired glucose tolerance were treated with hydrogen. The patients received either hydrogen-rich pure water or pure water for 8 weeks. (Kajiyama, 2008)

Those taking hydrogen-rich water had significant decreases in low density lipo­protein (LDL) cholesterol, small density LDL, and urinary 8-isoprostanes (a measure of free radical oxidative damage) by 15.5%, 5.7 %, and 6.6%, respectively.


Those taking hydrogen-rich water had
significant decreases in low density
lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, small
density LDL, and urinary 8-
isoprostanes (a measure of free
radical oxidative damage) by 15.5%,
5.7 %, and 6.6%, respectively.


In 4 of the 6 patients with impaired glucose tolerance, the hydrogen-rich water normalized their oral glucose tolerance test.


“A sufficient supply of [hydrogen]
may prevent or delay development
and progression of T2DM [type 2
diabetes mellitus] and insulin
resistance by providing protection
against oxidative stress.


The researchers concluded that “a sufficient supply of [hydrogen] may prevent or delay development and progression of T2DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] and insulin resistance by providing protection against oxidative stress.

CONTINUED IN PART II


Will Block is the publisher and editorial director of Life Enhancement magazine.

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