The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 7 • December 2016


Hydrogen gas is produced in your body and permeates through your tissues, including your brain, as well as important cellular organs, such as the energy-producing mitochondria. Yet there is little awareness of hydrogen gas as a biological player and what it is doing for you. It might be termed a silent guardian of your health. Here is a selection of disorders in which hydrogen gas is currently being used and some of the many other uses to which it could be put. We start with what the hydrogen molecule is doing—without your awareness—and what you can do to turn it to your benefit.


We start with the ubiquitous FREE RADICALS, molecules with an unpaired electron (the cause of OXIDATIVE STRESS), that have become common with the well-read public as dangerous entities that are causative in many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and a host of others. When a free radical meets a hydrogen molecule, it can be converted to far less dangerous forms. A group of multisystem diseases share the properties of attack by these radicals (called oxidative stress), the basic factor in the causes of many diseases other than those mentioned above, including tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Interestingly, peroxynitrite, a potent oxidant derived from the chemical reaction of superoxide radicals with nitric oxide, has been linked to PAIN. (Ndengele, 2008) Hence, reducing peroxynitrite may be an effective way to decrease pain in diseases such as arthritis that are associated with oxidative stress/inflammation and in which peroxynitrite is generated.

Since HYDROGEN is a powerful scavenger of peroxynitrite, we hypothesize that it may be an effective treatment for pain.


  • Ndengele et al. Cyclooxygenases 1 and 2 contribute to peroxynitrite-mediated inflammatory pain hypersensitivity. FASEB J. 22:3154-64 (2008).


“All these basic properties are shared by a group of multisystem illnesses, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), fibromyalgia (FM), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which are now thought to be caused by a vicious cycle mechanism known as the NO/ONOO- (‘no, oh no!’) cycle mechanism.” The authors propose that the vicious cycle mechanism NO/ONOO- may be causative in these diseases.

—Pall and Bedient. The NO/ONOO- cycle as the etiological mechanism of tinnitus. Int Tinnitus J. 13(2):99-104 (2007), pp. 99-100.

“There is a clear need for more effective and safer antioxidants.” “Ohsawa et al studied the antioxidant properties of molecular H2 and reported that it selectively reduces OH- and ONOO- [‘oh no’] but does not affect physiological ROS [reactive oxygen species].”

—Hong, Chen, Zhang. Hydrogen as a selective antioxidant: a review of clinical and experimental studies. J Int Med Res. 38(6):1893-903 (2010).

“H2 selectively reduces OH- and ONOO- [‘no, oh no’] in cell-free systems.”

—Ohsawa, Ishikawa, Takahashi, et al. Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals. Nat Med. 13(6):688-94 (2007), pg. 689

“The interactions between nitric oxide and superoxide leading to the formation of peroxynitrite represent a novel molecular mechanism accounting for free-radical dependent damage in biological systems.”

— Radi R. Oxidative reactions of peroxynitrite in biological systems: direct attack versus the hydroxyl radical-like pathway, in chapter 4 of The Oxygen Paradox (Davies, KJA* and Ursini F, eds. (CLEUP University Press, 1995).

* Note: Kelvin J. A. Davies, co-editor of The Oxygen Paradox, is an expert in the biology of free radicals (now generally called oxidative stress) and the long-time Editor-in-Chief of Free Radical Biology and Medicine, arguably (or, at least, we argue) the leading scientific journal on free radical science.

“We propose that increased superoxide production in the vasculature may not only interfere with the regulation of vascular tone (by reaction with nitric oxide) but may also remove an antioxidant and generate the powerful pro-oxidant peroxynitrite.”

— Hogg NB. Kalyanaraman B, Darley-Usmar V. Oxidant and antioxidant effects of nitric oxide and superoxide in the vasculature, in The Oxygen Paradox (Davies KJA and Ursini F, eds) pp. 317-324. (CLEUP University Press, 1995).

“Recent evidence indicates that most of the cytotoxicity attributed to NO [nitric oxide] is rather due to peroxynitrite, produced from the diffusion-controlled reaction between NO and another free radical, the superoxide anion.”

—Pacher, Beckman, Liaudet. Nitric oxide and peroxynitrite in health and disease. Physiol Rev. 87(1):315-424 (2007), pg. 315

“Interestingly, peroxynitrite, a potent oxidant derived from the chemical reaction of superoxide radicals with nitric oxide, has been linked with pain; hence, reducing peroxynitrite may be an effective way to decrease pain...” “Since hydrogen preferentially scavenges hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite over that of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, it may be beneficial in pain relief...”

—Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw, from the April 2012 Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s® Life Extension Newsletter, authors of the #1 best-seller Life Extension, A Practical Scientific Approach (Warner Books, 1982)

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