10. Why is molecular hydrogen (H2) the Perfect Antioxidant?
1) Molecular hydrogen size
H2 is the smallest antioxidant in existence. Other antioxidants such as Vitamin C or Vitamin E are very large molecules compared to H2 and need to go through our digestive tract, absorbed in our intestines, travel through our blood, and enter into our cells before they can eliminate free radicals.
H2 is so small that it can penetrate through the stomach lining to begin acting inside cells immediately. H2 is also in a gaseous state, so it basically floats through cells (rapid diffusion) and performs its function as an antioxidant undeterred by the normal mechanisms that prevent other antioxidants from moving freely through the body.
H2 can also cross the Blood-Brain-Barrier easily due to its small size whereas other antioxidants have a difficult time getting through or can’t get through at all. The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress because it consumes 20% of the oxygen we breathe despite being only 2% of our body’s weight. So it is very important to protect the brain with antioxidants since it is especially vulnerable.
2) Molecular hydrogen selectivity
H2 is selective and targets only hydroxyl radicals. This is a key benefit because H2 only eliminates the harmful free radicals but does not directly affect useful free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide or nitric oxide. As previously mentioned, hydrogen peroxide is used by the immune cells to kill acteria, and nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that helps open and close blood vessels that divert blood to different areas of the body.
Other antioxidants are not selective but rather neutralize any free radical in their vicinity. Non-selective free radical elimination may disrupt the balance of free radicals to antioxidants inside the cells leading to a negative effect on the body.
3) Molecular hydrogen zero toxicity
Each molecule of H2 can convert two hydroxyl radicals into water, hydrating our cells in the process (Figure 1). Therefore, even at
high concentrations, H2 has zero toxicity. Any excess H2 simply gets released from the body. Other antioxidants become weak free
radicals themselves after neutralizing free radicals. For example, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) becomes an Ascorbyl Radical (Figure 2).
4) Molecular hydrogen is energy boosting
H2 not only neutralizes hydroxyl radicals directly, it helps enhance our antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase,
superoxide dismutase, and catalase. Each specific antioxidant enzyme and molecular hydrogen itself take care of different types
of free radicals. All of these antioxidants work together to ensure there are no excess free radicals that can cause oxidative stress
damage inside our cells.
As shown in the figure above, H2 is able to support our antioxidant enzymes and directly eliminate the most dangerous hydroxyl
radicals. H2 offers full protection against free radicals without disrupting the balance of free radicals and antioxidants inside our
Molecular Hydrogen is clearly superior to other antioxidants due to these four reasons. Ways to incorporate Molecular Hydrogen
into our lives are explained in the next section.
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