As an antioxidant, why is hydrogen so unique?
As we all know, oxidative damage is the root of all evil. It can cause skin aging, cognitive decline and even metabolic diseases. However, our cells are in the process of oxidative damage all the time, including respiratory (oxidative reaction), external pollution, unhealthy lifestyle and other factors constantly producing free radicals in human body. Therefore, the body's antioxidant substances are particularly important in protecting health.
When it comes to antioxidants, the first thing we think of is vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione … these are common health products.
As a new antioxidant, hydrogen has three incomparable advantages!
Firstly, hydrogen has selective antioxidant effect.
The characteristic of hydrogen is that it only removes the most active OH, not •O2− and H2O2, and there is no enzyme in the tissue to remove OH. Compared with OH, the activities of •O2− and H2O2 are lower, and these substances participate in cell signal transduction rather than cell destruction at lower concentrations, and act as signal transduction media in major cell functions such as cell proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, their removal will interfere with cell function.
Therefore, the advantage of hydrogen is that it can effectively inhibit oxidative stress without destroying cell function, because it only removes the most toxic OH, but does not remove superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide.
Second, hydrogen diffuses very quickly in the body.
Because it can easily cross the lipid cell membrane, and more importantly, hydrogen can easily enter the mitochondria through the mitochondrial membrane, which is the main site for producing reactive oxygen species.
Therefore, hydrogen can immediately and effectively remove OH from the production source. Similarly, hydrogen can enter the nucleus to protect the genetic material in the nucleus from the attack of OH.
Many existing antioxidants have limitations in intervening diseases, probably because they can't cross cell membranes as easily as hydrogen.
Hydrogen can easily cross the cell membrane, and it can also easily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and quickly enter the brain tissue. As we know, the blood vessels in brain tissue are surrounded by special devices, and the substances in the blood vessels can't easily enter the brain tissue. This is to protect the brain. However, when a brain disease occurs, you want to treat it with drugs, and it is difficult for drugs to pass through the blood-brain barrier, which makes it difficult to treat brain injury. Fortunately, hydrogen can easily reach the brain tissue without being interrupted by the blood-brain barrier, and research has also found the protective effect of hydrogen on brain injury.
Third, high concentration of hydrogen is nontoxic.
Its non-toxicity is being proved by deep-sea divers. In deep-sea diving, a large amount of gas (mainly nitrogen) is dissolved in the blood by water pressure (gas dissolves in water under high pressure). This causes the diver to fall into a coma, a state of being anesthetized by nitrogen. Therefore, it is called nitrogen anesthesia. In addition, when divers surface after diving, the dissolved gas in the blood is released in the form of bubbles due to the pressure drop. If air bubbles block the blood vessels entering the main organs such as brain and heart, divers will be in an emergency. It's called decompression sickness. In order to treat and prevent dangerous nitrogen coma and decompression sickness, divers are required to inhale a mixture of 49% hydrogen, 50% helium and 1% oxygen. Even in this high concentration of hydrogen, there is no side effect or toxic effect caused by hydrogen.
Therefore, 49% hydrogen has been recognized as the "safety standard for use". "In animal and human experiments, hydrogen mixture with air (2%) or hydrogen water up to 1.6 ppm (1.6 grams of hydrogen per 1,000 liters of water) is used." Compared with the concentration of 49%, these concentrations are very low. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the toxicity of hydrogen gas currently used for disease intervention.
Under normal circumstances, the production and elimination of reactive oxygen species in the body are balanced. However, sometimes this balance is transferred to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, which brings harmful effects to the body. This is called oxidative stress. Now, it has been found that almost all diseases that plague us are directly or indirectly related to oxidative stress. Therefore, the effective elimination of reactive oxygen species is of great help to the intervention and prevention of diseases.
However, through a large number of experiments on animals and human bodies, hydrogen is effective for diseases involving reactive oxygen species. In addition, compared with traditional antioxidants, hydrogen has many advantages: it can scavenge OH (the most toxic reactive oxygen species), is nontoxic, can be quickly absorbed by cells, and penetrates all parts of the body. Therefore, hydrogen may help us keep healthy by eliminating the threat of reactive oxygen species.