Research on hydrogen fatigue prevention [Harvard]
This study shows that inhaling hydrogen before exercise can reduce the physical fatigue of healthy young people and maintain the activation of frontal cortex during high-intensity exercise. More importantly, this study provides the evidence for the first time that the reduction of physical fatigue induced by hydrogen is related to the increase of activation of frontal cortex induced by hydrogen, indicating that hydrogen may be a potential "central" way to relieve physical fatigue by changing the activation of cerebral cortex. The findings of this study provide new insights into the potential mechanism of hydrogen on fatigue, and help to design appropriate fatigue management strategies.
Comments: The role of preventing inhalation of hydrogen is very worthy of attention, because it shows that hydrogen regulates some processes in the body. Hydrogen can't exist in the body for a long time. According to the description of this study, hydrogen is unlikely to play a direct anti-fatigue role. Instead, hydrogen affects some functions of the body, which provides important evidence for the physiological regulation of hydrogen. In addition, this study is a healthy young person, which strongly suggests that hydrogen is not only a disease treatment tool, but also a health promotion means, and it is also a body function promoting factor. I'd like to know if I wait a few days after inhaling hydrogen, and then study whether it has anti-fatigue effect, or continue to verify how long this effect lasts. These are all very interesting studies. Hydrogen medical research is really easy!
Physical fatigue is common in sports, especially in strenuous exercise for a long time. Physical fatigue usually leads to decreased sports performance and increased risk of sports injuries. Therefore, the strategy of reducing the burden of physical fatigue is very important for improving sports performance and reducing the risk of injury.
The development of physical fatigue is not only related to the peripheral factors in human neurophysiological process (for example, the failure of coupling between muscle contraction and excitatory contraction (E-C), but also depends on the regulatory changes of components in the central nervous system. For example, the prefrontal cortex of the brain is considered to be the place where information related to fatigue is processed and commands to stop continued exercise are initiated. Studies have observed that the activation of prefrontal cortex is related to the degree of fatigue, that is, strong fatigue is related to low activation of prefrontal cortex, and activation of prefrontal cortex can be reliably measured by oxygenation of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Therefore, the ability to maintain the activation of prefrontal cortex is essential to relieve fatigue and maintain sports performance. For example, it was observed that elite Kenyan runners who completed the 21-kilometer race in 62.2 minutes on average could keep their prefrontal cortex activated in the 5-kilometer self-paced test, which might contribute to their success in long-distance races. Therefore, strategies that can regulate the activation of prefrontal cortex may have great hope to help relieve fatigue.
In recent years, hydrogen molecule (hydrogen) has attracted wide attention because of its biological effects, which can be beneficial to brain function. The brain is vulnerable to the damage of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which tend to increase sharply with the increase of energy and metabolic demand, especially during high-intensity exercise. As a powerful antioxidant, hydrogen can cross the blood-brain barrier, and then protect neurons by selectively eliminating harmful ROS. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, giving adult volunteers hydrogen-rich water (HRW) for 4 weeks helped to reduce and prevent the accumulated oxidative stress in the brain, thus improving mood, anxiety and autonomic nervous function. Recently, several studies have explored the potential anti-fatigue effects of hydrogen in healthy cohorts that have been engaged in acute or chronic exercise (Table 1), and indicated that hydrogen intake before or after exercise may help to relieve fatigue. For example, taking HRW before exercise has been proved to improve the decline of muscle function caused by exercise, thus relieving fatigue; Inhalation of hydrogen-rich gas mixture after exercise helps to reduce the decline of sports performance (such as the height of jumping in reverse movement). However, the effect of inhaling hydrogen gas on physical fatigue before high-intensity endurance exercise/fatigue has not been well described, and it is still unclear whether this benefit of hydrogen is realized by regulating the characteristics of cerebral cortex.
Therefore, we believe that inhaling hydrogen gas before exercise can help the body fatigue by maintaining a high level of prefrontal cortex activation during high-intensity cycling. To verify this, we completed a randomized, double-blind intra-subject study in a group of healthy young people. We hypothesized that, compared with the control group, inhaling hydrogen before exercise would cause lower level of physical fatigue and higher activation of prefrontal cortex. The improvement of physical fatigue induced by hydrogen may be related to the activation of prefrontal cortex.
Hong Y, Dong G, Li Q, et al. Effects of pre-exercise H2 inhalation on physical fatigue and related prefrontal cortex activation during and after high-intensity exercise[J]. Frontiers in Physiology, 2022: 1810.
Objective: To explore the effects of hydrogen inhalation before exercise on physical fatigue and activation of prefrontal cortex during and after high-intensity cycling.
Methods: Twenty-four young men completed four studies. In the previous two research visits, the maximum exercise load (Wmax) of each participant was measured. In the other 2 visits, participants inhaled hydrogen or placebo gas for 20 minutes each time after the baseline test of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of thighs. Then, the participants do cycling at the maximum load. During the whole cycling exercise, the subjective exertion (RPE), heart rate and prefrontal cortex activation of the subjects were measured by functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Measure MVIC again after the ride.
Results: Compared with the control group, after inhaling hydrogen, the RPE of participants in each workload stage decreased significantly (p < 0.032); During cycling, the HR of participants at 50% Wmax, 75% Wmax and 100% Wmax decreased significantly (p < 0.037); At 75 and 100% Wmax, the activation of prefrontal cortex also increased significantly (p < 0.011). In addition, the change of physical fatigue induced by hydrogen is significantly related to the activation of prefrontal cortex, that is, patients with higher activation of prefrontal cortex have lower RPE at 75% Wmax (p = 0.010) and lower HR at 100% Wmax (p = 0.016).
Conclusion: This study shows that inhaling hydrogen gas before exercise can relieve the physical fatigue of healthy young people, which may be achieved by maintaining the high activation of prefrontal cortex during high-intensity exercise.
The paper was published in Front. Physiol. The author came from Beijing Sport University and other research institutions.
1 School of Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy, Beijing Sport University
2 Sports Coach College of Beijing Sport University
California State University, USA
4 National University of Defense Technology
China Institute of Sports and Health Sciences, Beijing Sport University
6 Harvard Medical School Hebrew Senior Life Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute of Aging