Dissecting the Potential Health Benefits of Hydrogen Water

Proper hydration is essential for the body to function at its best. When it comes to the healthiest thirst quencher, plain H2O has always been doctor recommended. However, with some beverage companies claiming to enhance water’s nutrition by adding hydrogen, it begs the question: is hydrogen water better than regular water? This article aims to review the purported health effects of hydrogen water to help readers make an informed decision.


What is Hydrogen Water?

Hydrogen (H) – a colorless, odorless, and non-toxic gas – can bind with other elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon to form compounds, including table sugar. Molecular hydrogen water, in essence, is water infused with additional H molecules.

Although water naturally contains two hydrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom, adding more hydrogen to water may provide health benefits that regular water cannot. Researchers suggest that plain water is ineffective at delivering hydrogen to the body due to it being bound to oxygen, making it difficult for the body to absorb.

In response, some beverage companies claim that adding more of the chemical element makes “free” hydrogen molecules more accessible to the body, leading to various plausible health benefits.


Process of Making Hydrogen Water

Manufacturers create hydrogen-enriched water by infusing hydrogen gas into pure water before packaging it into cans or bottles. However, this product can be costly, with one popular company charging $90 for a 30-pack of 8-ounce cans and recommending a daily intake of at least three cans.

Hydrogen tablets are available online or in health food stores for those who prefer to make their hydrogen water at home. Water machines and filters are also an option.

Potential Health Benefits of Hydrogen Water

Companies are marketing hydrogen water for its potential to reduce inflammation (which, in turn, may prevent certain cancers), enhance athletic performance, and slow down aging. Despite these claims, research in this field remains limited, which is why many health experts are skeptical of the supposed benefits of hydrogen water. In any case, small clinical trials have shown encouraging outcomes.

1. May Reduce Markers of Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress, which unstable molecules called free radicals cause, contributes to inflammation and disease. According to a 2016 study, molecular hydrogen regulates gene expression, combating free radicals in the body and protecting cells from the adverse effects of oxidative stress.

In 2011, a medical study involving 49 liver cancer patients receiving radiation therapy demonstrated the potential benefits of hydrogen-enriched water. Half the participants drank 51 to 68 ounces of hydrogen-infused water daily for eight weeks, while the control group drank regular water. At the end of the study, those who drank hydrogen water showed lower levels of hydroperoxide, a marker of oxidative stress, and maintained higher antioxidant activity following radiation treatment.

A 2017 analysis, however, refutes the above findings. Researchers suggest that the effects of drinking hydrogen water on oxidative stress may not be consistent. In a four-week study conducted on 26 healthy men and women, drinking 20 ounces of hydrogen-enriched water on a regular basis did not reduce oxidative stress markers, such as hydroperoxide, compared to the placebo group.

Further studies are necessary to confirm whether drinking hydrogen water reduces the effects of oxidative stress in healthy individuals and those with chronic conditions.

2. May Combat Metabolic Syndrome

High blood sugar, elevated triglyceride levels, excess belly fat, and high cholesterol characterize metabolic syndrome. Chronic inflammation may contribute to this condition. Scientists revealed that hydrogen water may effectively reduce oxidative stress markers and improve risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

In a 10-week study, 20 participants with signs of metabolic syndrome consumed between 30 to 34 ounces of hydrogen-enriched water daily. At the end of the trial, the participants experienced significant reductions in “bad” LDL and total cholesterol levels, an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, greater antioxidant activity, and reduced levels of inflammatory markers such as TNF-α.

3. May Prevent Cancer

While a 2018 study concluded that molecular hydrogen may exert an anti-tumor role in ovarian cancer by suppressing cancer stem cells-like cells and angiogenesis from spreading – currently, insufficient scientific evidence suggests that hydrogen water can prevent cancer.

All of the above has shown the potential benefits of hydrogen water in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation – both risk factors for cancer – but more research is necessary to determine whether hydrogen water can thwart malignant diseases.

Related: Cancer Prevention Burnout Is Real (Here’s How to Avoid It)

4. May Improve Athletic Performance

Athletes are always looking for ways to improve their agility, endurance, and overall performance. In response, more and more beverage companies have been promoting hydrogen water as a natural way to boost athletic performance. But is there any truth to these claims?

The concept behind hydrogen-enriched water is that it can minimize inflammation and slow the accumulation of lactate in the blood – a sign of muscle fatigue.

A 2012 study involving ten male soccer players found that those who consumed 51 ounces of hydrogen-rich water had lower blood lactate levels and reduced muscle fatigue after training compared to a placebo group. In 2018, a two-week study involving eight cyclists demonstrated similar results. The cyclists who drank 68 ounces of hydrogen-enriched water daily had more energy and performed better during sprinting exercises than those who consumed plain water.

As mentioned, the health benefits of hydrogen water is a new area of research. More studies are necessary to understand how drinking it may improve athleticism.


Should You Drink Hydrogen Water?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognizes hydrogen water as generally safe for human consumption, categorizing it as GRAS. Nonetheless, the lack of industry-wide guidelines on the appropriate hydrogen-to-water ratio has resulted in a wide range of concentrations. Therefore, how much hydrogen water one must consume to derive its potential benefits remains uncertain.

For anyone interested in trying this beverage, experts recommend purchasing hydrogen water in non-permeable containers and consuming them promptly. However, until larger, more extensive research reveals more about how hydrogen water affects the body, it is advisable to approach the claimed health advantages with caution.



Limited studies indicate that hydrogen water can reduce oxidative stress in people undergoing radiation therapy; prevent cancer; boost athletic performance; and enhance specific blood markers in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Due to the lack of comprehensive research confirming the drink’s health benefits, it remains uncertain whether hydrogen water truly “works wonders.”

Click here for our blog Disclaimer.