Here at Vital Reaction® we’re well known for our industry leading Molecular Hydrogen Tablets and Hydrogen Inhalation Machines. While oral consumption of hydrogen water and inhalation are the most common methods of administration in the US, there is also a substantial body of research analyzing the efficacy of other methods, such as IV hydrogen and topical applications.
Based on the research, different methods of administration seem to work best for different conditions. Today we’re going to take a look at the uses and evidence for topical hydrogen.
Generally this involves generating hydrogen water, and then applying it topically through a spray or bath.
As you might expect, most of the research looking at topical hydrogen applications focuses primarily on its effects on your skin.
Broadly speaking, these can be broken down into a few categories:
○ Skin conditions (psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, etc)
○ Wound healing and burns
○ Aging and wrinkle formation
Let’s dive in!
Note- the FDA has not evaluated Vital Reaction® molecular hydrogen, and this is intended as educational content only. Vital Reaction® Molecular hydrogen is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
Molecular Hydrogen and Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Several common skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, etc. fall under a broader category of chronic inflammatory diseases. There is some sort of persistent, pathological inflammation, and often an autoimmune component as well.
A major driver of inflammatory pathology is the over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). For a deep dive into inflammation and the role of ROS, take a look at our article on the role of oxidative stress in chronic pain and inflammation.
Long story short, chronic inflammation leads to the overproduction of free radicals, which cause more inflammation, which means more free radicals, and so on. It’s a vicious cycle.
In the last decade, over 1400 research studies from across the globe have demonstrated that molecular hydrogen is a unique antioxidant with therapeutic potential for any disease process categorized by high levels of oxidative stress (translation: most chronic disease).
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, which can also manifest as a nasty form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. It’s characterized by large, scaly plaques, which are often itchy and/or painful.
Unfortunately, it’s also really tough to treat. There’s no cure, and many of the pharmaceutical options for treating the symptoms come with some pretty nasty side effects. So if we could identify a natural therapy that helped to mitigate these symptoms with no side effects, it would be a game changer for these patients.
In a study published last year in the journal Scientific Reports, medical researchers in China explored whether or not topical hydrogen could make a difference for these types of diseases.
The study involved 74 subjects, half of whom were given topical hydrogen water; the other half was treated with regular water as a control. The subjects were treated with topical hydrogen twice a week for about 10-15 minutes per session.
The hydrogen water had a hydrogen concentration of just 1 part per million (ppm) H2 gas. (For reference, our hydrogen tablets produce water with up to 10 ppm H2 gas).
After 8 weeks the hydrogen group saw substantial reductions in visible plaquing and symptoms compared to the control. A quarter of the hydrogen group saw up to 75% improvement in symptoms vs. just 2.9% in the control group. You can see some of their results in the images below:
Notably, these changes were observed after just 8 weeks. Equivalent results with common medications can take up to 12 weeks, with significant side effects.
6 of the hydrogen patients were able to get off their drugs altogether.
Interestingly, BMI also decreased in the patients receiving hydrogen therapy, though the researchers don’t know why...though this has also been seen in other H2 studies.
Wound Healing and Burns
Another area that’s received a fair amount of attention in the research community is the capacity for topical hydrogen to aid in wound and burn healing.
One animal model published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (say that 5 times fast) looked at the effects of hydrogen water on oral wound healing in rats. This is a common approach to studying wounds, as we have a lot of standardized data for comparison. The researchers used hydrogen water with a concentration of about 5-7 ppm.
This is another one where pictures speak louder than words.
In the picture below, the first image (a) represents the initial injury. The second image (b) is the control group that didn’t receive any hydrogen after one week. The third image (c) is the hydrogen treatment group after the same amount of time.
As the researchers noted, the differences in healing times between the two groups was substantial.
The researchers also studied blood and cellular markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Inflammatory chemicals and markers of oxidative stress were significantly lower in the hydrogen group compared to the control.
Scientists found that these extraordinary changes were brought about by hydrogen’s role as a selective NRF2 activator, and for hydrogen’s unique ability ability to decrease inflammatory cytokines and promote healing factors.
Hydrogen also appears to have potential for helping to repair burn damage. With any kind of serious burn, a critical aspect of care is getting treatment as quickly as possible. The longer the delay before treatment, the greater the risk of tissue death due to ischemic reperfusion injuries.
Another rat study published in the journal Burns found that hydrogen was able to alleviate inflammation and speed wound healing, even in cases of burns that received delayed treatment, again due to activation of the NRF2 pathway.
This supports the findings from another study that showed that hydrogen prevented cellular apoptosis and reduced inflammation in severe burn models.
Finally, another pre-clinical trial published in the journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons found that topical hydrogen prevented skin cell death during surgery involving large skin incisions.
Granted these are all pre-clinical trials, and more research definitely needs to be done, but the results for hydrogen’s potential to affect wound and burn healing are very promising.
Skin Aging and Wrinkle Formation
And that brings us to everyone’s favorite topic: skin aging and wrinkles. We’ve previously discussed the role that molecular hydrogen can play in the overall aging process, but there are some really interesting studies looking specifically at skin.
Now let’s be realistic- aging is inevitable, and there is a certain genetic determinism to how your physical appearance may change with age. These factors are what experts refer to as intrinsic aging- genetic factors that you really can’t control.
However, there is also something known as extrinsic aging- this refers to environmental factors that may accelerate the aging process, like exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
Let’s look at UV radiation specifically.
One study from the journal Plos One looking at human subjects found that topical hydrogen mitigated UV induced redness and inflammation by over 20% compared to the control. They also found that the hydrogen treatment prevented DNA damage AND stimulated collagen production.
They hypothesize that molecular hydrogen “may prevent UV-induced skin inflammation and can modulate intrinsic skin aging and photoaging processes.” This confirmed the findings from a large number of animal studies.
Another small human trial found that 90 days of daily hydrogen baths significantly reduced wrinkles in 4 out of the 6 patients, and cellular analysis demonstrated similar UV-protective effects, AND once again promoted collagen formation.
In addition to UV damage from the sun, our skin is also aged via oxidative stress. Constantly exposed to a harsh external environment, skin cells experience some of the highest levels of oxidative stress in the body.
A study published in the journal Medical Gas Research found that topical hydrogen directly and substantially lowered markers of oxidative stress in skin cells, and prevented the formation of harmful chemical bonds that can accelerate the skin aging process.
Another study looking at human subjects, published in the same journal, found that immersion in hydrogen water:
○ Improved peripheral blood flow (reactive oxygen species cause red blood cells to gum together, clogging capillaries)
○ Improved skin moisture levels by 10%
○ Cleansed keratin plugs in skin pores 2 -5x as much as normal water (via inhibition of lipid peroxidation)
Interestingly, the concentration of hydrogen in this study was extremely low, about 1/10th of that produced by Vital Reaction® molecular hydrogen tablets.
Of course more research needs to be done, but molecular hydrogen is so safe and easy to use that if it even has just a fraction of the therapeutic potential suggested by the research, it will be a no-brainer to add to any daily skin regimen.
We’re also excited to announce that Vital Reaction® will soon be releasing a new option for those looking to add topical hydrogen to their skincare regimen. We are developing a nano-mist generator that uses the water produced by our industry leading molecular hydrogen tablets, scheduled for release this fall.
To celebrate this exciting new development in hydrogen technology, we are having a HUGE giveaway!
For the first 50 customers that purchase a bottle of VR Tablets, we are going to include a FREE H2 nano-mister! Just enter the code MISTER at checkout to be eligible.
This device will turn hydrogen water into a fine nano-mist, ideal for uptake into your skin cells. We’ve been experimenting with them in our office for some time now, with some pretty impressive results.
Don’t miss out on a chance to get your own free H2 nano-mister...shop hydrogen tablets now!
PS- Don’t forget to enter the code MISTER at checkout!