Application of hydrogen in sports medicine

Hydrogen’s antioxidant properties are the basis for its application in sports. In fact, intensified exercise will cause excessive production of reactive oxygen species and tissue damage mediated by free radicals. The use of effective antioxidants such as hydrogen may reduce oxidative stress and reactive oxygen related functional disorders (such as fatigue, micro-injury, inflammation, excessive training). Moreover, high pH hydrogen-rich water may help acidosis caused by exercise. In addition, clinical trials on the therapeutic effect of hydrogen on sports injuries are ongoing and show certain therapeutic effects.

The active oxygen produced in the body comes from the oxygen inhaled by breath. These active molecules are considered to have a dual role, harmful and beneficial. Under normal physiological conditions, reactive oxygen species play an important role in cell signal transduction and homeostasis. On the other hand, exercise-induced excessive generation of active oxygen and the decline in the function of the antioxidant defense system play an important role in skeletal muscle contractile dysfunction, leading to muscle weakness and fatigue. Research on how oxidized substances affect the contractile properties of skeletal muscles is ongoing, as well as studies on protective interventions against oxidation-mediated dysfunction. Due to its small molecular weight, hydrogen can easily diffuse into tissues and remove toxic reactive oxygen species, which is a new candidate therapeutic agent for athletes suffering from oxidative stress.

Aoki and colleagues studied the effects of hydrogen on oxidative stress and muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise. The research subjects were 10 young male football players. They performed placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossed sub-maximal treadmill exercise (75% of maximum oxygen uptake), maximum muscle activity test, and blood sample collection on athletes. 24 hours before exercise, athletes should ingest 1500ml of hydrogen-rich water or placebo.

The author evaluated 8 kinds of physiological indexes to evaluate the muscle fatigue caused by oxidative stress after acute exercise. Compared with placebo, hydrogen-rich water significantly reduces blood lactate levels after exercise. In the knee straightening experiment, the peak torque of the placebo group decreased significantly, indicating muscle fatigue, while the peak torque of the hydrogen-rich water group did not decrease in the early stage.

There is no significant change in blood oxidative damage indicators after exercise, such as active oxygen metabolites, biological antioxidant capacity or creatine kinase. There was no statistical difference between the average power frequency and the median power frequency of the surface electromyography in the placebo group and the hydrogen-rich water group, indicating that there was no difference in peripheral fatigue progression between the two groups.

The authors conclude that hydrogen-rich water can prevent severe exercise side effects. The authors did not clarify the mechanism of action of hydrogen-rich water, because hydrogen has no effect on active oxygen metabolites and biological antioxidant capacity after exercise. A similar study has been done in our laboratory. Observe whether the acute (7 days) intake of 1L/day of hydrogen-rich water improves the antioxidant level and athletic performance of college athletes through double-blind, randomized, and cross-study design. Drink hydrogen-rich water before training (30 minutes), during training (every 15 minutes), and after training (until 45 minutes).

In extreme sports, hydrogen-rich water contributes to blood lactic acid levels at maximum exercise conscious intensity and extreme exercise speed (8.1 mph). Hydrogen-rich water treatment has no significant effect on athletes’ weight, body composition and maximum oxygen consumption. In addition, it has no significant effect on the total antioxidant capacity of serum and fasting blood glucose. We conclude from this that hydrogen-rich water can reduce physical stress in extreme sports, but the mechanism of action is unknown. Perhaps due to the small number of subjects, the short intake of hydrogen-rich water, or the small dose of hydrogen-rich water, no statistical differences in oxidation indexes were observed. However, the above research results may suggest another mechanism of hydrogen action, in addition to antioxidants, it can also improve the physical environment of athletes.

Hydrogen-rich water is an alkalizer for physical activity.

Although it is relatively rare in ordinary people, metabolic acidosis caused by exercise is a common metabolic disorder of physical activity. The main manifestation is the low pH of tissues and blood, accompanied by lactic acid accumulation, and neuromuscular, heart, and lung reactions. Exercise-induced metabolic acidosis is different from what is commonly referred to as metabolic acidosis. It mainly occurs during strenuous exercise. At this time, the cell is forced to rely on non-mitochondrial ATP to operate, which leads to the release of protons and the drop in serum pH. Weaken sports performance. For physical activists with acidemia, the primary goal is to use alkalizing agents to raise the system pH. When hydrogen can be prepared by reacting magnesium metal with water, beverages with dissolved hydrogen show a high pH, ​​low oxygen content, and a relatively high hydrogen content. Alkaline hydrogen-rich water can be used as an acidity reducer to help people fight the acid effect of exercise.

Some studies have observed the effect of hydrogen-rich water on athletes’ physical environment, and found that hydrogen intervention has an effect on blood buffer indicators. An open clinical study observed the effect of daily intake of 2 liters of hydrogen-rich water for 7 consecutive days on the baseline of arterial blood pH and the incidence of acidosis in 19 young healthy men. Hydrogen-rich water has a hydrogen content of about 1.1 mmol/L, a redox potential of about 400mV, and a pH of 9.3. Subjects continued to exercise from the beginning of the test until the end of the test. Blood samples of the subjects were collected. Arterial blood was collected after fasting overnight and after exercise. We found that the intake of hydrogen-rich water increased the pH of the blood after fasting and after exercise, without side effects. Previous animal studies have also shown that hydrogen-rich water is beneficial as an alkalizing agent. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial also produced similar results, allowing 52 healthy male physical activity volunteers to ingest 2 liters of hydrogen-rich water per day for 14 consecutive days. Baseline and post-exercise levels of blood pH, carbon dioxide partial pressure and bicarbonate were measured at the beginning and after the test. It was found that hydrogen-rich water can increase the pH of fasting arterial blood by 0.04. After 14 days of continuous drinking, it can increase the pH of arterial blood after exercise by 0.07. After continuous intake of hydrogen-rich water, the level of fasting bicarbonate is significantly higher than before intake Rise. The reason why hydrogen-rich water is an alkalizing agent may be due to its rich anions and its strong reducibility. These findings make it possible for hydrogen-rich water to be used as an alkalizing agent in physical and non-physical activities. However, caution should be exercised when recommending the use of hydrogen-rich water, as its long-term health effects are not yet known. The toxic and side effects of excessive intake of hydrogen-rich water are also unknown, which also requires us to be cautious.

The effect of molecular hydrogen on sports injuries: a new concept

In modern sports, quickly and effectively dealing with sports-related injuries is a key factor in quickly recovering from injuries and reinvesting in daily training and competition. The tissue hypoxia and acute reactive oxygen species at the site of soft tissue injury make cell damage more serious. Compared with the primary injury caused by the acute injury mechanism, subsequent tissue injury often occurs in the area around the primary injury. Since hydrogen treatment is effective for a variety of reactive oxygen-related human injuries and diseases, we have reason to believe that hydrogen can also help exercise-related injuries. In particular, molecular hydrogen can reduce the level of oxidative stress and inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and myopathy, and improve the index of ischemia-reperfusion injury in patients with acute cerebral infarction.

There is currently a clinical study of hydrogen on sports injuries. This study observed the therapeutic effect of oral or local administration of hydrogen-rich water on sports soft tissue injuries for 2 weeks. This study is currently a Phase II clinical study.. The treatment plan will lead to more future clinical research on the application of hydrogen-rich water in the field of sports medicine.


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