Some 22 years ago I had my first experience with hydrogen water. In those ignorant days we didn’t even know it was water containing hydrogen, and we were quite happy to absorb and parrot any claims made by the makers of the water ionizer we used. Today we now KNOW that molecular hydrogen is the only beneficial factor in drinking this water, especially now that biochemist Tyler LeBaron has published a comprehensive study showing the how and why of the many false claims made over the last 20 years for this form of water, created using a device that passes water through an electrolysis chamber.
So bear with me. In our own journey to truth we decided in our limited wisdom that we should test the claim the manufacturers made that their ‘ionized’ water helped with hangovers.
It wasn’t an expensive exercise. We’ve never been big drinkers anyway, so it took very little elbow work to get to a state of pretty serious inebriation sufficient to ensure that under normal circumstances, we’d be rewarded with a hangover.
And yes, we can report that after forcing ourselves to quaff a few glasses of ionized water, the drunkenness and the following hangover were less terrible.
Of course, with only two subjects to our trial, it wasn’t what one could hang their hat on. But now we have discovered the true ‘why?’ has been answered in this newly published study.
Treatment with hydrogen helps reduce breath alcohol levels and, in the short term, improve attention and executive functions following alcohol consumption, reveals a study. In the long term, hydrogen relieves hangover symptoms.
“Our results suggest that hydrogen might offer a bit of relief for individuals who are suffering from the effects of alcohol consumption,” the researchers said. “It needs to be explained that, in a public health view, it seems like a better idea to avoid binge-drinking instead of having to inhale or drink hydrogen gas/water before or during the alcohol intake.”
Participants in this interventional trial were matched into pairs and randomly assigned to one of the groups. In group 1, participants inhaled placebo air for 1 h, followed by drinking 100 mL liquor (40% alcohol) within 10 min, and then pure water. In group 2, participants inhaled a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gas for 1 h, followed by 100 mL liquor within 10 min, and then hydrogen dissolved in water.
On the second intervention day ≥1 week later, participants from each group were swapped were swapped and assigned to the alternative intervention. The researchers then measured breath alcohol concentration (BrAC), hangover severity, and cognitive scores.
The hydrogen group registered significantly lower BrACs than did the placebo group after 30, 60, and 90 min (p<0.05). [Am J Clin Nutr 2022;116:1208-1218]
Hangover symptoms were also fewer in the hydrogen compared to the placebo group (hydrogen: 88.6 percent of symptoms absent, 10 percent mild symptoms, 1.3 percent moderate symptoms, 0 percent severe symptoms; placebo: 77 percent of symptoms absent, 19.7 percent mild symptoms, 2.7 percent moderate symptoms, 0.7 percent severe symptoms).
Do women have worse hangovers, and how did they react to H2 water?
Treatment with hydrogen resulted in improved cognitive testing scores (p<0.05), including attention and executive functions. Hydrogen consumption was also negatively associated with increased BrACs (β, ‒13.016, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], ‒17.726 to ‒8.305; p<0.001), while female sex was positively associated (β, 22.611, 95 percent CI, 16.226‒28.997; p<0.001).
Similarly, hydrogen consumption negatively correlated (odds ratio [OR], 0.035, 95 percent CI, 0.007‒0.168; p<0.001) while female sex positively correlated (OR, 28.838, 95 percent CI, 5.961‒139.506; p<0.001) with the severity of hangover symptoms.
A previous study in rats showed how electrolyzed-reduced water (ERW) inhibited acute ethanol-induced hangovers and reduced blood alcohol concentrations. ERW produced near the cathode during water electrolysis was known to contain large amounts of dissolved molecular hydrogen. [Biomed Res 2009;30:263-239; Int J Mol Sci 2016;17:1461]
“Based on previous studies, we conducted a human study to further confirm the effects of hydrogen on alcohol metabolism and hangover symptoms. Interestingly, we found different effects of hydrogen on males and females,” the researchers said.
“We found that both BrAC and hangover severity were higher in females than in males, and regression analysis showed that female sex was positively associated with BrAC and the survey of hangover symptoms, indicating that sex differences are associated with the presence and severity of alcohol hangover symptoms, which is consistent with several previous reports,” they noted. [J Clin Med 2019;8:867; Addiction 1998;93:411-421; Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2018;172:39-49]
Ian: Thanks to MIMS Pharmacy for this post.
My conclusion? Don’t get excited. They did say “a bit of relief for individuals”. Or.. just don’t get drunk. cheaper, better and you don’t waste your amazing AlkaWay Hydrogen Water.