Whenever I talk with people about wellness protocols that seem weird, I like to remind them that we all drink bean juice for breakfast. That’s essentially what coffee is — ground and strained bean tea.
There are countless strange things in our daily routines that only seem normal because they’ve become so familiar to us. Currently, the world of wellness is filled with unfamiliar things and non-conventional solutions. It’s easy to roll our eyes and dismiss some of these new ideas as ridiculous, but an open mind is key if you’re truly interested in discovering some of the top wellness tools emerging now.
If the benefits of a health protocol have been scientifically and experientially validated, but have yet to become part of the cultural norm, are you willing to wait for mass acceptance before you try them? With the speed of technological change and the rate at which research is happening these days, it’s an important question to consider in health and wellness — and one that “bio-hackers” have already answered for themselves with a resounding ‘no’.
A few months ago, I caught a glimpse of bio-hacker, Luke Storey rocking one of these Vital Reaction hydrogen inhalers around town on Instagram Stories. The inhaler unit is the size of a tote bag and attaches to your face with the kind of nasal cannula you might find on your great-grandmother’s oxygen inhaler.
IV and inhalation therapies have received growing interest in the wellness community over the last couple of decades, so I was intrigued to learn more about the hydrogen inhaler and why a biohacker, many of whose interests I share, found it worth his time.
Here’s what I learned from Vital Reaction about the technology and my experience latching that less-than-sexy nasal cannula to my face at home throughout the day for the past several months…
On Antioxidants + Free Radicals: A Science Refresher
Oxidative stress is a marker for for many modern diseases. It is associated with the progression of numerous serious diseases like cardiovascular disease (e.g. atherosclerosis), MS (multiple sclerosis), respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), kidney disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Free radicals are what lead to oxidative stress in our mitochondria and can wreak havoc on both our DNA and our bodies’ fundamental proteins at the molecular level. Although it’s not the first substance to come to mind when most us think ‘antioxidants’, molecular hydrogen is one of the most powerful antioxidants in existence. Hydrogen can penetrate our DNA and boost our bodies’ innate antioxidant production and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
According to Vital Reaction, “hydroxyl radicals specifically can directly attack DNA, triggering cell mutations and the possible development of cancer and may inflict oxidative damage on proteins, impairing the function of various receptors, antibodies, transport proteins, enzymes, etc.”
Three antioxidants effectively target and inhibit hydroxyl radicals:
+ Ferulic acid: a superior antioxidant found in grapes, parsley, spinach, rhubarb and whole grains.
+ Resveratrol: found in berries, peanuts, plums, grapes and red wine.
+ Molecular Hydrogen: an antioxidant with a rapid diffusion rate that selectively neutralizes and scavenges hydroxyl radicals and reduces oxidative stress via potentiation of superoxide dismutase enzymes (SOD).
On Molecular Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the simplest, smallest and most abundant element in the universe. It is one of only four elements present in every living organism, along with carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Highly bioavailable, hydrogen is the only antioxidant that can access the mitochondria and cell nucleus under certain conditions.
Since 1975, over 800 peer-reviewed articles have been written demonstrating molecular hydrogen to have therapeutic potential in essentially every organ of the human body and in 170 different disease models. Explore Vital Reaction’s science here.
By ingesting molecular hydrogen as an oral pill or by inhaling it through an inhaler, you are providing your cells with the antioxidant power to combat oxidative stress and supporting the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis by neutralizing harmful free radicals and boosting the internal antioxidant system.
It looks weird. Is this safe?
Unlike therapeutic oxygen which need to be closely monitored and prescribed through a doctor, hydrogen inhalers can be easily managed at home and only require distilled water to operate. An overdose of hydrogen has never been reported. It is a remarkably safe substance to consume.
In Japan, hydrogen gas is used as a therapy in many hospitals and on the sidelines of many childrens’ football games in the case of head injury. Human trials using molecular hydrogen inhalation have been conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital and the list of studies on the benefits of hydrogen are endless (dig in here).
Since hydrogen inhalation has such a primary effect on the body with it’s ability to reduce overall oxidative stress, it has a wide range of applications. I’ve found that, when a healing protocol has an effect on such a long list of conditions, people get skeptical. The truth is that many fundamentally healing treatments are useful for a wide variety of conditions for the same reasons that plenty of water and deep rest are healing — they help our bodies do everything better.
The Benefits of Molecular Hydrogen Inhalation
Molecular hydrogen reduces oxidative stress and supports the body in low oxygen states. An inhalator produce regulated amounts of hydrogen gas which saturates arterial blood, penetrates cell membranes and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier to provide benefits at the sub-cellular level.
In studies, the benefits of molecular hydrogen inhalation have been shown to include…
Reduce inflammation and pain
Promote cellular health
Boosts internal antioxidant levels
Increase energy levels
Supports cognitive function and focus
Improve sleeping patterns
Enhance athletic performance and decrease recovery time
Decreases lactic acid levels
Supports mitochondrial ATP production and membrane potential
Protects against soft tissue and micro-injury
Reduces ROS-related overtraining and excess oxidative stress
Reduces TBI symptoms and protects against neurodegenerative changes
Converts free radicals to water for ultimate hydration
Improve cognitive function and focus
Have better skin health and tone
Support healthy weight management
Hydrate at the cellular level
In my experience using the inhaler for the past few months, as promised by the team at Vital Reaction, I’ve experienced a subtle uptick in my sense of well-being after using the machine for about twenty minutes in the afternoons. As a gratefully healthy human, I’m not looking to resolve or heal any specific physical issues, but optimize my overall health and cognition. Homeostasis is a great word to describe the sense of well-being from a session with the inhalator. I’ve also hooked up friends and family to the inhaler. In one case, after a friend’s minor head injury resulting in a headache, twenty minutes on the inhalator totally relieved their symptoms of tension and pain, likely reducing any potentially harmful inflammation along with it.
The promise of molecular hydrogen as a preventative wellness tool is too big to ignore. And for athletes looking to boost recovery and those dealing with condition-specific pain and inflammation issues, the promise seems to be even greater. The Chalkboard is not a purveyor of medical advice as we’re not equipped to do so, but we love to present our readers with some of the most exciting protocols we’re finding for each to explore on their own.
Vital Reaction’s hydrogen inhalers are an exciting wellness tool, if a bit on the pricey side. Depending on your health needs and goals, the simple twenty minute ritual of taking a break with the inhaler might be an incredible investment in your health. For those who are looking for an even simpler way to try molecular hydrogen therapy, Vital Reaction also makes hydrogen tablets that dissolve in a glass of drinking water. The tablets are definitely the most affordable way to give hydrogen a try and test their results on your system.
If you’re interested in the tablet or an inhalator, Chalkboard readers will receive 10% off Vital Reaction’s Hydrogen Inhalers, as well as their more accessible and easier to use hydrogen tablets by using code CHALKBOARD at checkout. Have you tried molecular hydrogen or are you planning to? We want to hear from you in the comments below!