There’s good news for those of us who have been searching the ends of the earth for an easy way to shed stubborn weight: Turns out the answer has been hiding in plain sight, in the form of the most abundant molecule in the universe: hydrogen! That’s right, a growing body of research suggests that drinking hydrogen infused water can help people lose weight.
You might be thinking: “Wait a minute, hydrogen is water. And I’ve already tried drinking more water to lose weight.” We hear you. Often our efforts to drink more water only result in us having to run to the bathroom more often. The reason: Most of us have trouble absorbing the water we drink in such a way that it delivers benefits to our metabolism at a cellular level. In fact, according to estimates hydration researcher James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, author of The Obesity Fix, subclinical dehydration affects up to 95% of women over the age of 40.
How proper hydration supports weight loss
The key to optimal hydration is getting water to be absorbed deep into our body’s cells — and that is more complicated than one might think. Just drinking more water doesn’t necessarily lead to it being absorbed into the actual cells themselves. Luckily, there’s been a breakthrough in that area of hydration science. Recent Nobel Prize–winning research from Johns Hopkins University reveals a new way for water to quickly enter cells, helping us reach superior hydration that improves our bodies’ ability to burn fat.
The discovery involves portals called aquaporin channels, which allow 1 million water molecules per second to rush into cells. But there’s a catch to this shortcut: To move most easily through these channels, “the pH of that water needs to be slightly alkaline, rather than neutral like most water,” Stanford University scientist and podcaster Andrew Huberman, PhD, has said. Tap water has a pH of about 7; whereas alkaline water’s pH is 7.9 to 9.2. So if you simply tweak your water choice, you boost your hydration and all the benefits that come with it. That said, where does hydrogen come in?
The rise of hydrogen infused water
Hydrogen-infused water, or “H2” is gaining popularity, and it’s no wonder! This kind of alkaline water is made by dissolving hydrogen gas or molecular hydrogen tablets in regular water. Hydrogen water can have a fizzy and sometimes “earthy” taste, with a gray or cloudy appearance.
The magic of H2 is its ability to turn our cells into antioxidant factories. In a Korean study, people drinking H2 experienced a 2,900% increase in health-improving antioxidants in the body. And in another study on oxidative stress (the cellular damage that antioxidants work to erase), that cellular damage dropped by 42% over eight weeks in subjects drinking hydrogen infused water.
Longevity expert Nicholas Perricone, MD, has said, “In 30 years of research, nothing has excited me more than the discovery of the efficacy and antioxidant power of hydrogen.” And another expert, Dr. Debi Prasad Acharjya, praised, “Molecular hydrogen gas is probably the greatest discovery in medical science and healthcare since 1953” — the year DNA was discovered!
How hydrogen infused water leads to weight loss
When hydrogen water helps every individual cell in our body function better, it leads to major systems like our digestion and metabolism working better as well. That’s why J. David Prologo, MD, an expert in overcoming weight-loss resistance and a protégé of bestselling author Mark Hyman, MD, says, “I advise patients to use hydrogen water as a daily supplement.” The way he sees it: Supplementing your diet with one glass a day of slightly alkaline hydrogen-enriched water hydrates cells more fully and revitalizes metabolism.
Does H2 really work? Research shows that when antioxidants rise, weight-packing inflammation can drop by 71%. Dr. Prologo explains, “Decreasing the oxidation that spurs inflammation can decrease obesity.”
That’s not all. Drinking H2 reduced liver fat and led to overall weight loss in preliminary studies on obese mice in Japan, where hydrogen water has been popular for years. Likewise, in a Natural Medicine study, adults who drank H2 daily saw a bigger drop in metabolic syndrome symptoms, including high blood pressure, than those drinking regular water. And Dr. Prologo, author of The Catching Point Transformation, confirms, “Ingesting hydrogen-enriched water has been shown in animals and humans to activate fat cell burning and reduce fat storage.”
The ability to trigger these cellular changes is what sets H2 apart from other popular wellness waters. Dr. Prologo explains, “The only real role for electrolyte water is in rehydration. It does not aid in recovery or molecular repair of our bodies in the long run like H2 does.”
Hydrogen infused water works better the older you are
Researchers have noted that the health benefits of drinking H2 increase with age. For women over 50, Dr. Prologo recommends simply drinking hydrogen water once a day, not as a replacement for total water intake. Try his approach and notice the difference in energy and weight loss that follows. His patient Melissa Donovan lost 47 pounds when she made diet and lifestyle tweaks, including drinking hydrogen water. It’s even possible to lose 1 pound a day.
Weight loss is only the beginning
Women who drink hydrogen infused water rave about youthful skin, fewer body aches, increased mental clarity and better sleep. H2 can even mimic the effects of exercise! In one study, athletes boosted their stamina by up to 40% and eased post-workout fatigue after trying hydrogen water.
Talk about a total health transformation: Adara An D’Rianna turned to hydrogen water after a tramautic brain injury from a car accident left her in constant pain, unable to focus. She started following the advice of the “Hydrogen Man” YouTuber, who had his own remarkable healing journey with H2 and now advocates drinking the cleanest, best water available. Adara recalls, “Within two hours of drinking my first liter of hydrogen, I could feel a fog starting to lift. I could actually put a thought together. By the end of the first month, I felt like myself again.” She adds, “Hydrogen water is the building block that every organ and tissue is made of. There isn’t a human who wouldn’t benefit from it. If you’re going to make one change in your life, make it hydrogen.”
How to get the perks of hydrogen infused water
Hydrogen-enriched water boosts antioxidants and snuffs inflammation, paving the way for easy weight loss and wellness. Experts suggest there are differences in price and concentration between non-medical-grade and medical-grade hydrogen waters. Here are three different ways to get an easy daily dose of non-medical-grade hydrogen water…
1. Use tablets
To turn a regular glass of water into a healing drink, look for fast-dissolving magnesium sold as “molecular hydrogen tablets.” They are actually made of magnesium, but like a chemistry experiment, the magnesium dissolves in the water, creating a free hydrogen molecule that fuses with the hydrogen in the water to create the desired effect. (Unfortunately, regular magnesium supplements won’t do the trick.) As with any health trend, counterfeit products exist, so shop from trusted brands to avoid tablets that could lead to heavy metal exposure. (Click here to learn about heavy metal detoxing.)
One good one to try: Gundry MD H2 Restore (Buy at GundryMD.com, $46 for 60 tabs). Drink immediately after it stops fizzing. Although Dr. Gundry recommends slow, steady weight loss, his followers often witness rapid improvements. Erica Crawley lost 5 pounds in a week and 32 pounds total using Dr. Gundry’s hydrogen water along with dietary changes.
2. Try pre-made cans
If you don’t want to mix your own hydrogen water, you can easily grab ready-made H2 in bottles, bags or cans. These products provide easy access to health perks, like a 33% drop in cholesterol—an effect comparable to taking Rx meds, say researchers in the Journal of Lipid Research. One to try: Perricone Hydrogen Infused Water (Buy at PerriconeHydrogenWater.com, $12 for a 4-pack)
3. Check your tap
If you have hard water, you may be in luck. Dr. Huberman, has reported, “If your tap water contains sufficient magnesium, I don’t think you need to hydrogen-enrich your water.” Why? “When we have more magnesium present in our water, you increase the amount of hydrogen of that water.” In fact, water containing 8.3 to 19.4 mg. of magnesium per liter is linked to increased health benefits. To learn more about water testing, enter your zip code at EWG.org.
Dr. Prologo’s hydrogen water diet
On Dr. Prologo’s plan, you’ll stay hydrated with regular water throughout your day, between meals. (One rule of thumb is to drink 8 oz. of water-rich fluid for every hour you’re awake for the first 10 hours of each day. Boost that amount if you exercise, live in a hot climate or consume caffeine.) Then make sure that about 20 oz. of your total water is boosted with hydrogen. Dr. Prologo recommends a concentration of around 2 to 8 ppm (parts per million), whether using ready-made H2 products, tablets or machines that add gas to your water. Always consume within 15 minutes of opening or activating.
Tips to ensure success
1. Sip in the evening
Dr. Prologo, who was inspired by his yo-yo dieting mother and lost 50 pounds himself using nutrition and biohacking tools, recommends drinking hydrogen-infused water in the evening to get the best results. “That’s because the majority of molecular change — like fighting free radicals — happens while we sleep,” he explains. “Gently add H2 in moderation to your routine in the evening as a ‘washout’ for oxidative stress.”
2. Eat these foods
Pair this hydration habit with a diet of clean, whole foods, like a Mediterranean diet, including vitamin-rich fruits and veggies, appetite-satisfying proteins and healthy fats. “Avoid abrupt calorie restrictions,” urges Dr. Prologo. “My whole philosophy is to add to our diets — the right nutrients, hydration and supplements — that encourage and accelerate internal change for the long run so people can become who they want to be.”
3. Tune in to temperature
The temperature of liquid affects the ability of fluid to flow into cell’s aquaporin channels. Room-temperature or slightly chilled water absorbs fastest, so experts advise against adding hydrogen to hot water, as heat causes the beneficial gas to evaporate quickly. Ice water also absorbs more slowly, but experts agree that slow hydration is better than no hydration.
4. Skip the bubbles
Dr. Huberman was so impressed with hydrogen water research, he tried H2 for himself and reported, “I’ve noticed more energy and a greater sense of well-being. I plan to continue to use [molecular hydrogen tablets] once or twice a day.” But he advises against adding hydrogen to carbonated water, as it can cause bloat and intestinal distress.
Check out Prologo’s book, The Catching Point Transformation, for more information about overcoming weight-loss resistance. And if you’re interested in taking your hydrogen-water use to the next level, visit HolyHydrogen.com to learn more about the top-rated machines to use to infuse your drinking water with medical-grade hydrogen.
Success story: Yvonne Petty, 59
Feeling the waistband on her pants digging in to her skin, Yvonne Petty set down her healthy salad in frustration. I’m killing myself biking 2 hours a day, while basically starving, she thought. There’s got to be a better solution!
Yvonne’s weight was climbing as menopause approached, but she didn’t know how to make it stop. On top of that, she had been a type 1 diabetic for 30 years, needing $300 of insulin monthly, ever since a car accident severely damaged her pancreas.
Then Yvonne heard about healing hydrogen water on YouTube. She gave it a try — first with dissolvable tablets and then upgrading to a powerful machine that added gas to her water. Amazingly, the H2 somehow lowered her blood sugar naturally. Plus, Yvonne lost 30 pounds in three months without changing her diet. “Hydrogen was the answer to my metabolic problems,” she shares. “It triggered some sort of metabolic mechanism that caused me to break through the weight that wouldn’t budge no matter what I did with menopause.”
Now Yvonne stays slim with the help of drinking 1 liter a day of H2. “It is like a ‘God molecule.’ I call it my magic water.” Even better: Yvonne lives insulin-free! “As a diabetic, as long as I stay on keto, hydrogen is my insulin,” she says. “My health is so good, I outpace younger people!”
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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