Because hydrogen therapy has been found beneficial for the treatment of inflammation, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and oxidative stress in humans, it seems useful to evaluate the effects of exogenously administered hydrogen as an element in the immediate management of sports-related soft tissue injuries. The main aim of this pilot study was to examine the effects of 2-week administration of hydrogen on the biochemical markers of inflammation and functional recovery in male professional athletes after acute soft tissue injury. During the 2013 season (from March to May), 36 professional athletes were recruited as participants and examined by a certified sports medicine specialist in the first 24 hours after an injury was sustained. Subjects were allocated to 3 randomly assigned trials in a single-blind design. Those in the control group received a traditional treatment protocol for soft tissue injury. Subjects in the first experimental group followed the same procedures as the control group but with additional administration throughout the study of oral hydrogen-rich tablets (2 g per day). Subjects in the second experimental group also followed the procedures of the control group, with additional administration throughout the study of both oral hydrogen-rich tablets (2 g per day) and topical hydrogen-rich packs (6 times per day for 20 minutes). Participants were evaluated at the time of the injury report and at 7 and 14 days after baseline testing. Oral and topical hydrogen intervention was found to augment plasma viscosity decrease as compared with the control group (P = 0.04). Differences were found for range-of-motion recovery between the 3 groups; oral and topical hydrogen intervention resulted in a faster return to normal joint range of motion for both flexion and extension of the injured limb as compared with the control intervention (P < 0.05). These preliminary results support the hypothesis that the addition of hydrogen to traditional treatment protocols is potentially effective in the treatment of soft tissue injuries in male professional athletes. Trial identification: Clinicaltrials.gov number NCT01759498.
Ostojic SM, Vukomanovic B, Calleja-Gonzalez J, Hoffman JR. Effectiveness of oral and topical hydrogen for sports-related soft tissue injuries. Postgrad Med. 2014 Sep;126(5):187-95.
Molecular hydrogen has prominent effects on more than 30 animal models especially of oxidative stress-mediated diseases and inflammatory diseases. In addition, hydrogen effects on humans have been reported in diabetes mellitus type 2, hemodialysis, metabolic syndrome, radiotherapy for liver cancer, and brain stem infarction. Hydrogen effects are ascribed to specific radical-scavenging activities that eliminate hydroxyl radical and peroxynitrite, and also to signal-modulating activities, but the detailed molecular mechanisms still remain elusive. Hydrogen is a safe molecule that is largely produced by intestinal bacteria in rodents and humans, and no adverse effects have been documented. We performed open-label trial of drinking 1.0 liter per day of hydrogen-enriched water for 12 weeks in five patients with progressive muscular dystrophy (PMD), four patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM), and five patients with mitochondrial myopathies (MM), and measured 18 serum parameters as well as urinary 8-isoprostane every 4 weeks. We next conducted randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of 0.5 liter per day of hydrogen-enriched water or placebo water for 8 weeks in 10 patients with DM and 12 patients with MM, and measured 18 serum parameters every 4 weeks. In the open-label trial, no objective improvement or worsening of clinical symptoms was observed. We, however, observed significant effects in lactate-to-pyruvate ratios in PMD and MM, fasting blood glucose in PMD, serum matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP3) in PM/DM, and serum triglycerides in PM/DM. In the double-blind trial, no objective clinical effects were observed, but a significant improvement was detected in lactate in MM. Lactate-to-pyruvate ratios in MM and MMP3 in DM also exhibited favorable responses but without statistical significance. No adverse effect was observed in either trial except for hypoglycemic episodes in an insulin-treated MELAS patient, which subsided by reducing the insulin dose. Hydrogen-enriched water improves mitochondrial dysfunction in MM and inflammatory processes in PM/DM. Less prominent effects with the double-blind trial compared to the open-label trial were likely due to a lower amount of administered hydrogen and a shorter observation period, which implies a threshold effect or a dose-response effect of hydrogen.
Ito M, Ibi T, Sahashi K, Ichihara M, Ito M, Ohno K. Open-label trial and randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of hydrogen-enriched water for mitochondrial and inflammatory myopathies. Med Gas Res. 2011;1:24.