Acute and intense exertion during acute physical exercise results in an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in skeletal muscle, leading to oxidative stress-related tissue damages, microinjury, inflammation, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Dietary antioxidant supplementation can reduce ROS levels and muscle fatigue, as well as enhance exercise recovery. On the other hand, various health benefits from regular exercise are mediated by exercise-induced ROS, and can be negated via conventional antioxidant supplementation. Thus, it is important to reduce oxidative stress without impairing important ROS signaling.
Molecular hydrogen (H2) was considered to be a nonfunctional inert molecule in our body for a long time. H2 acts as an antioxidant. H2 has several advantages with extensive effects: H2 rapidly diffuses into tissues and cells, and it is mild enough to neither disturb metabolic redox reactions nor to affect signaling ROS such as H2O2; therefore, there should be little or no adverse effects of H2. There are several methods to administer H2; inhaling H2 gas, drinking H2-dissolved water (H2 water), injecting H2-dissolved saline (H2 saline), taking an H2 bath, or dropping H2 saline into the eyes. Among all these methods, drinking hydrogen-rich water is the most effective, convenient as well as cheapest way to administer hydrogen in your body. Studies have found that, H2 can reduce oxidative stress not only by direct reactions with strong oxidants, but also indirectly by regulating various gene expressions. Modification of free radical chain reaction by H2 may influence signal transduction, which subsequently regulates gene expressions. H2 benefits not only sick patients, but also healthy people in their daily life. Administration of H2 water decreases oxidative stress and exhibit anti-fatigue effects.