/ Molecular Hydrogen: Your Heart's New Best Friend for a Thriving Cardiovascular System!
Heart problems are a big health issue globally, causing a lot of illness and death. They happen because of problems with our cells and our body's response to bad conditions, like inflammation and unhealthy habits. Our heart, blood vessels, and blood make up a complex system that keeps blood moving in our body. But if we eat poorly, don't move much, smoke, or get stressed a lot, it can lead to heart problems like high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and heart failure.
Oxidative stress happens when there's an imbalance between some reactive compounds (ROS/RNS) and our body's defense system against them. This can mess up how our cells and organs work.
These reactive compounds, like superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals, are normal byproducts of our cells doing their job. They actually have important roles in our cells, like signaling, gene activity, and growth. But when we make too many of them, they can harm our molecules and cause health problems.
Oxidative stress is linked to various heart and metabolic issues, including high blood pressure, problems with blood vessels in diabetes, and clogged arteries. It can also lead to serious conditions like stroke and heart failure. Too many of these reactive compounds can hurt the cells lining our blood vessels and the muscle cells around them, which makes cardiovascular diseases more likely.
Molecular hydrogen is a special antioxidant with unique abilities. It's tiny and can easily get inside our cells, including important parts like the nucleus and mitochondria. We can take it in different ways, like by inhaling hydrogen gas or drinking hydrogen water. Both methods increase the amount of hydrogen in our blood.
The cool thing about hydrogen is that it doesn't mess with the useful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in our cells and isn't harmful when used at the right doses. Over the past 12 years, research has shown that hydrogen acts like a biological manager. It helps fight against oxidative stress, reduces damage to our cells and their energy centers (mitochondria), and keeps our antioxidant levels in check. This helps protect us from various stressors.
There's also evidence that inhaling hydrogen can help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms in mice caused by stress. It even prevents stress from causing hormonal imbalances in their blood. These discoveries make hydrogen look promising as a treatment for many different health problems, thanks to its ability to battle oxidative stress and regulate important cell processes. This has renewed interest in hydrogen as a useful antioxidant in treating various conditions.
Molecular hydrogen shows promise in cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury (I/R) models. This injury happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked and then restored, causing damage due to harmful compounds.
Hydrogen can be given through methods like inhaling it or drinking hydrogen-rich water. It improves heart function, reduces the damage caused by cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury (I/R), and lowers oxidative stress and inflammation markers. Additionally, hydrogen helps activate processes that clean up damaged cells and prevent cell death, further improving heart function in these cases.
Myocardial infarction (MI), which is a major cause of death, can damage the heart and increase the risk of heart failure. But in rat models of MI, using molecular hydrogen through methods like swallowing it, breathing it in, or injecting it into the body has shown really good results. It helps the heart work better, reduces the damaged areas, and lowers cell death in the heart. This all means a healthier heart and better chances of survival.
Moreover, in rats with a condition called chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), molecular hydrogen has been proven to help the heart function better. It does this by lowering oxidative stress and stopping a specific type of cell death caused by stress in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). What's interesting is that when hydrogen-rich saline (HRS) is combined with exercise in rat heart injury models, it seems to help fix problems with their mitochondria and DNA. This hints at ways hydrogen might protect the heart.
A study led by Ikuroh Ohsawa and their team looked into whether drinking water with hydrogen gas (H2-water) could stop arteriosclerosis. This is when your arteries become hard and narrow due to issues like oxidative stress and inflammation. Hydrogen is known for being a good antioxidant, which means it fights oxidative stress. The results were pretty good. People who drank hydrogen water had fewer signs of arteriosclerosis in their aorta, which is a big artery in the body. This was shown by less staining and lower levels of oxidative stress. So, it suggests that hydrogen water might help prevent arteriosclerosis by acting as a strong antioxidant.
In a study led by Yaxing Zhang, they looked into whether hydrogen gas (H2) could help with a heart condition called cardiac hypertrophy, where the heart gets too big. They used a substance called isoproterenol (ISO) to make the hearts of mice grow too much. Then, they split the mice into groups: one group got ISO alone, one got ISO with hydrogen, and one got hydrogen alone. What they found was that giving the mice hydrogen before and during ISO treatment stopped their hearts from growing too big and made them work better. They also did tests with heart cells in a dish, and it showed that hydrogen stopped the heart cells from getting too big. This suggests that hydrogen can protect against cardiac hypertrophy, possibly by reducing oxidative stress and keeping the heart cells healthy, as well as affecting some important signals in the heart. Overall, this study shows that hydrogen might be helpful in preventing heart growth problems and keeping the heart healthy.
It's clear that hydrogen has great potential for keeping our hearts healthy. It works as a strong antioxidant, which means it can reduce inflammation, improve the lining of our blood vessels, and help with other things that affect our heart health. As more research is done, hydrogen might become a key player in supporting our heart's well-being. It could be like a best friend to our cardiovascular system, helping it stay in top shape and boosting our overall health.
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LeBaron, T.W.; Kura, B.; Kalocayova, B.; Tribulova, N.; Slezak, J. A New Approach for the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disorders. Molecular Hydrogen Significantly Reduces the Effects of Oxidative Stress. Molecules 2019, 24, 2076. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24112076
Saengsin, K., Sittiwangkul, R., Chattipakorn, S.C. et al. Hydrogen therapy as a potential therapeutic intervention in heart disease: from the past evidence to future application. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 80, 174 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-023-04818-4