Medical scientists who studied the ‘Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise in elite athletes, wrote, “Since energy demands and oxygen consumption increase during super-maximal exercise, such as intermittent running, sprints, and jumps, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) also increase, threatening to disturb redox balance and cause oxidative stress. During normal conditions, ROS and RNS are generated at a low rate and subsequently eliminated by the antioxidant systems. However, a greatly increased rate of ROS production may exceed the capacity of the cellular defense system. Consequently, substantial free radicals’ attack on cell membranes may lead to a loss of cell viability and to cell necrosis and could initiate the skeletal muscle damage and inflammation caused by exhaustive exercise.”[i]
Intense exercises produce lactic acid which reduces the pH of the muscles, and that is one of the factors that can promote muscle fatigue which means less strength or inability to contract muscles. Lactic acid is a strong acid, which ionizes, releasing ions of H+ and ions of lactate. The increase of the concentration of H+ can compromise the execution of exercise by 2 forms:
(1) the increase of the concentration of H+ reduces the capacity of the muscle to produce ATP, and
(2) the H+ can compete with the ions Ca+ for the troponin binding sites and in this way, will impede the contractile process.[ii]
Adequate hydration with hydrogen-rich water pre-exercise reduces blood lactate levels and improved exercise-induced decline of muscle function.[iii] Hydrogen therapy in sports medicine is an effective and specific innovative treatment for exercise-induced oxidative stress and sports injury, with potential for the improvement of exercise performance.[iv]
One study in 2012 with 10 elite athletes male soccer players was made to examine the effect of hydrogen-rich water (HW) on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise. The oral intake of HW prevented the elevation of blood lactate during heavy exercise.
A study in 2012 with 52 physically active men was made to test the hypothesis of the increase of the blood pH with hydrogen. 26 participants received 2 liters of hydrogen water and 26 participants received placebo. The group after 14 days of intervention which ingested the HW showed a significantly increased fasting arterial blood pH by 0.04 and post exercise pH by 0.07. Fasting bicarbonates were significantly higher. No participant reported any side effects.[v]
[iii] Med Gas Res. 2012; 2: 12. Pilot study: Effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on muscle fatigue caused by acute exercise in elite athletes Kosuke Aoki, Atsunori Nakao, Takako Adachi, Yasushi Matsui, and Shumpei Miyakawa
[iv] Int J Sports Med 2015; Molecular Hydrogen in Sports Medicine: New Therapeutic Perspectives
Muscles, under stress and aggressive exercise feel like they’re “burning” – as acidosis kicks in and Lactic Acid is produced. This causes latent muscle fatigue. That’s the downside to all intense exercise – the lactic acid burn and the residual fatigue that it causes.
In the study with elite athletes above, Hydrogen Water actually prevented lactic acid (acidosis) in the cells – there was no “burn”
I’ve experienced this for many months now – and directly the other day, in an intense workout on a bike, climbing 400′ in .4 of a mile – with no muscle burn AT ALL. I hadn’t taken this ride (rotten weather up here) for several weeks. Hopped on the bike “cold” and climbed 800′ total and returned, with that really nasty 400′ section as an H I I T portion of the workout. NO residual muscle fatigue. NO burn in the muscles during the ride.
– E. W.