What are the therapeutic effects and advantages of molecular hydrogen or hydrogen water against cancer?
Cancer is rampant in the United States. The CDC states that 1.5 million individuals are diagnosed with cancer each year and is projected to be 2 million by 2020. 1
Cancer is an extraordinarily complex and irregular group of related diseases. 2 There are more than 100 types of cancer, which makes the subject of cancer and treatments even more challenging and complex. 3 The term cancer describes diseases with an uncontrollable cellular division that can spread to other parts of the human body, damaging organs and human tissue as it continues to progress.
There are many factors and variables that contribute to the pathogenesis of cancers such as oxidative stress, DNA damage and mutation, ionizing radiations, carcinogenic chemicals, and so much more. 4 With such a spike in cancer, scientists and researchers have been examining multiple new strategies, therapies, and therapeutic agents that can aid in the prevention or treatment for these devastating diseases we call cancer.
Let's examine the research and bring to light the possible therapeutic effects and advantages molecular hydrogen or hydrogen water has demonstrated in scientific studies to have against cancer.
Promising anticancer effects
Molecular hydrogen is a new medical gas that can be dissolved in water and administered through drinking, inhalation, baths, intravenous drip (IV), etc. 5 Molecular hydrogen through these administration methods has more than 600 studies, showing therapeutic benefits in more than 170 human disease models, and it is still in its infancy. 6 That being said, molecular hydrogen is off to an extraordinary start! Based on scientific research, molecular hydrogen appears to have promising anticancer effects.
Molecular hydrogen may suppress cancer cell growth and invasion
… however, it does not compromise growth of normal cells.
- H2 has been shown to suppress VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), a key mediator of tumor angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels), by the reduction of excessive ROS (oxidative stress) and through the down regulation of ERK (key growth factor needed for cellular division). 7
- H2 has been shown to reduce the excessive expressions of MMP genes (MMP proteins are in involved in multiple functions in cells, including cell proliferation, cartilage synthesis, apoptosis, angiogenesis, etc). It has been shown that cancerous cells have a higher expression of MMP genes leading to tumor invasion and tumor angiogenesis. H2 has been shown to reduce tumor invasion and tumor growth and because of this effect, H2 has been shown to have anti-tumor effects. 8, 9
- “First, molecular hydrogen caused growth inhibition of human tongue carcinoma cells HSC-4 (cancerous) and human fibrosarcoma cells HT-1080 (cancerous) but did not compromise growth of normal human tongue epithelial-like cells DOK .” 10
Molecular hydrogen appears to induce cancer cell apoptosis (cell death)
… and prevents cell apoptosis in normal cells.
H2 appears to shorten telomeres in cancer cells. Telomeres are the “end caps” of DNA. Shortening telomeres can cause cell apoptosis (cell death).
- “ERW [hydrogen water] causes telomere shortening in cancer cells and suppresses tumor angiogenesis by scavenging intracellular ROS and suppressing the gene expression and secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor. In addition, ERW induces apoptosis together with glutathione in human leukemia HL60 cells (Tsai et al. 2009a, b).” 11,12
Molecular hydrogen appears to stimulate cellular death pathways in cancerous cells.
- “Treatment with both H2 waters (HHW and NHW) increased the expression of p-AMPK, AIF and Caspase 3 (cell apoptosis pathways) in colon 26 cells. Thus, H2 water resulted in cell apoptosis mediated by the AMPK pathway in colon 26 cells”. 13
Molecular hydrogen in numerous studies has demonstrated an anti-apoptotic effect in health or injured cells.
- “These findings indicate that hydrogen-rich saline protects heart and liver from injury by inhibiting cell apoptosis.” 14
- “These findings demonstrate that hydrogen-rich saline could decrease DOX-induced cell apoptosis.” 15
- “HS (hydrogen-rich saline) significantly reduced neuronal apoptosis (cell death) and improved neurological function at 24 hours after SAH (subarachnoid hemorrhage). The levels of pAkt and pGSK3β (cell survival pathways), mainly expressed in neurons, were markedly up-regulated.” 16
Molecular hydrogen may help to prevent genetic mutations
H2 has great potential to reduce somatic mutation through the reduction of excessive ROS (oxidative stress). 17 Somatic mutation is a genetic alteration acquired by a cell that can be passed to another mutated cell in the course of cell division. Somatic mutations differ from germline mutations, which are inherited genetic alterations that occur in the germ cells (i.e., sperm and eggs). 18
H2 may protect healthy tissue/cells from anticancer drugs
It has shown through medical studies that molecular hydrogen has a protective effect against chemotherapy drugs.
- “Conclusion: Hydrogen has potential for improving the quality of life of patients during chemotherapy by efficiently mitigating the side effects of cisplatin.” 19
Molecular hydrogen may have the potential to retard the development of some cancers
It was demonstrated that molecular hydrogen may protect and retard the development of thymic lymphoma in mice.
- “However, the radiation-induced thymic lymphoma rate in the H2 (+) group was significantly lower than in the control group and H2 treatment significantly increased the latency of lymphoma development after the split-dose irradiation. These data indicated that H2 protects mice from radiation-induced thymic lymphoma in BALB/c mice.” 20
This is only a glimpse at the promising effects seen from this “simple” molecule. Molecular hydrogen/hydrogen water has demonstrated these anticancer effects in scientific studies with no cytotoxic effects or cytotoxic by-products. This makes these findings even more fascinating and intriguing. Based on the current body of research, the future for this medical gas in the area of cancer and other degenerative diseases looks promising.
According to Tyler W. LeBaron, director of MHF, more research and human studies are required to determine molecular hydrogen’s effect on cancer. However, the preliminary data we discussed throughout these articles and the many testimonials out there is very persuasive.
To learn more about molecular hydrogen or hydrogen water’s potential health benefits and to see supporting scientific research visit:
- National Institute of Health: NIH.gov
- Scientific non-profit organization for molecular hydrogen: molecularhydrogenfoundation.org
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