How do we escape premature aging, mental decline, and/or a life of chronic illness? And more importantly, how can we help our friends and loved ones who are already suffering from illnesses like dementia, cancer, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, and more? While the human body is incredibly complex, the answer might just be simpler than you think.
However, in order to understand why we develop certain illnesses and how to prevent and combat them, there is one incredibly important concept to understand… the balance between two opposing forces in the body… free radicals and antioxidants. Don’t worry, even if you’re not a science person, we’ll make this easy to understand.
Our bodies are always seeking balance. If we go for a run or spend time in hot weather, we sweat to cool ourselves down. If we’re exposed to cold, we shiver in an attempt to warm ourselves up. When we’re sick, our bodies do whatever they can to get rid of the attacking molecules – coughing, fevers, runny noses, etc.
The battle between free radicals and antioxidants is quite possibly the most important part of this constant internal struggle for balance, and it could mean the difference between energy, resiliency, and long-term vibrant health…or a life of chronic fatigue, sickness and pain.
First, let’s dig into the concept of “free radicals”... what are they and what do they do?
A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has an unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly chemically reactive. In an attempt to stabilize themselves (specifically, their outer valence shells), free radicals will try to steal an electron from a neighboring, stable molecule. Once a free radical successfully gains another electron from a nearby molecule, it leaves the target short an electron and has now made the former healthy molecule into a free radical - which in turn will try and steal an electron, causing a chain reaction of excess free radical formation or what is termed “oxidative stress.”
So how are these free radicals formed?
Free radicals are formed spontaneously through our body’s natural physiological properties or as a result of environmental factors (including unhealthy dietary choices, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, inflammation, drugs, and exposure to radiation and air pollutants). But that’s not all…approximately 3-5% of the air we breathe becomes cytotoxic (the most harmful type) free radicals that can in turn be damaging to our bodies!
While there are many types of free radicals (and not all of them are toxic to the body), the most common and destructive of the bunch are oxygen free radicals, often referred to as reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS can damage DNA, RNA, cell membranes, and proteins, and ultimately contribute to the onset of almost all health conditions and premature aging.
Now that we know about free radicals, we can take a look at their counterpart, antioxidants.
The entire human body is made up of approximately 30 trillion cells, consisting of even smaller structures called molecules. Of the vast array of molecules within the human body, some molecules, including fats, DNA, RNA, cellular membranes, proteins, and vitamins are more vulnerable to free radical formation.
Important note: Many free radicals actually play an important role in various essential functions within our bodies. However, it is at higher concentrations that they become harmful and lead to potentially fatal diseases and other health conditions.
This is where the power of antioxidants comes into play. Antioxidants are stable molecules and play a critical role in our body’s capacity to fight off toxic free radicals, as they are able to donate extra electrons without losing stability. Also labeled as “free radical scavengers,” antioxidants’ capacity to neutralize free radicals prevents them from destroying our body’s healthy cells.
So how do our bodies obtain antioxidants?
Although our body naturally generates some of the antioxidants we require, the majority are acquired through our diet. These dietary antioxidants are generally obtained through fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and nutrient-dense, plant-based foods. Additionally, some dietary antioxidants are taken orally in the form of vitamin supplements and include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E, to name a few.
Here’s the problem: while our bodies can effectively combat some free radicals with the antioxidants we naturally produce and acquire through diet, the stressors and toxins of the modern world generate more free radicals than our bodies are equipped to handle. And if there is even a small amount of excess free radicals in our system, they can cause tremendous damage over time.
One way of thinking about this concept is imagining water dripping on a rock… in the short term, the water may not do much damage, but over time, the constantly dripping water will actually do a ton of damage, carving out a hole in the rock! So in order to preserve and repair both our short-term and long-term health, it is absolutely IMPERATIVE that we find a way to get enough of the right kind of antioxidants into our system.
Molecular Hydrogen (H2): A Uniquely Powerful Antioxidant
Now that we’re clear on the concept of free radicals vs. antioxidants, let’s take a look at why molecular hydrogen is so absolutely remarkable…and might just be the answer to achieving balanced and vibrant health.
As the most powerful antioxidant in existence, molecular hydrogen (H2) is distinct from other antioxidants for various reasons:
First, molecular hydrogen is unique in that it is a SELECTIVE antioxidant, which means that it will ONLY scavenge the most toxic free radicals, leaving behind those our body requires in order to carry out various cellular processes. In contrast, the scientific community has revealed the potentially damaging effects of supplemental antioxidants. Other antioxidants are unable to differentiate between the “good” and the “bad” oxidants, suppressing ALL oxidants. This can cause even MORE damage as they rid our body of the oxidants that are important for cell signaling and gene expression. Of course, it is important to recognize that there have been cases demonstrating that high doses of vitamin C, for example, may show benefits. However, the majority of the literature reveals that these antioxidants do not offer the benefits we would expect either because they are not scavenging enough of the cytotoxic free radicals to make a significant impact or they are unable to reach and penetrate areas of the cell where they need to be (i.e. mitochondria, nucleus, etc.).
Think of it like this…H2 molecules are like an elite team of special forces for your body…they have the capacity to destroy ONLY the target without disrupting or harming anything else. On the other hand, supplemental antioxidants are like a cluster bomb...while they still get rid of the destructive free radicals, they also damage the entire surrounding area and can harm innocent cells. Therefore, their incapacity to distinguish the target can ultimately end up causing greater harm than good.
In addition to its selective nature, molecular hydrogen has the capacity to dissolve into and move across cell membranes, the blood brain barrier of the central nervous system, and ultimately ANY compartment of our bodies.
In other words, H2 is extremely bioavailable, allowing our body to easily absorb its benefits
H2 is very unique in that it can get into the mitochondria (the energy powerhouse of our cells), the nucleus, and all compartments of our body – no other antioxidant has the ability to penetrate such biological membranes as efficiently (and with absolutely zero negative byproducts…the only byproduct is water). This is partially due to its simple structure, allowing it to naturally go to places where other antioxidants are unable to reach.
H2 also has the power to activate the NrF2 pathway, body’s most powerful self-defense system against free radicals. But that’s not all…molecular hydrogen even has the ability to prevent the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS – the most toxic free radicals). Lastly, molecular hydrogen has incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory properties, in turn addressing the root cause of all diseases.
Now that we’ve established a foundation for just how important and essential molecular hydrogen is for achieving optimal health, stay tuned for more information on exactly how H2 can help you, your friends, and your loved ones. You can also find a wealth of info, including a vast amount of scientific research, at www.truh2.info.