If you remember chemistry class, hydrogen—the first element on the periodic table—is the smallest and lightest, yet the most abundant, molecule in the known universe, representing 90% of matter. It’s also one of the two major components of water, which covers 71% of the earth’s surface and at least 65 percent of our bodies. But it wasn’t until the last two decades that it really received the credit it deserves. Aside from being a promising source of clean, zero-emission fuel on earth, hydrogen is now being touted as “the new holy grail of anti-aging” for its ability to fight disease, boost energy levels and deliver glowing skin.
“When infused in water, hydrogen provides multiple benefits, including increased energy and protection from free radicals,” explains Dr. Nicholas Perricone, world-renowned nutritionist, board-certified dermatologist and founder of his eponymous skin care brand, Perricone MD.
What Is Hydrogen Water?
Hydrogen-rich water, or simply hydrogen water, is produced when protons and electrons are added to regular water. While it’s currently enjoying a pride of place in the “now trending” department, hydrogen water is nothing new. In fact, the Japanese have long known about its benefits and have been drinking and bathing in “shin’nooru” since the ’60s, a long-standing tradition that studies backed just a few years ago. According to the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, bathing in hydrogen-infused water for three months repressed the formation of neck wrinkles in the test subjects. Other studies showed that hydrogen water may even prevent Parkinson’s disease, improve mood disorders, help in weight loss, help treat diabetes and prevent certain cancers.
Still not convinced? To learn more about the benefits of hydrogen water, and water in general, we sat down with Dr. Perricone, whose new line of skin care products called the H2 Elemental Energy is anchored on this amazing molecule to thoroughly hydrate and rejuvenate skin.
Dermstore: We know water is important for the body, what are the key benefits of water most people don’t know about?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Approximately 65 to 75 percent of the body weight is water. Water maintains moisture in the body; it transports oxygen to the blood and helps carry nutrients through the blood. Water is necessary to maintain an ideal internal body temperature—in fact, nearly every biological function requires the help of water. Here are other benefits that most people don’t know about:
1. Water quells inflammation.
Pure spring water is an essential component of the anti-inflammatory diet. Logic tells us that when we have an unwanted fire, we throw water on it to put it out. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that water would help quell the cellular inflammation that goes on in our bodies. A dehydrated body provokes the development of aging, inflammatory compounds. Water has great anti-inflammatory properties and will help your skin to be radiant, soft and supple—the key difference between a grape and raisin is water.
2. Water helps suppress appetite and flush out toxins.
Water naturally suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat. When we give our bodies adequate water (8 to 10 glasses per day or approximately two quarts), we should notice a decrease in our appetites. Women and body builders have often avoided drinking enough water because they fear bloating. You will not become bloated; in fact, the opposite will occur: the well-defined look will be enhanced as more fat is metabolized and wastes are flushed from the body.
3. Water helps burn more fat.
Water is also essential to fat metabolism. Studies have shown that if we decrease our water intake our fat deposits will increase. Conversely, an increase in water intake will reduce fat deposits. One of the roles of our liver is to convert stored fat to energy. Because our kidneys can’t function properly without enough water, if we don’t have enough water in our systems, the liver steps in and assists kidney function. This results in the liver not being able to metabolize fat as quickly and efficiently as it did when it was not assisting the kidneys. As a result, it metabolizes less fat; more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss stops.
The more you weigh the more water you need. An even mildly dehydrated body will cause a 3% drop in baseline metabolism resulting in the gain of one pound of fat every six months. A dehydrated body will also provoke the development of aging, inflammatory compounds. Dehydration is also a major cause of fatigue.
How much water does one really need to drink a day to make sure they’re getting enough of it?
About 8 to 10 glasses per day—about two quarts. The best choice is pure spring water. Avoid tap and chlorinated, fluoridated waters to eliminate substances that you do not need in your system. You can also eat fruits such as cantaloupe, which contains a lot of natural moisture as well as skin-beautifying vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Enjoy frequent cups of green tea as well. This will hydrate the body and provide important anti-stress, anti-aging antioxidants.
You just recently launched a skin care line that features the hydrogen molecule as a key ingredient. How is hydrogen beneficial to the skin?
Young skin cells are characterized by high energy and energy is needed for repair and for ingestion of nutrients and expelling waste. Old cells have low energy, poor repair and their ability to utilize nutrients and remove waste is compromised. Hydrogen will power and recharge the cells bringing them back to a more youthful level, restoring the ability to repair, ingest nutrients and remove waste more efficiently, all of which add up to the reversal of the aging process.
In addition to its topical benefits, studies have shown that drinking hydrogen-rich water leads to:
- Increased energy
- Improved athletic performance
- Increased endurance
- Increased sense of well-being
- Faster travel recovery by overcoming the effects of jet lag
- Enhanced cognitive function
- Rapid recovery from energy expenditure
- Beneficial effects on all organ systems including the skin
What makes hydrogen better at hydrating skin than other ingredients in our moisturizers, like botanical oils or hyaluronic acid?
Underlying dryness of the skin is always an inflammatory process. Hydrogen is a molecule that acts as an antioxidant anti-inflammatory. Hydrogen rapidly penetrates all layers of the skin and by turning off inflammation, the skin is able to hydrate much more rapidly than with hydration alone. This concept has been the basis of the Perricone products for almost 20 years and hydrogen is perhaps the most effective anti-inflammatory I have studied to date.
READERS—Ready to try hydrogen-infused skin care products? Check out Dr. Perricone’s H2 Elemental Energy line below.