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DIY Hydrogen Water & How Hydrogen Water Increases Insulin Sensitivity

Our focus for this discussion is hydrogen water—what it is, its remarkable properties, and how you can create it without the need for expensive equipment or hydrogen tablets. In fact, many individuals craft their own hydrogen water using simple items like boiling water, a freezer or fridge-safe water bottle with an airtight seal, a minuscule amount of food-grade malic acid, and some 99.99% pure magnesium rods.

It may sound a bit unconventional, but, first, let's begin by exploring the amazing benefits of hydrogen water, particularly its role in combating insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome by enhancing antioxidant levels and reducing lipid peroxidation, a significant contributor to faulty insulin signaling and glucose utilization.

So, what exactly is hydrogen water? It's essentially water infused with molecular hydrogen. But what does molecular hydrogen do at the cellular level? One of its most notable functions is its ability to act as a potent antioxidant. To understand this, we need to remember that antioxidants are substances that neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress, damaging cells, including DNA and their ability to produce proteins. Oxidative stress can also wreak havoc on mitochondria, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced ATP production efficiency. Molecular hydrogen helps mitigate oxidative stress by selectively scavenging and neutralizing harmful free radicals, particularly hydroxyl radicals (OH•).

Moreover, molecular hydrogen has demonstrated its capability to inhibit specific inflammatory pathways, enhance the gut microbiome composition, and improve markers of metabolic syndrome. This makes sense since metabolic syndrome primarily results from issues like poor gut health, inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. In one study, subjects consumed 1.5–2 liters of hydrogen-rich water daily over eight weeks, and the results were astonishing. Antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels increased by 39%, while urine levels of Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances (TBARS), which indicate lipid peroxidation, decreased by 43%.

This reduction in oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation is crucial for metabolic health, as damaged lipid membranes, like cell and mitochondrial membranes, can hinder glucose uptake, ATP production, and ultimately contribute to insulin resistance.

Now, let's shift our focus from the benefits of hydrogen-enriched water to its DIY creation without expensive machinery or tablets. However, please note that this method should be approached with caution and ONLY under appropriate PROFESSIONAL medical guidance.

To create hydrogen water, we need a quick chemistry review. The chemical reaction responsible for producing molecular hydrogen in water involves magnesium (Mg) reacting with two molecules of water (H2O) to form magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) and hydrogen gas (H2). In essence: Mg + 2H2O → Mg(OH)2 + H2.

The study on metabolic syndrome we mentioned earlier utilized this magnesium rod method. There are various ways to make or obtain hydrogen water, including machines, portable bottles, tablets, or prepackaged hydrogen water (though this is the worst way to obtain hydrogen water as hydrogen gas content will dissipate over time in these prepackaged bottles or pouches). However, this study specifically used 99.9% pure metallic magnesium rods placed in 500 ml water bottles to maintain a hydrogen concentration between 0.55 and 0.65 mM and a pH between 7.9 and 8.1.

(Also, it's worth noting that molarity differs from parts per million (PPM) and requires conversion when comparing the two.)

Now, despite achieving a relatively low hydrogen concentration, this study showcased the remarkable impact of even modest hydrogen water concentrations on antioxidant status and lipid peroxidation reduction. However, they did not specify pressurizing the bottle or cooling it to enhance hydrogen concentration, two strategies known to be effective in retaining more dissolved hydrogen gas.

The use of airtight seals on bottles was not explicitly mentioned in the study but is a common-sense practice to maximize hydrogen gas dissolution. Another key difference is the addition of food-grade malic acid, which can accelerate the reaction and increase hydrogen concentrations. Many hydrogen tablets combine metallic magnesium and malic acid for this reason. In more detail, the process typically involves using boiling water to enhance magnesium-malic acid interaction, followed by cooling the solution in a freezer-safe bottle, but caution is necessary, as dangerous pressurization (due to the escaping hydrogen gas) can occur when sealing and cooling the bottle.

Now that we've covered the two magnesium rod methods, let's delve into some precautions. As previously emphasized, while this method is cost-effective and can yield highly-concentrated hydrogen water (with the malic acid + magnesium rod approach), it comes with significant safety considerations.

First and foremost, purity is essential when selecting magnesium rods, as some may contain impurities, including harmful metals like lead. Additionally, the consumption of metallic magnesium residue from the reaction should be monitored, especially for individuals with compromised kidney function, as excessive magnesium intake can lead to hypermagnesemia, a potentially dangerous condition.

Only ever work with a licensed medical professional for all of your hydrogen water needs.


Nakao A, Toyoda Y, Sharma P, Evans M, Guthrie N. Effectiveness of hydrogen rich water on antioxidant status of subjects with potential metabolic syndrome-an open label pilot study. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2010 Mar;46(2):140-9. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.09-100. Epub 2010 Feb 24. PMID: 20216947; PMCID: PMC2831093.


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