As Seen in Allure by Anne Bauso
Another day, another spiffy miracle drink vying with old-fashioned H2O for our hydration needs. Hydrogen water—water that’s been infused with the odorless, tasteless gas—sounds like a marketing-driven redundancy (water is, after all, two parts hydrogen). But consuming hydrogen water (and bathing in it) has been a health craze in Japan for years, and now a company called HFactor is bringing the trend stateside. The first brand to market hydrogen water in the U.S., HFactor touts its product for not only offering crazy hydration but also supplying a slew of health and beauty perks, like antioxidant protection, workout recovery, improved circulation and energy, reduced allergic reactions, and suppressed eczema. But is it actually better than what flows from your kitchen tap or Brita pitcher? I found out.
“Hydrogen acts as an antioxidant in our bodies, helping to minimize cell damage and inflammation,” says dermatologist Joel Schlessinger. “Hydrogen water is particularly popular in Japan because of its antioxidant benefits. However, there is very limited research available on how hydrogen-rich water affects the body, and even less on its long-term effects.” Schlessinger points out that “early studies suggest that drinking hydrogen-infused water can help prevent metabolic syndrome and improve health for diabetes patients, and it’s worth noting that in both studies participants experienced a decrease in cholesterol.” He stresses that while “these studies suggest drinking hydrogen-rich water is beneficial, more research on the subject is necessary.”
Hydrogen water does seem to help your body recuperate after intense gym sessions. “Since hydrogen is an antioxidant, meaning it inhibits oxidative stress, it does make sense that hydrogen-infused water could potentially assist with workout recovery,” says Project Juice cofounder Marra St. Clair, a certified nutritional consultant. “Intense muscle contractions, which result from vigorous training, cause oxidative stress that can lead to fatigue and inflammation. The expectation would be that hydrogen-infused water can help alleviate these symptoms.” She also green-lights another claim: “There is significant research to support hydrogen’s ability to boost circulation and energy. Hydrogen water is very effective at hydrating on the cellular level, which lends weight to the claim of increasing energy.”
And should eczema sufferers start guzzling hydrogen water for relief? “I’m not convinced yet,” says Schlessinger. “While certain kinds of water can help with eczema, that doesn’t mean they can suppress it.”
Alleged health and skin-care benefits aside, the stuff tastes, well, as great as water can possibly taste. It’s wonderfully crisp, like H2O HD. HFactor spent two years developing their own natural system for infusing hydrogen gas into purified water. The product is sealed into a soft aluminum pack (since hydrogen is “the lightest and the smallest molecule, it could seep out of plastic or glass containers,” says Schlessinger), complete with one of those oversize accordion straws that make you feel like you’re sucking in mostly air with every sip. But the water felt so brisk and tasted so pure, I swilled it down in ten seconds flat. I can’t say I noticed a much of a difference after a workout (OK, after an intermediate yoga class), but I’m down to do a serious deep dive. Although I like Schlessinger’s advice, too: “Because there’s very little research on hydrogen-infused water, I would suggest getting your antioxidant fix from other beverages that are backed by clinical data, like green tea or red wine.”
Photos: 24foto/Getty Images; Courtesy Of HFactor