A study of athletes drinking HYDROGEN WATER found an increase in endurance, antioxidant protection, gut flora quality and physiological indicators.

A study of athletes drinking HYDROGEN WATER found an increase in endurance, antioxidant protection, gut flora quality and physiological indicators.
13 June 2023

Here is an English translation of part of an official study on young football players who took hydrogen water for 2 months. At the end of the article we have put a link to the full published report of the study.

Effects of long-term hydrogen water intake on antioxidant activity and intestinal flora in young female soccer players from Suzhou, China. The study protocol was approved by the ethics committee of Suzhou Sports School (permission number: SSS-EC150903). The study was conducted between October and December 2018. The data were published on January 9, 2019.


Expending a significant amount of physical energy inevitably leads to fatigue during training and competition in football. A growing body of research confirms the link between free radical formation and scavenging, fatigue, and exercise injury. Hydrogen has recently been identified as a novel selective antioxidant with potential beneficial applications in sports. The present study evaluated the effect of bimonthly consumption of water enriched with molecular hydrogen (H2) on intestinal flora in young soccer players from Suzhou. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and 16S rDNA sequence analysis of stool samples from athletes drinking hydrogen-enriched water SHOWED SIGNIFICANT DECREASES in serum malondialdehyde, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor A levels. Also SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED serum superoxide dismutase as well as increases in total antioxidant capacity and whole blood hemoglobin levels. In addition, consumption of hydrogen water improved the diversity and abundance of gut flora. After the 2-month intervention, all examined flora indices were higher in the control group drinking hydrogen water compared to the group taking plain placebo water. Thus, consumption of hydrogen-enriched water for two months played a modulating role for the intestinal flora of athletes based on its selective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. The study protocol was approved by the ethics committee of Suzhou Sports School (approved number: SSS-EC150903).


Existing research and clinical studies suggest that animals and humans should only breathe hydrogen or drink hydrogen-rich water to protect the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, and small intestine from ischemia/reperfusion oxidative injury or inflammatory injury after heart organ transplantation.

The positive biological effects of hydrogen in sports have attracted the attention of many researchers in the field of sports science. The beneficial protective effects of hydrogen water on the body are gradually being confirmed in both animal and human studies. The study summarized the current applications of hydrogen gas in the field of sports, highlighting that H2: 1) Effectively scavenges a large number of harmful free radicals generated through physical activity, thereby enhancing antioxidant capacity; 2) Is an effective alkalizing agent in the body that effectively suppresses blood acidification induced by lactic acid accumulation in athletes; 3) Is an important signaling molecule involved in physiological regulatory processes, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and anti-autophagic.

HGB is one of the classic indicators reflecting the level of endurance. The level of HGB begins to increase gradually, suggesting that athletes have adapted well to the winter workload. The increase in HGB level was higher in the hydrogen water drinking group, and this suggests that long-term H2 water intake may help increase HGB level.

Urea nitrogen is the end product of protein metabolism. The involvement of protein catabolism in energy supply is enhanced during long-term and high-intensity exercise, thus increasing the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood and urine with increased protein and amino acid breakdown. The level change of all 38 athletes increased slightly due to winter training and seasonal factors. After 8 weeks, the decrease in serum nitrogen level and the increase in HGB level indicated that long-term hydrogen water intake had beneficial effects on the physiological functions of the athletes.


CK is the key enzyme in energy metabolism in skeletal muscle cells, the activity of which directly influences short-term maximal exercise capacity. Following high-intensity muscle exercise, muscle soreness and serum CK levels are strongly and positively correlated. A study found that serum CK levels of professional rugby athletes were significantly higher. CK is an important index reflecting exercise stress, especially of that which stresses skeletal muscle. Thus, CK could indirectly reflect the levels of damage and active repair of skeletal muscle ultrastructure.

After 8 weeks, the serum CK level in athletes drinking hydrogen-rich water continued to decrease, indicating the positive effect of molecular hydrogen in faster recovery. Research has shown that hydrogen-rich water can significantly prolong exercise duration before exhaustion and improve exercise capacity, indicating a significant anti-fatigue effect of H2. Research has shown that drinking hydrogen water at different times before, during, and after exercise provides significant protective effects against oxidative stress damage in competitive swimmers during high-intensity exercise. H2 water reduces the production of excess free radicals and enhances the activity of antioxidant enzymes and the body's antioxidant capacity, thereby aiding physical recovery after high-intensity exercise.

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Link to the full research report.


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