Is H2 the Best Antioxidant?


Antioxidants are a hot item in the health and supplement worlds. You don’t have to look very hard to find numerous claims about the antioxidant properties of various foods and supplements. It is not surprising that the new websites selling H2 products are popping up online touting the antioxidant properties of H2 .

We decided to investigate the topic of H2 as an antioxidant because the information online lacked depth and there are some pretty bold claims being made.

After a lot of digging through related scientific journals found on the MHF website (, we found lots of relevant information. The difficult part for us was converting the scientific findings into words that you could read without getting a headache, plus there is so much information there. We reached out to Tyler, Lebaron, the founder and executive director of the science-based nonprofit and asked for his help. Tyler graciously provided the following summary of the unique attributes of H2 :

Unlike conventional antioxidants: Hydrogen is able to reduce oxidative stress via potential cell modulating activity (e.g. prevent excessive radical formation, increase glutathione levels, etc.)

No harmful byproducts: after other antioxidants neutralize free radicals and achieve their goal, they effectively become oxidants themselves, which must be neutralized or removed. When H2 neutralizes harmful hydroxyl radicals, the byproduct is water which is beneficial to the body and doesn’t require removal.

Selectivity: H2 acts as a selective antioxidant meaning it will only neutralize the most cytotoxic (cell damaging) free radicals such as the hydroxyl radical (*OH). H2 will not react with beneficial signalling oxidants like hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, superoxide etc which are required for cellular immunity, blood perfusion (vasodilation – can we say erections?) and various cell signalling processes

Bioavailability: In order for antioxidants to be useful, they need to reach cellular locations that are being damaged by toxic radicals. Most radicals are formed inside the mitochondria, which is difficult for conventional antioxidants to reach.

  • The main factors in determining bioavailability are the size (the smaller the
    better and the charge/polarity (non-polar and neutral molecules can enter cells
    most easily.
  • Hydrogen gas is the smallest and lightest molecule consisting of only two
    protons and two electrons. H2 weighs 88 times less than Vitamin C which is the
    most popular antioxidant and 431 times less than Coenzyme Q10 which is
    another popular antioxidant.
  • H2 is also neutral and non-polar, allowing it to easily pass through the cell
    membranes and subcellular compartments (mitochondria). H2 has the highest
    diffusion rate of all gases allowing it to rapidly permeate cells.

Declaring anything the best is a dangerous claim that leaves itself open to scrutiny and ridicule. What we can say is that science tells us that H2 is a very useful and unique antioxidant.