June 4, 2020
[00:01:16] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:37] Guest Introduction
[00:08:20] Updates from Robert Slovak
[00:11:13] Robert's History With Hydrogen And Water
[00:25:17] How Hydrogen Is Unique Among Other Compounds
[00:30:48] Podcast Sponsors
[00:34:08] How Hydrogen Affects Inflammatory Pathways In The Body
[00:45:16] Hydrogen Administration Methods
[00:55:33] Hydrogen Water for Healing
[01:02:43] Hydrogen Water Tablets
[01:12:04] Proper Timing And Dosage Of Hydrogen
[01:17:58] Other Compounds To Stack With Hydrogen
[01:23:20] Closing the Podcast
[01:26:58] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Robert: No wonder hydrogen is coming to its own because hydrogen was really the first prevalent gas in the atmosphere. At the end of 40 minutes, I felt awake in a way that I never felt from anything else that I wanted to keep me awake, and that proved to me, wow, the hydrogen is like a miracle worker in healing and just from the topical perspective.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Well, today's show is with one of my favorite water researchers out there, Robert Slovak. This guy always blows my mind. We email back and forth all the time. He's always filling me in on all sorts of crazy water concepts. He finally has me on the deuterium-depleted water bandwagon. I'm starting his whole protocol for that this week. And we just have a fascinating, fascinating discussion today.
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Alright, folks. He was an incredibly popular podcast guest when I interviewed him on probably the most comprehensive show I've ever done on water. We geeked out on water filters, alkaline water, structured water, deuterium-depleted water, and even hydrogen water, which was so intriguing to folks. And I think hydrogen is so intriguing to folks that I had to get this guy back on the show to take a much deeper dive into hydrogen water, not only how it works, but how to deliver it effectively, things that it can be mixed with, timing, dosage. We've got a lot to catch up on.
My guest is Robert Slovak. Now, first of all, if you want to listen to the first podcast I did with Robert, you can go to the shownotes for today's show. And the shownotes for today's show you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/allthingshydrogen. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/allthingshydrogen. And if you go to the shownotes, you can listen to my first episode with Robert where he took a deep dive into his history, his extreme sickness that he got down in Brazil in the rainforest, a bunch of the research that he did down there, some of the enormously helpful medicines that he's actually imported now. And also, his history in terms of his groundbreaking research in reverse osmosis to also his background in the realm of water.
He is really my go-to guy. And when I have a water question, I go to Robert because he knows a ton, like he steeps himself in water, and also minerals. And Robert and I were having a quick chat before we actually hopped on to record today's show for you because he's begun to slowly shift what he's doing in light of everything from current events. We're recording this actually during the coronavirus, sheltering in place to just some bigger picture things that he's looking at. And so, we're going to catch up with Robert and get to know what he's been up to lately. And then you guys, strap on your thinking caps because you're going to learn everything you need to know about molecular hydrogen in today's show.
So, Robert, first of all, welcome back, man. You were pretty dang popular guest. So, I'm happy to have you back on the show.
Robert: Thank you, Ben. And you're really the go-to guy for podcasts, if I'm the go-to guy for water, and disseminating information because I also want to thank you for allowing me to participate what turns out to be my most popular podcast I participated in. I mean, I still get calls a year later, I'm serious. You're the podcast holy jeez.
Ben: Oh, yeah. Well, I think that because I believe everybody, last time I checked, drinks some amount of water during the day, sometimes the wrong form, sometimes not enough, sometimes too much. And I'm personally convinced that the status of your water and the status of your minerals, it's so intimately tied to mitochondrial health, to the health of the cytosol within the cell, to just everyday function. If you look at the body as an electrical machine, we need water, we need minerals, and we got to deliver those to the body via the right mechanisms. And I want to impress people with the fact that water is not just H2O. And we have a lot to talk about today.
But before we jump in, Robert, just give us the update as to what you've been up to, because I know you're really beginning to steer your life, from what I understand in the brief chats we've had leading up to this podcast, to address I guess a lot of these challenges that are currently threatening humanity, or at least changing life pretty dramatically. So, can you let me know what you're up to these days before we dig into hydrogen?
Robert: Well, I've become impassioned about some things, but from a business standpoint, I'm taking deuterium-depleted water to the next level. And from an activism standpoint, I think we have reached that critical mass that combines the fact that humanity just isn't smart enough to figure out that they're being slowly boiled in a pot with 5G, the whole glyphosate, fake news, pharmaceuticals, toxic vaccines. It's a whole suite of things that is going to, in my opinion, take humanity down, and I decided I've got to step up my participation to just slow it down or stop it.
Ben: Well, congratulations on having just lost half of our listeners because of the extreme polarism around anything that might ring faintly of a conspiracy theory. And whenever you bring up things like 5G, or vaccinations, or Monsanto, or anything like that, it has to get a little bit iffy. Hopefully, you aren't going to get my website shut down by Google. Thanks a lot, Robert.
Robert: Oh, boy. Seriously, I didn't even anticipate.
Ben: No, I'm not too–I'm pretty open-minded about these things and I try to take a pretty even stance and I'm in no way of the persuasion that there's a big Mr. Smithers somewhere out there trying to, from his evil corporate boardroom, kill us all. But at the same time, I certainly know that we're facing a lot of threats that might fly in the face of, say, our ancestral biology or what I would deem evolutionary mismatches, things like electricity or different forms of viruses that may or may not be modified in some way to herbicides, pesticides, you name it. Like, we've got a lot of little uphill battles that we're facing.
And that brings me to the topic at hand, this idea of–and I'm going to throw this word out here early, we'll explain later, but this idea of redox homeostasis within the body, of inducing some type of hormetic effect that might protect us, equipping ourselves for better cellular autophagy, for better inflammation, for better regulation of pathways like the NF-kappa B pathway or Nrf2 transcription. I want to delve into all that on today's show because it's all related to hydrogen.
But before we do, I'd like you to fill me in on your own history with hydrogen, how you got interested with it, and what you've personally developed on your end.
Robert: You probably don't even have a clue that I and a code developer were the ones who made the first hydrogen tablet in 2010.
Ben: Okay. And we'll explain later what a hydrogen tablet is, but go ahead.
Robert: Okay, okay. So, this is a little gray tablet that you put in water and it generates molecular hydrogen, infuses it to some concentration, you consume it, and that hydrogen ends up in your body. And, we did this in a small lab in Buena Park, California and we called our first product Active H-. Now, little did I know that I had completely given it the wrong name and that the phenomenon of what molecular hydrogen really did, I was not reflecting it by calling it H-. That was a very US-based scientific belief system. That started and promoted by the late Patrick Flanagan. Remember his Microhydrin?
Ben: I do not remember his Microhydrin. Now, I'm feeling out of the loop. I feel dumb now.
Robert: Okay. So, one of the most popular products probably in the last 20 years.
Robert: Micro, Microhydrin.
Ben: I've never even heard of it.
Robert: Wow. I mean, that flies off the shelf even to this day. And Patrick passed away just several months ago, actually.
Ben: What's Microhydrin?
Robert: Microhydrin is–he called it silica hydride and it was supposed to donate negative hydrogen ions that–negative hydrogen ion would be a proton with two electrons and it is very willing to give away one of those electrons, which is what antioxidants do, and he combined that whole concept. That was a mystery how we made it, but we now know that he made it in a very controversial way that has been recently disclosed.
Ben: What do you mean, like fillers or something like that?
Robert: Let's say there were ingredients in there that were questionable from a regulatory perspective.
Robert: But in fact, it did generate hydrogen and it flew off the shelves and was probably in my career one of the most famous biohack products ever, ever made. And did you ever hear of–maybe you've heard of another name he had for it, Mega H. So, Mega H, micro hydrogen was bought by the MLM Company Royal Body Care. And then he came out with another brand called Mega H and it flew off the shelves, too.
Ben: Nope, I'm totally out of the loop on this, but it sounds interesting. But you're not a fan of these products?
Robert: I'm not a fan of them only because there was this controversial ingredient in it that the truth was not told about it. That's all.
Ben: Okay. So mysterious.
Robert: But does it do some of the things like anti-oxidizing capabilities? Yes, it does. We now know that that can't and shouldn't be used in a product so we switched to–we never did that product or that technology. So, we really believed in the use of magnesium in its elemental form, sometimes referred to as metallomagnesium, to make a product that also supplies molecular hydrogen, which is an antioxidant among many other things. But molecular hydrogen is on its way, I believe, to becoming the next NO.
Ben: You mean nitric oxide?
Robert: Exactly. It's going to be Nobel Prize time in the next five to ten years.
Ben: Yeah. We'll get into the science on that because I definitely have some thoughts on that, but in terms of our last podcast, we also talked about these water machines that claim to make everything from pH, or hydrogen, or water, micro clusters, et cetera, et cetera. And did that have anything to do with your progress in terms of researching hydrogen? Because I know initially, you were just all in kind of like water filters.
Robert: No, because this was really before that started and those machines didn't acknowledge or didn't know that their “active ingredient” was really hydrogen. They played the elevated pH story; they played the micro cluster story. Both in my world weren't correct to begin with and it was really out of their ignorance they didn't realize that it was the hydrogen that's made during the electrolysis process in their alkaline ionizer devices that really was the basis of the benefit. But to have great results with hydrogen, they don't make it.
Ben: So, to clarify, these water ionizers, these alkaline water generators, et cetera, because they're using the process of what's called electrolysis to produce this so-called alkaline water, or the type of pH adjusted water, or what they're generally sold and marketed for as a byproduct of that electrolysis, they are producing hydrogen gas?
Robert: Yes, dissolved in the alkaline water.
Ben: And what you're saying is that any of the benefits that have been attributed to those are not due to the alkalinity but due to the hydrogen content that they produce?
Robert: Yes. And really, it's not even the alkalinity, that's one of the faults of them, it's just they have elevated pH but not really an elevated alkalinity. If they did have enough elevated alkalinity, they would do a little better than they do with just the pH.
Ben: Okay. But the amount of hydrogen, let's say somebody already owns one of those units, because I know that people can buy hydrogen tablets now, people can get hydrogen water generators, and we'll get into that later about like what the best way to deliver hydrogen to the body is, but if somebody already owns one of those units, are they getting an appreciable–I guess its measured in parts per million like a ppm of hydrogen in that water?
Robert: No. It varies all over the place with not only the design, the age of the device, and the water it's used on like if the water happens to have a little hardness in it, that hardness can plate out on the electrolysis plates and negate the manufacture of any hydrogen. So, that's one problem.
Ben: Okay. Well, I'm sure people are going to ask because you alluded to this, but if people were getting–if you're saying that people get benefits out of those because of the hydrogen content, they must be doing something.
Robert: Oh, yes. So, let's say the best machines would make, let's say 1.5 parts per million of hydrogen. And we're going to use this number because it's the number that–it's actually 1.6, but 1.6 parts per million is the saturation of hydrogen at standard temperature and pressure. Meaning, in a glass of water. So, if we just bubbled in hydrogen into a glass of water, we really couldn't get any more than 1.6 ppm in it.
Ben: Alright. So, this is a pretty low ppm in terms of the concentration?
Robert: It's a low ppm. And many of the machines make less than a half a ppm.
Ben: Now, putting that into context though, Robert–and again, I know we're possibly getting ahead of ourselves because we'll still backpedal and talk a little bit more about hydrogen, what it is. But if I were to, let's say take a hydrogen tablet or get a hydrogen water generator, what would be the ppm that something like that would put into the water?
Robert: Okay. So, the modern generation of tablets can do six to ten and even more parts per million in a certain amount of water, but we get into a little problem there because when you use a tablet, the number of ppm gets to be determined by how much water you diluted with.
Robert: So, the real way, and this is a little above the pay grade of our audience, your real way you have to do is compare the mass that you have of hydrogen, and that gets to be a little technical. But, if we just talk about measuring the ppm from an alkaline ionizer, let's say 0.3 ppm to 1.5 ppm, and tablets which started out the first tablet I made was 1.5 ppm, but now they've gone to 2 ppm, 3 ppm, 5, 6 and now above 10 by some clever biochemical technology.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Alright. So, basically, these modern versions of delivering hydrogen into the body, long story short, seemed to be superior to like an old-school electrolysis-based alkaline water generator?
Robert: Yes, but there are other devices though besides the older fashioned alkaline ionizer. And there's two devices that prevail on the market. One are little portable hydrogen generators they call them, and they're just like a large, almost like a large glass and they sit on a little base that has an electrolysis cell in it. So, you pour your water in that, and you turned it on, and wait half an hour, and it produces hydrogen rarely over 1.5 ppm because it's at atmospheric pressure, and people drink the water. So, that's an option, which doesn't compete with the best methods.
And then there's one much more sophisticated called proton exchange membrane hydrogen infusion appliances. Okay. So, it uses yet another technology to make the hydrogen, and then concentrate it using something called a proton exchange membrane, and that infuses the water in an appliance like a countertop appliance device. These are typically quite expensive from perhaps $3 to $10,000, and people use them and I think they're acceptable. They can make I think right now probably the best ones can do, maybe 2 to 4 ppm of hydrogen. So, it's not a good cost-benefit ratio, but they exist.
Ben: Okay. So, before we jump–kind of backpedal a little bit and actually jump into how hydrogen works, just to close the loop on that hydrogen generator piece, I know that you're a fan of hydrogen tablets and I want to get into those later on, but are you a fan of any of these hydrogen water generators on the market, whether a specific brand or a specific thing for people to look for if they want to get like their own home hydrogen water generator?
Robert: Well, from an engineering and scientific perspective, I am a fan, because they were very competently designed and so on. But for the average consumer, these devices, in my opinion, are just too new to sort out the problems that involve their complexity. So, it already on the market–service has been a problem like, I'm not getting hydrogen anymore, and what do I do? And who do I call? And often people don't step up to the plate for it, and the problem of getting it back to a service center, people can't fix this themselves. So, that part I don't think it's consumer-friendly.
Ben: And by the way, and again, hopefully, this is the last question before we dive back into hydrogen, what it is. But if somebody did want to, if they were using any of the methods that we're about to talk about after we explained more about hydrogen and how it works, is there some test that would allow you to just drop a strip or drop some kind of like a, almost like a pool boy would do to measure chlorine content, or alkalinity, or acidity, or anything else? Is there a way to actually measure for hydrogen content?
Robert: Just like a pool boy does it, and it's called a simple titration test that uses the color indicator known for 100 years called methylene blue. Okay? It's also used as a pH indicator, but it's a special formula that includes platinum as the catalyst for the oxidation reaction. And you just take a sample of water, a specific amount, and it comes in a kit that has a little, like a test tube thing, and you just put drops in. And, when you put the drops in, if there is hydrogen in the water and it's enough to overcome the catalyst reaction, then the water just–you see it it's turning blue but then it turns clear again. And so, you put the drops in until the water stays blue.
Robert: And expresses the methylene blue indicator. When you do that, the amount of drops is divided by 10, so each drop is one-tenth of a part per million of hydrogen. And this product is called H2 Blue, and it's available on the internet, and it's excellent. I use it all the time.
Ben: Can you just get that on like Amazon?
Robert: Oh, yeah.
Ben: Okay. I need to pick some of that up to actually test my water because I'm curious if it's still generating appreciable amounts of hydrogen.
Robert: It's less than $30 for the bottle and it's a fantastic product. It's been around for five years.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Alright, so I want to talk, like I mentioned earlier, about hydrogen. So, my understanding is we're talking about a pretty small molecule in terms of size, like hydrogen gas is, from what I understand, like one of the smallest molecules in the universe, like smaller than oxygen. So, it can penetrate a lot of things.
Robert: It's part of its secret. It is by a wide margin the smallest molecule in the universe.
Ben: Right. And so, if it's charged, it isn't going to pass through a cell membrane very easily, like any molecule that's charged isn't going to pass through a cell membrane very easily like sodium or potassium?
Robert: Has lots of other things to overcome with the charge.
Ben: Right. Anything ionic can't go through a cell membrane except through a transporter. And so, that's why there are like sodium channels or protein channels or pumps or anything like that. So, hydrogen gas is also nonpolar. So, it's neutral. So, it can just diffuse through a cell membrane because it's so small, and so nonpolar and doesn't weigh very much at all.
Robert: Right. It can diffuse through glass.
Ben: And that's why it can have a therapeutic effect on like any organ just because it can penetrate so easily. And when I talked to Tyler, Tyler LeBaron, and I'll link to my podcast with him again if you guys go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/allthingshydrogen, he explained why it is so promising because of its ability to act on multiple organs and pass into cells so easily for things like rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson's, and metabolic syndrome, and hyperlipidemia, and there's a lot of use cases for it. But really from what I understand, it begins with these so-called redox reactions, which is how hydrogen begins to work. Can you explain just from a redox standpoint why hydrogen would be beneficial?
Robert: Well, redox means reduction-oxidation. Really, redox runs the universe in the sense that nature always expects to have a balance between reduction and oxidation. So, what hydrogen can do is to supply one side of that to compensate when there's too much oxidation. So, it supplies reduction. In the process of reduction, electron is transported from the reducing thing or agent to the oxidizing agent. So, that is just every single thing that you see in chemistry, food, anything that interacts, there is redox going on to balance the system. And hydrogen is a wonderful redox molecule that has all the properties, you just said, “Wow, this thing just can go anywhere we need reduction to compensate for oxidation.” So, it's just ideal.
Ben: Right. And so, the idea here from what I understand is we don't want too much reduction or too much oxidation. Like for example, studies have shown that excess intake of antioxidants can, in fact, increase mortality and cause issues. We also know that nitric oxide that you mentioned earlier, that's a free radical. It dilates blood vessels, but it's a free radical, superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, a lot of these things that can be beneficial for the body, they're reactive oxygen species, even ozone, for example. But we know that they also, because of the mild stress that they produce, can do things like induce mitochondrial biogenesis, or there's so-called hormetic effect that induces cellular resilience. It's when you have too much oxidative damage. That's where you would have problems.
And so, where hydrogen would come in would be its ability to act, as I believe what Tyler explained to me when I interviewed him, was that it's almost like a selective antioxidant. If you're to think of like an adaptogenic herb that could, say, increase cortisol if cortisol is low or lower cortisol if cortisol is high, hydrogen would almost act like a redox adaptogen in that sense. So, it's very unique molecule and that it can induce inflammation or it can reduce inflammation depending on what cell or what tissue it's acting in.
Robert: Yes. And it's doing that through acting with the ROS, reactive oxygen species, signaling molecules. That's where it's influencing it or leaving them alone. So, other antioxidants that you mentioned do not discriminate, they go right after any free radical. And that's why you can over antioxidize. And hydrogen is very–they call it a selective cytotoxic antioxidant. So, it uniquely goes after the most dangerous free radical, which is the hydroxyl radical, also one more, the peroxyl radical, and does not diminish useful signaling molecules that other antioxidants might have annihilated.
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today's show to get into light, light photobiomodulation, what I would consider to be one of the most powerful ways to charge up your mitochondria. We know that when light spectrums from wavelengths such as near-infrared or red light or even far-infrared light hit your skin, they interact with your body in a very unique way. They can do things like elevate the activity of cytochrome oxidase and mitochondria. Guys, if you do this naked and you shine it on your balls, you actually get an increase in testosterone because of the Leydig cells in your testis amplifying their metabolic activity.
It can simulate sunrise or sunset so it can help you through circadian rhythms, help you to sleep at night, help you to wake up in the morning. People use these things for joint pain, for inflammation, even for wound healing. I mean, sky's the limit with red light therapy. If you don't own a red light therapy device, then you're missing out on a very cool and convenient way to harness all the healing powers of sunlight, but then just drop it straight into your office, your bathroom, your bedroom, you name it. And the good folks at Joovv, which is what I would consider to be the top photobiomodulation company out there, they're going to give all of my listeners a free copy of my brand new book “Boundless” if you get a Joovv light. So, it's very simple, you go to Joovv.com/ben, J-O-O-V-V.com/ben, and you just use code BEN. That will get you a free copy of my book “Boundless” with your purchase while supplies last. So, check them out, joovv.com/ben.
And finally, while you're equipping your home, or your office, or your bedroom, or your gym with cool biohacks, there is this new device for electrical muscle stimulation called the PowerDot. Now, when they sent me this thing, I looked at it, it was tiny, I thought that there was no way it would actually be able to stimulate my muscles aside from just like a little bit of a buzz for recovery or blood flow, which it does, but I was shocked considering the amount of electrical muscle stimulation that literally left my quads sore the next day from this tiny little device that pairs to my phone, let me choose parameters like endurance, strength, power, you name it. I can use it on the plane, I can use it on a road trip, super easy to set up, tells you exactly where to put the electrodes when you open up your phone app, and then you just switch it on and you can use it for forceful muscle contractions for muscle hypertrophy, you can use it to flush waste from muscles, you can use it to increase blood circulation. And this thing is just cool, it's sexy, it's convenient, it just works, very simple user interface.
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So, it can upregulate or downregulate the production of free radicals or antioxidants. Like I know that it can act on, for example, superoxide dismutase and glutathione pathways to where it could help to keep glutathione at normal levels, or superoxide dismutase at normal levels, or reactive oxygen species at normal levels just based on the fact that it's one of these very unique redox agents that's so small and nonpolar and non-ionic, and so can basically go hither and yon throughout the body and act on all these pathways.
So, one, for example, that's interesting is this Nrf2 pathway, like a lot of people talk about the Nrf2 pathway. And in terms of how that would work to my understanding is that Nrf2 controls, that pathway controls like anti-oxidation and detoxification and like —
Ben: Yeah. Hundreds of different proteins and enzymes are controlled by the Nrf2 pathway. And so, hydrogen could activate that pathway, but does it also deactivate that pathway or it was simply modulating that pathway in some manner?
Robert: I can't answer that. I'm not sure the mechanism–you mean of molecular hydrogen?
Robert: Yeah. That is the Tyler question, okay?
Robert: And he is a cellular biologist.
Ben: But the important thing is that it's modulating that Nrf2 pathway?
Robert: Yeah. It modulates or disables like the Nrf, interleukin 6, 7, 8. So, it does act upon those molecules that might end up as, since we're talking in the era of the pandemic, the cytokine storm from having a COVID virus.
Ben: Yeah. And that's very interesting, and I want to be very careful with our language here because I in no way would recommend hydrogen as some kind of like a coronavirus remedy or something like that.
Robert: Oh, no. Even though it is being used in other countries for this. And probably some people are using it here.
Ben: Well, inhaled as a gas at very high concentrations.
Robert: Absolutely, yeah.
Ben: Not as like a couple tablets you drop in the water?
Robert: No, not —
Ben: Like we're talking about night and day difference in terms of the way that a lot of people in the U.S. currently use hydrogen just for general health. Yeah. That kind of annoys and people talk about–like the same thing came up about methylene blue, like somebody said, “Oh, methylene blue is being used to treat coronavirus.” We're talking about intravenous administration of methylene blue often in conjunction with ozone and other methods, not just like taking a dropper full of fish tank cleaner and using it as a nootropic. So, the use case varies quite a bit here.
Robert: Well, on the methylene blue thing, just to make a little aside that there is an oral pharmaceutical grade liposomal methylene blue that one does not have to use a lot of this because methylene blue can mess with your body a little bit by turning it a little blue. But methylene blue in a liposomal form in conjunction with a certain range of red light wavelengths that you and I are very familiar with will activate the methylene blue and be very antiviral, probably one of the best things. And, I don't know if you know methylene blue was the first anti-malarial.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I didn't know it was an anti-malarial, but I do know it's been used for some of those purposes in the past.
Robert: Lyme disease.
Ben: Yeah. I was always under the impression that it was intravenous administration. But this liposomal methylene blue that you talk about, is that an actual product that one can buy?
Robert: Brand new, not even officially promoted or advertised.
Ben: Where do you get it?
Robert: There is a person who prefers not to be disclosed and they are looking actually for a manufacturing partner to produce it. It's a patented formula, so you could technically look it up.
Ben: –that you dissolve in the mouth? Yeah. He has a CBD–it's a CBD nicotine methylene blue troche that you place in your lower lip almost like you would chew or snus, and it's pretty high dosage. I forget what it is, but those things do pack a punch, especially if, as you alluded to, you put one in your mouth and go for a walk in the sunshine or use one of these red light panels or infrared saunas. It has some pretty profound brain pick-me-up type of effects, although I haven't seen any research on type of antiviral effects.
But back to hydrogen, the idea here, even when we're talking about something like COVID, is because it's acting on that Nrf2 pathway, it is helping to regulate a lot of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Like, that's where I've seen a lot of really good data come out on hydrogen like interleukin 6 and anti-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin 10 and tumor necrosis factor alpha. It just seems to be acting on so many of these inflammatory pathways. And then one is the NF-kappa B. And NF-kappa B, it's a very interesting inflammatory pathway that can induce the transcription of all these different pro-inflammatory cytokines and hydrogen gas directly downregulates that pathway. And this is all stuff I learned from Tyler when I interviewed him.
Robert: And it has been used for the–people were trying this and exploring it during SARS.
Ben: Yeah. And when they were trying it during SARS, do you know if it was the same thing that they've been doing with COVID inhalation, or were they using like a hydrogen water or hydrogen tablet or something like that?
Robert: No. Inhalation, I don't know if anybody did hydrogenated saline, but I think it was all inhalation.
Ben: Okay. When I asked you about —
Robert: Which makes sense.
Ben: Yeah. When I asked you about delivery mechanisms later on, I do want to pick your brain a little bit about hydrogen inhalation, but I want to close the loop here on some of the things that hydrogen does because another thing–and again, this is based on the interview I did with Tyler. I don't think you and I talked about this the last time, but autophagy, cellular autophagy. There are two reasons that in many cases people are doing things like exercise, or fasting, or protein restriction, or even like heat therapy, cold thermogenesis, et cetera. Part of that is that cellular cleanup type of effect. But obviously, if you can induce autophagy without necessarily, let's say excessive fasting or excessive exercise, or just frequently doing sauna sessions in cold, I'm always looking for things that would regulate autophagy, and it appears that the hydrogen gas does a pretty good job at that.
And kind of hand-in-hand with that, this PGC-1-alpha pathway, the main marker and mitochondrial biogenesis, people will market things as like exercise in a pill to activate PGC-1-alpha pathways like ketone esters or some exercise or calorie restriction mimetics like berberine or metformin or something like that may act on some of these pathways in different ways, but it seems like you also get this increase in mitochondrial biogenesis from hydrogen. So, we're talking about like the —
Robert: Yes. And apoptosis.
Ben: Yeah. So, I mean, there's so many areas that it's acting on that–I mean, we could spend hours on any single one of those pathways, but what I've come away with in terms of my own readings and research is when we're talking about redox homeostasis, this so-called hormetic effect, being able to limit oxidation where it needs to be limited and then activate it where it needs to be activated, regulation of the Nrf2 pathway, regulation of these NF-kappa B pathways to limit excess of cytokine formation, cellular autophagy, PGC-1-alpha and mitochondrial biogenesis, acting as an exercise mimetic. For me, I'm pretty convinced that what I'm doing right now, and I'll ask you about this later, a morning and an evening dosing of hydrogen water is something that I'll continue to do unless research proves otherwise because I really think it's a pretty fantastic little molecule.
Robert: I'll tell you, when I started first making the tablet in 2009, I didn't even have a clue that it would ever be anything more than a novel antioxidant. Okay? That just didn't happen to impair redox signaling molecules. And now, the list is growing that if we just read off all the things that people are studying hydrogen for–and just cited in the studies, you take one, I take one, we couldn't finish the studies with the whole show or three shows that it's gone to a very high level that will exceed any other medical gas by far.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And the Molecular Hydrogen Foundation, which I'll link to in the shownotes, it's a pretty good resource for learning more and kind of keeping your finger on the pulse. I think molecularhydrogeninstitute.com is that website. Now, so let's —
Robert: But before you go on, let me —
Ben: Oh, go ahead.
Robert: –say one thing. When I actually look back now from this vantage point, because I'm also a student of evolution and it answers a lot of questions for me, I say, “You know what, no wonder hydrogen is coming to its own because hydrogen was really the first prevalent gas in the atmosphere.” That's the reason we happen–and no longer, even though it said that some animal species have it, even some people have it, the hydrogenase enzyme. So, until we had photosynthetic organisms, there was no oxygen. And the hydrogen just came from the decomposition of the earth and the core and so on. It filled the skies with hydrogen and that was the first adaptive gas that was taken in for respiration, and there were no mitochondria in the prokaryotes. And the only thing that helped get rid of the hydrogen from the atmosphere was that there were certain bacteria in the sea that would use the hydrogen to make methane, and the methane would escape into the atmosphere and beyond, and that was the biggest transporter of hydrogen out of the atmosphere and gave way for oxygen when photosynthetic organisms came into being.
Ben: Well, so it's a pretty ancient molecule.
Robert: Very ancient, yes.
Ben: Unless you're a creationist like me and you believe that God made hydrogen, God created the universe, but that's probably a discussion for an entire different day.
But anyways, let's get into hydrogen administration methods because most people I think who have heard of hydrogen or used it are probably familiar with like a hydrogen water generator or these tablets that you dissolve in water. But I actually want to start with something we already alluded to and that's inhaling it as a gas because that's where I've seen a lot of the medical application take place. Do you know of any type of inhalation devices that people could use in their own homes, or do you even recommend something like that?
Robert: Okay. First, I want to say I have sparse expertise in inhalation devices. Other than using them at shows, experimenting with them, I do not know if there are good ones, et cetera. But I know they do have a limited hydrogen production because hydrogen liberated into the environment, if it's enclosed enough and the right conditions exist, it can explode. Okay? So, you can't be pouring hydrogen out of this thing.
Ben: Risky business to get into.
Robert: So, they're limited to about, from between 100 milliliters per minute of hydrogen gas, and it's quite pure, maybe 95% plus pure, to 1,000 milliliters per minute. So, if you translate that to tablet language, you might have to stay on it for one and a half to three hours to get what you might get from a tablet. But there may be advantages to certain health conditions that cannot be provided for by drinking water that's infused with hydrogen. So, inhalation plays a role as it does with, say, COVID and SARS, and possibly ischemia-reperfusion, brain access hydrogen for putting this antioxidant, very important into the brain. It's probably better with inhalation.
Ben: Okay. What about intravenous administration?
Robert: You mean intravenous in a saline form, that's how you do it, okay?
Ben: Well, yeah. I was at Craig Koniver's clinic last year and he does some IVs with H2 rich saline. I'm curious if you looked into that at all.
Robert: Yeah, yeah, that's how to do it, right.
Ben: Okay. So, if a physician was listening in, they could actually look into something like IV with H2 rich saline as a treatment for inflammation or some of these redox homeostasis mechanisms, but that would be more of a clinical application?
Robert: Absolutely. And I've been to several conferences in which they would actually use tablets to–they would put tablets in a bag, add water, seal it, the tablets started to generate hydrogen, they put the bag inside the saline solution bag and the hydrogen of course easily permeated and equilibrated to the saline and it hydrogenated the saline solution. So, you can kind of do it on the fly in a way. Did you get that?
Ben: Yeah, but for people who are at home, obviously, this isn't a very great solution unless they're real at-home DIY cowboy with IVs.
Robert: It's a good thing that illustrates hydrogen's unique capability of going everywhere.
Ben: Right, exactly. Now, I have up in my refrigerator right now, because it seems like every day I'm getting boxes of random objects that I'm going to ask for just delivered to my house. And so, I have upstairs in my refrigerator, I have hydrogen cans, cans with hydrogen-rich water. They're the Hydro Shot cans. And then I also have some pouches that's–I don't even remember the brand of the pouches, but I've got some pouches and some cans of hydrogen water. How do those work, like these prepackaged hydrogen water products that people are selling?
Robert: They work great. Okay?
Robert: They work great and some don't work great. It's all over the place. So, the can, the construction of the can is imperative. It has to be special construction in which the seal of the lid on the can has to be very refined compared to the average can, because we're not just trying to prevent the passage of a fluid, but we're trying to prevent a passage of the smallest molecule in the universe. So, cans have to be aluminum. Aluminum is just uniquely impervious to hydrogen, and the seal of the top on the can has to be absolutely perfect. And then you can put into that can anything from–probably two to eight parts per million and it will stay there for quite a while. If someone is making a ready to drink beverage like that such as Hydro Shot, which is a wonderful new addition to experiment with, in my opinion, a great product. And I think there's not too many people who do hydrogen in cans. Maybe there's one more and I think H Factor, which typically makes them in pouches —
Ben: Yeah. That's the pouch, it's H Factor. That's the ones in my fridge. And they've got like watermelon, and blood orange, and tart cherry. They taste really good.
Robert: Yeah, but I'm not a pouch guy, okay?
Robert: Pouches just can't be made. They do have an aluminized layer in there. Okay? I mean, I think you can figure that out, too. It just can't be perfect as it can.
Ben: Well, oh wait, if there's aluminum in the can and there's aluminum layers in the pouch, are you concerned at all about exposure to metal absorption when using these type of delivery mechanisms?
Robert: To be honest with you, no.
Ben: Why not?
Robert: Well, for two reasons. Aluminum, you really don't have a new–when you make a can out of aluminum, if the fluid is really not being exposed to aluminum itself, it's really exposed to aluminum oxide, which forms almost instantly. I mean, it's like anodizing at a low level. So, anodizing as you know is what you do to aluminum when you put it in the weather or put it on your boat. So, aluminum oxide is pretty impervious, the thing is. Unless you had quite an acid beverage that might attack that aluminum oxide surface layer, then maybe you're right, but aluminum is so persistent in the environment. There's so much aluminum in the soil that's absorbed by plants that–you can make an aluminum factory virtually anywhere on the planet that you choose to make it. So, I don't worry about the aluminum in a can. And also, cans, I'm not sure about the can used for the hydrogen, but aluminum cans that might use like an acidic tea or something, they do have a polymeric, and I don't know much about it. I know there are FDA ones, a polymeric coating that they are “sprayed with” inside the can.
Ben: That will potentially reduce the potential for absorbing aluminum —
Robert: Aluminum exposure.
Ben: An aluminum exposure.
Ben: Okay. And I suppose you could always, if you're using these type of things, do a pre and post-tests for aluminum to just see what your levels were at?
Robert: You can, but I think the aluminum available from that part in your body and in your whole diet is basically insignificant. So, I think it's great to be able to make these beverages and I don't–the integrity of a pouch is just not good enough. I've opened too many pouches that should be 2 ppm and they're 0.2 ppm or they're 1 ppm or they're 0.8 ppm. They're all over the place. So, if somebody is getting a pouch, I mean, just how long it's been pouched is a big deal. If it's been sitting on a shelf for three months, you're not going to get your money for it.
Ben: Oh, yeah, because hydrogen is so small it can diffuse from those pouches, and I even know some of the cans, there's like headspace where the hydrogen gas could go into the headspace of the can and diffuse out there. And furthermore, correct me if I'm wrong–and this actually leads to a question I was going to ask you later, but I'll just ask you right now. Because the hydrogen dissolves from the medium so easily, you need to consume this right after you open it, right? Like you basically open it and slam the whole can or slam the whole pouch, right?
Robert: Absolutely. I'm not sure you have to slam it, but you could get it in within two minutes.
Ben: Now, how about hydrogen tablets if I'm dissolving a couple of hydrogen tablets and water —
Robert: Same thing.
Ben: Same thing, I got it.
Robert: After the tablet fully reacts.
Ben: Which is like three or four minutes usually?
Robert: Yeah, yeah. And it's done. Because the tablet is more–the tablet is producing actually like microbubbles that are quite stable and they in turn slowly dissolve into the fluid. So, because of that intermediate form of hydrogen, it would last longer. If you just left it for five minutes before you got back to it, it wouldn't be a big deal compared to leaving a can open or leaving a pouch open. It's a little more resistant to going away into the universe.
Ben: Okay. So, we've got the inhalation or the intravenous option, which is really not going to be accessible to that many people. We have these cans or these pouches, like prepackaged hydrogen infused water, which seems to be a pretty decent solution. And I've certainly been drinking those Hydro Shots before I go work out and I feel like I definitely get a little bit of a pick-me-up for my pre-workout beverage when I do that, although they're adding like citrulline and some other buffers to it. So, there might be some other things in addition to hydrogen.
Robert: No. Well, the citrulline is actually an arginine upregulator. So, that's the mechanism there and I think you would benefit from that.
Ben: Yeah. Given a little bit of the so-called Viagra effect from those. And then, we also, aside from the tablets, which I want to geek out with you a little bit more in the tablets because I know you're a real whiz on those, but there's also the transdermal, from what I understand, can be absorbed through the skin. And somebody, it may have been you, sent me some like bath tablets to drop into the bathtub, to soak in hydrogen water. How good is transdermal absorption of hydrogen?
Robert: It's very good. Okay? And I'm sure I wasn't the first person to verify it, but almost exactly two years ago, okay–this is a Ben story, okay? This is the kind of story you could tell, but this wouldn't have happened to you. I was running in an all-terrain area, a great mountain biking spot because I'm a mountain biker, but an all-terrain area with someone who's like a Ben, okay? Somebody that could outrun me any day of the week. And of course, I'm 75 so —
Ben: I should know that you and I went for a walk in Park City. I think it was you and me and Tyler LeBaron, there are few other people with us, and you took off like a shot. You're in remarkably good shape for 75 years old. When I saw you, I thought you were maybe like upper 50s. And I'm not blowing smoke, like you actually —
Robert: Well, thank you.
Ben: –you keep yourself in very good shape.
Robert: So, anyway, I started running up to this guy and we came to a hill that I knew, that was familiar with, and I thought, “Hey, I've taken this on my mountain bike. This is where I'm going to catch up to the guy.” So, I stumbled on this hill, a huge hill, and I take almost a roadrunner like fall down this hill, and I ended up in the California bramble bushes I'm going home, I say what the heck, Ben. I hope I didn't really destroy myself. And then in a few seconds later not realizing that this is the adrenaline time, I said, “Hey, I think I'm okay. I think I can walk home.”
So, I kind of had a hang onto him, went home. And by the time I got home, which was just over the horizon there, my body went into shut down. He grabs me, takes me to the emergency ward at urgent care, X-ray me, and the guy goes, “Dude, what are you doing? Do you understand what your age is and you just shouldn't be doing this stuff?” It was so funny. So, I had fractured both ankles and broke two ribs and fractured a third. That was the damage that I did and I'm just going, man, crazy. So, I came home in a wheelchair with crutches. I get the idea, hey, I've never done this. Nobody I know in my world has done this. So, I get a plastic box, I put water in it, I throw in 25 tablets, stick my feet in there, stick in a towel, soak it up, and tape it onto my ribs. In three days, I did this two or three times per day. Okay?
Robert: And I would keep on throwing tablets in, you know what I mean, just to keep the high hydrogen load. I have no idea. I didn't measure it. I don't even think H2 Blue, but I probably didn't have any or I just knew I was maintaining a high saturated solution. So, in three days, I throw the crutches away and I am walking without any pain whatsoever. On the 13th day, I am gingerly jogging in my complex. When I went back to the urgent care just to check up and–it was the proverbial, “What the hell? This is not even possible.” I didn't require any other care besides that, I've had checkup since then, and that proved to me, wow, the hydrogen is like a miracle worker in healing and just from the topical perspective.
Ben: Interesting. Now, the mechanism of action would obviously be, I would imagine, modulation of some of these inflammatory pathways we were talking about and maybe some of the impact on —
Robert: Absolutely. The whole oxidative stress realm.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Some of the impact on mitochondrial biogenesis too perhaps or oxygen delivery —
Robert: Yeah. And I was taking it internally, too.
Ben: Right, right. Okay. So, the transdermal appears to be a pretty compelling delivery mechanism, and this would just involve someone taking these things, putting them in the bathtub. And I would imagine you would need to get into the bathtub right away before the hydrogen has dissolved off the surface, right?
Robert: Absolutely. And maybe not too hot of a water because that will simply cause the hydrogen to evaporate into the atmosphere faster. Okay?
Robert: So, kind of a moderate tepid temperature, get in, put the hydrogen tablets in. I would probably–you had them–were they in a can?
Ben: Yeah, they were in like a middle can, yeah.
Robert: Okay. So, in the middle can, I probably use–if I really had what I had there, I would have probably, and I didn't have those tablets, I would have probably put 5 or 10 of those large tablets in the bathwater.
Robert: And I would get, if I had like my knee was injured, I put some tablets right under, not touching because the tablets are exothermic, but I would put them so the hydrogen was literally like forming around my knee and bathing my knee in a very high concentration.
Ben: Yeah. Okay. Got it. One other use before we delve into the tablets that I've come across for hydrogen would be actually as like an eye drop. I'm not quite sure why, but I've seen these hydrogen eye drops before. Have you looked into these at all?
Robert: No. I can't imagine having a hydrogen eye drop that's ready-made. I can see making a hydrogen eye drop, and there's a good reason to make a hydrogen eye drop because there's like retinal ischemia, like broken blood vessels in the retina, and this is right where hydrogen has been for like a cerebral ischemia-reperfusion —
Ben: That's exactly what I saw it to be used for. I think it was rodent models, but it was like a retinal ischemia-reperfusion injury and they used hydrogen eye droplets. I was just curious if–are those even available commercially?
Robert: Now, I don't think anybody–I mean, you couldn't make it. You'd have to buy maybe like a can of the pure hydrogen water and then put it in the–pure hydrogenated water and put it in. You couldn't use the tablet to do this. Okay?
Robert: And the reason is there would be microparticles of the ingredients of the tablet and that you don't want any foreign substance in your eye no matter how small it is.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, let's get into hydrogen tablets. These things are available all over the place now. Can you begin to explain to people how the hydrogen tablets work and what one should be looking for in a hydrogen tablet?
Robert: Well, this is a pretty interesting story because to the best of my knowledge, virtually all tablets including my own, which I made for years with a contract, obviously, a contract manufacturer of supplement products, and as innocent and simple as that tablet looks, it is certainly one of the most complex, and it only has a few ingredients, but the actual manufacturing of it involves such care. It can be very explosive. Sometimes you have to use inert gases. It's like the worst of the worst to be able to make the tablet.
So, over the years, from 2000, probably 2013 on, we started to look for other ways of making the tablet. And what emerged from that was a consortium of people who wanted to be involved in marketing the benefits of hydrogen. So, this consortium formed very informally, and this consortium is–it really mostly consists of the early researchers like myself, product developers like myself, and it is organized and administered by a very capable Canadian who I praise, and his name is Alex Tarnava. And he's not a scientist, but he probably could qualify one and get an honorary degree right now. He's learned an incredible amount, but he actually manages the production of virtually all the tablets.
And people in this consortium will apply, “Hey, can I have –” like we just recently did, “I would like to have an organic raspberry flavor in our tablet,” or, “I would like to have this ingredient. Can you see if it works?” And it's difficult to add ingredients because of the tablet's complexity. So, there's a very limited, let's say menu of things you can do, maybe a little bit of flavoring, because you only are adding micrograms of chromium. That's an easy one to put in. And so, that's how it goes. And people, the main variation in the tablets is simply how much metallo magnesium is used to generate hydrogen. Are you aware that it's actually a high school equation of how hydrogen is made? It's just like if you can imagine like a simple chemical equation, like eighth grade style, it's like magnesium plus water equals hydrogen gas, plus magnesium hydroxide in solution. That's it.
Ben: Yes. The oxygen is transferred from the H2O side of the equation —
Robert: Through the hydroxide.
Ben: It would be magnesium, hydroxide, and H2 is the byproduct?
Robert: You've got it.
Robert: Yeah. I'll tell you how much just so you know. The first tablets contain like 30 milligrams. And then, that went up because of the difficulty of making it, like it took a while to accommodate 60 milligrams. And then it took a little longer to accommodate now 80 milligrams. That's about where we think the maximum level is, and that milligram makes a certain amount of hydrogen. And the ratio is about, not that anyone will be interested, about 12 to 1. So, if you have 80 milligrams and divided by 12, that's how many milligrams of hydrogen you get.
Ben: If someone is magnesium deficient or supplementing with magnesium, and let's say a tablet has–I think most have right around like 80 milligrams of magnesium, then if you were doing four tablets a day, like I'm doing, that's 320 milligrams of magnesium. Would you, therefore, be able to say, “Well, if you were trying to take, let's say 400 to 600 milligrams of magnesium a day, which some people are doing to keep their RBC magnesium levels up or to sleep better at night or to assist with bowel movements, you could count that magnesium that you're getting from the hydrogen tablets to be part of your magnesium intake”?
Robert: A wonderful form of magnesium, wonderful bioavailable form of magnesium.
Ben: Is it chelated to anything? Are we talking about like a magnesium citrate or glycinate or just magnesium?
Robert: Yeah. It's just magnesium in ionic form, as good as any ionic magnesium that one would get from food or a supplement in your stomach. I mean, if you took magnesium carbonate, your stomach would convert it to magnesium bicarbonate, you'd basically have something akin to magnesium hydroxide, just on the opposite end of the pH spectrum.
Ben: Okay. What about other fillers that are in these tablets? Because I've had some people ask me and be concerned about fillers or excipients or other things that are added to these tablets that might cause gastric upsets or might expose them to some type of unnatural compound when they're dissolving these tablets every day in their water. So, are there fillers or excipients in these products to be concerned about?
Robert: There are no fillers, okay? There are only magnesium, a carbohydrate binder, like less than two milligrams of dextrose, typically an organic acid to support the reaction because this is reacting, not dissolving. I mean, you actually have a chemical reaction. It's not just like dissolving in the water. So, you need an organic acid to support that and control pH, and a simple lubricant, and that lubricant is, it can be partly the flavoring itself, it can be sodium stearyl fumarate. So, each tablet has its own little mix of things depending upon how much magnesium there is, et cetera. So, an organic acid might be malic acid, or adipic acid, or both.
Ben: Yeah. I was going to say, when I look at the ingredient list on some of these tablets, you see like malic acid, you see tartaric acid, you see trace amounts of dextrose, some type of natural flavoring, but are you saying that pretty much all of this is kind of grass gently recognizes safe and you see no issues?
Robert: These tablets that are prevalent out there have an FDA sanctioned NDI, new dietary ingredient, which makes them just like any other supplement. I mean, it took years to achieve that.
Ben: Okay. And then one other question regarding these tablets and potential concerns people have, there are hydrogen utilizing bacteria in the intestine. When people are using hydrogen, do you ever have folks give you feedback on gas bloating, indigestion, changes in the microbiome, anything along those lines?
Robert: To be honest with you, no, but there are–it's not utilizing, but there are hydrogen gas generating microorganisms. Whether you take hydrogen tablet or do anything with hydrogen at all, your body makes a certain amount of hydrogen for, and I think Tyler is probably best to answer this, for quite a few uses. The body uses hydrogen itself, perhaps as an endogenous antioxidant on its own. That's kind of a little above my paygrade.
Ben: Okay. But it makes me say that if someone has small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, gas bloating, et cetera, and that seems to be aggravated when taking hydrogen tablets, then they may actually need to make some biome adjustments, address that, and then dose with hydrogen. Any other contraindications that you're aware of, say, somebody has some intestinal disturbances, any other health issues that would restrict someone from wanting to use hydrogen?
Robert: Well, I'd say in the industry and the studies, it's pretty prevalent. I was kind of surprised when I was first reading the studies, that it's pretty much considered a no contraindication nutrient, as I learned more about hydrogen and its function in life, et cetera, that our bodies are very accustomed to hydrogen through our creation. And when you add this hydrogen to it, it pretty much adapts to it. I mean, at one point, you and I might not agree on this, but some cells were consuming hydrogen for their oxygen supply so to speak.
Ben: Okay. Now, what about the actual timing and dosage? From what I understand, it might be best to actually just take this in the morning, in the evening. It may have been Dr. Mercola, who I was speaking with, who filled me in on–it was either this or NAD. Now, I'm not remembering properly, but I believe it was kind of a diurnal dosing of hydrogen, meaning that like morning and evening were best and that you wouldn't want to just be drinking it all day long due to its action on some of these inflammatory or anti-inflammatory pathways. Have you looked into best time of day you're dosing?
Robert: I think the morning makes sense and at any time within, whatever, 30 minutes to an hour of food. But I would say I personally wouldn't take it before I went to sleep only because many people have an energizing effect that's quite astounding. And I really first discovered this on my own actually in the conference room at the place where we developed the tablet, and I would work in that conference room to all wee hours in the morning and sometimes I just wanted to go to sleep on the conference table and did a few times. So, I just said, “I wonder how this hydrogen works.”
And so, I would put two or three tablets, let them react, drink it down. I mean, I remember my saying, “Holy shit, it's about 40 minutes all the time.” At the end of 40 minutes, I felt awake in a way that I never felt from anything else that I wanted to keep me awake. There was no edginess, no buzz, no something, and I would start telling my staff there, “Hey, you guys, if you really want to stay awake, please experience this with me because it's like, hey, you feel kind of like you've got real rest. It was very different.” So, that's why I usually recommend people not take it before they go to sleep. But if you do and you're accustomed to it, there's nothing wrong with it.
Ben: Have you looked into any of these studies done? In particular, there's been some really recent compelling studies on the effects of hydrogen on favorable effects on cardiovascular and metabolic disease. And I believe they were human studies. Do you know what they were doing in those studies as far as like dosing or timing?
Robert: Well, I mean, they were measuring its effect on lipidemia, they were measuring its effects on–I think there's some studies using heart rate variability.
Ben: Oh, yeah. I know what they were measuring. I'm just curious what they were–like their frequency of dosing in those studies.
Robert: Well, you know there's like over a thousand studies, right?
Ben: Yeah, that's true.
Robert: And I've read many of them. So, in the earliest studies, they pretty much used a liter to a liter and a half of water at 1.5 ppm, the natural saturation, because it made it easy. They just had to sit there with a liter of water, bubble hydrogen in it, and they could leave it or not. It's just going to go to saturation, that's it. And so, that made the tests all easy for everybody. And so, most of the tests were based upon that. Now we know that these effects are greatly dose-dependent and people are doing more serious work with higher doses such as cytokine storm regulation, et cetera. So, all the studies did achieve amazing results just with that simple dosing, and that's what the early tablets were, 1.5 ppm.
Ben: How are you using your hydrogen tablets, like in terms of how you're taking them?
Robert: Well, I mean, I take four tablets a day, and I take two at a time. I throw them in the water. I use about 10 ounces of water for both. It gets the concentration very high over 10 ppm, alright? And as soon as I see those tablets mostly disappear, I consume it, and I've enjoyed it for exactly 10 years.
Ben: Inevitably, some lazy people are going to ask, can you just swallow the tablets?
Robert: Okay. I guess on this show, we can say it, okay? The tablet is exothermic. We say on the bottle, “Do not swallow this tablet.” But over the time that I have done this and been involved with this for just 10 years, yes, as long as you absolutely know that you're not going to allow this to become an obstruction in your airway or your throat or your esophagus, it's pretty hard to do that, but I have swallowed many tablets. If I was on the fly, I would pop it in, but it is not recommended and it's because of the caution that I just presented. And exothermic means a serious exothermic. I mean, it doesn't glow but it gets quite hot.
Ben: Okay. Good to know. Yeah. I think sticking with the water was probably the safest way to go. Like two tablets daily, or morning and evening-ish not too close to bed so you're not putting your energy levels through the roof. If you're using one of these canned sources or even the dissolved in water sources, in my opinion, pre-workout seems to work pretty well also. And so, those I think are a few of the best use cases in my opinion.
Anything that you have found to combine well with hydrogen, to play well with it as far as like a stack that one could take along with hydrogen water?
Robert: Not for me, but I would say that the area in which I hear people get more action out of it than I would is those who are more like Ben Greenfield, a lot of exercise and athletic activity and sports. And people do–they tend to utilize the hydrogen well when they're taking anything, creatine or nitric oxide, et cetera. I think it's a good combination to explore because of the innocence of hydrogen so to speak to explore what its effects are. They're very profound and we're at the beginning of understanding hydrogen, just like we were when we discovered nitric oxide. So, I don't think there's no harm, but I think it's the place to really do the exploration is in sports, everything, sports recovery, sports injury recovery, sports injury healing time. I think hydrogen plays a great role in all of that.
Ben: Okay. I went to your website before we did the interview and it looked like you're doing some things with combining of molecular hydrogen with–I think it was like a chromium, like a chromium picolinate, which I'm familiar with in the past as being something for blood sugar control. Now, is that because H2 interacts well with chromium picolinate or did you just decide you want to combine the two?
Robert: Well, their net effect we think is a blockbuster for metabolic syndrome. Okay? And we did a recent study that just came out last month on metabolic syndrome, and it used like 275 people done–I think it was done in India. And, the results were, for all of the markers for metabolic syndrome, 18 of the 20 parameters that were monitored were just, hey, it's knocking out these 18 of the 20 markers of metabolic syndrome in a very short time. So, all we determined or what was determined in that study was that you needed to have over 12 milligrams per day, okay? Twelve milligrams now —
Ben: Of the chromium?
Robert: Nope, nope.
Ben: Oh, of the hydrogen?
Robert: Of the hydrogen.
Robert: Now, we never talked about milligrams of hydrogen before. We only talked ppm, which was easier for your audience to study or understand because they've heard it used in this subject before, but we don't often use the amount of milligrams. But if you put–obviously, ppm is the same as milligrams per liter. If you took 12 milligrams of hydrogen and put it in a liter of water, that would be 12 ppm. Now, how much milligrams do you get from a milligram of hydrogen? You get 1/12 of that amount. So, if you've got 80 milligrams of magnesium, you would get 1/12 of that amount in terms of milligrams of hydrogen. Okay?
I mean, we're not going to sit here and do the calculations or anything, but that is it. And so, that's supplied in just three tablets. We suggest for serious metabolic syndrome as indicated by this study, we would suggest that you take one Active H2 Chromax with the chromium. Now, there's hundreds of studies on the effect of chromium picolinate in metabolic syndrome and many aspects of human metabolism. And then you take two regular hydrogen tablets to make up now for the hydrogen. So, that completes what the study does and people can go on–well, you can ultimately, it will be on our website since it just came out, but you can go on Tyler's website, molecularhydrogeninstitute.com and you can read this study. It's quite amazing.
Ben: Okay. Yeah. I'll link to that one in the shownotes as well. So, this has just been absolutely fascinating. There's so many things we delved into obviously when it comes to the hydrogen water and the different ways to use it. I think the big takeaway here for me is that I'm going to continue doing my two tablets dissolved in water, morning and evening. I want to start to use these hydrogen bath tablets a little bit more. I find that fascinating as well. I also need to get hydrogen water test or to see if this unit I have at home is still putting out appreciable —
Robert: Yeah. I get that.
Ben: –amount of hydrogen. Yeah. And then, what I'm going to do is I'm going to link a couple things for folks. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/allthingshydrogen, Robert, as we discussed pretty thoroughly in my last interview with him, has a fantastic water website, all the water filters he's created and all the different kind of like water upgrading mechanisms. He's got the hydrogen tablets. He's got the bath tablets. At his website, there's a 10% discount code you can use. It's GREENFIELD. And I'll link to that in the shownotes as well. His website is just waterandwellness.com.
And then I'll also link in the shownotes to the previous episode that we did because I think for those of you who have more questions about like what's the best water filter, how do you remineralize water, what Robert thinks about structured water, alkaline water, like we geeked out on all that in my last episode with him. So, go check out that episode, too. It's going to be everything's at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/allthingshydrogen. And Robert, man, as usual, you're a wealth of knowledge on this stuff.
Robert: Can I end with something that you might find interesting?
Ben: Yeah, go for it.
Robert: It's kind of a COVID story, but it has nothing to do with COVID.
Robert: This was from a doctor, a New York doctor, emergency room on the frontlines of COVID. I met this guy seven years ago in a restaurant in Beverly Hills, and he sat next to me and said, “What do you do?” I said, “Well, right now, I'm really into hydrogen, molecular hydrogen, physiological support, et cetera, et cetera.” I think he probably thought I was a little of a nutcase since he was a top New York doctor. But I said, “Hey, you know what, give me your address. I'll send you a bottle of hydrogen tablets.” And that was it. I sent it to him and I think maybe he ordered some, but I didn't pay much attention to it.
So, here's what he wrote me at 2:30 in the morning from the emergency room where he was handling one COVID after another. And he goes, “Robert, I am sold on the Active H2 ULTRA tablets as the best antioxidant in existence. Since you introduced this to me seven years ago, I have been on it twice a day ever since and I am living proof of its protective effects. I'm used to working in the ER, much of the time exhausted, but not anymore. Even more amazing is that I have never been sick in those seven years as a result of being in the emergency room and get the typical flu or other things my ER companions get. I'm ordering a couple cases because during this time, I want to boost the immune systems of my nurses and co-workers.” And this doctor, I call him Dr. Joe, is 81 years old on the frontlines of the ER.
Ben: Wow, wow.
Robert: There you go.
Ben: Amazing. That's a great testimonial. That's the name of your tablets, right, the Active H2?
Robert: Active H2, yeah.
Ben: Okay. Cool, cool. Well, that's good news for people. And again, we're in no way positioning this as any type of cure or remedy, but I do think just based on its ability to act as a mild hormetic stress or selective antioxidant, anybody who's exercising, heat, cold, fasting, et cetera, this fits right in there into the mix, in my opinion. And I think it's a really great way to again battle, as we were talking about the beginning of this show, a lot of those evolutionary mismatches that we're fighting against on a daily basis.
So, Robert, keep up the great work, man.
Robert: Thank you, sir. Enjoyed it once again.
Ben: It was absolutely fascinating. So, folks, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Robert Slovak from Water and Wellness signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
My guest on today's show, Robert Slovak, devoted his life to the science of water after life-altering experiences. He took his astronautical and mechanical engineering degrees and decided to pursue the research of reverse osmosis with his brother Jack to become one of the earliest developers of reverse osmosis technology.
After retiring from the corporate world, Robert left the country to bring advanced water technology to Brazil. While working in the rainforest he became sick with gastrointestinal illness due to unsanitary eating conditions in the small village. It was then he was taken to a biologist who had given him something called “Quinton Marine Plasma” to quickly eliminate the affliction. Robert left the Brazilian biologist the following morning convinced he had uncovered one of the greatest medicines of history, an imported marine solution from Spain.
But Robert went on to do plenty more, as we discuss in our previous episode “Water & Water Filtration: Everything You Need To Know About Water Filters, Alkaline Water, Structured Water, Hydrogen-Rich Water, Deuterium-Depleted Water & Much More!” In that episode, we discussed:
- Which water filter is best…
- Whether or not you should add minerals to your water…
- What Robert thinks about alkaline water…
- What structured, hydrogen-rich, and deuterium-depleted water (DDW) water are…
- And much more…
In today's show, Robert and I decided to take a much deeper dive into hydrogen water, which I also discussed in very good detail with Tyler LeBaron of the Molecular Hydrogen Institute in the episode “The 30 Year Old Scientist Phenom Who Runs a 2:30 Marathon, Deadlifts 420 Pounds & Drinks Hydrogen Enriched Water.”
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-Robert's history with hydrogen and water…11:15
- He and a business partner invented the first hydrogen tablet in 2010 (Active H-)
- This turned out to be the wrong name due to an erroneous way of thinking about hydrogen
- Patrick Flanagan's Microhydrin
- Silica hydride
- Negative hydrogen ion (proton with 2 electrons)
- Also known as “Mega H”
- Although it was popular in some circles, Robert never endorsed it due to some questionable ingredients used
- Magnesium in its elemental form (metallomagnesium)
- Hydrogen water is on its way to becoming the next nitric oxide (NO)
- Alkaline water generators produce hydrogen gas via electrolysis, which is then dissolved into the water
- Many hydrogen producing machines are not generating an appreciable amount of hydrogen in the water
- Age, design, water used are factors
- Tablets are able to produce more hydrogen than older water generators, but the amount is affected by how much water it's diluted with
- Why hydrogen generators are not consumer friendly:
- Price point is $3-10k
- Customer service issues
- Tech is too new to be efficacious to the general public
- H₂Blue titration test to measure the level of hydrogen in your water
-How hydrogen is unique among other compounds…25:18
- Hydrogen is the smallest molecule in the universe; can pass through many things other gases cannot
- Non-polar, can diffuse through a cell membrane
- BGF podcast with Tyler LeBaron
- Redox (reduction-oxidation) reactions:
- Nature always expects a balance between reduction and oxidation
- Hydrogen supplies reduction; an electron is transported to the oxidizing agent
- Hydrogen is a selective cytotoxic antioxidant; can induce or reduce inflammation depending on where in the body it's acting
-How hydrogen affects inflammatory pathways in the body…34:42
- Hydrogen modulates and disables the NrF2 pathway
- Hydrogen tablets in water is in no way a coronavirus remedy
- Methylene blue was the first anti-malarial drug used
- Methylene blue troches made by Dr. Ted Achacoso
- Used to regulate cellular autophagy
- The ways and means in which hydrogen is used grows continually
-Hydrogen administration methods…45:18
- Inhalation devices have limited hydrogen production capabilities; 1-3 hours to get the equivalent of a tablet in water
- Hydrogen-rich saline IVs
- Prepackaged hydrogen cans and pouches:
- Hydrogen should be consumed very quickly after exposure to air, either via tablet or can
-How Robert used hydrogen water to heal serious injury in miraculous time…55:37
- Involved in a serious mountain bike accident that broke both ankles and ribs.
- Put his feet in a tub and continuously added hydrogen tablets transdermally
- In 3 days, he was walking pain-free
- In 13 days, doctors marveled at the pace of his recovery
- Don't make the water too hot; will cause the hydrogen to evaporate faster
-How hydrogen water tablets work, and what to look for in them…1:02:45
- The tablet has only a few ingredients, however, the manufacturing process is incredibly intricate
- Very difficult to add any ingredients such as flavors
- The main variation is the amount of metallomagnesium used to generate hydrogen
- 12:1 ratio (magnesium:hydrogen)
- This makes tablets a terrific form of magnesium supplementation
- There are no fillers or excipients in the tablets
- Basic ingredients:
- Carbohydrate binder (~2 mg dextrose)
- Organic acid to support the reaction (it's not dissolving)
- Lubricant (flavoring, sodium stearyl fumarate)
- The tablets contain an FDA approved NDI (new dietary ingredient)
-Proper timing and dosage of hydrogen…1:12:04
- In the morning, and within 30 minutes of eating
- Not recommended to take prior to sleep because of a potential energizing effect
- Robert's personal protocol:
- 4 tablets daily, 2 at a time
- 10 oz. of water for both
- Consume when the tablets have disappeared
- Swallowing the tablets whole is discouraged
-Other compounds to stack with hydrogen…1:18:00
- Nitric oxide
- Athletes and exercise enthusiasts are more likely to benefit from stacking
- Combining with chromium picolinate may be efficacious for treating metabolic syndrome
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
– Podcasts and Articles:
- with Robert Slovak about Water and Water Filtration
- with Tyler LeBaron about Hydrogen Enriched Water
- Protection of the Retina by Rapid Diffusion of Hydrogen: Administration of Hydrogen-Loaded Eye Drops in Retinal Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury
– Other resources:
- Water and Wellness (use discount code GREENFIELD for 10%)
- H₂Blue hydrogen water tester
- Methylene blue
- Methylene blue troches (use BEN for a 5% discount)
- Hydro Shot can (use BEN for a 10% discount)
- H Factor hydrogen pouches
- Nitric Oxide
- Chromium Picolinate
- Molecular Hydrogen Institute
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