Molecular hydrogen has been suggested to have a cytoprotective effect on the whole body and to enhance exercise performances. However, the effect of hydrogen-rich gas mixture (HG) inhalation on physiological responses has been poorly investigated. We examined the impact of acute HG inhalation on subsequent oxidative stress, muscle damage, and exercise performances during the recovery period after a strenuous exercise. This is a two-trial, double-blind, crossover, repeated measures study. Eight physically active male volunteers inhaled HG (estimated fraction of inspired oxygen and hydrogen were 21.57 and 4.08% at most, respectively) or normal gas (placebo, ambient air 400 m above sea level) during a 60-minute recovery phase after oxidative stress-inducing exercise) completion comprising 30-minute treadmill running at an intensity corresponding to 75% of maximal oxygen uptake and squat jumps (5 sets × 10 repetitions). Before oxidative stress-inducing exercise and 10 minutes after the post-exercise gas inhalation, blood and urine samples were obtained and exercise performances (jumping ability; pedaling power output; muscle strength) were evaluated. Post-exercise HG inhalation attenuated the increase in urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine excretion rate (P < 0.05), a DNA oxidation marker, and the reduction in the countermovement jump height (P < 0.05), compared with Placebo inhalation. Other exercise performances and blood oxidative stress and muscle damage markers did not differ between HG and Placebo inhalation. Moreover, the increase in urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine excretion rate was significantly associated with countermovement jump performance reduction (r = -0.78, P < 0.01). These findings suggested that HG inhalation during post-exercise recovery period might improve exercise performance via reducing systemic oxidative damage. The study was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Yamanashi (approval No. H29-006) on June 28, 2017.
Shibayama Y, Dobashi S, Arisawa T, et al. Impact of hydrogen-rich gas mixture inhalation through nasal cannula during post-exercise recovery period on subsequent oxidative stress, muscle damage, and exercise performances in men. Med Gas Res. 2020 Oct-Dec;10(4):155-162.