High-intensity eccentric exercise can cause a delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), a short-term condition characterized by muscle damage and tenderness that might hold up recovery and jeopardize exercise routine. Previous studies indicated that hydrogen-rich water (HRW) might be a helpful topical intervention to boost recovery in musculoskeletal medicine, yet no data are available concerning the effectiveness and safety of whole-body bathing with supersaturated HRW after DOMS-inducing exercise. This study evaluates the effects of a single-session bathing with HRW on biochemical markers of muscular damage in healthy young men. The six volunteers who were exposed to DOMS-inducing eccentric exercise were assigned to either supersaturated HRW or control whole-body bathing in a double-blind crossover design. Immediately after an exercise session, the participants were immersed up to the neck into a 200 L bathtub with supersaturated HRW (8 mg of H2 per L) or control water (no hydrogen) for 30 min. Blood biomarkers of inflammation and muscular damage and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores for muscle soreness were assessed at baseline (before exercise) and at 24-hour follow-up. Two-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference between two groups in serum creatine kinase (CK) response over the period of intervention (P=0.04). A single-session bathing in HRW prevented a rise in circulating biomarkers of muscular damage induced by exercise at 24-hour follow-up, retaining the levels of all biomarkers similar to the baseline values (P > 0.05). On the other hand, serum CK, aldolase, and aspartate transaminase were significantly elevated at 24-hour follow-up as compared to the baseline levels after the control bath (342 ± 309 U/L vs. 465 ± 295 U/L; P > 0.05). HRW bath also induced a significant drop in VAS scores for muscle soreness in comparison with control water, both immediately after an intervention (32.7 ± 8.6% vs. 20.0 ± 12.8%; P=0.02) and at 24-hour follow-up (31.6 ± 24.3% vs. 22.4 ± 27.5%; P=0.03), respectively. No participants reported any major side effects during the trial. This pilot study suggests that the whole-body bathing in supersaturated HRW is a safe procedure that attenuates muscular damage and can ease sore muscles after high-intensity eccentric exercise.
Todorovic N, Javorac D, Stajer V, Ostojic SM. The Effects of Supersaturated Hydrogen-Rich Water Bathing on Biomarkers of Muscular Damage and Soreness Perception in Young Men Subjected to High-Intensity Eccentric Exercise. J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2020 Oct 15;2020:8836070. doi: 10.1155/2020/8836070. PMID: 33123594; PMCID: PMC7584936.