Hyposmia is one of the earliest and the most common symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The benefits of hydrogen water on motor deficits have been reported in animal PD models and PD patients, but the effects of hydrogen gas on PD patients have not been studied. The authors evaluated the effect of inhalation of hydrogen gas on olfactory function, non-motor symptoms, activities of daily living, and urinary 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanine (8-OHdG) levels by a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial with an 8-week washout period in 20 patients with PD. Patients inhaled either ~1.2-1.4% hydrogen-air mixture or placebo for 10 minutes twice a day for 4 weeks. Inhalation of low dose hydrogen did not significantly influence the PD clinical parameters, but it did increase urinary 8-OHdG levels by 16%. This increase in 8-OHdG is markedly less than the over 300% increase in diabetes, and is more comparable to the increase after a bout of strenuous exercise. Although increased reactive oxygen species is often associated with toxicity and disease, they also play essential roles in mediating cytoprotective cellular adaptations in a process known as hormesis. Increases of oxidative stress by hydrogen have been previously reported, along with its ability to activate the Nrf2, NF-κB pathways, and heat shock responses. Although the authors did not observe any beneficial effect of hydrogen in our short trial, they propose that the increased 8-OHdG and other reported stress responses from hydrogen may indicate that its beneficial effects are partly or largely mediated by hormetic mechanisms.
Hirayama M, Ito M, Minato T, et al. Inhalation of hydrogen gas elevates urinary 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanine in Parkinson’s disease. Med Gas Res. 2019 Jan 9;8(4):144-149.