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Electrolyzed hydrogen water shown to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol on the liver

2021.08.12

In a collaborative study with Nihon Trim Co., Ltd. (Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture), Professor Taichi Hara of the School of Human Sciences, Waseda University and Satoshi Yano, Researcher at the Center for Human Research, Waseda University, discovered a mechanism by which electrolyzed hydrogen water and high-concentration hydrogen water act on enzymes involved in the metabolism of alcohol and the toxic compound acetaldehyde to reduce intracellular acetaldehyde content and exert protective effects against alcohol induced liver injury. This announcement was initially made on May 25.

Ethanol based alcohol is ingested via drinking and then metabolized and detoxified by two enzymes mainly in the liver. Ethanol is first metabolized to acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). This newly formed acetaldehyde is then metabolized to acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) and finally to water and carbon dioxide as final products. Acetaldehyde, an intermediate metabolite generated during alcohol metabolism, is a toxic substance that is known to damage liver cells by reacting with intracellular components such as proteins and DNA or by generating reactive oxygen species. However, previous studies on mice and rats have shown alcohol causes cellular injury through the production of reactive oxygen species in cells and that the ingestion of hydrogen water reduces liver injury caused by alcohol. The mechanism by which electrolyzed hydrogen water, which can scavenge and eliminate reactive oxygen species, suppresses the liver injury caused by alcohol had not yet been clarified.

In this joint study, it was discovered that electrolyzed hydrogen water reduces the amount of toxic acetaldehyde produced by the metabolism of ethanol in hepatocytes. By doing so, it suppresses the production of reactive oxygen species and protects hepatocytes from ethanol-induced damage. It was clarified that the mechanism of the process relies on the ability of electrolyzed hydrogen water to act on two metabolic enzymes. It increases the activity of ALDH and accelerates the decomposition of acetaldehyde, while reducing the activity of ADH and suppressing the production of acetaldehyde from ethanol. In vitro experiments also revealed that electrolytic hydrogen water did not directly affect the concentrations of ethanol or acetaldehyde. In addition, a collaborative study found that hydrogen water, which contains a high concentration of hydrogen molecules (over 1000 ppb), markedly controlled the activity of ADH and ALDH in cells.

Commercially available hydrogen water generators, which use electrolysis, cannot produce water containing hydrogen at concentrations of 1000 ppb or more. However, the electrolyzed hydrogen water conditioner used in this study can easily produce hydrogen water containing a high concentration of hydrogen molecules. This is an important feature that protects against alcohol-induced hepatocyte damage. This joint study revealed only one part of the mechanism underlying the protective action of electrolyzed hydrogen water against ethanol in model liver cells. Generally, electrolyzed hydrogen water, which is a type of drinking water, is ingested via the mouth. To reach the liver, it must pass through gastrointestinal organs, such as the stomach and intestine, and be transported by the blood. It is known that hydrogen gas is absorbed in the intestines. In future studies, whether orally consumed electrolyzed hydrogen water could enhance the activity of hepatic ALDH, as was observed in this study, is aimed to be clarified.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd.(https://sci-news.co.jp/). Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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