Speaker 1: 00:00 Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry: 00:13 Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. There’s one super antioxidant you’re probably getting every day without even knowing it. In fact, it’s been shown to help fight inflammation, boost your energy, and protect the health of your brain. And studies show it can make a huge difference for the health of your entire body. I’m talking about hydrogen. Yeah, the most abundant element in the universe, the same thing that’s in the air you breathe and the water you drink.
Dr. Gundry: 00:46 And there’s a really easy way to supercharge this molecule to reduce inflammation, boost recovery, support a healthy heart and improve the appearance of your skin. Whoa. And my guest today is going to tell you all about it. He’s Tyler W. LeBaron, the founder and executive director of the science-based nonprofit Molecular Hydrogen Institute. And today, he’s going to explain the cutting-edge research on hydrogen and how it can help you feel healthier than you have in years.
Dr. Gundry: 01:21 And actually, I’m really excited about this episode. I had the pleasure of talking with Tyler a few months ago, and stay tuned. This is really good. So, Tyler, welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast.
Tyler LeBaron: 01:35 My pleasure. Thank you.
Dr. Gundry: 01:36 Great to have you here. All right. So, a very basic question to start with, what in the world is molecular hydrogen, and what effect does it have on our bodies?
Tyler LeBaron: 01:46 Yeah, most important question. Molecular hydrogen, we are referring to hydrogen gas. So, it’s a molecule. And often, so you look at water. Water is a molecule, and it has the oxygen and hydrogen. So, it’s like Mickey Mouse. It has the oxygen here and the two hydrogens, and those hydrogens are attached to the oxygen. And so, just as we can’t drink water to get the oxygen that we need, we also can’t drink water to get that hydrogen.
Tyler LeBaron: 02:15 The hydrogen gas that we’re talking about is a gas. It’s the alternative energy source that everybody’s after, right? Because it’s three times more energy dense than gasoline. So, what happens is you have a hydrogen atom that has a proton electron and another hydrogen atom that has a proton electron, and they marry each other, right? They combine together to form the H2 molecule. So, this is the smallest molecule in the universe, smaller than oxygen, and that allows it to easily enter into ourselves.
Tyler LeBaron: 02:42 And so, I’m talking about sodium bioavailability, for example. I mean, obviously, if you want to get the benefit of something, it actually has to get inside of the cell, right?
Dr. Gundry: 02:51 Good point.
Tyler LeBaron: 02:52 Well, a hydrogen gas being so small, can actually do that. So, that’s what we’re talking about, hydrogen gas, molecular hydrogen or dihydrogen.
Dr. Gundry: 03:00 Okay. So, you bring up a good point. So, there’s hydrogen and water. So, why not just drink water and then we’ll get that hydrogen? It just won’t come off?
Tyler LeBaron: 03:11 Exactly. Yeah. Well, it doesn’t come off. It doesn’t just come off like that. Water stays as the H2O molecule, and we have to get that H2 gas. That’s why water is not explosive but hydrogen gas is explosive, and you actually use water to put out a fire.
Dr. Gundry: 03:26 And so, all these, the propulsion systems that are-
Tyler LeBaron: 03:30 You have rocket fuel.
Dr. Gundry: 03:31 Rocket fuel uses hydrogen.
Tyler LeBaron: 03:32 Yeah, hydrogen, oxygen. They combust together to form water.
Dr. Gundry: 03:36 And that’s why even our hydrogen-powered cars drip water out-
Tyler LeBaron: 03:40 Yeah, that’s right.
Dr. Gundry: 03:41 … of the tailpipe, right?
Tyler LeBaron: 03:42 Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 03:42 Okay. All right. Man, come on, let’s get down and dirty. What effect is hydrogen, the gas, having at the cellular level? Get nerdy and teach us a little bit.
Tyler LeBaron: 03:57 Well, we don’t know all the exact mechanisms of how hydrogen gas is working at that molecular biological level. First, we can look at some of the observations. That’s the first step in science, is first, demonstrate that a phenomenon is actually occurring. And so, in the earliest research started in Asia for example, you administer hydrogen gas and whether it’s dissolved in water or through inhalation, and you’re seeing these effects such as prevention of the development of Parkinson’s disease in an animal model.
Tyler LeBaron: 04:31 Or you look at markers of inflammation and you see clearly that hydrogen gas decreases inflammation or oxidative stress, right? This is another huge one, and I’m sure everyone’s familiar, like when you cut the apple in half and it turns brown or rust, that’s oxygen or oxidation. And every single time that we breathe, we’re starting to slowly oxidize ourselves. And hydrogen also helps to decrease that excessive oxidation that’s going on, that leads to the aging and many diseases.
Tyler LeBaron: 05:02 So, the mechanism by how that’s happening, it still remains a little bit elusive, but what we do see for example, the hydrogen gas in terms of say the free radical and antioxidant aspect, hydrogen gas is able to activate what’s called the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway. And you’re probably familiar with what you’ve done before with the plants and everything. That’s a very important pathway. It is the transcription factor that when it activates the genes in the DNA, it essentially regulates over 200 or 300 set of protective proteins and enzymes that are involved in antioxidation, detoxification.
Tyler LeBaron: 05:41 And so, you have your proteins like glutathione people have heard before, if it’s peptide, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, all of these that our body’s own are endogenous antioxidant self-defense system. And taking hydrogen gas, able to activate this pathway, which in turn upregulates or increases our body’s natural antioxidant self-defense system. And that’s one of the ways the hydrogen gas is working to offer some of these benefits that we’re seeing in the preclinical and clinical studies.
Dr. Gundry: 06:14 Okay. Now, I know you trained over in Asia to learn most of this. And as we’ve talked before, there’s over 1,100 research papers, primarily in Korean and Japan, and even China, written on the effect of molecular hydrogen, yes?
Tyler LeBaron: 06:36 Yeah, yeah. There’s probably about 1,500 publications so far on the benefits of molecular hydrogen. Then probably, around 80 clinical, human clinical studies that have been conducted so far. Of course, most of them, most of the studies are in animals, because that’s how science progresses, right? But when you consider that actually a good article takes between three to five years from conception to publication. I mean, it’s a lot of work to study, to do an article and do the research over and over again.
Dr. Gundry: 07:06 Don’t I know.
Tyler LeBaron: 07:06 Right? I mean, it takes a long time. So, when you consider that 2007, we started the whole area of hygiene research, if you will. And now, 12 years later, there’s around 1,500 publications. That’s exciting, actually. I mean, it’s not a lot, but the fact that it’s that many in that short amount of time, yeah, it’s growing exponentially.
Dr. Gundry: 07:30 I got interested in this actually before I even met you. I’m reading a paper, a human clinical trial, that molecular hydrogen water actually reduce oxidized LDL in human beings, and actually quite dramatically. And I went, “Wow. That’s pretty cool.” And so, what you’re saying is at least what we think is happening is, so, this is activating the Nrf pathway, Nrf2, and having us produce more of our own intrinsic antioxidants, right?
Dr. Gundry: 08:08 And just as an aside, there’s another new paper that was presented at the American art association this past week that shows that LDL cholesterol has nothing to do with anything in terms of causing heart disease. It’s actually the small dense LDLs that get oxidized.
Tyler LeBaron: 08:27 Oxidized small dense LDLs.
Dr. Gundry: 08:29 Exactly, that are in fact the troublemaker. And our whole shift of our research and our treatment should be to prevent oxidized LDL. And so, again, I’m intrigued, because wait a minute, I can drink a glass of water with hydrogen in it and lower my oxidized LDL.
Tyler LeBaron: 08:52 Yeah, that’s the idea. I mean, there are several clinical studies that demonstrate, and some really powerful animal studies. In fact, one of them in an apoli E protein knockout mice. So, apoli E protein is very important to basically get rid of the bad cholesterol, if you will. And if you don’t have that protein, you can develop atherosclerosis very quickly, for sure. Well, in this animal study, the drinking of hydrogen-rich water totally prevented the development of atherosclerosis.
Tyler LeBaron: 09:23 And so, that probably, if it was then translated into humans, that the paper you’re talking about where they are drinking hydrogen water, and yeah, they’ll see less oxidized LDL. And also, we see benefits like with the macrophages. That’s what happens. When the LDL gets into the intima for example and then the macrophages come and they get oxidized, and just this cascade. And hydrogen gas like we talked about, it’s the smallest molecule in the universe.
Tyler LeBaron: 09:53 So, it has no problem getting in through the cell membranes to where it needs to go. And now, it can help to mitigate that oxidation. So, that’s one area. But then, there’s inflammation because those macrophages, they’re sending out cytokines. Those are proinflammatory cytokines, and that’s going to… all these other signalings, and it’s going to cause all this problem. Well, hydrogen gas is another area that it really helps to suppress or mitigate excessive inflammation.
Tyler LeBaron: 10:20 For example, when TNF alpha, it’s a cytokine, activates NF-kB-
Dr. Gundry: 10:26 That’s true in all my patients.
Tyler LeBaron: 10:27 Well, yeah. So, when that gets high, that’s going to activate this transcription factor NF-kB. NF-kB is going to just… it’s a huge inflammatory marker. Well, molecular hydrogen can downregulate NF-kB or NF-kappa B. But anyways, when that’s downregulated, that you’re going to have less inflammation. And so, we see both on the areas of antioxidation and the anti-inflammatory effects of hydrogen, that could help account for some of these observed benefits.
Dr. Gundry: 10:54 Now, dumb question, hydrogen has been around forever, and we’ve been sending rockets-
Tyler LeBaron: 11:01 Literally forever.
Dr. Gundry: 11:02 Literally forever. That’s right.
Tyler LeBaron: 11:03 Since the dawn of the universe.
Dr. Gundry: 11:04 Since the dawn, right. It was the number one. What prompted anybody to say, “Ghee, we should look at hydrogen in this way”? Who had the crazy idea?
Tyler LeBaron: 11:18 Yeah. And actually, it’s interesting because you would think if hydrogen gas does have these amazing biological benefits that we’re starting to potentially discover, we should already know about that, right? But there’s a couple interesting things. So first, maybe we didn’t know about it. We just didn’t pay attention. So, there was a paper, it was a book that was written by in an Italian medical doctor in 1798. I mean, just a little bit after hydrogen was even named and discovered.
Tyler LeBaron: 11:49 And it was this inhalation of basically exotic gases. And in this, there’s a small description that he talks about, inhalation of hydrogen gas has an anti-inflammatory effect. That was so long ago. And then, fast-forward. And then, in 1975, there was an article by Texas A&M and Bailey University published in science. I mean, that you don’t get a journal more prestigious science, right? And they found that hyperbaric hydrogen treatment was very effective with these melanoma skin tumors basically, just totally regressed the growth of the tumor.
Tyler LeBaron: 12:32 It was amazing. Probably though, it’s not really feasible to do hyperbaric hydrogen therapy for a human just because hydrogen gas is explosive. It’s going to be the Hindenburg all over. So, I think what happened then is, so, in 2005, people… they were looking, “Okay, we have the hydrogen gas being produced by our intestinal bacteria. Maybe this is going to be therapeutic.” So, it was a lot of converging idea as they got to this concept that maybe hydrogen does have biological effect.
Tyler LeBaron: 13:04 So, 2005, and I talked to Dr. Ohta. He’s the one who published this Nature Medicine publication in 2007, and this was his story. He thought he heard about it. He was a mitochondrial researcher. And he’s like, “Okay, well, let’s try it.” And so, they did. In 2005, they started, and they found that actually, yeah, it did have these therapeutic effects.
Tyler LeBaron: 13:24 So, they did more studies and they published that paper in 2007, in Nature Medicine, again, a top publication. But the interesting thing though is in that publication, he showed that physiologically and clinically relevant concentration. So, below the formability level, and that levels that you could do in a clinic so it’s not going to explode, but it can still be therapeutic, is still beneficial for you. And when that paper was published, now, that’s what got the research to just skyrocket.
Tyler LeBaron: 13:53 So, there’s a lot of research after that. So, that’s maybe my explanation is, one, that has been a lot of research that’s been done. Well, not a lot, but it has been suggested for a long time, but no one’s really paid attention to it. And then, two, the research is not really relevant at the time because people thought, “Well yeah, but you can’t really… it’s not really clinically viable.” But now, we’re seeing… actually, it can be very clinically viable and to the point that we’re at now.
Dr. Gundry: 14:18 So now, wait a minute. So, most of the air we breathe is hydrogen?
Tyler LeBaron: 14:23 Hydrogen, yes, is in the air. Right. But the percentage, so air has about 80%, 79% nitrogen, 20%, 21% oxygen.
Dr. Gundry: 14:32 Oxygen.
Tyler LeBaron: 14:32 And then, the hydrogen concentration is let’s see, 0.000055%.
Dr. Gundry: 14:38 So, not much.
Tyler LeBaron: 14:39 It’s not enough to observe any therapeutic effects, right. This concentration in ourselves is not going to be high enough. Right.
Dr. Gundry: 14:46 So, what you’re saying is if I could have bacteria fart hydrogen, then, that’s one of the theories on why having fermenting bacteria producing this stuff might be good?
Tyler LeBaron: 15:01 Yeah. Actually, that was… and I said it. In one of the earlier publications I think in the ’80s, it was suggested, “Hey, hydrogen gas is a very, very low reductive potential, even lower than glutathione. Maybe it has a biological effect. We should check this out.” Then, in the… see, the Foresight Institute, they’re in Boston, Massachusetts, they did a study with lactulose. Lactulose is a nondigestible carbohydrate, right?
Tyler LeBaron: 15:27 But it’s also basically medicine. But when it’s metabolized by the intestinal bacteria, it produces lots of hydrogen gas.
Dr. Gundry: 15:35 Correct.
Tyler LeBaron: 15:35 So, what they did in this study is they took E. coli and did a genetic knockout on the hydrogenous enzyme so the bacteria could metabolize the E. coli, but upon metabolism, it would not produce hydrogen gas. So, when they administered lactulose, the hepatic or liver protective effects of lactulose, totally gone.
Dr. Gundry: 15:55 Interesting.
Tyler LeBaron: 15:56 But when they gave the hydrogenase positive E. coli back, and so now, the E. coli could metabolize the lactulose, but at this time, produce hydrogen gas. So, very significant hepatoprotective effects. So, suggesting like you said that maybe a lot of the fibers that we are eating, those benefits are mediated by the endogenous production of hydrogen gas. And now, there’s these large clinical reviews from huge journals, huge populations looking at taking different carbohydrates of different medications, and actually measuring the production of hydrogen gas.
Tyler LeBaron: 16:31 And showing that, yeah, there appears to be a correlation that those who are taking… getting more hydrogen gas produced by the intestinal bacteria seem to thrive and survive, and live longer and live better.
Dr. Gundry: 16:46 That is a perfect place to take a break, and I want everyone to digest that. And we’ll be right back. Hey, everybody. It’s Dr. Gundry here, and I’ve got some very exciting news. Right now, you can sign up for Dr. Gundry’s newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll get updates about new episodes of The Dr. Gundry Podcast where we talk about all things health. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out. I’ll also keep you in the loop of all the things I’m up to from news to events, to special appearances.
Dr. Gundry: 17:21 And guess what? When you sign up, you’ll be automatically entered into the Dr. Gundry’s newsletter giveaway. Two people who signed up will be picked at random to receive a special gift pack of Gundry MD products on me. So, don’t wait. Visit www.drgundry.com to sign up. Okay. So, I’m pretty convinced, and that’s why you’re here, that molecular hydrogen is the real deal. So, how in the world do you get the full range of benefits of molecular hydrogen?
Tyler LeBaron: 17:59 Yeah, it’s a great question. Of course, still earlier on and part of the research, again, the preliminary studies and preclinical and clinical studies are very promising. But the fact is, and we still don’t really know how effective is hydrogen gas really in a clinical sense in this specific disease. There’s no 10-year study really demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt, if you will, that hydrogen gas has a therapeutic effect.
Tyler LeBaron: 18:30 It has a high safety profile. So, if people want to try it, I feel like that’s great, and the research is very promising. But there’s different ways to get the hydrogen gas, right? One of them-
Dr. Gundry: 18:41 So, how do we do it?
Tyler LeBaron: 18:41 One of them is of course inhalation of hydrogen gas, and that’s actually the Japanese government, a couple of years ago, approved inhalation of hydrogen gas as an advanced medicine for the treatment of postcardiac arrest syndrome. And this is just as a side [inaudible 00:18:56] because it’s pretty powerful. The reason why is because typically, when you stop the heart for a surgery or something, you do a therapeutic hypothermia. Because if you don’t, an animal study looked at this, then, let’s say there’s only 43% survival.
Tyler LeBaron: 19:12 That’s what this one study was showing, 43% survival if you don’t do the therapeutic hypothermia. By doing therapeutic hypothermia, it increased to say 77% survival. So, it’s a big deal that that’s why it’s the standard protocol, right? So, in the same study, they use hydrogen gas instead of therapeutic hypothermia in with this group, and the survival increased to 92% with hydrogen gas.
Dr. Gundry: 19:35 Better than cooling-
Tyler LeBaron: 19:36 Even better than therapeutic hypothermia, exactly. And then, when they combine the two, hypothermia with hydrogen gas, has 100% survival, which you can’t actually beat 100%. So, preclinical studies and others, as well as other, now clinical studies, are showing this is really good. So, the government in Japan approved this as a class IIb medical device. And now, they’re doing a very large study with 360 patients and maybe 20 different hospitals to see the true effects of hydrogen gas in these clinical settings.
Tyler LeBaron: 20:06 And in fact, even here in the USA, there’s work towards getting FDA approval for an IMD and investigate a new drug to study hydrogen gas for pretty much the same idea during extracorporeal circulation for during a heart surgery. Actually, you and I talked about that earlier when I was doing research with the heart transplants. We can talk about that later. But anyway, inhalation of hydrogen gas is one of the ways to get it.
Dr. Gundry: 20:31 And you can actually buy these machines. They’re expensive. I actually have several patients who have purchased these machines for home use. But that’s-
Tyler LeBaron: 20:43 Yeah, you have to be cautious. because again, you don’t know how much hydrogen gas you’re really getting into the body, for example, because typically in the clinical research, it’s around 3% hydrogen gas. But that’s the total amount going into the body. You have to look at the total production, milliliters, produced per minute, and then compare that to your breathing rate and all of this stuff. But then, you have to be cautious because it is explosive.
Tyler LeBaron: 21:08 So, there’s a lot of things. This is a very new emerging industry.
Dr. Gundry: 21:12 So, don’t have a cigarette while you’re-
Tyler LeBaron: 21:13 While you’re inhaling, right. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 21:15 Or don’t inhale, right? I’ve heard that before.
Tyler LeBaron: 21:18 That’s it. Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Gundry: 21:19 Okay. So, all right. So, that’s not a factor. At least-
Tyler LeBaron: 21:23 Yeah, it’s not… I mean, it depends. I mean, tomato-tomato. It can be done and people do, do it. But I’m just saying, if you’re going to try that, just be careful about it. That’s all. Don’t just think, “Oh, it’s no problem.” Just do your research. So, inhalation is one way. There’s also intravenous hydrogen-rich saline injection, which is interesting and has some potential, some great effects. But a very practical and probably the easiest way, and the most common way done in research, is simply taking the gas and infusing or dissolving it into water.
Tyler LeBaron: 21:59 And then, drinking it. Because as far as I know, everyone drinks water anyways. So, it’s pretty simple to incorporate it into your life, is just drink hydrogen-rich water.
Dr. Gundry: 22:08 Okay, so wait a minute. We’re going to bubble the hydrogen into water. And why won’t that combine with the water to make more water?
Tyler LeBaron: 22:17 Excellent question. So, when you dissolve the gas into the water, it just dissolves into the water. It doesn’t react with the water to form H3O or H4O, or some novel structure. Again, if you take hydrogen oxygen and put them together, they actually don’t ignite or explode, unless you light a match, unless you light a fire, right? So, that’s why you can dissolve it into the water. The problem with dissolving it in the water is as soon as it’s dissolved, you do need to drink it quickly, because it’ll just go right back out.
Tyler LeBaron: 22:46 And that’s my point. It does not attach to the water molecule or anything like that. It doesn’t change the pH. It doesn’t do anything like that. So, once it’s dissolved in there and you make your hydrogen water, you need to drink it.
Dr. Gundry: 22:58 So, I can make some hydrogen water, but if I, for instance, put it in my plastic water container, what’s going to happen?
Tyler LeBaron: 23:09 Yeah, and you can do that. But again, because hydrogen gas is the smallest molecule, eventually, yeah, it’ll go right through the plastic containers. Now, there are some ready to drink products. But then, they’re specifically done using aluminum type containers, cans or pouches. But you have to be very cautious with all of that, right? So, anyways, that can be done. But in terms of plastic and things like that, yeah, it just goes right through.
Dr. Gundry: 23:35 Okay. So, if I go on Amazon, I can find lots of hydrogen water generators for home use. Most of them come from Korea or Japan.
Tyler LeBaron: 23:46 Yeah, China.
Dr. Gundry: 23:47 Or China.
Tyler LeBaron: 23:48 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 23:48 What do you think?
Tyler LeBaron: 23:49 What’s the Latin word? Caveat emptor, right? Buyer beware? Yeah. Some of those may work in order to get you dissolved hydrogen. But see, for me, I’m really mostly focused on the research of hydrogen. And so, I do have some experience with looking at some of these products. And the problem is a lot of companies want to use the medical literature of hydrogen to sell their product, which again scientifically, I would say, “Well, how much research do we really have or whatever?”
Tyler LeBaron: 24:24 But even more importantly, is the product that they are selling. Does it actually provide the therapeutic doses or concentrations that we’re using in research? And often, the case is, no, they’re not. So, a lot of these products you’re talking about, they use electrolysis, and they have these electrodes on there. And some of the problems there, if they don’t have the right membrane, then maybe they’re going to get ozone produced, chlorine produced during oxidation, because chloride will be oxidized to chlorine gas.
Tyler LeBaron: 24:53 You’d be drinking that. Maybe the electrodes aren’t fully clean or they’re not fully inert with the platinum, for example. And so, you get maybe an electrode material, heavy metals type in there. And then, even if all of that is no problem and everything is working fine, well then, I’ve just… I’ve seen and heard there’s problems often with consistency of how well the process is actually lasting. You first get it, it makes it a good concentration.
Tyler LeBaron: 25:18 Although, most of them only make very low concentration, like 0.2 to one milligram per liter or PPM.
Dr. Gundry: 25:25 And what do we need?
Tyler LeBaron: 25:26 Yeah, well-
Dr. Gundry: 25:28 What are the studies?
Tyler LeBaron: 25:28 Exactly, right? We don’t actually know what we need, but we do know what we have used in clinical studies to show therapeutic effects, right?
Dr. Gundry: 25:38 Okay. So, that’s a good benchmark.
Tyler LeBaron: 25:40 Exactly. Yes. Okay. I’m going to get back to that. I just wanted to say about those units really quickly. Often, there’s lots of problems with their quality control. Even after a couple of weeks or a month, they may stop working, stop producing those therapeutic levels. So, you always have to constantly be testing and measuring the concentration. They can work fine, but you just have to be very vigorous in terms of testing and making sure it’s still working, right, to get that therapeutic level or dose.
Tyler LeBaron: 26:08 And what does that dose and level? Again, we don’t really know. But what are we using in the clinical studies that’s showing the therapeutic effect? And that concentration is typically between, well, as low as 0.5 PPM or 0.5 milligrams per liter, but it’s very rare. And some studies show there’s no benefit there. But most of them are around 1.6 milligrams per liter or 1.6 PPM. And some of them are as high as five or seven milligrams per liter, or even higher than that.
Tyler LeBaron: 26:40 And so, it appears from some of the human resource, but a lot of the animal and cell culture studies, that in some case, not every case, but at least in some cases, or maybe even many cases, there is a dose-dependent effect. So, the higher the dose of hydrogen, the more likely or the higher the probability that it will exert a biological effect and be beneficial. At least there’s never a time, at least in the research that I’ve done or I’ve seen, where a lower concentration is either less effective as a high concentration.
Tyler LeBaron: 27:15 So, basically, a high dose of hydrogen is either as effective as or more effective than a low dose. So, in research, we typically want to just give a high dose, because it’s very safe. There’s no toxic buildup in your body. You can’t OD on hydrogen, if you will. And so, getting a high dose of hydrogen, it just ensures the probability that you’re in the bell curve, if you will, that you’re going to get the benefits, if there are benefits to be had.
Dr. Gundry: 27:43 So, I can’t possibly explode by drinking electrode or hydrogen, right?
Tyler LeBaron: 27:47 Right. Yeah. You would get hyponatremia from drinking too much water. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 27:51 So, let’s talk about… I know a lot of people say, “Well, I drink alkaline water, and that’s the same as hydrogen water.” Take it.
Tyler LeBaron: 28:02 Well, yeah. That’s a common misconception, the conflation of the concept of alkaline water with hydrogen water. And possibly, because when we think of alkaline water, we think of high pH, and pH potential hydrogen, “Hey, we’re talking about hydrogen. The more hydrogen, the more alkaline,” right? But if it’s actually almost the opposite and very different, pH with potential hydrogen, of course, the P is more of an exponent, inverse exponent, a logarithmic function.
Tyler LeBaron: 28:26 And the hydrogen they’re talking about is not hydrogen gas, molecular hydrogen, but the hydrogen ion, which has no electrons. It’s just an H plus. It’s a proton, right? And so, pH, that H in pH has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. And we’re talking about molecular hydrogen, this hydrogen gas. And when you take and dissolve hydrogen gas into water, it doesn’t change the pH. So, there’s no connection at all between the alkaline water aspect and the hydrogen water.
Tyler LeBaron: 28:54 They’re totally different. Now there is a correlation in some of the early research which is a very interesting story, because some of the earlier research, they found that there’s what’s called alkaline ionized water actually had some therapeutic effects. And it’s like, how does this happen? Because an alkaline water, alkaline pH, is not going to benefit the human body.
Dr. Gundry: 29:17 Correct.
Tyler LeBaron: 29:17 I mean, yeah, we are alkaline. Our bodies are alkaline, but water is not a buffer. And to put it in perspective, one teaspoon of baking soda, a little teaspoon of baking soda, which is actually sodium bicarbonate, our body’s natural buffering system, a teaspoon of baking soda can utilize as much acid as 700 liters of alkaline water at a pH of 10. So, you can’t say that-
Dr. Gundry: 29:41 Say that again, because the most important part of this podcast may have just been said, and I want you to say it again.
Tyler LeBaron: 29:47 Yeah. So, one teaspoon of baking soda can neutralize as much acid as 700 liters of alkaline water at a pH of 10.
Dr. Gundry: 29:57 Come on. So, that alkaline water thing that I’m buying at the store for $3, I’m better off having a pinch of baking-
Tyler LeBaron: 30:07 Or just breathing a little bit more, right? Because as you breathe, that’s how we control our pH the best, is by respiration. So, if you just exhale out the CO2, yeah, you would increase your blood pH more if that’s what your goal was, if you would just exhale more. So, it doesn’t work. So, that question then was, well then, why were these studies on alkaline ionized water? Why were these showing these antioxidant effect and anticancer effect, antidiabetic effect, anti-inflammatory, whatever these effects were?
Tyler LeBaron: 30:36 How do you explain this? Because it doesn’t make sense that water could do this. It would just probably have an alkaline piece. So, there were stuff put about like, “Oh, it’s microclustering, structuring, enigmatic stuff.” But that none of that is valid. And the evidence that people have reported just don’t work. But what it turns out is when you make this alkaline ionized water using electrolysis, which by definition is the decomposition of water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, during that electrolytic process, some of that hydrogen gas is produced, ends up getting dissolved in the water.
Tyler LeBaron: 31:11 So, when you drink alkaline ionized water, fresh alkaline ionized water, you may be, not all the time, because different machines and calcification stuff, but you may be getting small amounts of dissolved hydrogen gas, which are responsible for those therapeutic effects. And in fact, we did a study on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. We took rodents, and we gave them alkaline ionized water. Okay, the real story, that’s really interesting.
Tyler LeBaron: 31:35 But these researchers, they took alkaline ionized water, because they were like, “Wow, this is really cool.” So, they’re like, “Let’s figure it out if this is true, like all this stuff.” They took alkaline ionized water and they compared it to control water, and they did the study. And guess what? No benefit, nothing. And they’re like, “Why is this not working?” And they were so sure that it would because they followed the protocol, everything else did.
Tyler LeBaron: 31:58 So, they ended up talking to me, and we talked for quite a while. And they’re like, “Okay, let’s do it again.” And I was like, “But what is the hydrogen concentration?” And they’re like, “Oh, we don’t know.” And so, we measured the concentration of hydrogen. It was quite low. It was 0.3 milligrams per liter, 0.3 PPM. And so, okay. Let’s do the exact same study, but let’s do also a low concentration around the 0.3 milligrams per liter. And also, a high concentration of hydrogen.
Tyler LeBaron: 32:22 High just means higher. It was only one PPM or something, maybe even lower than that. We did this study, and same thing, the low concentration of alkaline ionized water, so again, high pH had this negative ORP that people talk about, all this stuff. Had everything, zero benefit. But the higher concentration of hydrogen, very significant obvious benefit on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in this animal study.
Tyler LeBaron: 32:47 And then, actually, we later, with another group, we did a clinical trial on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and very, very, very positive results.
Dr. Gundry: 32:56 Wow. So, all right. So, we’re not going to breathe in other machines. Maybe, maybe not. How at home can we do it? I mean, are there tablets that’ll do this?
Tyler LeBaron: 33:07 Yeah. I mean, there are… in fact, that study I just mentioned, that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, we actually used the tablets, because we wanted to see, okay, a higher dose of hydrogen, how it’s going to work. So, we used… actually, do an echo MRI technology to actually measure the liver, the fat deposits in the liver, and saw these benefits. But in a study, we actually use these hydrogen-producing tablets. And I say hydrogen-producing because of course a tablet, it’s not a hydrogen tablet, right, like a solid hydrogen or something.
Tyler LeBaron: 33:35 But the way the tablets work is that they contain a special form of reactive metallic magnesium that when you add to the water, it reacts with water, H2O, and it liberates that H2, right? And so, you produce the hydrogen gas. And you can see all the bubbles coming off. And if you want to get… you can get a lighter and light it on fire. It’s fun to do sometimes when you’re bored.
Dr. Gundry: 33:57 Careful. Do not do this at home. Professional researcher on a closed course.
Tyler LeBaron: 34:02 That’s right. But yeah. So, those tablets are… I find value in them for the research, because we get a high dose of hydrogen. I think also because of course we use a placebo tablet also. They give the same amount of magnesium. But I think just for the general consumer, I think it’s also nice, because most people are deficient in magnesium anyways. And so, they’re able to get some magnesium in that way.
Dr. Gundry: 34:28 So, we talked off camera, should you do this all day, every day, every time you drink water or put a tablet in? Or should you dose yourself once a day or break it up? What’s your thoughts?
Tyler LeBaron: 34:43 Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, first off, we still-
Dr. Gundry: 34:46 Well, thanks for being honest.
Tyler LeBaron: 34:47 Yeah. And even more honestly, I’m very excited about the hydrogen. Don’t get me wrong, but my disclaimer is still, we still don’t really know. I mean, like I said, there no 10-year long-term clinical trial, $3, $5 million unequivocally showing something. I’m excited about this because the prospects of it being therapeutic and beneficial that we’re seeing cell culture tissues, animals and humans are very promising.
Tyler LeBaron: 35:12 There’s lots of many research and many groups, and I’m just one mere small person in the midst of academia doing some research. I mean, I’m not… I have only have some of the publications. There’s a lot more out there. And so, I’m excited because it’s very safe and has a great potential. So, with that being said, what is the best way of dosing, if you will, on the hydrogen? Again, I don’t know on that aspect just because we don’t have all of this stuff.
Tyler LeBaron: 35:40 But we will say, “How do we do it in the clinical research, and what is, based upon maybe some of the mechanisms of hydrogen gas, maybe [crosstalk 00:35:47].”
Dr. Gundry: 35:46 Okay. How do we do it in clinical research?
Tyler LeBaron: 35:49 Yeah. So, we just did a study that were in metabolic syndrome actually using the tablets also, because we want to try this high dose and see if it replicates some of the earlier studies that you actually mentioned earlier. And we used three tablets, three times a day. And the idea there was that way, they would take the tablet. They would put it in the water. As soon as it would dissolve, they would drink it immediately in basically in one gulp so that you get much hydrogen gas as possible.
Tyler LeBaron: 36:18 And that would get a high level of concentration in their cells. And they did that three times a day. Because I think when you look at, on a cellular level, you’re wanting the concentration of hydrogen gas to reach a certain micromolar concentration, a certain level in the cell in order to have a therapeutic effect. So, by getting a high dose of hydrogen, just an intermittent high level of exposure once could be very important to get that high concentration.
Tyler LeBaron: 36:47 And also, because hydrogen is more of a gaseous signal modulator, that’s important to get to get that effect. So, I liked that idea. In fact, you’ll find this interesting. That earlier study I talked about with the apoli E 00:36:58 knockout, they originally were doing this with inhalation, actually, 24 hours exposure to hydrogen gas. Because you’re like, “Hey, if hydrogen gas is this molecule, then total exposure to it could be great.”
Tyler LeBaron: 37:12 So, essentially in the beginning, they saw a beneficial effect. And then, it plateaued, and then it went away. And what some of them is thinking is some of the methodology and things to open up the animal cage, hydrogen gas would come out. So, it was almost an intermittent type of exposure. They switched it to hydrogen water. And then, the benefits just continued to be then it didn’t go away.
Tyler LeBaron: 37:36 And a similar study was done in Parkinson’s disease where they exposed the rest 24/7 to hydrogen gas, and then the other group drank hydrogen water. The other group just had fiber lactulose actually. And the other group, they were given intermittent exposure to hydrogen gas. And it was found that the continuous exposure of hydrogen gas had no benefit in Parkinson’s disease. Lactulose didn’t really have any benefit either actually in this model.
Tyler LeBaron: 38:04 In other cases, it may. And then, the intermittent exposure actually was statistically beneficial. So, again, we see it’s important to have this intimate exposure. But none of those were as effective as simply drinking hydrogen-rich water.
Dr. Gundry: 38:18 So, Tyler, is there anybody who really ought to do this? Or I mean, is it good for everybody? Who should do this?
Tyler LeBaron: 38:26 So, first off, because hydrogen gas is safe, so people can use it. Children, pregnant people and anybody can do it. So, I would say that people who want to take that risk, if you will, because it is safe, but like I said, we don’t know all the clinical effectiveness and everything, try it. A lot of people, I have just reported back so many anecdotal testimonials, granted who knows, maybe it’s all placebo, right? But it’s something that is safe and the preliminary preclinical and clinical studies are very promising.
Tyler LeBaron: 39:00 So, those who are interested in your antiaging and your health, and your wellness, or maybe if you’re trying some intervention and it’s just not working, just try it. I mean, just give it a try and see if it helps you or not. And if it doesn’t, okay. If it does, that’s great. But I guess I’d just be cautious, because again, we don’t know. Because if it really works and to what extent and everything? But for those who are open-minded and biohacking type area, and then trying to find a solution, we do have something that has some preliminary data.
Tyler LeBaron: 39:33 So, for some people when they first take the molecular hydrogen, and again, this could all be placebo, but these are just some things that I have frequent heard of people who try it. And sometimes, they automatically feel like it’s almost like a head rush of even some mental clarity or just like, wow, they feel something. Some people who are often in pain, they’ll be able to… their pain just drastically decreases, especially at nighttime.
Tyler LeBaron: 39:59 People have aches and pains and they can’t really get a good night’s sleep. They report that they’re able to sleep through the night without the aches and pains. And then, just having more energy. We did publish several articles actually on exercise performance for both from the elderly as well as in younger people, that hydrogen may increase or decrease rate of preserved exertion, decrease lactate or lactic acid, people call muscle fatigue basically.
Tyler LeBaron: 40:26 And then, there’s also a publication in healthy individuals that just decreased… basically, it’s called the sympathetic nerve activation. So, it makes you more parasympathetic. So, some people when they take hydrogen, they feel not only a sense of mental clarity, but almost more calm or relaxed, and has an antianxiety and antidepressant. And there’s some animal studies. In fact, we actually did a study too in helping with the increase in resilience to acute and chronic stress.
Tyler LeBaron: 40:57 And so, people just notice, will be able to handle stress better and be more parasympathetic, and just have more energy and cognitive clarity.
Dr. Gundry: 41:08 Can I put it into my coffee?
Tyler LeBaron: 41:10 Yeah. I mean, I guess you could. I guess one of the concerns would be because hydrogen gas is… the solubility is based upon temperature. So, it would probably evaporate very quickly. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 41:20 How about a smoothie?
Tyler LeBaron: 41:21 Probably the same thing, dude. Because you probably… it depends on your method of dissolving the hydrogen gas into the smoothie. But again, you probably don’t take the smoothie in a few minutes. It probably takes a whole while.
Dr. Gundry: 41:32 Right. Particularly, if you’ve made it hydrogen water and then made your smoothie [crosstalk 00:41:37] is gone.
Tyler LeBaron: 41:38 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 41:38 Oh, darn. Okay. Well, that’s great information. All right. What do you say to your detractors that, “Oh, come on now, hydrogen water? Really? Are you just the next alkaline water?”
Tyler LeBaron: 41:54 Yeah. Well, it’s funny, because I feel myself sometimes on the same side of like, “Yeah, is this legitimate?” It’s crazy. Hydrogen gas is a neutral molecule. And so, for it to have a biological effect, my background’s biochemistry, and I’m just like, “This is so weird. This is so strange.” So, it wasn’t till it’s in Japan in 2013 at Nagoya University, I’m doing some of the research, and I’ve seen these effects.
Tyler LeBaron: 42:17 And now, of course, I’ve seen it many times. I’m like, “Something is going on here.” And so, yeah, my response is, “Look at nitric oxide for example.” Back in the ’70s, it was proposed that this endothelial-derived releasing factor was a gas, nitric oxide. And people wanted to laugh that out like, “No, gases can’t do that.” Especially, something is-
Dr. Gundry: 42:37 Particularly your laughing gas.
Tyler LeBaron: 42:38 Yeah, right? It didn’t make sense to them that nitric oxide would do that. But then of course, it was later confirmed a decade later. And then, a decade after that, they won the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Gundry: 42:48 Yeah. They won the Nobel Prize. That’s crazy.
Tyler LeBaron: 42:50 Yeah, exactly. So, who knows? But it’s very useful.
Dr. Gundry: 42:54 We’re looking at the next Nobel Prize winner here.
Tyler LeBaron: 42:56 No, no. Maybe hydrogen gas will be subject to… it’s possible, but I’m just… yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 43:02 All right. Tyler, it’s been great having you on. Where can people find you, find out more about you?
Tyler LeBaron: 43:08 Sure. Yeah. So, my website is molecularhydrogeninstitute.com. Again, we’re just… We try to just provide some information, some education so you can learn what is and what is not hydrogen. I do post stuff on some of my social media. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Tyler W. LeBaron is my IG, is what you would see, right? Yeah, Instagram handle. Anyway, you can follow me, and I post some of the stuff when I’m out of the country doing research and some of the new publications that we do.
Tyler LeBaron: 43:37 Yeah, it’s a fun journey. So, join the hydrogen revolution.
Dr. Gundry: 43:41 All right. Very good. All right. Thanks again for coming on.
Tyler LeBaron: 43:44 My pleasure.
Dr. Gundry: 43:45 All right. It’s time for audience question. A YouTube viewer asks, “Are muscle building and longevity inverse related? And if so, what is a good middle ground?” That’s actually a really good question, and it comes up, because we talked about mTOR, and those of you who have read my books or listened to our podcast, mTOR is actually very important in producing… we can measure the effect of mTOR by insulin-like growth factor, IGF1. And we know that IGF1 when it is at high level, actually promotes muscle growth.
Dr. Gundry: 44:28 And that’s why bodybuilders for instance who are trying to have huge muscles, want large amounts of IGF1. When we’re young, we produce large amounts of IGF1, and that gradually decreases as we get older. And in fact, all of my super old individuals who are in their late 90s, early 100s who were thriving, actually have very low levels of insulin-like growth factor IGF1. And that appears to be one of the markers for successful aging.
Dr. Gundry: 45:04 Okay. So, how do we balance the two? There are very good studies that show the more muscle mass you carry into late life, the better off you are in so many ways. For one thing, muscle is the consumer of sugars and proteins that you eat. And the more avidly the muscle consume sugar and protein, the lower your insulin level is, the lower your blood sugar is, and the lower your hemoglobin A1C is, all of which correlates with improved longevity. Recently, I spent a day with my friend, [Walter Longo’s 00:45:47] associate over in Lisbon, and we are talking about this very effect.
Dr. Gundry: 45:52 They firmly believe that after the age of 65, you should increase your protein consumption because you don’t absorb protein well after the age of 65. I actually disagree with them, because my research shows that people don’t absorb protein well after 65 because of damage to the intestinal wall. And in my clinics, we find that people who are very protein-deficient as elderly individuals, when we get lectins out of their diet and we restore their microbiome, even though we’re actually decreasing the amount of protein they eat, their protein levels in their blood go up.
Dr. Gundry: 46:34 So, don’t be afraid of, “I got to build muscle all the time,” but you don’t absolutely need a lot of protein to build muscle. But it’s great question. All right. That’s it for The Dr. Gundry Podcast. We will see you next week, and please visit Tyler, fascinating stuff. That’s all for now. Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast.
Dr. Gundry: 47:09 And if you want to watch each episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.