The effects of 6-month hydrogen-rich water intake on molecular and phenotypic biomarkers of aging in older adults aged 70 years and over: A randomized controlled pilot trial

In this randomized controlled pilot trial, we investigated the effects of a 6-month intake of hydrogen-rich water (HRW) on several molecular and phenotypic biomarkers of aging in older adults aged 70 years and over. Forty older adults (20 women) were randomly allocated in a parallel-group design to receive 0.5 L per day of HRW (15 ppm of hydrogen) or control drink (0 ppm of hydrogen) during a 6-month intervention period. The biomarkers assessed at baseline and 6-month follow up were molecular markers in the blood (DNA and chromosomes, nutrient sensing, protein, and lipid metabolism, oxidative stress and mitochondria, cell senescence, inflammation), brain metabolism, cognitive functioning, physical function and body composition, resting blood pressure, facial skin features, sleep outcomes, and health-related quality of life. The mean age, weight, and height of study participants were 76.0 ± 5.6 years, 78.2 ± 16.1 kg, height 167.5 ± 11.5 cm, respectively. A significant treatment vs. time interaction was found for telomere length (P = 0.049), with the length increased after HRW intervention (from 0.99 ± 0.15 at baseline to 1.02 ± 0.26 at follow up) and decreased after drinking control water (from 0.92 ± 0.27 to 0.79 ± 0.15). A marker of DNA methylation (Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase 2, TET2) expression at 6-month follow-up increased in both groups, yet the degree of elevation was significantly higher in HRW (from 0.81 ± 0.52 at baseline to 1.62 ± 0.66 at follow up) comparing to the control water (from 1.13 ± 0.82 to 1.76 ± 0.87) (P = 0.040). A strong trend for treatment vs. time interaction was found for a degree of DNA methylation (P = 0.166), with the methylation increased in the HRW group (from 120.6 ± 39.8 ng at baseline to 126.6 ± 33.8 ng at follow up) and decreased after taking control water (from 133.6 ± 52.9 ng to 121.2 ± 38.4 ng). HRW was superior to control water to increase brain choline and NAA levels in the left frontal grey matter, brain creatine at the right parietal white matter, and brain NAA at the right parietal mesial grey matter (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found between interventions for other outcomes (P > 0.05), except for a significantly improved chair stand performance after HRW intervention compared to the control water (P = 0.01). Owing to pleiotropic mechanisms of hydrogen action, this simple biomedical gas could be recognized as a possible anti-aging agent that tackles several hallmarks of aging, including loss of function and telomere length shortening.