How Does Hydrogen Help to Relieve Allergies

How Does Hydrogen Help to Relieve Allergies

Molecular hydrogen was once believed to be non functional. But scientists discovered the amazing properties of hydrogen in a study done in 2007. Since then, many other effects of hydrogen have been discovered. Now we already know hydrogen has many properties, one of them being anti-allergic effect.

But what causes this property of hydrogen? Before that, let us first understand what allergy is and what it does to our body.

What is Allergy?

Allergy occurs when the immune system of the body react to substances that are not normally harmful for most people. The substance that people are allergic to is known as allergens. These include pollens, dust mites, pets and insects such as wasps or bees, moulds, medicines such as penicillin and others and some foods such as peanut, egg white and so on.

When a person comes into contact with an allergen, they may react in different ways according to the individual and to the severity of the disease. The allergy could be mild in some patients while it could be life threatening in the other. Allergy is also implicated in asthma. People with allergies are more prone to develop asthma. Also people who have close family members suffering from allergies or asthma are more likely to be having allergies.

Atopy is considered a condition where the person has a genetic tendency to develop allergic reactions.

What Happens in an Allergic Reaction?

Allergic reaction occurs when a person with an allergy comes in to contact with that particular allergen. When the allergen enters the body for the first time, it triggers an antibody response. The B lymphocytes in the blood produce IgE antibodies. The antibodies that are formed attach themselves to some special white blood cells called mast cells via Fcε receptors on the surface. Mast cells are part of the immune system of the body. These cells remember the allergen. This is called sensitization.

When the body comes into contact with the allergen again, the allergen reacts with the IgE antibodies. This causes mast cells to release substances. This process is called mast cell degranulation. The substances that are released include histamine, leukotriene and prostaglandins and others which act on the surrounding tissues to bring about allergy symptoms. This whole response is called type 1 hypersensitivity reaction.

These released substances can cause dilatation of blood vessels and smooth muscle contraction suddenly. It can occur at the local site of contact with the allergen or systemically in the whole body. The symptoms developed vary from a simple itching and rash to anaphylaxis and sudden death. There can be inflammation with redness and swelling. The patient may have runny nose, skin rash called urticaria and difficulty in breathing due to severe attack of asthma.

Anti-Allergic Properties of Hydrogen

Hydrogen has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and anti-allergic properties. Let us see some examples where hydrogen solely acted against allergy and exerted its anti-allergic effects.

According to a study done in Japan, when hydrogen rich water was taken by mouth for four weeks in mice, it abolished an immediate type allergic reaction. The level of histamine found in blood of the mice, which have drunk the hydrogen rich water, was lower than in mice that didn’t drink it.

Hydrogen attenuates the phosphorylation of the Fcε receptors on the mast cells. This in turn abolishes the signal transduction and leads to inhibition of the activity of NADPH oxidase subsequently reducing the formation of inflammatory substances. Hydrogen was found to inhibit the activity of all the molecules involved in this pathway. Therefore it was found that hydrogen acts to counteract allergic reactions by modulating specific signalling pathways.

Before this study, scientists believed that the benefits seen with hydrogen molecule were only due to its effects of scavenging oxygen free radicals. This study was most important to the scientific community because it showed for the first time that hydrogen has a beneficial effect on allergic reactions due to a different mechanism happening inside the cells. Signal transduction occurs when a receptor protein on the surface of a cell is contacted by a molecule like hydrogen. This induces several physiological reactions inside the cell, it means special pathways are initiated and subsequently it leads to changing of various metabolic processes inside the cell and changed reaction of the body.

Thus drinking hydrogen rich water may be an effective way of fighting against a wide range of allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, hay fever, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma in humans. Most drugs act on specific target sites. However hydrogen differs from the conventional medicines, it can reach any site of the cells and exert its effects by a combination of changed pathways. Although it is very effective, it has no known adverse effects. Therefore hydrogen has the potential to become a novel drug.

Some studies have been done to test the effect of molecular hydrogen on several diseases associated with allergic or hypersensitive reactions.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease in the skin that is associated with itching. It is due to allergic inflammation due to several triggers such as oxidative stress and immune imbalances. According to a study done in 2013, drinking hydrogen rich water could prevent atopic dermatitis induced by the Dermatophagoides farina allergen in rat models. One set of rats were given hydrogen rich water while others were given normal water for 25 days. After exposing them to the allergen, the levels of substances released during allergic reactions were measured. The level of inflammatory substances in mice that ingested hydrogen rich water was very low compared to the level in the other mice. Thus, hydrogen can be a good therapy for human with atopic dermatitis. Furthermore, this study stress that hydrogen water produced by electrolysis of water, has extremely low oxidation reduction potential value, which expresses its antioxidant effect.

Another study done in 2014 also confirms this. In this study with mice, the allergen was 2, 4 dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB). It induced an atopic dermatitis. The researchers found in addition to reduced inflammatory substances also a markedly reduced level of IgE in the group who drank hydrogen rich water.

Incidence of asthma is also lower in mice treated with hydrogen rich saline when compared to those given normal saline. The inflammatory mediators (IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and TNF-α) have been measured after inducing asthma with ovalbumin. Hydrogen rich saline was able to reduce these mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and also reduced the mucus secretion and airway inflammation associated with asthma. These effects of hydrogen-rich saline on inflammation of the airways were dose-dependent.

Anti allergic effect of hydrogen is a very new property that was discovered recently. Its therapeutic potentials in treating various diseases appear unlimited. Because molecular hydrogen is extremely safer to use, for instance compared with cortisone treatment. This could be a breakthrough in treating these allergic diseases and relieve the distress that these patients face.


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