Hydrogen, Caffeine, and Energy: It’s no surprise that many people lack adequate sleep. Breakthrough science on sleep-deprived humans has explored the link between caffeine, hydrogen, and alertness. Today we unpack the new study and explore ways to learn to get the most out of your energy depending on your bio-individual needs.
Hydrogen, Caffeine, and Energy: The Science
A new 23-subject crossover study published in the scientific journal Neurophysiology comparing the efficacy of molecular hydrogen vs. caffeine using the ‘Attention Network Test’ designed to measure alerting, orienting, and executive control.1
The results determined that a high dose of hydrogen water produced by hydrogen was statistically equivalent to 100 mg of caffeine (roughly a cup of coffee). 9 of the 23 subjects responded significantly better to hydrogen water than caffeine, while only a few responded to caffeine better than hydrogen water (the remainder had no statistical difference).
Furthermore, the study highlighted some of the critical differences in the altered attention types. Caffeine was very effective in alerting, whereas hydrogen water had little impact. Hydrogen water was very useful in orienting, whereas caffeine had little to no effect, and both were effective in executive control, although caffeine was more effective in this measurement.
All in all, hydrogen saw a more significant trend towards improvement over baseline. Still, considering the statistical significance between caffeine and hydrogen water, the two treatments were almost identical in efficacy. These are significant findings, and if replicated and expanded on, hydrogen water could be utilized with caffeine for an additive or even synergistic benefit.
Hydrogen, Caffeine, and Energy: Caffeine vs. Hydrogen
Before choosing an energizing protocol that works for you, it’s important to understand the properties of both substances and the impact that they may have on your body, both short and longer-term.
The brewed drink made from roasted coffee beans is generally sought out as a beverage due to its caffeine content. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug.2
Short term: Caffeine is rapidly absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream, traveling to the liver, where it is broken down into various compounds. Drowsiness is caused by adenosine, but caffeine binds to adenosine receptors, effectively blocking adenosine. By blocking adenosine receptors, coffee prevents drowsiness.3
Longer-term: The half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours, so if you consume 40mg of caffeine at 8 am, 20mg of caffeine will remain in your bloodstream around 1 pm and 10mg at 6 pm.4
- A quick boost in alertness (caffeine takes about 20 minutes to hit the bloodstream)
- A zero-calorie appetite suppressant for use during the fasting window
- It may increase adrenaline levels in the blood, increasing mood-boosting dopamine and norepinephrine levels.
Cautioned use for:
- People with sensitive insulin responses to caffeine
- People with routinely poor sleep hygiene
- People with more severe adrenal/ hormonal issues (like adrenal fatigue)
- Use in the afternoon/ overuse in general.
Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, and non-toxic gas that can bind with other elements like oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen to form various compounds. Many people know that the molecular structure of water is H2O, and indeed, hydrogen is composed of the same two hydrogen atoms without the oxygen atom.5
Hydrogen is one of the most widely researched elements supporting a wide range of ingested disease models. As the smallest known molecule, scientists suggest it can penetrate every organ and cell in the body with its benefits, including potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.6 There are various ways to ingest H2, the most common being hydrogen-rich water, whereby H2 tablets are added to water to increase its hydrogen content.
Short-term: The consumption of hydrogen-rich water has been linked to many benefits, including a rapid increase in the ability to orient and a general improvement across an array of alertness factors according to the ‘Attention Network Test’ (that measures alerting, orienting, and executive control).1
Long-term: The science highlights the profound long-term results that hydrogen-rich water can have on a wide range of bodily processes. A two-month HRW protocol significantly reduced serum malondialdehyde, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α levels. It significantly increased serum superoxide dismutase, total antioxidant capacity levels, and hemoglobin levels of whole blood. The consumption of hydrogen-rich water improved the diversity and abundance of gut flora.7
The long-term use of hydrogen has no known negative side effects. Still, its high antioxidant content has been linked to fighting free radicals in the body and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.8
- A quick boost in orienting skills
- People who are sensitive to caffeine
- People dealing with metabolic syndrome and weight loss resistance
- People who are dealing with adrenal or hormonal issues
- An afternoon pick-me-up
- Athletes, to promote faster recovery
Cautioned use for:
- There are no known adverse side effects from the consumption of hydrogen-rich water.
Hydrogen, Caffeine, and Energy: Which to Choose?
First, you don’t have to choose between the boost you get from coffee or hydrogen. The two can be used simultaneously for slightly varied, synergistic effects. Factors that may suggest using hydrogen alone over a combination of the two include sensitivity to caffeine, poor sleep quality/ circadian rhythm, or adrenal/ hormone issues. Since caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, it can cause more harm than good for someone already on overdrive.
Hydrogen alone may also be a better option for a mid-afternoon boost than reaching for sugar or caffeine to get over that afternoon slump. Since caffeine has a relatively long half-life, using it later in the day (even if you’re a fast metabolizer) will likely impact the quality of your sleep and leave you reaching for even more coffee or sugar the following day.
There are various ways to increase energy levels after a night of poor sleep. Using caffeine is one of the most popular ways. Still, the latest science suggests that hydrogen may be more beneficial than caffeine for an increase from baseline across all markers for alertness according to the alertness and on Attention Network Test (ANT). Understanding the cause and effect of both caffeine and hydrogen can help you decide which can best serve your bio-individual needs or how to use them together for amplified and synergistic benefits.
My Favorite Form of Molecular Hydrogen [the same hydrogen tablet used in the caffeine study above]
Molecular Hydrogen Doesn’t Just Boost Hydration… The more you detoxify, the more potential exposure you have to free radicals as those toxins are eliminated from your body. Powerful antioxidants are required to help neutralize these free radicals, which can lower immunity if not taken care of. Doing this will give your body the building blocks needed to support immunity, metabolism, energy, sleep, and more.
Fastonic molecular hydrogen supplement also supports cognitive function allowing for increased mental clarity while reducing fatigue that is usually associated with fasting. Molecular hydrogen also supports the recovery of soft tissue injuries, and improved skin health may also be experienced.
Fastonic has been proven in research to:
- Promote a healthy balance of oxidative stress, neutralizing only the most harmful free radicals in water
- Support optimum immune response and overall functioning
- Promote healthy function of the inflammation system
- Help stabilize cholesterol levels
- Stimulate energy metabolism to prevent age-related weight gain
- Support cognitive function, increasing mental clarity and focus
- Increase the rate of healing from soft tissue injuries
- Reduce fatigue experienced during and after exercise
- Improve skin health and appearance
- Be a source of highly bioavailable magnesium
- Zanini, D., et al. “Hydrogen vs. Caffeine for Improved Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans.” Neurophysiology, 2020, doi:10.1007/s11062-020-09852-7.
- Somani SM, Gupta P. Caffeine: a new look at an age-old drug. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Therapy, and Toxicology. 1988 Nov;26(11):521-533.
- Planning Committee for a Workshop on Potential Health Hazards Associated with Consumption of Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements; Food and Nutrition Board; Board on Health Sciences Policy; Institute of Medicine. Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2014 Apr 23. 6, Caffeine Effects on the Central Nervous System and Behavioral Effects Associated with Caffeine Consumption. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK202225/
- Sepkowitz, Kent A. “Energy Drinks and Caffeine-Related Adverse Effects.” Jama, vol. 309, no. 3, 2013, p. 243., doi:10.1001/jama.2012.173526.
- Ge, Li, et al. “Molecular Hydrogen: a Preventive and Therapeutic Medical Gas for Various Diseases.” Oncotarget, vol. 8, no. 60, 2017, pp. 102653–102673., doi:10.18632/oncotarget.21130.
- Dixon, Brandon J, et al. “The Evolution of Molecular Hydrogen: a Noteworthy Potential Therapy with Clinical Significance.” Medical Gas Research, vol. 3, no. 1, 2013, p. 10., doi:10.1186/2045-9912-3-10.
- Zhang, Lin, et al. “Effects of the Long-Term Consumption of Hydrogen-Rich Water on the Antioxidant Activity and the Gut Flora in Female Juvenile Soccer Players from Suzhou, China.” Medical Gas Research, vol. 8, no. 4, 2018, p. 135., doi:10.4103/2045-9912.248263.
- Ichiishi, Eiichiro, et al. “Oxidative Stress and Diseases: Clinical Trials and Approaches.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2016, 2016, pp. 1–3., doi:10.1155/2016/3458276.