What the Hell is Hydrogen Water?

Caleb Pershan wrote . . . . . . . . .

Not every Academy Award nominee left the Oscars last Sunday with a golden statuette in hand, but thanks to wellness gift bags provided by a high-end LA marketing agency, none of the nominees went home thirsty. Inside: more than $200,000 worth of goods and vouchers, including tickets to a 12-day cruise, a 25-karat gold vape pen, a two-pack of Milano cookies, and a bottle of Hfactor “hydrogen-infused” water.

HFactor’s bottles — or more accurately pouches, a la Capri Sun — don’t come cheap. At $36.99 for 20 ounces, they’re the 25-karat gold vape pens of bottled water. But according to HFactor and a small group of other hydrogen-infused water companies, the high prices are justified by (unsubstantiated) health claims: With the benefit of extra hydrogen, hydrogen-infused water “may” increase energy, speed up recovery from exercise, and reduce inflammation. So should celebrities — and mere mortals hoping to feel like one — be drinking hydrogen water?

Water, by definition, already contains hydrogen. But HFactor and other brands like Dr. Perricone Hydrogen Water (four cans for $11.99) say the two atoms in H20 aren’t nearly enough. “[When] the two Hydrogen atoms in H2O are bound to oxygen, they are not available for any other interactions,” HFactor’s marketing materials explain.

HFactor adds more hydrogen to water through electrolysis, or splitting water to separate hydrogen and oxygen, adding the split hydrogen back into H20. In the case of HFactor, the result is between one and two extra parts per million. You can make your own hydrogen water at home with the help of a Lourdes Hydrogen Water Generator — but that costs $1,150. You can also buy dissolvable hydrogen tablets to add to a glass of water: The brand Ultra H2 sells a bottle of 60 tablets for $55. Hydrogen is tasteless and odorless, so you wouldn’t know the difference — though HFactor is also available in flavors like blood orange and honeydew (11-ounce pouches run $29.99).

HFactor, Dr. Perricone Hydrogen Water, and the rest claim some combination of benefits around increased energy and reduced inflammation. They also point to hydrogen as an antioxidant capable of disease prevention — but there’s little evidence to support the idea that antioxidants can actually protect against disease.

To back them up, these companies point to several animal studies and one 31-person human study conducted in Japan. There, participants reported “less anxiety and an overall improvement in quality of life” when given hydrogen-infused water. Experts say it’s not enough to draw conclusions, and are dismissive of the studies so far. (Even in the Japanese study, blood testing showed no differences between drinkers of regular water and drinkers of the hydrogen-infused stuff.) Morton Tavel, a clinical professor emeritus of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine put it bluntly to Vice last year: “Health claims regarding hydrogen water are based on no acceptable scientific data in humans.”

Bottled water, boxed water, coconut water, alkaline water, seltzer, hard seltzer, Liquid Death: There have been too many trends in water to mention, and there are surely more to come. The meta-trend is simply a surge in bottled water generally, whose sales have doubled in the US since 1999. Hydrogen water, compared to existing fads, is still a fringe movement. It’s inaccessible to most people based on its hefty prices and limited distribution — still the stuff of celebrity gift bags, not bodega shelves.

While examples like Liquid Death are head-scratchers, an ongoing human obsession with water and a parade of water trends makes perfect biological and historical sense. Our bodies, we’re often reminded, are mostly water — about 60 percent — though not the extra hydrogen-infused kind. Drinking more water is usually good — though even the amount of it we’re encouraged to consume is sometimes confused or overstated — and we’re always looking for fun new ways to do it. While our celebrity health gods sip Smart Water and HFactor at their awards show, the 30th annual “Oscars of Water” — the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting — will soon be getting underway in West Virginia. As it has since 1990, that event will anoint the world’s best tap water and boutique bottled water brands (no Evian or Poland Spring allowed).

Our relationship with water is also deeply complicated by its potential for illness and disease. According to Scientific American, two billion people on Earth still don’t have access to safe, reliable drinking water. US census figures say that 1.6 million Americans don’t have water access at home, and a lack of water — or clean water — disproportionately affects communities of color, with infamous examples like the crisis in Flint, Michigan.

As a result of that history, humans have spent thousands of years developing rigorous practices and rituals around drinking water. Techniques for treating water probably go back to 2000 BC; for Egyptians, the hottest water trend was using the chemical alum for coagulation, for Hippocrates, it was a cool new water purification sieve.

More recently, water trends have gone full circle — which is to say, regressed. While the CDC calls public water chlorination and treatment one of the greatest public health achievements in the 20th century, some libertarian types are proponents of “raw water,” a trend that’s skeptical of water treatment and seeks unfiltered water, which is often dangerous.

Better to drink treated water instead, even with a little extra unnecessary hydrogen. But at $36.99 for 20 ounces and no verified health benefits, a good water filter is just as well.

Source: Eater

Roasted Beets on Toast with Labneh and Saffron Honey

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of kosher (coarse) salt
3 medium beets (beetroots), ends trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
freshly ground black pepper
4 (3/4-inch thick) slices country-style bread
extra-virgin olive oil, for the bread
Kosher (coarse) salt, for the bread
1 cup labneh (Lebanese-style) yogurt or plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons toasted and roughly chopped pistachios
flaky salt

Method

  1. Make the saffron honey: Toast the saffron in a small skillet (frying pan) over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until the saffron is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  2. Transfer the saffron to a small dish and use the back of a teaspoon to crush it into a fine powder.
  3. Add the honey to the skillet and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the saffron and a pinch of salt, remove from the heat, and set aside.
  4. Roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  5. Set each beet in a large square of foil and drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil over the top of each beet. Wrap the beets in the foil, place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until a paring knife easily slides into the center of the largest beet, about 1 hour.
  6. Remove beets from the oven and set aside for 20 minutes before unwrapping.
  7. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and chop into bite-size pieces.
  8. Toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the mint leaves, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper and set aside.
  9. Make the toast: Toast the bread and let the toasts cool for a few minutes before topping.
  10. To serve, spread each toast with labneh. Top with beets, pistachios, a generous drizzle of saffron honey, and flaky salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Toast

In Pictures: Home-cooked One-plate Breakfasts

FDA Requests Market Withdrawal of Diet Drug Belviq Due to Cancer Risk

A clinical trial of the weight-loss drug Belviq (lorcaserin) shows an association with an increased risk of cancer, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requesting that its maker withdraw the drug from the U.S. market.

Eisai Inc. has already “submitted a request to voluntarily withdraw the drug,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, who directs the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, noted in a statement issued Thursday.

Now, “we’re taking steps to notify the public,” she said, adding that “our review of the full clinical trial results shows that the potential risk of cancer associated with the drug outweighs the benefit of treatment.”

Woodcock said the FDA is advising that “patients should stop using the medication Belviq and Belviq XR [lorcaserin] and talk to their health care professionals about other treatment options for weight loss. Health care professionals should stop prescribing and dispensing Belviq and Belviq XR.”

The agency first announced that Belviq might have links to cancer in a communication issued Jan 15.

At the time, the FDA said “we cannot conclude that lorcaserin contributes to the cancer risk,” but “wanted to make the public aware of this potential risk. We are continuing to evaluate the clinical trial results and will communicate our final conclusions and recommendations when we have completed our review.”

That review appears to have led to calls for the voluntary withdrawal of the medication.

Belviq increases feelings of fullness so that people eat less. It’s available as a tablet (Belviq) and an extended-release tablet (Belviq XR).

According to the FDA, Belviq was first approved in 2012 as an add-on therapy to help aid weight loss, along with diet and exercise, in people who were obese or overweight.

Contingent on approval, the FDA ordered a randomized, placebo-controlled trial be conducted involving 12,000 people tracked for more than five years.

The trial wrapped up in June 2018, and the data showed that while 7.1% of those taking a “dummy” placebo developed cancer, that number rose to 7.7% among those taking Belviq.

“A range of cancer types was reported,” the FDA said. “Several different types of cancers occurred more frequently among patients treated with Belviq, including pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancer. During the trial, one additional cancer per 470 patients treated with the medication for one year was observed.”

People who have already taken Belviq should stop taking it, but “the FDA is not recommending special screening for patients who have taken Belviq,” Woodcock said.

Source: HealthDay

Cocoa May Ease Walking Pain from Peripheral Artery Disease

Cocoa may be more than just a warm treat during chilly winter months. New research suggests it might ease the pain of walking for people with peripheral artery disease.

PAD is a painful condition that causes narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow from the heart to the legs. It affects over 8.5 million people in the U.S. who are 40 years and older. The most common symptoms are pain, tightness, cramping, weakness or other discomfort in leg muscles while walking.

“Few therapies are available for improving walking performance in people with PAD,” lead study author Dr. Mary McDermott said in a news release. She is a professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. “In addition to reduced blood flow to the legs, people with peripheral artery disease have been shown to have damaged mitochondria in their calf muscles.”

Mitochondria, she said, are known as the powerhouse of the cell – converting food to energy. Better mitochondrial activity is associated with better walking performance. Researchers believe epicatechin, a component of cocoa, may increase mitochondrial activity and muscle health in the calves of patients.

The small trial, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation Research, examined 44 people with PAD who were at least 60. Those who drank a beverage containing cocoa three times a day for six months were able to walk up to 42.6 meters farther in a six-minute walking test. That’s compared to those who drank the same number and type of beverages without cocoa. Those who consumed cocoa also had increased blood flow to their calves and some improved muscle function.

Researchers found increased mitochondrial activity and increased blood vessel density in those who consumed cocoa. Participants who drank the placebo had a decline of 24.2 meters soon after the final beverage compared to the start of the study.

“If our results are confirmed in a larger trial, these findings suggest that cocoa – a relatively inexpensive, safe and accessible product – could potentially produce significant improvements in calf muscle health, blood flow, and walking performance for PAD patients,” McDermott said.

The cocoa used in the research was a natural unsweetened cocoa powder rich in epicatechin, which is found in dark chocolate that is typically made up of more than 85% cacao.

Researchers said the study was limited by its small number of participants, along with an imbalance between the two groups in terms of participants’ body mass index, sex and race.

Dr. Naomi Hamburg of Boston University School of Medicine co-authored an editorial about the new study.

“Patients with PAD have difficulty walking that is as bad as people with advanced heart failure,” she said. “We will need larger studies to confirm whether cocoa is an effective treatment for PAD, but maybe, someday, if the research supports it, we may be able to write a prescription for chocolate for our patients with PAD.”

Source: American Heart Association


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