Inhalation of hydrogen gas is a straightforward therapeutic method. Hydrogen gas can be inhaled by delivering hydrogen gas through a ventilator circuit, facemask, or nasal cannula. Since inhaled hydrogen gas acts more rapidly, it may be suitable for defense against acute oxidative stress.

Hydrogen has therapeutic and preventive effects against various diseases. Although animal and clinical studies have reported promising results, hydrogen distribution in organs after administration remains unclear.

Clinical research for ‘hydrogen inhalation therapy’ in more than 10 hospitals across Japan has proved it can help patients who have suffered from cardiac arrests. Since the 2007 discovery that molecular hydrogen (H2) has selective antioxidant properties, multiple studies have shown that H2 has beneficial effects in diverse animal models and human disease.

Researchers have explored several convenient and effective delivery systems for H2 administration in vivo. A simple method of administering H2 therapeutically is by inhalation using a ventilator circuit, facemask, nasal cannula, or compact pocket size hydrogen generator.

The advantages of inhalation include rapid action and straightforward delivery; no influence from blood physiological parameters (temperature, blood pressure, pH, pO2); unpractical to dose continuously; and suitable to defense against acute oxidative stress.

Although important questions remain unanswered, H2-based therapies show great promise as novel and innovative tools to prevent and treat human ailments that are currently major health burdens globally. A better understanding of H2 pharmacokinetics and biological mechanisms of action will no doubt advance this important molecule in clinical applications.

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