Reduced Ionized Water For Prevention of Diseases

By Sanetaka Shirahata, MD.

Benefits of Electrolyzed Reduced Water

Although water is a very stable substance, it is easily electrolyzed to produce hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Weak current produces only active hydrogen and hydrogen molecule without production of oxygen molecule. Active hydrogen is so small that almost all minerals absorb or absorbs it. These facts prompted us to propose "active hydrogen theory of proposed water". We have demonstated that electrolyzed reduced water (ERW) and ground waters such as Hita Tenryosui water in Japan, Nordenau water in Germany, Tracote water in Mexico, which are so called miracle water because of their improving activity on various diseases, are all anti-oxidative water containing active hydrogen and can scavenge intracelluar reactive oxygen species (ROS). Reduced water stimulated glucose uptake into muscle and adipocyte cells as well as insulin. It also stimulated the secretion of insulin from pancreatic beta cells and improved the sugar tolerance damage in type 2 diabetes model mice. Reduced water impaired the tumor phenotypes such as rapid growth, anchorage independent growth in a soft agar, morphology, telomere maintenance, and abilities of invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis. It activated the cancer immune systems, suppressing the tumor growth in vivo. Reduced water is expected for utilization for prevention and therapy of various diseases.

Hydrogen For Prevention of Oxidative Damage

The inflation space theory teaches us that hydrogen is the most primitive atom when the universe was created. Water is also abundantly distributed in the universe. It has been believed that first primitive organisms were born in primitive seawater. So far the role of water as a solvent has been emphasized. Here we propose an active hydrogen theory that an important role of water is to supply active hydrogen for the prevention of the oxidative damage in living organisms.

Small molecules such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphate and sulfate are reduced to macromolecules by hydrogen. Macromolecules such as sugars, proteins and lipids are dehydrogenated and the hydrogen is oxidized to water in mitochondria to produce ATP in higher organisms, concomitant with production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as O2, H2O2 and OH. ROS cause aging and various diseases via cell oxidation.

About 2/3 of our body is water and daily uptake of fresh water is indispensable for maintaining our life, sugggesting that our body is a kind of river and the quality and amount of drinking water will affect the conditions of our body.

S. Shirahata et al (eds),Animal Cell Technology: Basic & Applied Aspects, Volume 12, 25-30. copyright 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

Recent lowered quality of tap water containing many chemicals due to environmental pollution may generate ROS in the body and cause various diseases.

Electrolyzed reduced water (ERW) producing device for home use is very popular in Japan and the clinical effects of ERW is admitted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan in 1965. Double blind clinical tests demonstrated that it is safe and effective for intestinal abnormal fermentation, acid indigestion, chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, dyspepsia, and antacid (Tashiro et al., 1999). Based upon many clinical observations, Hayashi (1995) proposed a water regulation theory that hydrogen in ERW can scavenge ROS and daily intake of ERW improved various diseases caused by ROS.

Based upon the active hydrogen theory of reduced water we have demonstrated that ERW scavenges ROS and protects DNA from oxidative damage in vitro (Shirahata et al., 1997). Furthermore, several ground waters such as Tracote water in Mexico(1986) and Nordenau water in Germany(1992) and Hita Tenryosui water in Japan (1997) were found to improve various diseases (Shirahata, 2000). Reduced water exhibited anti-diabetes effects and impaired tumor phenotypes of cancer cells. This paper summarizes recent progress in the research on reduced water.

What is Reduced Water?

The word "reduced water" may be defined as "functional water exhibiting reducibility". Functional water is defined as "activated water exhibiting specific functions". Water can be activated by various methods such as electrolysis, magnetization, electron-treatment, ultrasonication, mineral or stone treatment. Expected functions of functional waters are:

  1. ROS scavenging effect
  2. Preventative and therapeutic effects against various diseases
  3. Sterilizing effect
  4. Bacteriostatic effect
  5. Deodorizing effect
  6. Washing effect
  7. Prevention of deterioration and rot of foods
  8. Sterilazation of seeds
  9. Enhanced resistance of plants against oxygen stress
  10. Improvement of acid soil
  11. Long- term preservation of cut flowers
  12. Accelerated maturation of compost
  13. Accelerated growth of plants and increase of harvest

Most of such effects of functional water may be attributed to reduction of oxidative stress in organisms.

Among functional waters, electroyzed water has intensively been investigated so far. In an electrolyzing device, tap water is electrolyzed in anode room and cathode room seperated by a semipermeable membrane. In the cathode room, ERW which exhibit high pH, low dissolved oxygen (DO), high dissolved oxygen (DH) and extremely low redox potential. ERW contained stable hyper saturated hydrogen gas particles of 5 -20 nm sizes, whhich was measured by means of the dynamic light scattering method (Kikuchi et el., 1997). Whereas, in the anode room, electrolyzed oxidized water (EOW) is produced. EOW exhibits low pH, high DO, extremely high redox potentials. Since EOW often contains high concentrations of hypochlorous acid, it exhibits sterilizing activity against a wide spectrum of micro-organisms (Miyamoto et al., 1999; Kim et al., 2000). EOW has been applied for sterilizationof hands or medical equipment in hospitals (Tanaka et al., 1999). EOW also accelerated wound recovery. (Yahagi et al., 2000)

Active Hydrogen Theory of Reduced Water

Water (H20) dissociates to H+ and OH- in aqueous solution. In electrolysis, H+ receives electron on the cathode to produce active hydrogen (H). Then H changes to H2 (Fig.1). On the other hand, OH- is oxidized on the anode to produce oxygen molecule (O2). The reducing reaction of water is much easily occured than the oxidizing reaction to produce oxygen. The theoretical voltage to produce oxygen molecule is 1.23 V, whereas, that to produce hydrogen molecule is 0 volt (Fig.2). When weak current was applied to water, hydrogen only will be produced shifting pH of the water to weak alkaline pH because of remaining OH. Weak current will often occur in nature. When water flows in a strong magnetic field, weak current will be generated. Ultrasonication produces high voltage near bubbles. When minerals or rocks dissolve to form ions in water, active hydrogen and hydrogen molecules are produced, because minerals donate electron to proton. In a water fall, weak current will occur when water collides to rocks or standing water. Therefore, many activation methods of water may induce weak current and production of active hydrogen, changing water to reduced water.

It was found that deep underground aquifer in Columbia River basin contained high concentrations of hydrogen (Stevens et al., 1995). Recently, the underground was found to be a huge biosphere where various kinds of lythotrophic organisms live, oxidizing hydrogen, which is produced by the catalysis of minerals, with various oxidants such as carbon dioxide, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, oxygen, and irons (Hazen, 2001). Kawada (1997) reported the generation of life in mineral containing water. Hydrogen molecule is chemically inert and reducibility is due to active hydrogen. Crystals of some minerals can convert hydrogen molecule to active hydrogen and adsorb or absorb active hydrogen. Most of functional water may be reduced water containing stable active hydrogen, which is adsorbed or absorbed into micro cluster of minerals.

Active hydrogen can be specifically detected by using tungsten trioxide (WO3) (Benton et al., 1966; Levy and Boudart, 1974). WO3 adsorbs active hydrogen and changes its color from yellow to blue, but do not react with hydrogen molecule. However, the detection method of active hydrogen using WO3 is not sensitive and quantitative. We have developed a novel quantitative determination method of active hydrogen in aqueous solution using a radical trap reagent. By using this method we have revealed that ERW and natural reduced water such as Hita Tenryousui water, Nordenau water and Tracote water contain about 0.1 to 0.4M (ppb) of stable active hydrogen. The active hydrogen in the reduced water was assumed to exist in the forms of hydrogenated minerals. Active hydrogen in reduced water is assumed to specifically react with ROS only because the reactivty of active hydrogen adsorbed or absorbed to minerals is so weak.

ROS - Scavenging Effect of Reduced Water

We demonstrated that ERW could scavenge ROS in vitro and protected DNA from oxidative damage (Shirahata et al., 1997) In order to demonstrate ROS scavenging effect of ERW by using the conventional ROS generating systems such as xanthine-xanthine oxidase system and Fenton reaction in vitro, strongly electrolyzed reduced water had to be used. We produced ERW by using various electrolyzing devices, which had three electrolyzing units from one (TI-7000, TI-800, TI-7000S, and TI-7000S3). It has been reported that ERW suppressed the oxidation of lipids (Miyashita et al., 1999).

Animal cells are very sensitive to reduced water. The intracelluar ROS levels of rat muscle L6 cells were shifted to a more oxidative state by tap water. As shown in Fig.3, although ascorbic acid scaveng-ed 22% of the intra-celluar ROS in 63 M, higher concentrations of ascorbic acid exhibited weaker scavenging effects. This fact suggests that ascorbic acid acts as both reductant and oxidant, because oxidized ascorbic acid produces ROS. ERW, Hita Tenryosui water, Nordenau water, and Tracote water scavenged about 30% intracelluar ROS of L6 cells (Fig. 4). ERW produced from tap water by using electrolyzing device (Trim TI-8000) also scavenged about 30% of intracelluar ROS. A high relationship between the active hydrogen contents and the ROS scavenging effects of reduced water were observed.

Anti-Disease Effect of Reduced Water

Various diseases caused by ROS, including diabetes mellituss, cancer, arteriosclerosis, atopic diseases, Parkinson's disease and even pigmentary degeneration of retina, were improved by daily intake of reduced water. Furthur intensive investigation will be necessary on the functions of reduced water for health.


The author is grateful to many collaborators in the author's laboratory, Mr. Shinkatsu Morisawa and Mr. Kazumichi Otsubo of Nihon Trim Co. Ltd., Mr. Yoshitoki Ishii of Hita Tenryosui Co.Ltd., Dr. Hidemitsu Hayashi of Water Institute, Dr. Munerori Kawamura of Kyowa Hospital and Dr. Z. Gadek and Mr. T. Tommes in Germany for the promotion of the researches on reduced water.


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Author Sanetaka Shirahata Graduate School of Genetic Resources Technology, Kyushu University, Japan Advanced Functional Foods and Water for Prevention of Diseases research was presented at the Japanese Asssociation for Animal Cell Technology (JAACT) - 2000 FUKUOKA Symposium 4


Animal Cell Technology for The Creation of a New Era

Kluwer Academic Publishers

In November 2000, the 13th annual meeting of the Japanese Asssociation for Animal Cell Technology (JAACT) held proceedings called "Animal Cell Technology for Creation of a New Era" in Fukuoka-Karatsu Japan. The meeting featured basic research and applications developments in the field of animal cell technology. Editors from the Department of Genetic Resources Technology, Kyosha U., Japan presented 84 papers at this symposia covering applications in human gene therapy, stem cell and brain regeneration, disease prevention through food bioengineering, applications of chip technology, recombinant baculovirus technology, and molecular biology of fish cells in vitro.