Hydrogen vs. Caffeine for Improved Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans

D Zanini, V Stajer, Sergej M Ostojic

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DOI: 10.1007/s11062-020-09852-7 DOI is the universal ID for this study.

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Molecular hydrogen (H2) has been suggested as an agent capable of exerting neuromodulating effects; yet, its potential to affect brain circuits linked to alertness remains poorly examined. In this randomized controlled cross-over pilot trial, we compared acute effects of single-dose hydrogen-rich water (HRW) and caffeine on estimates by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for alertness and on Attention Network Test (ANT) subscales in 23 young healthy men and women (21.6 ± 1.3 years) who were sleep-deprived for 24 hours. Caffeine induced a significant increase in VAS-estimated alertness (1.6 points, P = 0.01); HRW also increased VAS alertness for 1.7 points on average (P = 0.003). Both caffeine and HRW acutely affected markers of alertness in young sleep-deprived men and women. Caffeine induced a significant drop in alerting (19.9%, P = 0.01) and executive control in a 15-min follow up (7.3%, P = 0.03), while HRW caused a significant reduction in the orientation at post-administration (2.4%, P = 0.05). However, no differences were found between interventions (treatment vs. time interaction) for all evaluated outcomes of alertness (P > 0.05), with the effects similar among interventions. HRW displayed no side effects and, therefore, might be advanced as a safe and effective alternative to caffeine for sleep deprivation, although more studies are needed to corroborate and expand these preliminary findings.

Publish Year 2020
Country Serbia
Rank Positive
Journal Neurophysiology
Primary Topic Brain
Secondary Topic Sleep Deprivation
Model Human
Tertiary Topic Fatigue
Vehicle Water (Mg-Chemico)
pH Alkaline
Application Ingestion
Comparison Caffeine