Well, it’s been about a month now, since first I began to dabble in the DIY creation of hydrogen-enriched water. And I’ve enjoyed the process immensely, both for its results (viz. the positive effects of drinking the hydrogen-infused water, on a daily basis) as well as for the opportunity to observe the evolution of my understanding and technique along the way. A big shout-out to Glen Ingram and David Zweig — my hydrogen-water gurus ☺ whose online instructions are the ones upon which this experimentation has been based – as well as to Tyler Lebaron, whose Molecular Hydrogen Foundation is such a great resource for scientific information on the topic.
So then, back to my own H2 travelogue …
The Experiential Report
What I’ve been most aware of, experientially:
1. Ten to fifteen minutes after drinking the H2 brew, it feels a bit like my blood has been carbonated: My entire body feels effervescent, as though I have goose-bumps, not only on the surface of my skin, but also on all of the internal surfaces. The effect becomes more subtle over the ensuing hours, but continues in this more subdued form throughout the day.
2. Along with the physical effect, there’s a noticeable uplift in mood: an effervescent ease and joyfulness, I might say.
3. My capacity to feel directly into the “space” of my physical body has increased, over the past month. There is, in other words, a heightened kinesthetic contact with the inside of my body (the result, I hypothesize, of the “deep cleaning” that the H2 facilitates).
The Major Shift In Understanding
At the outset I was a bit confused about the relationship between the malic acid, the magnesium rod and the water. I assumed that the water itself had an important role to play in the chemical reaction creating the molecular hydrogen. As it turns out, this isn’t the case – a point that was clarified (complete with chemistry details) by David, when he writes:
The main reaction, between magnesium and malic acid (Mg + C4H6O5 -> C4H4MgO5 + H2), does not use any of the water at all. The reactions between magnesium and water (Mg + H2O -> Mg(OH)2 + H2) and (Mg + H2O -> MgO + H2) are much slower. So, H2 production is rapid until the malic acid is used up, and then continues very slowly throughout the remaining brew time consuming only minuscule amounts of water.
This helped me greatly in understanding the benefit of placing the magnesium rod and malic acid into a vented test-tube, rather than having these two reactants simply free-floating in the water: With them in closer proximity, the chemical reaction can happen more quickly.
The test-tube method also eliminates the necessity of using boiling water to mechanically increase the contact of the malic acid with the magnesium (as in Glen’s non-test-tube method) – which in turn allows the use of room-temperature or refrigerated water from the start, which improves reaction-time.
Theoretically, there’s also the advantage of not having to drink the magnesium and malic acid byproducts along with the water. However in my experience the cork almost always pops off of the test-tube, by the end of the process – due to changes in pressure or whatever. But this doesn’t negate the benefits of the test-tube technique; and malic acid has its own benefits, so drinking it isn’t a problem.
As a footnote: The electrolysis method of generating hyrdrogen-infused water does indeed depend centrally on the water itself, some of whose H2O molecules are split (into H2 and O2) – releasing the free hydrogen gas into the remaining water.
Having settled on the basic set-up that David suggests – namely: a 27-oz. Klean Kanteen single-walled stainless-steel thermos; with a corked and vented test-tube to (at least initially) contain the magnesium and malic-acid reaction; and then just 30 minutes “brew time” in the freezer; followed by shaking the thermos vigorously for 30-60 seconds before opening – my own innovation to the process is to use a thin yoga sticky-mat to assist in opening the now-highly-pressurized thermos. This has two advantages: (1) the super-sticky surface provides an excellent grip, which makes the opening fairly easy; and (2) the large size of the mat, draped fully over the thermos, is there to prevent the lid from becoming a potentially dangerous (albeit exciting!) flying projectile. Almost always there’s a loud “pop” when the seal on the thermos lid is first released, but no chance of the lid escaping the sticky-mat drape.
Dollars: less than $60 for all ingredients and equipment. The pack of four magnesium rods will last a lifetime; and the pound of food-grade malic acid – used only a quarter-teaspoon at a time – easily for five years of daily brews. Even taking into account the need to replace the test-tube and/or thermos occasionally, this is of course hugely economical – particularly when compared with the cost of the hydrogen-water machines, or regular use of the tablets.
Time: once familiar with the process, it takes less than five minutes to prepare. Then 30 minutes in the freezer, during which you can be doing other things. Then another five to ten minutes to release the lid, pour and drink and clean up.
Reflections On Scientific & Un-Scientific Method
Q: What initially brought me to these DIY hydrogen-water experiments?
A: A hunch, an intuition, an inner resonance that said “yes” when first my eyes landed on an article about hydrogen-enriched water.
Q: How scientifically valid have these experiments been?
A: Well, there’s been a good dose of direct sensory experience; of trial and error and modifications to experimental design to remedy previous errors; of expert testimony/suggestion/friendly guidance (from those already adept at the procedure); of deductive and inductive reasoning; and of modifying hypotheses based upon added information and improved understanding — all of which align them, in a general way at least, with scientific principles.
On the other hand: the “laboratory” has been my kitchen – hardly an environment strictly isolated from external influence. And my criteria for “success” have been largely subjective: viz. how ingesting the H2 brew makes me feel, physically and emotionally. I have no before-and-after medical tests to objectively verify physiological changes.
And I will admit, also, to the purely symbolic and aesthetic appeal of hydrogen-infused water, as being a motivating influence: a bias that perhaps has clouded my objectivity? There’s something that I just love about the idea of the smallest and most abundant molecule in the universe having profoundly therapeutic value — betraying that part of me that’s drawn irresistibly toward (and perhaps ultimately inspired by) the poetry of it, even more than the science ☺
The Bottom Line
Whether you choose to purchase a machine; use the dissolvable tablets; or play with a DIY method such as the one outlined here – hydrogen-enriched water is well worth exploring, as an extremely low-risk and potentially very high reward support for the physical body. It’s external alchemy at its best!
I tried this method with a plastic bottle and after 30min in the fridge the bottle has becomed very inflatted (including the cap) from the high hydrogen pressure. I can imagine if I had left it for a little bit longer there… possible explosion! 🙂 In that case a space of hydrogen was formet at the top which is not mixed with water. So what if I use a glass bottle? With that the hydrogen has nowhere to go (cannot push the water, inflate the bottle and make place fot itself) and will dissolve in the water which is what we are looking for. But! Will the glass bottle/jar stand that pressure? Maybe the safest (and best working) variant is to use small hermetic metal container.
Beth Reninger says
Yes, I’ve had that same experience with a plastic bottle in the freezer. The fact that it expands a bit means the reaction is happening, which is a good thing! If you leave it in the freezer for just a half-hour or so (which is my approach) then explosion seems unlikely. Once you’ve taken it out of the freezer, shake the bottle vigorously for at least 30 seconds, which will further integrate the hydrogen into the water, and makes the “brew” more potent.
The idea of using a “small hermetic metal container” is also a good one. I often use a small metal thermos for this purpose. What happens then, as the internal pressure increases, is that the seal on the bottle tightens … so you’ll need to be a bit careful opening it, and you’ll likely get a popping sound as the seal breaks.
Hope this helps 🙂
Hi, thanks for the fast response!
Yes, the reaction is very pronounced, bubbles are actively forming. I still have to experiment with malic acid quantity, the first time I used one flat teaspoon. The magnesium rod is from Ebay and it’s rated at 99.99% purity (hopefuly it’s true).
I’m thinking about one of those jars with rubber sealing… They look pretty tough and can be easily hermetically sealed. For the core instead of a glass test tube I’m using a plastic tube (from soluble vitamins) with a dense sponge for sealing. It works very well.
I suppose putting it in the freezer only speeds up the process? If so I can try at room temperature for longer (one hour?) when not in a hurry.
Cheers (with hydrogen water :D)
Stuart Holmes says
Hi, thanks for the information posted. I’ll be using the hydrogen water (mag stick/malic acid/water bottle) later today for the first time – can I ask what the level of importance is to the freezing for 30mins is? Will there be the same reaction and body benefits without the freezing? Many thanks
Beth Reninger says
As I understand it, the colder the solution, the more potent the reaction is between the malic acid and magnesium. Shaking the bottle vigorously for a couple of minutes before opening it to drink it, also increases potency.
Still wondering if anybody has found a way to keep the cork on the test tubes. It seems futile. Maybe a better bottle?
Beth Reninger says
Are you venting the cork with a hollow needle? In my experience, this works most of the time. Even with the venting, the cork pops off some of the time … but the malic acid is, as far as I know, perfectly safe to consume.
Shane Guoan says
I was wondering if it just puts of hydrogen it smells like it put off acetylene I was wondering if that was normal smell?
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hello, thank you for this information!
I have a question I haven’t been able to find the answer to despite digging in the few sites/youtube video comments, etc., on people who have used these methods. I purchased magnesium rods on Amazon (just searched for 99.98% magnesium rods and saw a few reviews that had used them for creating hydrogen-infused water). I used the food-grade malic acid and a wider mouth mason jar for my first experiment using a non-test tube method and after the reaction and cooling the rod had a lot of black film on it as well as black specs in the water. I did not drink it because I wasn’t sure if that may indicate an impurity in the magnesium rods. Did you (or anyone reading this) ever get that amount of black film covering the whole rod and/or black specs in the water?
Beth Reninger says
I’ve had the experience of the magnesium rod getting some black spots or streaks on it – which I just wash off at the end — but never black flecks in the water itself. So I’m not sure what’s up with that? In both the test-tube and non-test-tube methods, I begin with room-temperature filtered water, and put the bottle in the freezer for a half-hour or so. I can taste the malic acid in the water (especially without the test-tube) but never have noticed black flecks. But it might be worth trying it one more time with the same magnesium rod, as it perhaps was just a little bit dirty initially? Not sure …. but good luck!
Bridget Doran says
That sounds like a good plan. The specs made me a little curious that the quality may not be what it says it is..
I appreciate your time and care in responding!
Mitchel Flicop says
Can you please possibly share a video of your experiment. Showing all steps?
Why do you use test tubes? I use a 12oz store bought bottle of VOSS water that has been emptied out. I use two 5″ rods, 1 teaspoon of malic acid and boiling water. This produces much larger volume of hydrogen water. Takes about 1 hour to cool down in the freezer… or just set it outside since it is a very cold winter climate where I live 🙂
Beth Reninger says
Using a test-tube or not using a test-tube actually doesn’t effect the amount of hydrogen water, per se–since the hydrogen gas diffuses out of the test-tube into the surrounding water. There are two advantages to using a test-tube:
1. It prevents the majority of the malic acid from mixing into the hydrogen water that you’ll be drinking. Drinking it is not a problem, but some people prefer not to.
2. It accelerates the chemical reaction between the magnesium rod and the malic acid–because the two are in much closer proximity throughout the “cooking” time. So this is likely to increase the total hydrogen concentration in the water, all else being equal.
That said, either technique is fine, as far as I can tell–and it sounds like you’ve found one that works well for you, so that’s great 🙂 .
Bruce Dempsey says
Do you cut the magnesium rod lengthwise?
Beth Reninger says
Hi Bruce, not quite sure what you mean by “lengthwise” … but as I understand it, you cut the rod so that it’s half as long as it was originally. Since I didn’t have the tools on hand to do this, I actually have been using the full-length rod, which required me to shave the cork a little bit so it would fit into my test-tube …. but seems to be working fine 🙂