A new article has been published which has sparked comment as it reports findings for a potential treatment for ME/CFS – inhalation of hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas has previously been proposed as a possible therapy for multiorgan system diseases such as metabolic syndrome. Although the exact mechanisms are unclear, it is thought to work by scavenging and neutralising molecules in the body which can lead to cell damage. This damage, known as oxidative stress, is something that has been previously been linked to ME/CFS.
The treatment was trialled in four people: one who met the Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC) for ME/CFS, and three who had been “diagnosed with probable ME/CFS” but were unable to complete the CCC.
While the results show some improvements in self-reported symptoms of ME/CFS following treatment with hydrogen gas, the findings from the study are extremely limited due to:
- The very small sample size used – only one participant had a confirmed diagnosis of ME/CFS.
- The absence of long-term follow-up to assess whether the observed improvements were sustained over time.
- The lack of control group.
Much more research is needed to assess whether hydrogen gas may be a useful tool in the treatment of ME/CFS before any conclusions can be drawn.