Founder Gail Levy traveled worldwide and spent years on research to understand the science behind hydrogen-rich water, an industry which continues to grow in Asia thanks to its antioxidant claims.
This led her to create HFactor, using labs in Europe and the US to work out how to capture hydrogen at high levels that are efficacious, stable and also maintain the integrity of the water.
Levy told BeverageDaily.com HFactor uses a patent-pending manufacturing method to naturally infuse pure hydrogen into water (other hydrogen products are made using magnesium and chemical processes, she added).
The product is packaged in a special aluminium vessel to keep hydrogen inside (hydrogen is a small and light molecule that can escape through plastic, glass or other bottle materials).
“It was a long and arduous process, with many false starts, testing, trial runs,” she said. “The last two years have been filled with intrigue and challenges - certainly an adventure not for the faint of heart.
“I was driven the by the research on the potential benefits and the promise that it may help so many people in a natural way.”
Levy first learned about hydrogen-rich water from Barry Orms, a former NBA player – aches and pains had led him and his contemporaries to the beverage. Orms is now the co-founder of the brand.
At a similar point in time, Levy’s best friend was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer.
“I promised her that I would try to do whatever I could to find something to help people like herself deal with the side effects of battling cancer.
"When I started to do the research, I found that one of the incredible benefits of molecular hydrogen therapy was its potential to help with some of the side effects endured from chemotherapy and radiation – dry skin, inflammation, fatigue.”
Hydrogen-rich water has been a growing industry in Asia for several years – and Levy believes it can see the same success in the US.
“The Japanese first started testing the merits of molecular hydrogen for health and wellness back in 2007. Since then, it has become a thriving business with sales last year reported at over $300m in Japan alone!
“In the past eight years, the science behind molecular hydrogen has been studied extensively by researchers and doctors all over the world - in fact there are over 400 published studies by esteemed publications.”
‘The consumer has come a long way from vitamins and minerals’
Gail Levy, HFactor
HFactor is marketed at active consumers who are concerned about health and wellness – but how easy is it to relay its credentials? While the benefits of vitamins and minerals are well-understood, is ‘hydrogen-rich’ a concept that will prove off-putting to consumers, simply because it sounds too scientific to understand?
Levy says consumers deserve more credit than that.
“I think the consumer has come a long way from vitamins and minerals. Yes, vitamin waters are good - but not when packed with sugars and chemicals,” she said.
“Functional beverages have become a booming industry since then. Just look at what is currently on the shelves, a cornucopia of new names: acai, charcoal, high ph, alkaline, chia, kefir, goji – and even choices that are condition specific.
“Consumers understand the benefits of antioxidants – and our message is that molecular hydrogen is one of the best. There is no caffeine, no sugars, no harmful chemicals, and no fat in HFACTOR. For those that want to do a deeper dive, the research on the potential benefits is out there and available.”
And what about critics who argue that nothing can beat good old water?
“Of course water is hydrating and we need it to live, but we feel we have the ultimate water in HFactor,” responded Levy. “Hydrogen is an extraordinary antioxidant, but in normal water, its composition is such that it is bonded to oxygen.
"By infusing H2 gas into water through our technology, HFactor delivers free, small and soluble hydrogen that has the potential to easily diffuse into the sub cellular compartments where it may have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and anti-apoptic effects.”
HFactor is undergoing a soft launch with the product available from its website. A full launch will follow in the fall once the packaging design is finalised.
“We plan to expand to retail, but in order to gain organic traction we think our soft launch strategy, based on education to our consumer through our website and social media, is the right direction to go,” said Levy. “We have been getting tremendous testimonials and nothing replaces a business organically growing through authenticity.”