Hyaluronic Acid

What is Hyaluronic Acid (HA)?

Hyaluronic Acid (HA), also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is a body component that is present in every connective tissue and organ, such as skin, synovial fluid, blood vessels, serum, the brain, cartilage, heart valves, and the umbilical cord. In particular, the skin has the largest quantity of HA in the body, with 50% of total body HA present in the skin.

HA has a thick and sticky consistency, which helps to retain incredible amounts of moisture, which helps to moisturize the skin as well as to help the knee joint to move smoothly.

Some factors that reduce the amount of HA in the body include aging, solar ultraviolet radiation, smoking, and air pollutants. 

Hyaluronic acid comes in several different forms, including orally, topical creams and gels, eye drops, inhaled, injection (for face or knee) and there is even a liquid form that you can mix with water and drink. For the focus of this discussion, we will be focusing on the oral form.

What does HA help with in the body? 

Hyaluronic acid is a remarkable substance because of all the benefits and uses it has in your body. Here are just a few of the benefits of hyaluronic acid:

  • It helps things move smoothly. Hyaluronic acid helps your joints work like a well-oiled machine. It prevents pain and injury from bones grinding against each other.
  • It helps keep things hydrated. Hyaluronic acid is very good at retaining water. A quarter-teaspoon of hyaluronic acid holds about one and a half gallons of water. That’s why hyaluronic acid is often used for treating dry eyes. It’s also used in moisturizing creams, lotions, ointments and serums.
  • It makes your skin flexible. Hyaluronic acid helps skin stretch and flex and reduces skin wrinkles and lines. Hyaluronic acid is also proven to help wounds heal faster and can reduce scarring.
  • Skin health (especially dryness, scarring, stiffness and skin diseases like scleroderma and actinic keratosis).
  • Eye health, especially for treating dry eyes.
  • Joint health, especially for treating arthritis and soft tissue injuries.
  • For wounds that are slow to heal.
  • As a treatment option for bladder pain, especially pain caused by interstitial cystitis.
  • Respiratory conditions like asthma.

Hyaluronic acid has been studied in osteoarthritis, aging skin, dry eyes, acid reflux, and wound healing.

What have the studies shown?

Hyaluronic Acid is most commonly used for either the skin or the joints. HA functions as a lubricating agent in synovial fluid, so it plays a role in inflammatory joint conditions like osteoarthritis.

HA is helpful in reducing skin wrinkles. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of 60 Japanese people aged 22 to 59 who had crow’s feet wrinkles (wrinkles near the corner of the eyes), taking 120 mg of HA in capsule form by mouth per day for 12 weeks decreased skin wrinkles.

A similar 12-week double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study conducted in 41 Taiwanese people aged 30 to 65 revealed that taking a 120 mg HA capsule by mouth for 12 weeks improved skin wrinkles compared to the placebo. 

For skin wrinkles, studies have used a dose of 120 mg by mouth daily for 12 weeks

HA can be used to treat dry eyes. A randomized clinical trial of 76 people over 19 years of age with dry eye disease showed that applying a single drop of both 0.3% and 0.15% HA improved signs and symptoms in people with moderate to severe dry eye disease.

HA has some benefits treating the symptoms of acid reflux, commonly referred to as ‘heartburn.’ A study of 51 people aged 25 to 75 with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) symptoms showed that HA combined with chondroitin sulfate significantly reduced LPR-related symptoms such as chronic cough and hoarseness when given with proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy.

HA is helpful with wound healing. A randomized controlled study was conducted in 30 healthy people designated female at birth aged 20 to 60 years, undergoing tooth extraction. It showed a higher wound closure after tooth removal using the HA gel and spray treatment groups compared to the control group. 

Hyaluronic acid has also been used in the treatment of chronic pain. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study of 72 people taking 45 milliliters (3 tablespoons) of high molecular weight HA by mouth during the first two weeks of the study resulted in reduced pain and pain medication usage. Of note, during the last two weeks of the study, the dose was reduced to 30 milliliters (2 tablespoons), and no further decrease in chronic pain was observed. 

How safe is Hyaluronic Acid?

Research shows that hyaluronic acid is safe to use. Reactions or adverse effects from hyaluronic acid are rare, and it’s safe to use if you’re pregnant or nursing.

Although no serious side effects of HA were reported in several clinical studies, caution should be taken if you are allergic to poultry or have cancer.

Body tissues typically use hyaluronic acid taken by mouth. Taking HA is unlikely to build up in the body at excessive levels. This is because about 90% of it is metabolized and eliminated via expiration and urine.

Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/hyaluronic-acid-supplements-89465 

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