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Hyaluronic Acid

What is Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate)

Hyaluronic acid (also called sodium hyaluronate, or HA) is a protein component of connective tissue belonging to a family of proteins known as glycosaminoglycans. The main purpose of glycosaminoglycans is to aid in the body's water maintenance, providing essential moisture for all the body processes, and for molecular transport. Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan with anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous properties, whose function is to cushion and lubricate. HA occurs naturally throughout the human body and is a key component of cartilage concentrated in the synovial joint fluids (where it acts as a lubricant, shock absorber, metabolic medium and filter), the heart valves, in subcutaneous (skin) tissue where it functions is as a cementing agent, and the eyes (the ocular vitreous body). In its role as cartilage component, HA is used to help cushion and lubricate joints. HA exists naturally in most living organisms (except plants) and is a universal component of the extra cellular space.

As a supplement, HA is a white, odorless powder also known as hyaluronan. The hyaluronic acid that is used by medical practitioners is taken from rooster combs or made by bacteria in the laboratory. Hyaluronic acid is utilized by people for various joint disorders, including osteoarthritis. It can be taken orally or injected into the affected joint by a healthcare professional. Hyaluronic acid plays a crucial role in maintaining and regulating moisture with the tissues and is a key factor in the movement of nutrients into the cells and the disposal of metabolic waste. Optimum levels of hyaluronic acid are of paramount importance for the health of the joints and cartilage. HA also reinforces the immune system by acting as an antioxidant, holding water in the body, and lubricating heart valves.

Hyaluronic Acid is a special protein occurring naturally throughout the human body, and is one of the most heavily researched substances in medicine today with thousands of clinical trials mostly in the fields of orthopedics and eye surgery. Its function in the body is, among other things, to bind water and to lubricate movable parts of the body, such as joints and muscles. Its consistency and tissue-friendliness makes it an excellent moisturizer, which is why it has earned a place in skin-care products and cosmetics. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most hydrophilic molecules in nature and as such it is aptly described as "nature's moisturizer". Aside from being the normal lubricant in human joints, Hyaluronic acid is a special mucopolysacharide that affects the way the body responds to injury. Poor lubrication due to low hyaluronic acid (HA) levels is the leading cause of painful joints. When present in a joint, even a joint with little or no cartilage, it can provide a buffer effect.

The FDA has approved the application of hyaluronic acid during certain eye surgeries such as cataract removal, corneal transplantation, and repair of a detached retina and other eye injuries. During the procedure, it is injected into the eye to help replace natural fluids. In plastic surgery, Hyaluronic acid is also used as lip filler. Aside from those already mentioned, some people use hyaluronic acid to facilitate the healing wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer. There is also a lot of speculation on the use and effectivity of hyaluronic acid to prevent the effects of aging. In fact, hyaluronic acid has even been touted as a "fountain of youth." Hyaluronic acid has been labeled and tagged by the media as the "key to the fountain of youth" because it has been shown that people who ingest large doses of it in their diets tend to live much longer than the average person who does not use it. ABC News had featured a Japanese village and hyaluronic acid entitled, "The Village of Long Life: Could Hyaluronic Acid Be an Anti-Aging Remedy? However, there is no conclusive evidence yet to support the claim that taking it by mouth or applying it to the skin can prevent changes associated with aging.

What is Hyaluronic Acid used for and who uses it?

Athletes can really benefit from HA supplementation as their joints are frequently subjected to stresses during training with heavy loads or athletic competition, and the immune system is always subject to elevated free radical levels. Hyaluronic Acid preparations have shown to decrease pain and improve mobility of patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis. It is believed that the improvement in the condition may be related to alternations in the synovial fluid viscoelasticity, cartilage metabolism, and inflammation. Injecting hyaluronic acid into an osteoarthritic joint has been shown to improve joint health by increasing synovial fluid levels of hyaluronic acid improving its viscosity, and freedom of joint movement, decreasing levels of prostaglandins (thus decreasing pain), and increasing the cartilage depth on load bearing surfaces.

Under sheer stress (surface gliding against surface), the viscous properties of the HA molecules in the synovial fluid act as a lubricant, protecting adjacent joint surfaces from mechanical damage. Under load bearing stress the elastic properties of HA in synovial fluid acts as a shock absorber, protecting the cartilage from compressive trauma. HA assists in managing cell migration which protect cells and also activates the white cells. Since HA is an endogenous substance, it can be utilized to lower the need for antibiotics by stimulating and strengthening the immune system. Hyaluronic acid is beneficial in reducing bacterial infections as well and has been found to inhibit the growth of a variety of strains of bacteria. It has also been demonstrated that HA even decreased the number of chronic bronchitis infections in patients.

Hyaluronic Acid can be taken internally as a nutritional supplement for joint health, or topically as a skin moisturizer. In topical applications, Hyaluronic acid helps to maintain smooth, elastic skin, and it has since been used in many cosmetics such as make-up and moisturizing creams. Basically, HA helps to keep water in the skin. Its low molecular weight HA can be absorbed through the skin more readily so as to yield dramatic effects on building skin tone, increased elasticity, wrinkle reduction, and anti-aging. Taken internally Hyaluronic Acid can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis and other joint problems.

Why do you need a hyaluronic acid supplement?

Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally in the body as a component of synovial fluid that lubricates the cartilage between the joints. As we get older, the body produces less and less Hyaluronic Acid so consequently it becomes more and more difficult to replenish it. During osteoarthritis, the cartilage, together with the other structures of the joint, begin to weaken and break down. As a result, joints become stiff and movement becomes painful. This is where Hyaluronic Acid supplements can come in handy because they pick up where our bodies fail us.

Hyaluronic Acid acts to improve joint movement and cushioning. If we compare the joints of the human body, it can be likened to the cylinders of an automobile engine (especially the legs). The joint fluid in the body is similar to the oil in a car engine. At regular intervals we change the oil in our car engines because the heat and friction breakdown the oils viscosity. The oil becomes thinner and less effective in protecting the metal surfaces from excessive wear. Hyaluronic Acid works the same way in our joints. As we age the viscosity of the joint fluid breaks down and decreases. At a certain extent it becomes so thin it will no longer be able to cushion the joint cartilage. This leads to increased friction and wear on the cartilage surfaces of the joints, resulting to joint pains. Taking Hyaluronic Acid helps restore the normal viscosity of joint fluid and avert damage to the joint.

If you are not currently experiencing joint problems then Hyaluronic Acid may be used to provide benefits in the long run. Just as we change the oil in our car to help prevent problems, taking Hyaluronic Acid may help or prevent joint damage due to aging or daily abuse by maintaining proper joint fluid viscosity. Also, human hyaluronic acid production slows down considerably as we age, making it responsible in part for the wrinkling of the skin, the joint pain, arterial degeneration, etc. To compensate for this, it makes good sense to take supplemental Hyaluronic Acid. It has also been used in eye surgery as a replacement fluid in the eye. Applied topically to wounds and severe burns, Hyaluronic Acid can promote rapid healing and reduce scarring.

Precautions and Potential side effects of Hyaluronic Acid

No known side effects exist, and clinical trials have shown that negative reactions are rare. Since Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body, taking small amounts of Hyaluronic Acid as a supplement should be of no health concern. However, since oral hyaluronic acid (as opposed to injectables) are relatively a new introduction, side effects are not fully known. As always, it is advisable to check with your doctor before you decide to take HA or any other type of supplement to make sure it is an appropriate treatment for your particular health condition.

This information is NOT a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist. Do not use any dietary supplement as a replacement for conventional care, or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem. Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Daily suggested dose of Hyaluronic Acid

Magnesium is a limiting nutrient for HA synthesis, so be sure to get sufficient amounts of magnesium when supplementing with HA. Smokers are usually HA deficient, and vitamin C is known to diminish the effects of HA, so use vitamin C sparingly when supplementing with HA. HA is best taken together with zinc and magnesium.

Recommended internal use doses vary between 50mg and 250mg per day. You can measure out your daily dose with a level one eighth teaspoon of Hyaluronic Acid powder approximating about 223 milligrams. For accurate dosing of this product use an accurate sub-gram (or milligram) weight scale.

As always, if you have concerns or questions, consult a physician or a health care professional before taking any supplements. Before taking any kind of medicine, check with your doctor to ensure that the supplement you want to take is right for you. You may be allergic or you may have a sensitive stomach which may raise the need for special instruction as far as dosage goes.

Hyaluronic Acid solution storage:

You can store your 1% Hyaluronic Solution in the refrigerator and use it as needed. You should not attempt to store your HA solution at room temperature without the addition of preservatives. The maximum safe time you can keep your HA solution refrigerated without spoilage will depend upon your ability to keep the solution sterile. Microbial contamination of your solution will cause it to spoil and lose its thickness (viscosity). If over time the solution becomes thin or loses its thickness and viscosity it has spoiled and should be discarded.

Adding preservatives to your Hyaluronic Acid solution:

To store this HA solution refrigerated for periods of time longer than 3 days you should start this recipe by first adding preservatives to the distilled water. Two such preservatives supplied by Creative Alternatives are Ascorbic Acid and DMAE Bitartrate. Add and dissolve approximately 6 grams Ascorbic Acid and 3 grams DMAE Bitartrate to 12 fluid ounces distilled water at room temperature. After both powders are completely disolved chill the 12 fluid ounces to 39°F (4°C) and then follow the instuctions (enclosed with product).

Internal Use:

Hyaluronic Acid can be taken internally as a nutritional supplement with benefits including joint and connective tissue health. Hyaluronic Acid powder can be placed directly into the mouth and swallowed with water, or you can mix your dose in food or juice and consume. But for optimal results and bioavailability take a measured amount of a prepared 1% Hyaluronic Acid solution. Instructions and information supplied with product.

Topical Use:

Hyaluronic Acid can also be applied topically to the skin with tremendous anti-aging results, reducing wrinkles and increasing the elasticity of facial skin. Topical use is usually recommended in concentrations between 1/2% but not to exceed 1%. Since Hyaluronic Acid is known to absorb between 500 and 1,000 times its weight in water higher concentrations than 1% will jellify and not flow easily. Understand also that many Hyaluronic Acid Solution sellers will make claims such that their product is a 50% or even a 100% Hyaluronic Acid Solution without disclosing to you that standard industry terminology equates a 100% Hyaluronic Acid Solution as a solution of 99% water and 1% Hyaluronic Acid by weight since this is the concentration that is considered maximal for an Hyaluronic Acid solution to maintain it's fluid characteristics.

Hyaluronic Acid is used in the following Proprietary Formulas

SportPharma Joint-V, NOW Hyaluronic Acid, Iovate Health Joint MD, Olympian Labs BioCell Collagen II, Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, Radiesse, Equiade Lube-All, LifeTime Natural Hyaluronic Acid, Body Conditioning Solutions Elasti Flex, Bricker Labs ETArol Plus Comprehensive Care, Champion Vita-Vault, Country Life Bio-Active Hyaluronic Acid Complex, Doctor's Best Hyal-Joint, Life Extension Fast-Acting Joint Formula, LifeTime Liquid Hyaluronic Acid, Met-Rx Super Joint Guard, Metabolic Diet InsideOut, Metabolic Diet Joint Support, Metabolife Metabolife Ultra, NOW Day Wrinkle Remedy Creme, Pure Essence Advanced Holistics, ReserveAge Collagen Booster, Synthovial Seven, Schiff Lubriflex 3, Source Naturals Hyaluronic Joint Complex, Osteo Bi-Flex MSM Advanced With Hyaluronic Acid + Joint Shield, Vitamin Shoppe Hyaluronic Acid Injuv, GNC Triflex with Hyaluronic Acid, Jarrow Formulas Hyaluronic Acid, Good 'N Natural Hyaluronic Acid, Nature's Way Hydraplenish Hyaluronic Acid V-Capsules Plus MSM

References & Further Research

Intra-articular hyaluronic acid for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: systematic review and meta-analysis
Intraarticular hyaluronic acid is indicated for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. These data support the potential role of intraarticular hyaluronic acid as an effective long-term therapeutic option for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Intra-articular hyaluranic acid compared with progressive knee exercises in osteoarthritis of the knee: a prospective randomized trial with long-term follow-up
The goal of this study was to determine whether hyaluronic acid or progressive knee exercises (PE) can improve functional parameters in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. This prospective randomized trial confirmed that both hyaluronic acid injections and PE result in functional improvement. Hyaluronic acid injections also increase the levels of satisfaction of the OA patients.

Treatment of gingivitis with hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid)
Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan) is a glycosaminoglycan with anti-inflammatory and antiedematous properties. In a randomized double-blind study, results and data gathered suggest that a Hyaluronic acid containing gel has a beneficial effect in the treatment of plaque-induced gingivitis.

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