A hot topic – What is it? What are its benefits?
You may have heard of hyaluronic acid (HA)….or you may have not! It is a naturally occurring sugar molecule that is found throughout our bodies in many different types of tissues – especially in our skin, heart, and joints. It is not special to just humans either, it is found in other animals, as well as some bacteria and algae. It serves many benefits in many different types of life in our world. We produce HA constantly and continuously and at a very fast rate, and interestingly, we produce less of it as we age.
HA is a hot topic of research as the benefits seem to be many, and we are still learning more about this amazing acid. So, what are its benefits?
- About 50% of the total HA in our bodies is found in our skin. It is also found in many topical skin products to reduce wrinkles, promote hydration, improve skin elasticity, help with skin blemishes, and smooth out the skin. The end result is a more youthful complexion. It can be made from natural sources (often animal-based) or synthetic sources (produced in a lab). Vegan options can be available. HA is found topically as creams, serums, mists, cleansers, and other skincare products.
- HA is also found as a supplement, to take orally, and it seems the most effective way to get more into you.
- As an injection, HA can be an amazing benefit to the joints (for example hips, shoulders, knees, fingers, toes, elbows, wrists, and ankles) to help lubrication in these areas for people suffering with mild to moderate osteoarthritis, or as an alternative to surgery. Often these injections can benefit the patient by greatly reducing (or eliminating) pain in a specific joint, and increasing range of motion, thus enabling one to live a life with better quality.
- Wound healing. Diabetics, certain chronic diseases such as cancer, and patients with auto-immune diseases can suffer with an altered ability to recover from wounds as fast.
- HA is a powerful antioxidant, and therefore can quench free-radicals – the cause of many chronic diseases.
- Hyaluronic Acid is also found in some foods, though not necessarily in high enough doses to have a therapeutic benefit. It is found in the animal products we eat – such as bone broth. Bone broth contains protein, collagen (helpful for the joints and skin), and HA, along with other nutrients. It is also found in certain shellfish such as clams, oysters, and scallops. Other foods that are non-animal in origin, can help to increase the production of HA in the body. This includes:
Citrus – helpful specifically in increasing the formation of HA in skin cells, thereby reducing inflammation and improving the moisture of the skin.
Soy – foods such as tofu, edamame beans, tempeh, and other soy foods contain phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens) that can boost HA production in the body.
Magnesium-containing foods – this includes pumpkin and sesame seeds, nuts, cocoa, soy, potatoes, spinach, bananas, and green beans – can help to raise levels of HA in
the body and thus help with skin, joint, and wound-healing.
Zinc-containing foods – increase foods such as oysters, beef, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds to enhance HA production.
Much more information will unfold about the amazing wonders of hyaluronic acid as more research is conducted. In the meantime, enjoy hyaluronic acid topically, internally (as a supplement or in food) , or as an injection into joints, and reap the benefits it offers.