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Hyaluronic Acid – Stop Ageing, Start Hydrating

Eyes, Skin Conditions, Age related illnesses, Joint disorders | May 27, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

skin, dry eye, Eyes, age related

Hyaluronic Acid – Stop Ageing, Start Hydrating

While “acid” sounds downright corrosive, hyaluronic acid (HA) is a gooey substance that actually attracts water and is a key component in many body and cellular fluids. It promotes cell structure, hydration and lubrication in the skin, connective tissues, joint fluids, and in the liquid-y environments of the eyes [1].

Signs of ageing have been linked to a decreased production in hyaluronic acid [2]. As cells are damaged through natural ageing processes or oxidisation, they create less hyaluronic acid which leads to sagging skin, wrinkles, vision loss, joint pain and more.

When cellular production fails, hyaluronic supplements may help to combat these health conditions:

Hyaluronic Acid for Ageing & Skin Health

If you're looking for the fountain of youth, you may have found it. Hyaluronic acid is the latest breakthrough in the endless quest for the magic beauty potion. 

Hyaluronic Acid for Ageing & Skin HealthIt is a key ingredient in high quality moisturisers because of its essential role in the hydration of skin tissue, and the tightening effects of collagen and elastin [9]. In fact, HA is able to hold up to one thousand times its weight in water. After the 30th birthday, skin takes on significant ageing properties and the production of fibroblasts decreases, resulting in lower secretions of hyaluronic acid [2].

It's possible that supplements can restore this to previous levels – or at least prevent further loss. Hyaluronic acid is also a strong antioxidant which can protect against cellular damage caused by UV radiation and subsequent signs of sun-ageing [10].

Topical or cosmetic hyaluronic acid formulations use either “high molecular weight” or “low molecular weight” HA. Lower molecular weight hyaluronic acid is able to  penetrate and hydrate the deeper levels of the skin, as compared to higher molecular weight forms. This deep hydration comes at a cost – the lower the molecular weight, the higher the price.

Hyaluronic Acid for Joint Pain

Synovial fluid acts as a protective film around each cartilage cell within joints. It is rich in hyaluronic acid which lubricates the joint and enhances shock absorption [3]. 

In chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, stiffness and decreased mobility are due to lower levels of both synovial fluid and hyaluronic acid within the joint. 

Hyaluronic Acid for Joint PainBoosting HA levels can help to ease joint pain and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.

In 2016, a review concluded that arthritic pain could be significantly relieved by taking 240mg of an HA per day [5], and a study from 2016 showed that hyaluronic acid supplements (in combination with L-glutamine) can regulate immune activity and reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis, preventing further destruction of the joint [6].

If you're looking for fast relief, hyaluronic injections have been shown to relieve arthritic pain and improve range of movement as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) [3][4].

Hyaluronic acid can also work alongside other therapies, and may boost their benefits:

  •  In 2016, a study found that mesenchymal stromal cell therapy – a treatment for osteoarthritis – may be more effective when hyaluronic acid is used as an adjunct therapy [7].
  • A study from 2017 concluded that hyaluronic acid treatment may prevent or postpone the requirement for knee replacement in participants with osteoarthritis [8].

Hyaluronic Acid and Cancer

Hyaluronic acid may have a role in cancer therapy by preventing the unregulated growth of cells. HA binds to a protein involved in cell communication and signalling. This protein, CD44, is over-expressed in cancer cells which causes excessive cellular communication, mixed up signals, and the hyper-proliferation of cells. By binding to CD44, hyaluronic acid can bind to this protein to regulate communications – this easy binding may also provide useful in cancer drug delivery [9][10].

CD44 is over-expressed on cancer cells and cancer stem cells, leading to excessive cell communication – the signals sent between cancer cells sound something like “grow! Keep dividing! Grow more!”.  By easily binding to CD44, hyaluronic acid prevents the over-expression of the protein, regulates cell communication, and may even help to deliver cancer drugs to their targets [11] [12].

Hyaluronic Acid for Eye Health

As an essential component of eye fluids, hyaluronic acid promotes lubrication and flushing of the eye and relieves the symptoms of dry eyes – in fact, it's commonly found as the key ingredient in lubricating eye drops [13].

Hyaluronic Acid for Eye HealthNot only does HA lubricate the eye, but it can also improve the healing of any damage to the corneal tissue, reduce inflammation, and protect against oxidative stress [14] [15] – this could relieve symptoms of conjunctivitis, red-eyes or blepharitis, and could prevent vision complications.

While studies look at the topical application of hyaluronic acid to treat eye conditions, it's possible that oral supplementation could boost the concentration of HA in the natural tears, preventing the eye conditions in the first place.

Hyaluronic Acid for Reflux & Heart Burn

“Acid” doesn't sound like an effective treatment for reflux, does it? But the soothing properties of hyaluronic acid can reduce symptoms and boost healing of tissues in the stomach and oesophagus. A 2013 study looked at the effects of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin-sulphate on gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in patients who were not responding to the typical treatment of proton-pump inhibitor medications. The study found that the combination decreased the symptoms of heartburn, acid regurgitation, nausea and discomfort – most participants experienced total resolution of their symptoms within 30 minutes! [16]

A more recent also showed that the same combination could provide additional barriers against damage caused by reflux [17].

How To Use Hyaluronic Acid

How To Take Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic acid is available in skincare products, eye drops, supplement capsules, powders and tablets. Your doctor may be able to recommend and prescribe a hyaluronic acid based treatment for reflux, or administer a hyaluronic acid injection for joint pain.

NOTE: Most hyaluronic acid on the market is not suitable for vegetarians as it is extracted from animals (specifically – rooster combs!).

Safety & Dosages

Hyaluronic acid is well tolerated internally and topically by most adults with few reported side effects.

Safe and effective doses of oral hyaluronic acid supplements sit between 100mg - 200mg per day. Speak to your doctor, nutritionist or naturopath for personalised advice on how to safely take hyaluronic acid. Side effects can include nausea, diarrhoea and hot flushes.

Side effects of topical and injectable hyaluronic acid include temporary irritation, redness and inflammation.

Do NOT use topical hyaluronic acid or take a supplemental form if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Its safety has not been established.

Speak to a qualified integrative doctor, nutritionist or naturopath for personalised advice on dosage and forms of hyaluronic acid for your condition.

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[1] Hu, D., Mezghrani, O., Zhang, L., Chen, Y., Ke, X., & Ci, T. (2016). GE11 peptide modified and reduction-responsive hyaluronic acid-based nanoparticles induced higher efficacy of doxorubicin for breast carcinoma therapy. International Journal Of Nanomedicine115 125-5147.

[2] Prikhnenko, S. (2015). Polycomponent mesotherapy formulations for the treatment of skin aging and improvement of skin quality. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology8, 151–157.

[3] Moreland, L. W. (2003). Intra-articular hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) and hylans for the treatment of osteoarthritis: mechanisms of action. Arthritis Research & Therapy5(2), 54–67.

[4] Smith, M. M., Russell, A. K., Schiavinato, A., & Little, C. B. (2013). A hexadecylamide derivative of hyaluronan (HYMOVIS®) has superior beneficial effects on human osteoarthritic chondrocytes and synoviocytes than unmodified hyaluronan. Journal of Inflammation (London, England)10, 26.

[5] Oe, M., et al. (2016) Oral hyaluronan relieves knee pain: a review. Nutr J., 15:11,

[6] Yang, K., Wu, C., Chen, W., Sumi, S., & Huang, T. (2016). l-Glutathione enhances antioxidant capacity of hyaluronic acid and modulates expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human fibroblast-like synoviocytes. Journal Of Biomedical Materials Research. Part A104(8), 2071-2079.

[7] Gómez-Aristizábal, A., Kim, K., & Viswanathan, S. (2016). A Systematic Study of the Effect of Different Molecular Weights of Hyaluronic Acid on Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Mediated Immunomodulation. Plos One11(1), e0147868.
[8] Delbarre, A., Amor, B., Bardoulat, I., Tetafort, A., & Pelletier-Fleury, N. (2017). Do intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections delay total knee replacement in patients with osteoarthritis – A Cox model analysis. Plos ONE12(11), 1-


[9] Baumann, L. (2007), Skin ageing and its treatment. J. Pathol., 211: 241–251.

[10] Avadhani, K. S., Manikkath, J., Tiwari, M., Chandrasekhar, M., Godavarthi, A., Vidya, S. M., & ... Mutalik, S. (2017). Skin delivery of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and hyaluronic acid loaded nano-transfersomes for antioxidant and anti-aging effects in UV radiation induced skin damage. Drug Delivery24(1), 61-74.

[11] Cadete A, Alonso MJ. (2016). Targeting cancer with hyaluronic acid-based nanocarriers: recent advances and translational perspectives. Nanomedicine, (Lond) 11:2341–57.

[12] Hu, D., Mezghrani, O., Zhang, L., Chen, Y., Ke, X., & Ci, T. (2016). GE11 peptide modified and reduction-responsive hyaluronic acid-based nanoparticles induced higher efficacy of doxorubicin for breast carcinoma therapy. International Journal Of Nanomedicine,115, 125-5147.

[13] Brjesky, V. V., et al. (2014) Use of preservative-free hyaluronic acid (Hylabak®) for a range of patients with dry eye syndrome: experience in Russia. Clin Ophthalmol., 8, 1169 – 1177.

[14] Ho, W. T., et al. (2013) Enhanced corneal wound healing with hyaluronic acid and high-potassium artificial tears. Clin Exp Optom., 536 – 541.

[15] Macri, A., et al. (2015) Evaluation of oxidative stress levels in the conjunctival epithelium of patients with or without dry eye, and dry eye patients treated with preservative-free hyaluronic acid 0.15 % and vitamin B12 eye drops. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol., 253:3, 425 – 430.

[16] Palmieri, B., et al. (2013) Fixed combination of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin-sulphate oral formulation in a randomized double blind, placebo controlled study for the treatment of symptoms in patients with non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci., 17:24, 3272 – 3278.

[17] Savarino, V., et al. (2017) Randomised clinical trial: mucosal protection combined with acid suppression in the treatment of non‐erosive reflux disease – efficacy of Esoxx, a hyaluronic acid–chondroitin sulphate based bioadhesive formulation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther., 45:5, 631 – 643.

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