Hyaluronic acid (HA) is the new beauty buzzword. Supplement companies and dermatologists use HA for a variety of conditions, but the most common relate to skin and joint health. Hyaluronic acid benefits for skin and joint health are the most prominent, but we’ll be examining multiple research-backed uses of HA.
What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Although the word acid can sound scary, in this case, it's not! Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in your body. Primarily, this acid is found in your joints and eyes, and it’s even used for knee osteoarthritis to ease the pain. While natural, most of the supplements or medical treatments involving this substance are derived from:
- Rooster comb
- Laboratory grown bacteria
You'll find a lot of hyaluronic acid benefits for skin enhancement, but there are many additional benefits. Some people use this acid for:
- Acid reflux
- Dry eyes
However, the most prominent reason people use this substance is for the hyaluronic acid benefits for joints and skin.
Hyaluronic Acid Health Benefits
While there are many anecdotal benefits of using HA, we’re going to focus on the proven, researched benefits – there are a lot of them.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Skin
Anti-aging products often list hyaluronic acid as one of the main ingredients because it helps the skin look and feel supple. Since hyaluronic acid is most prominent in the skin already, the side effects are minimal, if you have any at all.
Research shows that as you age, the concentration level of the acid begins to decline.
Hyaluronic acid is vital for skin health because it helps the skin retain moisture, which is essential to prevent dry and cracked skin. Many lifestyle choices can lead to a reduction in this substance, including:
- Tobacco use
- Sun exposure
Dermatologists often recommend HA treatments because the serums are well-tested and can help reduce:
Fillers may be injected, by a professional dermatologist only, to help your skin look youthful and return the firmness of the skin. In addition, researchers have found that when applying HA topically, the additional HA in the body helps stop the natural decline of the substance over time.
Dosing will depend on your unique condition and needs. For example, when trying to treat dry skin and restore moisture in the skin, one study found great success with 120 – 240mg doses per day.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Joints
HA is found in large concentrations in the joints. In fact, this is the liquid substance in the bones and joints that is responsible for lubrication. For example, when you walk, the HA cushions the joints in the knees, ankles, and hips.
Studies on HA’s ability to help with osteoarthritis indicate that taking 80 - 200 mg of HA per day can significantly reduce knee pain.
In more extreme cases, it’s not uncommon for doctors to inject HA directly into the joint to relieve pain. Studies involving 12,000 participants, show injections provide a modest form of pain relief.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is an uncomfortable condition that causes the stomach's contents to reenter the throat. Due to the acid in the stomach, the esophagus can become damaged, and pain is common.
Hyaluronic acid is often used to help speed up the healing of the throat.
Studies on HA found that the damaged throat tissue healed much faster when HA was used compared to no treatment.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Healing Wounds
Your body naturally uses HA during the wound healing process. When you have a cut or internal damage, concentrations of HA increase. Researchers were uncertain of why HA improved wound healing, but studies finally shed light on the mystery.
Studies found that HA signals the body to produce more blood vessels and also regulates inflammation in the damaged area. In addition, due to the natural antibacterial properties of the substance, it’s also able to reduce the risk of infection.
You can apply HA directly to the wound.
Additional studies show:
- HA helps fight gum disease and speed up dental healing
- The substance decreases pain and reduces the size of the wound
It's important to note that most of these studies involve topical application rather than oral supplementation.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Dry Eyes
Do you suffer from dry eyes? If so, you’re one of the 16% or so of the population that has issues with tear production or evaporation. Due to its ability to bind to water molecules and retain moisture, HA is often used to treat dry eyes with great success.
Studies show that eye drops containing 0.2% to 0.4% HA can improve eye health and reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.
It's important to note that no studies have been done specifically on the benefit of eye health and HA supplements found in stores. However, studies have been performed on specially made and approved drops.
Hyaluronic acid is considered generally safe for use, and you’ll want to cease use if you experience any side effects. Studies, including 60 individuals, found that none experienced side effects even after an entire year of usage.
Women who are pregnant or nursing will want to avoid usage due to a lack of studies verifying safety.
If you plan on using HA, keep in mind that injection treatments carry the highest risk of side effects. Often, the side effects from injections are a result of the injection and not the acid. The only other time that you may want to avoid using it is if you have cancer or your family has a history of cancer.
Overall hyaluronic acid is considered generally safe to use to reap the benefits for your joints and skin!