Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that plays a crucial role in various biological processes. It is a large glycosaminoglycan, which is a type of carbohydrate that is found in connective tissues, such as skin, joints, and cartilage. HA has a unique ability to retain water, which makes it an essential component of the extracellular matrix and synovial fluid.
In this article, we will discuss the history, biology, and role of hyaluronic acid in the body, including its current use in nutrition, supplements, and beauty and skin care routine.
The history of hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid was first discovered in 1934 by Karl Meyer and John Palmer, who isolated the molecule from cow vitreous humor. They named it hyaluronic acid because of its high uronic acid content and its ability to form a viscous solution.
In the following decades, scientists studied its properties and functions, which led to its use in various medical and cosmetic applications.
The biology of hyaluronic acid
HA is a linear polymer composed of repeating disaccharide units of N-acetylglucosamine and glucuronic acid. It is produced by the enzymes hyaluronan synthase (HAS) and degraded by hyaluronidase (HYAL). HA is a ubiquitous molecule found in many tissues, such as skin cells, joints, and eyes. It is synthesized by fibroblasts, chondrocytes, and epithelial cells, among others.
One of the unique properties of HA is its ability to bind water molecules. It can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an essential component of the extracellular matrix and synovial fluid. This property allows it to maintain hydration and lubrication in the tissues, which is crucial for their proper functioning.
The role of hyaluronic acid in the body
HA has several important roles in the body, including its involvement in tissue repair, wound healing, and inflammation. In the skin, HA helps to maintain hydration and elasticity of skin barrier, which is essential for a youthful appearance. In joints, HA acts as a lubricant, reducing friction and wear and tear, and improving joint mobility.
Collagen is another crucial component of connective tissues, and its production and maintenance are dependent on HA. Collagen gives strength and structure to the tissues, while HA provides hydration and lubrication. HA helps to regulate the activity of collagen-producing cells and prevent collagen breakdown, which is essential for maintaining connective tissue' health.
Vitamins are also important for maintaining healthy connective tissues, and their role is closely related to that of HA. Vitamin C, for example, is essential for collagen synthesis, while vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects against collagen breakdown.
Hyaluronic acid supplements
Hyaluronic acid supplements are becoming increasingly popular, and are often used in cosmetic applications, such as anti-aging creams and dermal fillers. HA might be an effective moisturizer, and proper moisturization of the skin may help promote a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.* Dermal fillers containing HA have also been shown to support volume and the appearance of the skin for some individuals.*
Overall, hyaluronic acid supplements may help support overall health and wellness, particularly for those looking to support their skin.*
Current use in nutrition
The current use of hyaluronic acid in nutrition is primarily focused on supplements, which are marketed for their potential health support properties.* In addition to skin health, some studies have suggested that HA supplements may support joint and eye health, promote wound healing, and support immune function.*
One study found that a daily oral supplement containing hyaluronic acid, collagen, and vitamins may support skin hydration, elasticity, and roughness in women over the age of 45.*
Another study found that a topical cream containing hyaluronic acid may help support a reduction in wrinkles and fine lines in men and women over the age of 30.*
Hyaluronic acid supplements are also sometimes used to support wound healing. HA has been shown to potentially promote cell proliferation and migration, which are essential for wound repair.*
A study published found that a topical gel containing hyaluronic acid and silver may help support wound healing in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.*
Finally, some studies have suggested that HA supplements may promote immune function by stimulating the production of immune cells and cytokines.*
The role of hyaluronic acid for the body
Hyaluronic acid may also play a crucial role in maintaining the health and function of connective tissues in the body.* Its ability to retain water makes it an essential component of the extracellular matrix and synovial fluid, which are crucial for maintaining hydration, lubrication, and elasticity in the tissues.*
In addition to its structural role, HA may also be involved in promoting tissue repair and wound healing, as well as supporting inflammation.* HA may help regulate collagen production and prevent collagen breakdown, which is essential for maintaining tissue strength and structure.* HA also acts as an antioxidant, which may support a reduction in oxidative damage that would otherwise contribute to tissue aging.*
Hyaluronic acid and skin moisture
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a vital component of the skin, and its ability to retain moisture is one of its most significant contributions to skin health. As we age, our skin loses its ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. HA plays a crucial role in supporting skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness during skin aging, making it a popular ingredient in many skincare products.*
HA is a large molecule that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It is naturally present in the skin, where it helps to promote hydration and elasticity by attracting and retaining water molecules.* HA is particularly abundant in the dermis, the layer of the skin that contains collagen, elastin, and other proteins that give the normal skin for its structure and support.
However, as we age, the amount of HA in our skin decreases, which can lead to dryness and loss of elasticity in dry skin. Exposure to environmental factors, such as UV radiation, pollution, and smoking, can also damage the skin and reduce its ability to retain moisture.
Skincare products that contain HA are designed to restore moisture to the skin and improve its texture and appearance.* Topical application of HA may help support skin hydration and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.* It May also promote skin elasticity, making it look smoother and more youthful.*
HA is available in various skincare products, including serums, creams, and masks. These products are formulated to deliver HA molecules to the skin, where they may attract and retain water molecules, hydrating and plumping the skin.* Some products also contain other ingredients that can enhance the effects of HA, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and peptides.
In addition to topical application, some people choose to take HA supplements to support skin moisture and hydration from the inside out.* While more research is needed to determine the long-term benefits and safety of HA supplements, some studies have suggested that they may improve skin hydration, elasticity, and roughness.*
Hyaluronic acid and wound healing
Hyaluronic acid (HA) also plays an important role in wound healing. When the skin is injured, the body's natural response is to initiate a cascade of events that lead to tissue repair and regeneration. HA may be involved in this process, as it promotes cell migration and proliferation, angiogenesis, and extracellular matrix synthesis.*
HA is also a component of the extracellular matrix, where it helps to support hydration, lubrication, and elasticity, which are essential for tissue repair.*
Topical application of HA may improve wound healing by promoting moisturization and tissue regeneration, as well as supporting inflammation.* In addition, HA-based dressings have been developed to support wound healing, particularly in chronic wounds that are difficult to heal.* These dressings may promote a moist environment for the wound, which supports tissue regeneration and may reduce the risk of infection.*
Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid, and it is commonly used in medical and cosmetic applications. Sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight than hyaluronic acid, which makes it more soluble and easier to absorb by the skin.
It has similar properties to hyaluronic acid, including its ability to potentially attract and retain water molecules, which may make it an excellent moisturizer for the skin.*
Sodium hyaluronate is used in many skincare products, including serums, creams, and masks, as well as in injectable fillers for facial rejuvenation.*
In addition to its cosmetic applications, sodium hyaluronate is also used in medical treatments, such as eye surgeries and joint injections for osteoarthritis.* It has a good safety profile and is generally well-tolerated, making it a popular ingredient in many products.
Hyaluronic acid serum
Hyaluronic acid serum is a skincare product that is formulated to deliver hyaluronic acid to the skin. The serum contains a high concentration of hyaluronic acid molecules, which are designed to penetrate the skin and attract and retain water molecules, hydrating and plumping the skin.*
Hyaluronic acid serum is an excellent moisturizer for all skin types, but it is particularly beneficial for dry, dehydrated, or mature skin, which tends to lose its ability to retain moisture as we age.
The serum is lightweight and absorbs quickly, making it an ideal choice for daytime use under makeup or as a base for other skincare products. Hyaluronic acid serum can also be used in combination with other ingredients, such as vitamins, antioxidants, and peptides, to enhance its benefits and address specific skincare concerns, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven texture.*
Having sensitive skin
Sensitive skin is a common skin condition characterized by skin that is easily irritated, inflamed, or itchy in response to various stimuli, such as environmental factors, skincare products, or certain ingredients. Sensitive skin and allergic reactions can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, underlying skin conditions, hormonal changes, or exposure to harsh chemicals or allergens.
People with sensitive skin may experience a range of symptoms, including redness, itching, burning, dryness, flakiness, or swelling. These symptoms can be triggered by a variety of factors, including changes in temperature, exposure to UV radiation, or contact with certain fabrics, soaps, or cosmetics.
Sensitive skin management
To manage sensitive skin, it is important to avoid triggers and use skincare products that are gentle, non-irritating, and free of harsh chemicals, fragrances, and allergens. Skincare products for sensitive skin typically contain soothing and hydrating ingredients, such as aloe vera, chamomile, oatmeal, and hyaluronic acid, may help to reduce inflammation and restore the skin's barrier function.*
In addition to using gentle skincare products, people with sensitive skin should also take steps to protect their skin from environmental stressors, such as wearing sunscreen, avoiding excessive heat or cold, and wearing protective clothing.
They should also avoid using abrasive exfoliants or scrubs, and instead opt for mild chemical exfoliants or enzymatic exfoliants that are less likely to irritate the skin.
Hyaluronic eye drops
Hyaluronic acid eye drops are a type of eye drop solution that contains hyaluronic acid as the active ingredient. These eye drops are designed to relieve dry eye symptoms provide relief from dry eye symptoms, such as redness, itching, burning, and irritation, by increasing the hydration and lubrication of the eye surface.*
Hyaluronic acid eye drops generally work by binding to the water molecules in tears, which may form a protective film on the eye surface that may help to maintain hydration and reduce friction.* This film may also help to stabilize the tear film, which is important for maintaining clear vision and reducing the risk of eye infections.*
Hyaluronic acid eye drops are also often used by people with dry eye syndrome, a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the quality of the tears is poor.
Dry eye health
Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging, hormonal changes, certain medications, and environmental factors, such as exposure to wind, smoke, or dry air.
Hyaluronic acid eye drops are generally considered as being safe and well-tolerated, and are often used on a daily basis in order to provide long-lasting relief from dry eye symptoms.*
They are also available in a preservative-free formulation, which is recommended for people with sensitive eyes or those who need to use eye drops frequently.
In addition to providing relief from dry eye symptoms, studies have shown that hyaluronic acid eye drops may also have other benefits for the eyes, such as supporting ocular surface health, supporting inflammation, and promoting wound healing.*
Research on the use of hyaluronic acid eye drops for these purposes is ongoing, and more studies are needed to determine their effectiveness and safety.
Hydrated skin is skin that is well-moisturized and has a healthy level of water content, which is essential for maintaining skin health and a youthful appearance. Hydrated skin appears plump, supple, and smooth, with a natural glow and a reduced appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
There are several factors that contribute to skin hydration, including genetics, age, environmental factors, and skincare habits. As we age, our skin loses its ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness, flakiness, and an increased risk of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Exposure to environmental factors, such as sun, wind, and pollution, can also damage the skin and reduce its ability to retain moisture.
Routine for hydrated skin moisture
To maintain hydrated skin, it is important to adopt a consistent skincare routine that includes cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and protecting the skin.
Cleansing the skin removes dirt, oil, and impurities, while toning helps to balance the skin's pH levels and prepare it for moisturization. Moisturizing the skin helps to replenish lost moisture and to protect the skin's barrier function, while protecting the skin's surface itself from the sun and other environmental stressors helps to prevent damage and maintain hydration.
In addition to a consistent skincare routine, there are several other steps that can be taken to maintain hydrated skin. Drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and getting enough sleep are all important for maintaining skin health and hydration.
Using skincare products that contain hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides, may also help to improve skin hydration and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.*
Sodium acetylated hyaluronate
Sodium acetylated hyaluronate (SAH) is a modified form of hyaluronic acid that has been chemically acetylated to enhance its properties and improve its stability. SAH is an odorless, water-soluble powder commonly used in cosmetic and skincare products for its ability to hydrate and protect the skin.*
SAH has several advantages over traditional hyaluronic acid. It has a higher molecular weight and is more stable, which may allow it to penetrate the skin more easily and promote longer-lasting hydration. SAH may also be less prone to degradation by enzymes and other environmental factors, which may make it more effective at supporting skin hydration and elasticity over time.*
SAH as antioxidant
In addition to its hydrating properties, SAH has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, making it useful for treating a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea, and aging.* SAH is also a popular ingredient in sunscreens, as it provides protection against UV radiation and helps to prevent sun damage and premature aging.*
SAH is typically used in concentrations ranging from 0.1% to 2% in cosmetic and skincare products. It can be incorporated into a variety of formulations, including creams, lotions, serums, and masks. SAH is generally safe and well-tolerated and suitable for use on all skin types, including sensitive skin.
High molecular weight (HMW)
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a large molecule that comes in various molecular weights, ranging from low to high. High molecular weight (HMW) hyaluronic acid is a type of HA with a molecular weight of more than one million Daltons. It is the largest form of hyaluronic acid and is typically found in the skin and other tissues.
HMW hyaluronic acid has several properties that make it useful in skincare and other applications. It is an excellent moisturizer, as it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, which makes it an effective hydrating agent for the skin.* HMW hyaluronic acid is also a natural lubricant, which may make it useful for supporting joints.
High molecular weight in skincare
In skincare products, HMW hyaluronic acid is used to support skin hydration, which, in turn, may reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.* It may also help to support the skin's elasticity and firmness, making it look and feel more youthful and vibrant.*
HMW hyaluronic acid is typically used in concentrations ranging from 0.1% to 2% in skincare products, and it can be incorporated into a variety of formulations, including serums, creams, and masks. It is generally safe and well-tolerated, and it is suitable for use on all skin types, including sensitive skin.
In conclusion, hyaluronic acid is a fascinating molecule with many important functions in the body. Its unique ability to bind water make it an essential component of the extracellular matrix and synovial fluid, which are crucial for supporting tissue hydration, lubrication, and elasticity.* HA may also plays a vital role in promoting tissue repair and wound healing, as well as supporting inflammation, making it an important target for therapeutic interventions.* While more research is needed to determine the long-term benefits and safety of HA supplements, they hold promise for improving joint health, skin health, wound healing, and immune function.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Get professional advice if you think you might need a hyaluronic acid supplement or are already taking one to ensure you're not exceeding the amounts you may need.