Updated: August 26, 2019
Hyaluronic acid also known as hyaluronan, is a substance that is naturally present in the human body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. Our own skin cells actually produce Hyaluronic Acid naturally in a bid to maintain moisture levels. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or made by bacteria in the laboratory.
Hyaluronic acid works by acting as a cushion and lubricant in the joints and other tissues. In addition, it might affect the way the body responds to injury. It is very useful for various joint disorders, such as osteoarthritis. It can be taken by mouth or injected into the affected joint by a healthcare professional. Hyaluronic acid can be used during certain eye surgeries including cataract removal, corneal transplantation, and repair of a detached retina and other eye injuries. It is injected into the eye during the procedure to help replace natural fluids.
Hyaluronic acid is also used as a lip filler in plastic surgery. Some people apply hyaluronic acid to the skin for healing wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer. It is also been used to prevent the effects of aging. The substance works as a magnet for moisture, helping your cells retain as much of it as possible so that your skin feels and appears hydrated, plump and healthy. Hyaluronic Acid also has antioxidant properties, which means it can act like a shield against free radicals we aren't in control of, like pollution and other aggressors. Its main function is to retain water to keep your tissues well lubricated and moist. Hyaluronic acid has a variety of uses. Many people take it as a supplement, but it is also used in topical serums, eye drops and injections.
Injecting hyaluronic acid into the eye is effective when used during cataract surgery by an eye surgeon.
Hyaluronic acid is effective for treating mouth sores when applied to the skin as a gel.
Hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints, where it keeps the space between your bones well lubricated. When the joints are lubricated, the bones are less likely to grind against each other and cause uncomfortable pain. Hyaluronic acid supplements are very helpful for people suffering from osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative joint disease caused by wear and tear on the joints over time.
Possibly Effective for:
It is critical in maintaining skin hydration, although it can be degraded by free radical mechanisms caused by things like UV exposure. Topically applied, it helps to hydrate the skin and maintain this hydration as a humectant. Taking hyaluronic acid supplements may prevent this decline by giving your body extra amounts to incorporate into the skin. Injecting a specific hyaluronic acid product (Juvederm Ultra Plus, Allergan) into facial wrinkles can reduce wrinkles for up to one year. Also taking a product containing hyaluronic acid and other ingredients (GliSODin Skin Nutrients Advanced Anti-Aging Formula) by mouth seems to decrease wrinkles and damage from the sun when used for 3 months.
Injecting hyaluronic acid alone or with chondroitin sulfate directly in to the bladder reduces the number of UTIs in women with frequent UTIs. Cystistat (Bioniche Life Sciences) and iAluRil (IBSA Farmaceutici) are some of the specific products that have been researched.
When acid reflux occurs, the contents of the stomach are regurgitated up into the throat, causing pain and damage to the lining of the esophagus. Hyaluronic acid may help soothe the damaged lining of the esophagus and speed up the recovery process. A combination supplement containing hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate may help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux in some people.
Symptoms of dry eye is due to reduced tear production or tears evaporating too quickly. Since hyaluronic acid is excellent at retaining moisture, it is often used to treat dry eye. Applying a specific hyaluronic acid eye drop (Hyalistil) might relieve dry eye.
In addition, hyaluronic acid eye drops are frequently used during eye surgery to reduce inflammation and speed wound healing. Contact lenses that contain slow-release hyaluronic acid are also being developed as a possible treatment for dry eye
Hyaluronic acid might be injected into the eye to treat detached retina or other eye injuries.
Applying hyaluronic acid to the skin might be helpful for treating burns and skin wounds. Hyaluronic acid helps wounds heal faster by regulating inflammation levels and signaling the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area. Hyaluronic acid also has antibacterial properties, so it can help reduce the risk of infection when applied directly to open wounds. It is also effective at combating gum disease, speeding up healing after tooth surgery and eliminating ulcers when used topically in the mouth.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid for these uses.
Hyaluronic acid is likely safe when taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or given by injection and appropriately. Rarely, hyaluronic acid may cause allergic reactions.
There is also some evidence that cancer cells are sensitive to hyaluronic acid and taking supplements could make them grow faster (51Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source). For this reason, it is generally advised that people with cancer or a history of cancer avoid supplementing with it.
Hyaluronic acid is possibly safe when given by injection during pregnancy. However, not enough is known about the safety of hyaluronic acid when taken by mouth or applied to the skin during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. Hyaluronic acid is possibly unsafe when given by injection during breast feeding. Researchers do not know if it affects breast milk and what effect that might have on an infant. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking hyaluronic acid by mouth or applying it to the skin if you are breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research and is recommended:
Hyaluronic acid can also be injected directly into the joints for pain relief. Healthcare providers inject hyaluronic acid into the knee joint.
Taking 80-200 mg daily for at least two months has been shown to significantly reduce knee pain in people with osteoarthritis, especially those between the ages of 40 and 70 years old.
Doses of 120-240 mg per day for at least one month have been shown to significantly increase skin moisture and reduce dry skin in adults.
Eye drops containing 0.2-0.4% hyaluronic acid have been shown to reduce dry eye symptoms and improve eye health.