Bioavailable Hyaluronic Acid – Can Hyaluronic Acid Be Absorbed Orally?
Several years ago, ABC News’ Connie Chung reported on a Japanese village called Yuzuri Hara that has a reputation for extraordinary longevity. Not only do many inhabitants of the village live well into their 90s, but they also appear much younger due to their wrinkle-free skin, and they rarely suffer from common conditions associated with aging.
Local doctors attributed the villagers’ health and youthfulness to their diet. Unlike other regions of Japan that grow rice, Yuzuri Hara’s hilly terrain is better suited to harvesting various root vegetables now known to be rich in hyaluronic acid. This compound plays a huge role in human health, and by upping their intake of bioavailable hyaluronic acid, these villagers experienced first-hand the positive effects.
What Is Hyaluronic Acid and What Can It Do?
Hyaluronic acid is a sticky, mucopolysaccharide that our bodies naturally manufacture. It is a component of the ground substance or “intracellular cement” that holds our tissues together. It also provides structural support to our skin, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Although hyaluronic acid is naturally in most every cell in the body, it is particularly found in the skin tissue. In fact, almost 50 percent of the body’s hyaluronic acid is in skin, both in the visible top layers and the deeper levels. As we age, our natural levels of hyaluronic acid decline—typically 80 percent between the ages of 40 and 70. hyaluronic acid loss in the skin leads to wrinkles, decreased elasticity, and dryness. Fortunately, supplementing with hyaluronic acid (45—200 mg daily) can increase hyaluronic acid levels and help counteract these effects by supporting the body’s manufacture of collagen.
Hyaluronic Acid Improves Joint Health
The loss of hyaluronic acid within joints appears to be a major contributor to osteoarthritis (OA), which is the degeneration of cartilage characterization. Along with glucosamine sulfate and collagen, hyaluronic acid is a critical component of healthy cartilage. The drop in the body’s hyaluronic acid content around/after age 40 may be the leading cause of cartilage degeneration in many people.
Injecting hyaluronic acid into joints of people with OA (a treatment known as viscosupplementation) has beneficial effects on pain, joint function, and other symptoms. But injections may not be necessary—taking hyaluronic acid supplements may also be a viable method of increasing your body’s hyaluronic acid stores and improving OA symptoms.
Three double-blind, placebo-controlled studies provide evidence for using hyaluronic acid supplements. In the first study, 20 OA patients were to ingest either an hyaluronic acid supplement (80 mg) or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Pain scores significantly improved in the hyaluronic acid group compared to the placebo group. In the second study, 60 patients with OA were in random groups to receive either 200 mg of hyaluronic acid, 100 mg of hyaluronic acid, or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Subjects who had the most severe pain saw significant reductions in their pain and total symptom scores with 200 mg of hyaluronic acid, but not 100 mg of the supplement.
In the latest study, conducted at JR Tokyo General Hospital, OA sufferers between the ages of 40 and 70 who consumed 200 mg per day of Hyabest (a highly purified form of hyaluronic acid) showed improvements in symptoms over a 12-month period.
Fighting Back with Hyaluronic Acid
Research has shown that the body is constantly attempting to repair itself and this repair is entirely possible if the necessary building blocks are available. If you have OA, focus on therapies and supplements that help decrease the rate of damage and enhance cartilage matrix repair and regeneration. In this goal, natural agents such as hyaluronic acid can be extremely valuable.
Image source: hyalogic.com