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Hyaluronic Acid for anti aging

Updated on October 29, 2007

There is nothing new about hyaluronic acid (HA). The compound (aka hyaluranan) was originally discovered in 1934 and up until the late 1970's was thought of as simply "the goo molecule".

Gradually, sometime around ten or so years ago, hyaluronic acid's beneficial attributes became apparent. It was no longer just a passive, gooey substance, just there aiding in support.

Scientists began to see that it was a bioactive, dynamic substance. Research has begun to show that HA has a number of critical functions, ranging from simply being a supportive substance, to being the "director" of the formation of new tissue.

One could go further into the chemical make up of hyaluronic acid, but there are many more scholarly sources out there if you want to get into that. I do want to touch however, on the fact that HA binds with particular other compounds in our bodies that are sulfate based. After these bond, the new compounds "knit" together with collagen and various other proteins, essentially to makeup all of our body tissues. This description is the super simplified version...but you get the idea.

Hyaluronic acid is found in the vitreous humor of the eye (the clear gel that provides the structure and shock absorbsion to the eye), synovial fluid (a slippery fluid for cushioning and lubricating joints), and is abundant in normal skin.

HA deficiencies can result in dryness, wrinkling, and inflexibility of the skin-premature aging, joint problems, and detachment of the retina (this may vary in severity).

The importance of hyaluronic acid in maintaining healthy youthful skin is obvious. There are no studies that I have found, that come out hands down on the side of oral supplementation of HA. There have been some smaller studies conducted at several universities showing much promise.

Along with that, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence pointing to it being something to look at for skin and joint health.

Oral Hyaluronic Acid may...

--Improve skin's elasticity and smoothness.

--Decrease fine lines and wrinkles.

--Stimulate collagen production (some studies show an almost three fold increase)

--Assist in promoting a healthy moisture level in the skin.

--Support the body's natural repair processes, especially when taken at night.

--Be invaluable in the joint support arsenal, along with glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Even taken alone, studies show a very positive response to oral HA in osteoarthritis.

--Promote restful sleep when taken at bedtime.

--Facilitate wound healing (notably after cataract surgery)

Our body can manufacture hyaluronic acid on its own. Many factors influence how much we make, and how fast it is broken down.

Stress hormones, UV exposure, age, genetics, and a number of other factors can influence how much hyaluronic acid is produced, and how much is broken down.

One way to help naturally stimulate hyaluronic acid production is through exercise. We always hear that one don't we? It gets that repair process signal going and sends hyaluronic acid factories into production.

Another factor to keep in mind for an optimal hyaluronic acid environment would be your diet. HA synthesis needs magnesium and energy. Studies have been done on rats suffering from malnutrition, and they have found not only hyaluronic acid deficiency but lowered collagen levels.

A healthy diet and a good vitamin and mineral supplement are always a good insurance policy. Fad diets or severe calorie restrictions are never a good idea.

When choosing a hyaluronic acid supplement it is crucial to read the label. This is not an inexpensive supplement. The hyaluronic acid molecule is a very long chain molecule, measured in Daltons, weighing in at 1 to 1.5 million Daltons. In this natural state, this is way too large to be absorbed into the digestive tract.

You need to find a HA supplement that states clearly on the label "low molecular weight". This is crucial. Otherwise, you will be wasting your money. This low molecular weight should come in at around 5000 Dalton's, though the actual weight may not be on the label. To get this lower weight, the molecule has been enzymatically broken into smaller bits, able to be absorbed.

As always, it is good to check with your physician before starting supplementation. Follow your MD's dosage or the recommendation of your brand. Most people notice results with supplementation after two to four months, often reports are quite dramatic.

This may be just the beginning of what Hyaluronic Acid can do. There are a number of Connective Tissue Disorders that have a link to hyaluronic acid deficiencies and abnormalities. The more that we study this dynamic molecule, the more people we can help. It may or may not be a key to the fountain of youth, but it may be so much more.

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