Hyaluronic Acid, what it is, how it assists in skin heath

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is also called hyaluronan.  It is a polysaccharide found in most of the bodies’ cells. the body makes HA by using an enzyme called hyaluronic acid synthase to combine two sugars, D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl glucosamine.  There are foods that either provide small amounts of HA, or the building blocks of it.  See the list at the end of the article.  Facial products are usually made from bacteria synthesized from poultry (rooster combs) and other sources (1).  HA is a main part of the skin, and 50 percent of HA is found here. It plumps, firms, and moisturizes skin.  It acts as a natural support for the dermis, and it delivers nutrients and keeps the skin moist by pulling water from your body. It’s a lubricating fluid found in connective tissue, skin, joints, eyes, and the fluid of the body (1).  HA is used in supplements for skin and joint health, including joint pain reduction, and in skincare items. This is as HA can help reverse cartilage and collagen loss.  It can lessen inflammation and assist in immune functioning, including wound healing.   It is in eye moistening drops, and in pharmaceutical eye serums and eye drops.  The last is to provide structure and moisture to damaged tissue while it heals.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) can slow down the loss of collagen while it reduces fluid or water loss in tissues. so, it can make, skin glow, improve joint health, and treat problems with, and lubricate, eyes.  This is all without the side effects of harmful, toxic, products. Hyaluronic acid, or hyaluronan, has the ability to improve skin’s texture and appearance. It also reduces the symptoms associated with aging, like joint pain.  HA does all of this as it is a clear, lubricating, secretion naturally produced in the body.  High concentrations of hyaluronic acid are found in the skin, inside the joints, in the eye’s sockets as well as other tissues. HA improves the skins flexibility, elasticity and moisture content, while assisting in the retention of collagen.

Hyaluronic acid is  found  in  bone broth, so simply by adding  it, or protein powder made from  it,  to your diet can automatically increase your consumption of HA. Regarding skincare products, since hyaluronic acid itself can’t penetrate cells for absorption, skincare products use sodium hyaluronate.   It is the salt of hyaluronic acid, and because it has a much lower molecular size, sodium hyaluronate can penetrate the skin when applied topically.

How HA improves ageing skin via hydration.  HA supplements, taken orally, have been shown in clinical trials of people (men and women) to improve the luster and suppleness of skin while supressing wrinkles, both by inhibiting new wrinkle formation and by reducing the appearance of already formed wrinkles (2). In one study, using people, after eight weeks of supplementation, subjects in the HA group, but not the placebo group, presented with significantly decreased maximum mean, or average, wrinkle depth (3).

The improvements to skin are maximized after eight weeks in the studies because it takes about 28 days for the skin to turn over a new layer. The   It also improved the moister contents while protecting the skin from sun damage (3).   HA, along with collagen and elastin fibers, is synthesized within the dermal skin’s fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are skin cell that generate connective tissue and allow the skin to recover from injury.   HA prompts the production of fibroblasts in the dermis, and so taking HA supplements promotes this synthesis in fibroblasts. These supplements can help to maintain skin health, while suppressing wrinkle formation.   This effect is partially due to HA promoting collagen synthesis in the skin (798).  HA has a high-water content, so it improves moisture retention in the epidermis (upper layer of skin). HA also helps to normalize skin cell functioning, keeping it healthy (2). And, if the tissues of the body are harmed, HA production increases.  In fact, HA regulates many aspects of tissue repair, including the activation of inflammatory cells to enhance an immune response.  HA also improves the response of fibroblasts and epithelial cells (which form the outer lay of the body and other areas of the body, including the gut) to injury (3).

HA hydrates skin. Many people report that their skin feels “dewier,” that their under-eye bags become lighter, and that the texture of their skin feels and looks smoother after applying serums containing hyaluronic acid. The main way that HA helps improve the appearance of sun related skin damage, called chrono-aged skin, is by reducing water loss.   HA’s ability to increase moisture content is one of the reasons that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) improves skin’s health and appearance.  HRT increases the skin’s natural amount of HA (3).

As we age molecules in our skin lose some of their ability to bind and retain water.  this leads to dryness, drooping lips and eyes, and sagginess as well as dandruff.  The loss of our ability to get molecules to bind to, or retain, moisture also reductions skin’s volume. The process of aging in skin is a response to extrinsic (outside of the body) and intrinsic (inside the body) factors. Extrinsically, environmental pollutants and UV light, as well as damage from blue light emitting devices, can impact skin.  Intrinsically, as we age, we slowly loose the ability to make HA, which naturally occurs in the body.  Research has show that there are numerous sites in the skin involved in the control of HA synthesis, deposition, cell and protein association, and degradation. For instance, it has been found that dryness of the stratum corneum is the result of prolonged exposure to the sun.  this results in the development of wrinkles. Wrinkles are much more likely to be visible in low humidity environments, where it is harder for the skin to maintain its elasticity and moisture retaining abilities. HA, which attracts moisture to the skin, can reduce these signs of aging. It decreases the loss of water from the epidermis (outer layer of skin), that related to dry and flaky skin and sun damage.

How HA Helps in fighting wrinkles, including improving their appearance.   Within two to six weeks of using a topical HA product, you should experience a noticeable improvement to the skin’s hydration. One clinical study of 40 women experiencing mild to moderate (clinical) signs of aging skin (changes to their skin’s surface and decreased volume) showed that within 30 days, HA can improve skin sagging, and decreased the appearance of wrinkles. Some subjects even reported increased volume to cheeks and lips (35). Here, for 30 days, the subject received either a product named Fillerina, that had six types of HA in it, or a placebo cream.  The results were measured at three hours, and then at seven days, fourteen days, and thirty days from application.  The subjects in the active group started seeing improvements within 14 to 30 days. The active group experienced reductions in sagging of the face and the contours of the cheeks, as well as improvements to lip volume.  At the same time, the active group also experienced decreased depth of wrinkles and decreased volume of wrinkles (35).  An eight-week study, using females approximately 45 year of age, assessed a topical low molecular nano-hyaluronic acid preparation. This was used to treat wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity and skin hydration. The subjects experienced statistically significant moisturizing effects, improved (finer) skin texture, as well as improvements to skin’s elasticity. The researchers stated that within eight weeks this product had decreased wrinkle depth by as much as 40 percent, while improving skin elasticity and firmness by up to 55 percent, and skin hydration by up to 96 percent (43).  You can also get prescription injectables made from HA (Allergan, Ultra Plus & Juvederm).  These can take months to show their maximum effects.

If hyaluronic acid and is mixed with hydrolyzed collagen supplements and essential vitamins (B6, C, D3, E) and minerals (Zinc, Copper, D-biotin), it has been found to significantly improve skin hydration, wrinkle depth, and elasticity (23).   Collagen has amino acids (cysteine and proline) that form building blocks of the outer layer of skin, called the stratum corneum (39).  Type I collagen can improve the appearance of aging skin (40) and reduces age related changes to skin (44). After four weeks of supplementation, Collagen has been shown to greatly improve skin elasticity, skin thickness and after 8 weeks of supplementation, help improve skin moister (45).  Collagen even reduces moister evaporation from skin (46).   

How HA sooths and repairs damaged, sunburned, and wounded skin.  Hyaluronic acid can help repair damaged tissue. It keeps damaged tissue moist, so it can treat many ailments, including cold sores, ulcers, wounds, burns, bites, and mouth sores. It also helps repair sun damaged skin. HA is naturally part of tissue, which is made partially from water and collagen. So, HA helps build the tissue of the mouth and lips.  In fact, HA, along with collagen, help give structure and shape to lips.  As HA binds to water, it hydrates skin tissues, including oral tissues. HA also controls inflammation, keeps skin junctions tight, brings nutrients to damaged tissues, and helps fluids carry away waste. This is why many remedies for lip and mouth problems, like cold sores, contain HA.  It prevents bleeding or cracking, while speeds up the healing process.

Hyaluronic Acid helps to produce and repair cells (42). Collagen uses Hyaluronic Acid to bind elastin and collagen.  This then protects cartilage and improves elasticity in tissue.  You can buy it in supplement form.

Information on HA for skin.   Regarding skincare, there are a variety of HA acid creams, lotions and serums available to purchase.  These can have differing concentrations of, and types of, HA molecules.  It is beneficial to have a variety of molecule sizes in one product to maximize the various ways the different sized molecules work within the body, including the skin.  Studies have shown that applying serums etc., on a daily basis work well if they contain a   0.1 percent HA. These products are reports as leading to significant improvements to the skin regarding elasticity, hydration, and   the appearance of wrinkles (38). In the U.S. injectable HA based derma fillers are approved for use in those over 21 years of age keep in mind that these are temporary, as the materials will be absorbed by the body. Short term negative reactions include sensitivity to sunlight, and mild inflammation.  These should resolve themselves within two to seven days.  Very rarely, serious side effects like changes to eyesight and vascular changes to the eyes like damage due to blocked blood vessels (29).

Side effects of HA injection.  If an individual gets a permanent type of filler, they are more likely to experience side effects. In such cases, for at least 24 hours, do not wear makeup; for several days, avoid direct exposure to sunlight or excessive heat; use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more; for several days, avoid intense activities or sports.  If there is a problem, the medical professional may use hyaluronidases to reverse it.  This is an enzyme that breaks down HA.  

Side effects are more common when someone receives permanent fillers. It’s important that patients follow their doctor’s instructions after treatments, including avoiding wearing makeup for 24 hours after the injection, avoiding direct exposure to the sun or excessive heat for several days, using SPF 30 sunscreen daily and avoiding sports/vigorous activities during the week of the application. This helps limit the risk for inflammation and other adverse reactions. When there are complications from HA filler injections, hyaluronidase is sometimes used to reverse the effects of the fillers. Hyaluronidases are enzymes that are able to break down HA.

If you use a commercial or prescription HA product keep in mind that it is probably mad with bacteria from bird protein or cartilage. If you are allergic to poultry products, including eggs and feathers, be cautious.

Hyaluronic acid: food sources of hyaluronic acid (HA) include: bone broth and organ meats. Starchy root vegetables contain some HA, and they boost production of it as they have many helpful nutrients (fiber, potassium, vitamins B6 & C), this is especially true of yams, but also potatoes, sweet potatoes, tubers like jicama & Jerusalem artichoke.  Isoflavone rich soy-based foods enhance the production of HA. Also eat fruits high in naringenin, which inhibits the breakdown of HA, these include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bananas. Bananas also contain a bit of HA, magnesium and vitamin C.  Vitamin C and magnesium both help galvanize the production of HA.  Foods high in both are: citrus fruits like grapefruits & oranges, tomatoes avocados, cherries, grapes, and mangoes, bananas. Sweet peppers are high in vitamin C. Magnesium rich foods help include nuts, seeds, leafy greens like spinach, kale and swiss chard, and avocados. Almonds and cashews are high in magnesium. Dark chocolate has small amounts of magnesium, it has zinc which helps HA production and it contains flavanols (bioactive compounds or plant derived nutrients which promote healthy blood vessel function).  Beans also contain both zinc and magnesium. Red wine has phytoestrogens which help in HA production (3).

Take between 120 and 240 mg per day for about four weeks.  This has shown significant increases to skin moisture and a reduction in dry skin in adults (4). 

As we age this key molecule to skin moisture, and our ability to manufacture HA, decreases as we age.  Skin starts to lose moisture and plumpness, as well as the ability to repair itself. This is why older skin is more likely to scare if injured (5). This is why skin care products often contain HA. Because HA molecules in their natural form are too large to easily penetrate skin, skincare often has low molecular weight HA serums in it.  This improves the skin’s moisture and can provide noticeable improvement to wrinkle depth within weeks. HA helps reduce skin damage done by oxidative stress that is rooted in external (pollution, sun damage & blue light damage from devices) and internal (hormonal changes, diet, lack of sleep etc.) causes.

HA can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, but because it has molecules that are larger than other acids it is not easily absorbable by the skin.  Recently, skin care companies have started using a lower molecular weight HA that can penetrate skin. Studies of these products show that they do improve skin moisture and reduce wrinkle depth within several weeks of starting to use them.  HA can also help with damage done to skin by oxidative stress, caused externally by pollution and UV rays as well as by internal factors like hormonal changes, including loss of estrogen, which can lead to the degradation of collagen and so dryer, less elastic and more wrinkled skin.  

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek professional help from a qualified healthcare provider if it is needed.

References found at:http://lifeisbeautifullifecoach.com/hyaluronic-acid-for-health-wellbeing/