HYALURONIC ACID (HA)
SYNONYMS - Hyaluronate, Hyaluronan
Hyaluronic acid is a polymer of disaccharides composed of D-glucuronic acid and D-N-acetylglucosamine and is linked via an alternating beta-1,4 and beta-1,3 glycosidic bonds. Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally found in the human body in almost every part which means that it ought to have multiple functions In our body, cushioning and lubricating being the major ones. The food sources of this polysaccharides are Jerusalem Artichokes and a couple other plants. Hyaluronic acid is found in very high concentrations in the fluids present in the eyes and joints. It serves as a healer and a shock absorber . In joints, HA helps with respect to arthritis. It is an anti-oxidant and is found abundantly in the vitreous matter of the eye and is used in cataract and glaucoma surgery Apart form the above mentioned benefits, HA has other tremendous cosmetic uses. Although it is likely safe to be consumed or applied over the skin, rarely HA may cause allergic reactions. Let's walk through the various benefits of Hyaluronic acid.
One of the most significant and potential benefit of HA is with respect to joints. HA is an important component of synovial fluid which is a lubricant, a cementing substance, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-edematous substance and a shock absorber present between two joints. In people suffering from Osteoarthritis, HA in the synovial fluid breaks down and that adds on to the joint pain and stiffness of the joints. HA supplements can be administered for the knee joints, hip joints and even the ankle to provide significant relief from the pain. HA is an ideal alternative to NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) as NSAIDs have many possible side effects such as stomach bleeding and kidney problems. HA is better tolerated than NSAIDs by patients and hence HA is a much better option than NSAIDs while dealing with osteoarthritis. It is used in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate to treat arthritis more efficiently.
2. SKIN CARE AND WRINKLES (ANTI AGEING)
HA helps in smoothing wrinkles and folds especially the nasolabial fold by adding temporary volume to the facial tissues and thereby restoring a fuller appearance to the face. HA is hydrophilic in nature in the sense that it readily combines with water and swells up causing a wrinkle smoothing effect. It penetrates into the extra cellular matrix of the skin cells binds with the water and makes the skin look plump and full. It is used in combination with Botulinum Toxin A to obtain long lasting effects.
3. EXCELLENT MOISTURIZER
As mentioned earlier, HA has a great affinity towards water and it acts as a moisturizer or a humectant by drawing water to the skin and thus helps in preventing moisture loss by holding the water inside. The substance gets penetrated into the dermis and epidermis in order to give the moisturizing effect. Hydrating the skin will help in getting the essential nutrition to the skin cells necessary for beautiful, radiant and flawless looking skin.
4. SKIN AND WOUND HEALING
HA plays an essential role with respect to wound and skin healing as it is an important part of the extra cellular matrix of basal keratinocytes present in the epidermis of the skin. HA is an anti-oxidant and it's free radical scavenging property helps in keratinocyte proliferation and migration. The free radical scavenging property also aids in protection against harmful solar radiation. HA is also abundantly found in the granulation tissue which is the scaffold on healing wounds. It helps in cell migration and is pro-inflammatory I.e. Helps in initiation of formation of the granulation tissue.
5. OPTHALMIC BENEFITS
HA is present in very high concentrations in the vitreous matter of the eyes. It acts as a shock absorber, helps maintaining the pepper shape of the eye ball, keeps it in place, stabilizes vision and transports essential nutrients. It is given in cases of glaucoma and cataract to increase the concentration of HA in the extra cellular matrix of the eye, thereby improving vision.
Although HA does not have any possible side effects, in some cases it has shown to cause allergic reactions. It is best to avoid these supplements during pregnancy, lactation as it is still not known how safe it is to be consumed orally during these times.