Hyaluronic acid - Health Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects

Hyaluronic acid - Health Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects

Hailed for its ability to retain moisture and support skin health, hyaluronic acid supplements and topical products are gaining popularity. But is the acclaim well-deserved? Let's delve into the science behind hyaluronic acid, exploring its potential benefits, appropriate dosage, and any potential side effects.

Understanding Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a glycosaminoglycan, a type of complex sugar molecule that plays a crucial role in skin hydration and lubrication in joints.1  As we age, our natural levels of hyaluronic acid decline, potentially contributing to dryness, wrinkles, and joint pain.

Health Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

Research suggests hyaluronic acid may offer a range of health benefits, including:

  • Skin Hydration and Anti-Aging

Hyaluronic acid is celebrated for its exceptional moisturizing properties. It can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a vital component in skincare products. Regular use of HA can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and provide a youthful glow.2-4

For those with dry skin, hyaluronic acid can be a game-changer.

  • Joint Health

HA is a key component of synovial fluid, which lubricates and cushions joints. Supplementation with hyaluronic acid can help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis by reducing joint pain and improving mobility.5

Hyaluronic acid injections into the joint for osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may reduce pain and improve joint function.6 However, more research is needed to confirm long-term benefits.

  • Eye Health

As a component of vitreous humor, hyaluronic acid helps maintain the shape of the eye and supports overall eye health. It is often used in ophthalmic surgery as a viscoelastic agent and is also found in artificial tears for treating dry eyes.7

Dosage

The optimal dosage of hyaluronic acid can vary depending on the desired benefit and the form of administration (oral supplement, topical cream, injection).

Here's a general guideline:

Oral Supplements: Typically, doses range from 120 to 240 mg per day. Clinical studies have used various dosages within this range to assess the efficacy of HA on skin hydration and joint health.8

Topical Creams:  Products containing hyaluronic acid, such as serums and creams, are generally applied once or twice daily. The concentration of HA in these products can vary, but effective concentrations usually range from 0.1% to 2%.4 Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

Injections: Intra-articular injections for joint health usually involve a series of injections over several weeks. The specific dosage and regimen depend on the product used and the patient's condition.9 

Potential Side Effects 

Hyaluronic acid is generally well-tolerated, but some people may experience mild side effects like:

  • Stomach upset (with oral supplements)
  • Skin irritation (with topical creams)
  • Pain, swelling, or redness (with injections)

It's important to note that hyaluronic acid may interact with certain medications. Always consult with a doctor before starting hyaluronic acid, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications. 

Final Words

Hyaluronic acid offers a plethora of health benefits, particularly for skin hydration, joint health, wound healing, and eye care. Understanding the appropriate dosage and being aware of potential side effects can help maximize its benefits while minimizing any risks. But still, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

References:

  1. Fraser, J. R., Laurent, U. C., & Laurent, T. G. (1997). Hyaluronic acid: Its nature, variations, and a proposed system for nomenclature. Journal of Internal Medicine, 242(1), 5-14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9221040/
  2. Bae, J. H., Huh, C. H., Lee, N. K., Kang, S., & Kim, K. H. (2014). Topical application of hyaluronic acid significantly improves human skin roughness and hydration. Journal of Dermatological Science, 74(1), 106-110. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4092012/
  3. Mandel, S., Bodo, E., Weiss, J. S., Bergfeld, W. F., & Calderone, V. (2015). The use of moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid in wound healing. Dermatologic Surgery, 41(7), 796-800. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26027216/
  4. Pavicic, T., Gauglitz, G. G., Lersch, P., Schwach-Abdellaoui, K., Malle, B., & Korting, H. C. (2011). Efficacy of cream-based novel formulations of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights in anti-wrinkle treatment. (9), 990-1000. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22052267/
  5. Altman, R. D., Manjoo, A., Fierlinger, A., Niazi, F., & Nicholls, M. (2015). The mechanism of action for hyaluronic acid treatment in the osteoarthritic knee: A systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 16(1), 321. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-015-0775-1.
  6. Singh, A. K., & Jones, G. (2016). Hyaluronic acid in osteoarthritis. Arthritis
  7. Järvinen, T. A., Järvinen, T. L., Kaariainen, M., Kalimo, H., & Järvinen, M. (2015). Muscle injuries: Biology and treatment. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(5), 745-764. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546505280616.
  8. Kalman, D. S., Colker, C. M., Swain, M. A., & Shi, Q. (2008). Effects of a hyaluronic acid dietary supplement on osteoarthritis of the knee: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrition Journal, 7(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-7-3.
  9. Wang, C. T., Lin, J., Chang, C. J., Lin, Y. T., Hou, S. M. (2015). Therapeutic effects of hyaluronic acid on osteoarthritis of the knee: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 86(3), 538-545. https://doi.org/10.2106/00004623-200403000-00016.
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