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Clayton's Health Facts: Hyaluronic Acid.

Clayton South, SPN (ISSA), is a recognized expert in the bodybuilding / fitness industry with over 150 bodybuilding, fitness and nutrition publications to his credit.


What Is It?
And Where Does It Come From?

footHyaluronic acid (HA) is a protein (polyelectrolyte - a charged polymer) that occurs naturally throughout the human body and is concentrated in the synovial joint fluids, the heart valves and the eyes. Hyaluronic acid belongs to a family of proteins known as glycosaminoglycans and is a key component of cartilage.

In supplemental form HA is a white, odorless powder also known as hyaluronan, sodium hyaluronate and HA.


What Does It Do?
And What Scientific Studies Give Evidence To Support This?

Hyaluronic acid is versatile and is found in every tissue.

Its primary use in the body is as a component of cartilage. In this role HA is used to cushion the body from impact, lubricate joints, and protect joints from chronic inflammation (arthritis). It can also heal damaged joint tissue1.

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HA is a common ingredient in anti-osteoarthritis preparations because of its anti-arthritic properties, and it is frequently injected into the joints as a treatment for osteoarthritis2. Some research questions the benefit of this practice.3

HA also supports healthy immune function by acting as an antioxidant, holding water in the body, lubricating heart valves, and reducing bacterial infections.

Oxidants are created from food digestion, and these free radicals can damage internal organs, DNA and muscles, resulting in impaired immune function and increased vulnerability to injury, illness and disease.

Hydration is critical for healthy immune function, for muscle growth, and for the absorption of ascorbic acid and the B class vitamins. Finally, a healthy heart acts to maintain cardiovascular health and to pump vital vitamins and minerals to needed areas.

Hyaluronic Acid has been used both topically and orally for years because of its anti-aging effects. The cosmetic industry discovered that hyaluronic acid protects skin from aging and helps to maintain smooth, elastic skin by maintaining skin hydration.

Anecdote also suggests that HA can even restore lost hair color, but research has not verified this.

Genetics, environment and diet all influence HA levels.


Who Needs It?
And What Are Some Symptoms Of Deficiency?

Everyone needs HA, but some will benefit more than others from supplementation.

People with arthritis and compromised immune systems can derive particular benefit from HA use. Athletes can also benefit from HA supplementation as the joints are frequently subjected to stresses during athletic competition and the immune system subject to elevated free radical levels.

Magnesium is a limiting nutrient for HA synthesis, so be sure to intake sufficient amounts of magnesium when supplementing with HA. Smokers are frequently HA deficient, and vitamin C is known to degrade HA, so use vitamin C sparingly when supplementing with HA.

Symptoms of deficiency include compromised immune system function, ocular abnormalities, and skin conditions.


How Much Should Be Taken?
And Are There Any Side Effects?

Strictly adhere to label recommendations.

No known side effects exist, and clinical trials show that adverse reactions are rare.4

Persons with chemical abnormalities like mitral valve prolapse, TMJ and osteoarthritis may experience side-effects from HA abnormalities. Consult your doctor prior to use if you suffer from these conditions.

HA is best taken with zinc and magnesium. Beneficial effect is seen with HA supplementation at two to four months.

REFERNCES:

  1. Kang Y, Eger W, Koepp H, Williams JM, Kuettner KE, Homandberg GA. Hyaluronan suppresses fibronectin fragment-mediated damage to human cartilage explant cultures by enhancing proteoglycan synthesis. J Orthop Res. 1999 Nov;17(6):858-69.
  2. Marshall KW. Viscosupplementation for osteoarthritis: current status, unresolved issues and future directions. J Rheumatol 1998;25:2056-8.
  3. Lohmander LS, Dalen N, Englund G, Hamalainen M, Jensen EM, Karlsson K, et al. Intra-articular hyaluronan injections in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled multicentre trial. Hyaluronan Mulicentre Trial Group. Ann Rheum Dis 1996;55:424-31.
  4. Lohmander LS, Dalen N, Englund G, Hamalainen M, Jensen EM, Karlsson K, et al. Intra-articular hyaluronan injections in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled multicentre trial. Hyaluronan Mulicentre Trial Group. Ann Rheum Dis 1996;55:424-31.

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