Hyaluronic acid is an immunoneutral polysaccharide – a very large carbohydrate which doesn’t cause a negative response from your immune system when introduced to the body – which is frequently used for biomedical applications due to its ability to be manipulated into many forms. It has a natural jelly-like consistency, which allows it to be injected into the body.
Naturally found in the human body, this substance is often used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons to remove or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to its usefulness in reducing the appearance of aging in the skin, hyaluronic acid also is injected into joints that are affected by arthritis. It can provide a natural cushion for these joints, and helps reduce the pain and effects of arthritis as a result.
Synthetic forms of hyaluronic acid exist, and are used in various medical fields. A 2012 study of small gel particle hyaluronic acid’s ability to improve the appearance and skin turgor of aging hands demonstrated 81% patient satisfaction within two weeks, and 85% satisfaction after 6 months. After 1 year, roughly 50% of patients still reported and were witnessed to have improved hand appearance and skin turgor! Some hyaluronic acid gels are
currently being tested for their ability to help incorporate tissues made from stem cells into the body.
If you are squeamish regarding injections, there are over the counter hyaluronic acid pills and liquid supplements available. These products have not been as thoroughly researched as their injectable relatives. As a result, the effectiveness of these supplements may be questionable, but they don’t hurt – side effects are minimal, if present.
There are two main ways of producing HA, one from rooster combs and one from bacteria. Some people have allergic reactions to HA which may be tied to the production methods. The reactions can include hives, lumps, or itchiness, among other symptoms. If you experience this type of reaction, try using a different HA formulation. Over the counter hyaluronic acid products may wear off sooner than injected versions, but the effects can be incredibly beneficial. Apart from improving the look and moisture of skin, this supplement can quickly alleviate pain associated with conditions such as degenerative disk disorders and spinal injuries. It works like a lubricant in the lungs to ease asthma, and some users even report that the supplement reversed effects of aging such as balding, graying and the development of age-related skin problems such as liver spots for them!
Anti-aging benefits of injected hyaluronic acid can last for six months or longer. It is not always derived from animal sources, so even vegans can incorporate hyaluronic acid supplementation into their routine – a careful investigation into the HA sources may be necessary, however. Generally, this supplement is delivered in the form of injections via single use syringes given by a physician. Since it is generally provided in injection-form, use of supplements such as aspirin or vitamin E should be suspended for one week prior to administration. Over the counter HA supplements should be stored in the refrigerator to ensure that they do not lose their potency.