Hyaluronic acid is a polymer that is an important natural component of the skin produced by fibroblast skin cells, which reduce in number as you age . It is a glycosaminoglycan, a molecule composed partly of sugars and is found in connective tissue throughout the body. It has many critical functions, like holding in the moisture (1 gm of hyaluronic acid can hold six litres of water), aiding in the repair of damaged tissue, providing cushioning, holding the structural components elastin and collagen together, and helping in creating a defensive barrier against micro-organisms.
What are the benefits?
• Moisture – Since the polymer holds moisture well, it is one of the most commonly used component in moisturisers . Not only does it deliver water to the skin, it also holds it there. Since it is a large molecule, it does not penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin, but instead stays near the surface where it moisturises the surface layers.
• Wrinkles – The loss of the natural hyaluronic acid in the body is one of the main causes for wrinkle formation, so it makes sense to put it back into the skin to help repair the wrinkles . HA fillers are useful for reducing and removing wrinkles. They also make the skin look younger and increase the skin tone, giving it a smooth and supple look.
• UVB sun protection – One of the elements responsible for damaging the skin are the UVB rays from the sun. Hyaluronic acid protects the skin from UVB rays (and the reactive oxygen species generated by them), which causes sunspots.
• Connective tissue repair and maintenance – Connective tissue is found throughout the body and has many functions including binding, support, protection, and insulation. The three structural elements in connective tissue include the ground substance (hyaluronic acid), stretchy fibres (elastin and collagen) and the fundamental cell type . Hyaluronic acid is responsible for separating and cushioning the living cells of the connective tissue. This allows the tissue to bear weight, withstand tension and endure abuse. It also removes the waste in the body that comes out of the loss of collagen matrix in the joints , relieving joint pain. As an antioxidant, it prevents the loss of cartilage in the joints. HA supplements help in maintaining the structural integrity of connective tissue.
Hyaluronic acid is highly beneficial as an oral supplement as it keeps the skin free of discolouration and wrinkles, preserves the structure of connective tissue and relieves joint pain.