Your body naturally produces hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan). It is a clear, gooey substance.
It is found most heavily in the skin, connective tissues and eyes.
It’s primary function is to hold water in order to keep your tissues lubricated.
There are many uses for hyaluronic acid. It is commonly used as a supplement but can also be used to make eye drops, topical serums and injections.
These are seven scientifically supported benefits of taking Hyaluronic Acid.
1. Promoting a healthier, more healthy skin
Supplements with hyaluronic acid can make your skin feel supple.
Roughly half of the hyaluronic acid in your body is present in your skin, where it binds to water to help retain moisture (1Trusted Source).
The natural aging process, as well as exposure to pollution, such as ultraviolet radiation from sun and tobacco smoke, can reduce the amount of skin cancer (2Trusted Source, #3Trusted Source).
Supplements with hyaluronic acids may help prevent this from happening. They give your body more nutrients to absorb into the skin (5Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Doses of 120-240 mg per day for at least one month have been shown to significantly increase skin moisture and reduce dry skin in adults (3Trusted Source).
Hydrated skin can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. This may be why many studies have shown that it can improve skin texture (6TrustedSource, 7TrustedSource).
Hyaluronic acid serums are able to reduce wrinkles, redness, and dermatitis when applied to the skin’s surface (8TrustedSource, 9TrustedSource, 10TrustedSource).
To keep the skin looking young and firm, some dermatologists inject hyaluronic acids fillers (11TrustedSource, 12TrustedSource).
Supplements containing hyaluronic acid can increase skin moisture, reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Injections and topical treatments can reduce redness and dermatitis.
2. Can Speed Wound Healing
Wound healing is also aided by hyaluronic acid.
It is naturally found in the skin. However, its concentrations rise when there are damages that need to be repaired.
Hyaluronic acid aids wound healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
It has been proven to decrease the size of skin wounds and reduce pain quicker than any other treatment (16TrustedSource, 16TrustedSource, 17TrustedSource, 18TrustedSource).
Hyaluronic acid has antibacterial properties. It can be used directly on open wounds to reduce infection risk (19Trusted Source,20Trusted Source).
What’s more, it’s effective at combating gum disease, speeding up healing after tooth surgery and eliminating ulcers when used topically in the mouth (21Trusted Source).
Although the research on hyaluronic acids serums and gels is encouraging, no research has been done to see if hyaluronic supplements offer the same benefits.
It is reasonable to believe that oral supplements may offer some benefit, as they increase the amount of hyaluronic acids found in the skin.
Hyaluronic acid can be applied directly to open wounds to speed up their healing. Supplementing with it may have the same effect.
3. Keep your bones well lubricated to relieve joint pain
Hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints, where it keeps the space between your bones well lubricated (22Trusted Source).
The bones will not grind against one another and cause discomfort if they are properly lubricated.
Hyaluronic acid supplements are very helpful for people suffering from osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative joint disease caused by wear and tear on the joints over time.
People with osteoarthritis have reported significant reductions in knee pain by taking 80-200mg daily for at most two months (23TrustedSource, 24TrustedSource, 25TrustedSource, 26TrustedSource).
For pain relief, hyaluronic acid can be injected directly into the joint. However, an analysis of over 12,000 adults found only a modest reduction in pain and a greater risk of adverse effects (27Trusted Source).
Some research shows that pairing oral hyaluronic acid supplements with injections can help extend pain-relieving benefits and increase the amount of time between shots (28Trusted Source).
Supplements containing hyaluronic acid are effective in reducing osteoarthritis-related joint pain. However, injections are also possible but can be dangerous.
4. Acid Reflux Symptoms:
New research shows hyaluronic acid supplements may help reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
Acid reflux is when stomach contents are reabsorbed into the throat. This causes pain and damages the lining of your esophagus.
Hyaluronic acid can be used to soothe damaged linings and accelerate the healing process.
One test-tube study found that applying a mixture of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate to acid-damaged throat tissue helped it heal much faster than when no treatment was used (29Trusted Source).
Studies on humans have also demonstrated benefits.
One study found that taking a hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate supplement along with an acid-reducing medication decreased reflux symptoms 60% more than taking acid-reducing medication alone (30Trusted Source).
A second study showed that the same type of supplement was five times more effective at reducing acid reflux symptoms than a placebo (31Trusted Source).
This area of research is still in its infancy. More studies are required to replicate the results. These results are nevertheless promising.
Some people may experience acid reflux symptoms lessening their intake of chondroitin and hyaluronic acids.
5. Get relief from dry eyes and discomfort
Approximately 1 out of 7 older adults suffer from symptoms of dry eye due to reduced tear production or tears evaporating too quickly (32Trusted Source).
Hyaluronic acid is a great hydrator and it is often used to treat dry eyes.
Eye drops containing 0.2-0.4% of hyaluronic acids have been shown to reduce dry eyes and improve eye health (33TrustedSource, 34TrustedSource, 35TrustedSource).
As a potential treatment for dry eyes, contact lenses with slow-released hyaluronic acids are being developed (36TrustedSource, 37TrustedSource).
Hyaluronic acid eye drops can also be used in eye surgery to reduce inflammation, speed up wound healing, and speed up wound healing (38TrustedSource, 39TrustedSource).
Although it has been proven that applying the supplements directly to the eyes can reduce dry eye symptoms, and improve overall eye health in general, it is not clear if oral supplements can have the same effect.
Although no research has been done to date on the effects of hyaluronic acids supplements on dry eyes, it is an area that may be explored in future studies.
The natural ingredient in eye drops that relieve dry eyes is hyaluronic acid. Supplementing with it may have similar effects, but it’s not known.
6. Maintain Bone Strength
New animal research has begun to investigate the effects of hyaluronic acid supplements on bone health.
Two studies found that hyaluronic acids supplements could slow down bone loss in osteopenia-prone rats (40TrustedSource, 41TrustedSource).
Studies in the test tube have also shown that high levels of hyaluronic acids can increase activity in osteoblasts (cells responsible for creating new bone tissue).
Although its effects on bone health in humans have yet to be studied, early animal studies and test tube studies suggest that they are beneficial.
Research in animals and on test tubes suggests that high levels of hyaluronic acids may prevent bone loss. However, no human research has been done.
7. You can prevent bladder pain
Approximately 3-6% of women suffer from a condition called interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome (44Trusted Source).
This disorder causes abdominal pain and tenderness, along with a strong and frequent urge to urinate (45Trusted Source).
Although the exact cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, hyaluronic acids has been shown to relieve pain and frequency in this condition when it’s inserted through a catheter into the bladder (46TrustedSource, 47TrustedSource, 48TrustedSource).
Although it is not clear why hyaluronic acids relieves these symptoms, researchers believe it may help repair bladder tissue that has been damaged, making it less sensitive (49Trusted source, 50Trusted source).
However, studies have not shown that oral hyaluronic acids supplements can cause bladder excesses to produce the same effect.
When inserted through a catheter into the bladder, hyaluronic acid can relieve pain. However, oral supplements may not be as effective.
Possible Side Effects and Precautions
The use of hyaluronic acid is generally safe, with very few side effects.
Allergies are rare because the body produces it naturally.
One study in 60 people with osteoarthritis who took 200 mg daily for one year reported no negative side effects (23Trusted Source).
Its effects on pregnancy and breastfeeding have not been well studied so it is best to avoid supplementation.
Some evidence also suggests that cancer cells may be sensitive to hyaluronic acids, and supplementation could help them grow faster (51TrustedSource, 52TrustedSource).
For this reason, it is generally advised that people with cancer or a history of cancer avoid supplementing with it (53Trusted Source).
Side effects are more common with injections of hyaluronic acid into the skin and joints. Negative reactions are more often associated with the injection process than with the hyaluronic acids themselves (54TrustedSource, 55TrustedSource).
Although hyaluronic acid can be used as a supplement, it is generally safe. However, people who are pregnant, have had cancer or have a history of it may wish to forgo taking it.
The bottom line
Supplements containing hyaluronic acid can be safely taken by almost everyone and offer many health benefits.
Hyaluronic acid has many skin benefits. It is known for its ability to reduce dry skin, wrinkles, and speed up wound healing.
It may also be used to relieve osteoarthritis-related joint pain.
Another notable application is hyaluronic eye drops to relieve dry eyes and injecting hyaluronic acids directly into the bladder via catheters to reduce pain.
Hyaluronic acid can be a useful supplement for many conditions, including skin and joint health.