hyaluronic acid Overview Information
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally present in the human body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or made by bacteria in the laboratory.
People take hyaluronic acid for various joint disorders, including osteoarthritis. It can be taken by mouth or injected into the affected joint by a healthcare professional.
The FDA has approved the use of hyaluronic acid during certain eye surgeries including cataract removal, corneal transplantation, and repair of a detached retina and other eye injuries. It is injected into the eye during the procedure to help replace natural fluids.
Hyaluronic acid is also used as a lip filler in plastic surgery.
Some people apply hyaluronic acid to the skin for healing wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer.
There is also a lot of interest in using hyaluronic acid to prevent the effects of aging. In fact, hyaluronic acid has been promoted as a "fountain of youth." However, there is no evidence to support the claim that taking it by mouth or applying it to the skin can prevent changes associated with aging.
How does it work?
Hyaluronic acid works by acting as a cushion and lubricant in the joints and other tissues. In addition, it might affect the way the body responds to injury.
Likely Effective for:
Possibly Effective for:
- Aging skin. Some research suggests that injecting a specific hyaluronic acid product (Juvéderm Ultra Plus, Allergan) into smile lines reduces the lines for up to one year.
- Osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid might be effective for stiffness and joint pain when injected into the joint by a healthcare provider. Despite being approved by the FDA for treatment of osteoarthritis by injection, results vary. Some people report a moderate improvement in joint stiffness and pain decrease with hyaluronic acid treatment, but this is not always the case. Whether hyaluronic acid might delay or lessen progressive joint damage with long-term use is unknown.
- Dry eye. Early research shows that applying a specific hyaluronic acid eye drop (Hyalistil) might relieve dry eye.
- Eye trauma. Some research suggests that hyaluronic acid might be injected into the eye to treat detached retina or other eye injuries.
- Healing skin wounds and burns. Early research suggests that applying hyaluronic acid to the skin might be helpful for treating burns and skin wounds.
hyaluronic acid Side Effects & Safety
Hyaluronic acid is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or given by injection and appropriately. Rarely, hyaluronic acid may cause allergic reactions.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Hyaluronic acid is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by injection during pregnancy. However, not enough is known about the safety of hyaluronic acid when taken by mouth or applied to the skin during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Hyaluronic acid is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when given by injection during breast feeding. Researchers do not know if it affects breast milk and what effect that might have on an infant. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking hyaluronic acid by mouth or applying it to the skin if you are breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.