Hyaluronic Acid - The Youth Nutrient?
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a popular ingredient in skincare products. It’s known for holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an extremely effective moisturiser. Given that half of the body’s HA is located in the collagen of our skin, can this fountain of youth also be added to the diet?
HA is a sugar molecule that supports skin cell renewal, collagen synthesis and helps heal skin wounds, along with many other functions. HA is needed to bind collagen with elastin – the fibres that give skin its stretch, and making it an important factor in skin health.
The body uses HA during the phase where it breaks down and rebuilds collagen as part of its natural renewal cycle. Factors that can interrupt this process include excessive sun exposure, injury and nutrient deficiencies, which then manifest in wrinkles and signs of ageing. In addition, the levels of HA in the body decline with age. In fact it’s estimated that by mid-40’s, the synthesis of HA is roughly half of that required by the body.
Scientific studies have shown that HA improves skin hydration, stimulates the production of collagen, works as an antioxidant, maintains skin elasticity, cushions joints, and maintains the fluid in the eye tissues. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study found that ingested HA was able to improve skin moisture and alleviate dry skin in test subjects.
Supporting the levels of HA can be accomplished through either a supplement or a diet tailored to boosting levels naturally. When looking for a supplement, check whether it’s from a vegetarian source if this is an important dietary consideration for you. It’s best to consume HA through the diet where possible by eating foods that support HA synthesis, whilst also providing a broad spectrum of other nutrients that work in synergy for supporting biological processes.
Foods that support HA synthesis:
Bone Broth - If you’re not a vegetarian, you might consider making a bone broth which is high in hyaluronic acid along with various minerals, proteins and other nutrients.
Seaweeds - It is thought that seaweeds such as kelp block an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which breaks down hyaluronic acid.
Magnesium - Our bodies require magnesium to produce hyaluronic acid. Eating magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and bananas is a great start.
Soy Products - Oestrogen-like molecules in soy called isofvalones can signal cells to make more hyaluronic acid. Soy beans, tempeh, soy milk and tofu all contain isoflavones.
High Vitamin C – The body needs vitamin C for HA synthesis. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes all contain vitamin C, making them some of the best hyaluronic acid foods.
Naringenin-Rich Foods - Researchers in South Korea found that Naringenin, a bioactive flavonoid found in citrus fruits, has a strong inhibitory effect on hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid in the body.
Yours in natural health,