Consumer Guide to Oral Hyaluronic Acid Supplements

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Health journalist Bill Sardi answers common questions and dispels misconceptions about oral hyaluronic acid supplements. HA molecule outperforms glucosamine.

Oral hyaluronic acid (HA) dietary supplements are widely sold, support healthy joints, skin, hair and eyes, and "youthify" the body like no other molecule, says health journalist Bill Sardi, president of Knowledge of Health, Inc. and author of a book about HA.

There are many misconceptions about hyaluronic acid supplements, says Sardi. Common questions that consumers ask about HA supplements are:

Q. Is oral HA absorbed (my doctor said it wasn't)? A. Oral HA is absorbed. Doctors don't know oral HA isn't absorbed, they have only been told this. Manufacturers have conducted human and animal studies to confirm that oral HA is in fact absorbed.

Q. Are low-molecular-weight HA supplements absorbed better? A. Some HA supplements are more than a million Daltons in molecular weight, while others are 200,000-500,000 Daltons and another 1500-3000 Daltons. The lower molecular weight HA is absorbed quicker, before stomach acid can degrade it, while the heavier weight HA supplements are broken down by stomach acid and enzymes and enter the circulation as fragments of HA. All HA supplements are orally absorbed.

Q. How does HA work? A. In youth the body makes abundant amounts of HA. Fertile females make estrogen, which also stimulates the production of HA, which explains why young women have very limber joints, smooth skin and thick hair. After age 40, as estrogen production wanes, oral HA supplements can be taken in place of estrogen replacement therapy. The adult human body loses about 20-100 milligrams of HA on a daily basis. Oral HA does not replace the body's HA on a milligram-per-milligram basis, but rather stimulates fibroblast cells to make youthful levels of HA again.

Q. Are HA supplements, which contain glucosamine and chondroitin, derived from shellfish? A. No. HA supplements are derived from natural sources such as rooster comb, or chicken sternum cartilage, or synthetically made from a vegetarian source by fermentation of corn syrup. The latter is a purer source, while the others provide additional collagen, which is also beneficial

Q. Will HA's acidity bother my stomach? A. HA supplements are sodium salts of hyaluronic acid, and thus their pH is neutralized by the sodium. Take with food if your stomach if bothered. Take lower doses if bloating is experienced.

Q. What about the village in Japan where ABC News said the people there eat special types of vegetables that stimulate high HA levels? A. The village is Yuzurihara, Japan, where I have visited to obtain a first-hand account of a human population that does not appear to grow old. These people have smooth unwrinkled skin even though they work in fields daily, and they maintain their mobility and flexibility even in old age. Even their hair is thick in their later years. Many do not need reading glasses.

The remarkable fact is that an 80-year old in Yuzurihara looks and acts like he/she is 40 or 50 years of age. Dr. Komori, the town doctor, attributes this to a low-iron, fresh vegetable-based diet that stimulates HA synthesis. In particular, weak estrogen-like molecules that are concentrated in fermented sources of soy (miso, tempeh) stimulate HA production. However, soy foods do not work as well as HA supplements.

Q. Should I continue to take glucosamine if taking oral HA? A. One half of the HA molecule is glucosamine (the other is glucuronate). Glucosamine weakly stimulates HA production. HA supplements work faster and more effectively and if they had been given sufficient publicity would have entirely replaced glucosamine supplements by now.

Q. What are the potential side effects of oral HA supplements? A. In a state of dehydration, oral HA supplements could cause blood pressure to rise slightly. For optimal health, it's best to drink a glass or two of water a day when taking HA supplements.

Q. Are there any other misconceptions about HA supplements? A. Yes, a journal article has spread many misconceptions, which is confusing many consumers who go online to learn about HA. I wrote a rebuttal to that report which can be found at http://www.knowledgeofhealth.com/executelink.asp?story=Rebuttal to false and misleading claims made in HA report

Q. How can consumers locate your book about HA? A. Title: How To Live 100 Years Without Growing Old: http://www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com

Copyright 2006 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc. Not for reproduction or commercial use. Bill Sardi has a commercial interest in HA products and books.

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