Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in abundance in young skin, synovial fluid, and other tissues in humans and animals. It is a linear polysaccharide in the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) family and is referred to as the cement that bonds tissue components together.
Columns of fibers made up of collagen and elastin support the surface layers of the skin from below. This network of fibers forms a sponge-like structure known as connective tissue. The spaces within this sponge are filled with water, protein complexes, and hyaluronic acid. These substances form a jelly-like complex that is necessary for the transportation of essential nutrients from the bloodstream to the living cells of the skin.
Hyaluronic acid is used extensively in the cosmetic industry and by dermatologists in anti-aging and moisturizing products due to its hydroscopic (absorbs and retains water) properties. In fact, hyaluronic acid can absorb more than 1,000 times its weight in water allowing it to hydrate the skin and other areas that it contacts. In addition to its hyper-hydration properties, hyaluronic acid is also known for its role in wound healing and in the prevention of scarring. Hyaluronic acid is the extra-cellular matrix (the fluid between skin cells) that acts as the transportation system for the cascade of events that happen in wound healing.
Hyaluronic acid isnt just about skin health. It also acts as a major internal lubricant in human joints. In our joints, hyaluronic acid is a long, complex molecule that takes on a ball-like shape that resists compression. When injury or inflammation to a joint occurs, the hyaluronic acid molecule breaks down, becomes less effective in maintaining its ball-like shape, and cannot provide a cushion of protection in the joint. Supplementation with Hyaluronic Acid helps to restore cushioning protection in the joint. Hyaluronic acid is also found in all connecting tissues of the body, such as ligaments and tendons, where it performs special functions of lubrication.