Hyaluronic Acid for Joints
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that naturally occurs in the synovial fluid of joints in the body. There has been a growing interest in the use of hyaluronic acid for joints and related conditions such as osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, and tennis elbow as well as others to reduce pain and associated symptoms. But does it really work? Let’s try to figure it out together.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the effects of using hyaluronic acid for joints and related conditions along with safety precautions and possible side effects. But before we get into how hyaluronic acid can benefit joint health, it’s worth knowing the basics of hyaluronic acid a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is hyaluronic acid?
- How is hyaluronic acid made?
- Functions and benefits of hyaluronic acid for joints
- Uses of hyaluronic acid for joints
- How to use hyaluronic acid
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid or otherwise known as hyaluronate or hyaluronan is a sticky semi-solid ingredient that is naturally found throughout the fluid in the human body. The highest concentrations of this material are present in the joints and eyes.
It lubricates and acts like a cushion to protect the joints and eyeballs as well as other tissues. It also has an incredible ability to hold onto water or other molecules, making it a powerful moisturizer that can hugely help to keep tissues hydrated.
How is hyaluronic acid made?
In recent days, hyaluronic acid is commercially extracted or produced for mass use in medicine and other purposes from certain animal tissues, majorly rooster combs, or fermenting certain types of bacteria such as group C streptococci. In order to prevent contamination and make it suitable for human use, the extract undergoes an extensive process of purification with various treatment levels including filtration, drying, and conditioning to get a better yield and higher quality hyaluronic acid.
Functions and benefits of hyaluronic acid for joints
The natural hyaluronic acid present in human joints has several important functions, such as:
Lubrication - the molecular structure of hyaluronic acid has a wonderful capacity to bind to water molecules, forming a jelly-like viscous consistency that helps keep joints well-lubricated. This viscous fluid also has tremendous shock-absorbing properties that greatly help protect joints from potential damage caused by shocks.
Reduction of inflammation - hyaluronic acid has a miraculous anti-inflammatory quality that can enormously help reduce joint inflammation and associated symptoms such as pain and swelling caused by degeneration of tissues or injury.
Growth of bone and cartilage - hyaluronic acid molecules act as a scaffold structure within the joints and can help promote the growth of new cells and tissues, making it highly beneficial for the growth and development of bones and cartilage involved in the joints.
Uses of hyaluronic acid for joints
Hyaluronic acid is used to treat different types of joint conditions. It is most commonly used for the treatment of osteoarthritis of knee joints. Let’s have a look at some of the common joint conditions treated by hyaluronic acid these days:
Osteoarthritis - hyaluronic acid has been found to have noticeable positive effects in relieving or reducing inflammation in the osteoarthritic joints induced by the wearing of the bone and cartilage. It can help restore lubrication and regeneration of cartilage and bone tissue. Hyaluronic acid may help treat and reverse osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, ankle, finger, and shoulder joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis - hyaluronic acid may also help in controlling synovitis and inflammation in joints induced by rheumatoid arthritis.
Tennis elbow - hyaluronic acid may help slow down and reverse the degeneration of the tendon attached to the lateral epicondyle, causing lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow.
Frozen shoulder - studies suggest that hyaluronic acid might help decrease swelling and inflammation as well as stiffness of the frozen shoulder.
Ankle sprain - research suggests that hyaluronic acid may help alleviate symptoms of sprained ankle joints including inflammation and pain.
How to use hyaluronic acid
The method of use and doses of hyaluronic acid for joints may vary from person to person depending on the severity of the symptoms. It can be used topically, by mouth, or by injection. Oral supplements are better for relieving joint inflammation and pain and improving overall joint health.
Studies suggest that taking hyaluronic acid oral supplements is beneficial for the treatment of knee pain in osteoarthritic patients. This is the reason why most clinicians recommend the use of oral hyaluronic acid supplements for improving bone and joint health. Consider asking a licensed naturopathic physician to determine your best method of use and doses of hyaluronic acid for your specific conditions.
Precautions and side effects
Hyaluronic acid is usually very safe and well-tolerated. Since the human body naturally produces this substance, reported side effects are very minimal and rare. Some people may still experience mild allergic reactions.
Besides, people with cancer or those who have a family history of cancer should avoid hyaluronic acid as it might make cancer cells grow faster. In addition, hyaluronic acid is not advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, and people with known sensitivity to hyaluronic acid. It’s highly recommended to consult with a licensed naturopath or healthcare provider prior to taking hyaluronic acid treatments for any purpose.
The use of hyaluronic acid for joints has been found beneficial in many ways. It has tremendous lubricating and shock-absorbing properties that can hugely help relieve joint inflammation and associated symptoms including pain and swelling found in various joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankle sprain, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, and others. Consider asking a qualified naturopath before using hyaluronic acid for joints or other purposes.
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