Since the beginning of time, people have been searching for an effective way to reverse the ageing process. Hyaluronic acid is seen by many to be the Fountain of Youth, and there are plenty of natural sources available to make it part of a healthy diet.
Hyaluronic acid is found in the connective tissues of humans and animals. It plays a key role in cushioning and lubricating the body and is abundant in the eyes, joints and heart valves. A powerful antioxidant, hyaluronic acid is perhaps best known for its ability to bond water to tissue.
The body's hyaluronic acid levels decrease with age. In theory, sustaining optimal hyaluronic acid levels could retard the ageing process, prolong a youthful appearance, and sustain life.
A prominent component in synovial fluid, hyaluronic acid helps lubricate the joints and fight arthritis. It can be taken in capsule form or injected directly into the joints to relieve pain, helping even old bones feel young.
Hyaluronic acid, with its remarkable ability to keep tissue moist, is particularly effective in treating wrinkles and dry skin. It maintains skin elasticity and even speeds up the healing process for wounds and scars.
Hyaluronic acid is also believed to promote healthy eyes and heart valve function.
Since hyaluronic acid is found in the connective tissue of animals, consuming animal products is believed to be the best natural source available. Chicken soup made from boiling the bones and skin of chickens can be a surprisingly rich source for hyaluronic acid. Even most hyaluronic acid supplements are made from rooster combs.
Other options exist for vegetarians. Magnesium is needed in the body to synthesise hyaluronic acid, so consuming foods rich in magnesium, like avocados, broccoli, peanuts, potatoes, soy and spinach can keep hyaluronic acid levels from dropping too low.
Oestrogen and hyaluronic acid have somewhat of a symbiotic relationship. When the level of one rises, so does the level of the other. Soy products, like tofu and soya beans, have been shown to increase oestrogen levels, making them an indirect source for hyaluronic acid.
Zinc deficiencies seem to coincide with low hyaluronic acid. Consuming brown rice, peanuts, potatoes, pumpkin seeds and other zinc-rich foods could alleviate the problem.
Yazuri Hara, a small village in Japan, is known for its youthful citizens who live well into their 80s and 90s with virtually no wrinkles and few health complaints. Studies have indicated they have naturally high levels of hyaluronic acid due to diets rich in starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes and other local forms of potato roots.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have discovered abnormally high levels of hyaluronic acid could contribute to tumour progression in breast cancer. The University of Minnesota's Department of Surgery has found similar results regarding colon cancer.