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Hyaluronic Acid
Frequently Asked Questions

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What foods contain hyaluronic acid?

Should I take HA supplements?

Cancer associated with elevated HA Levels

Your hyaluronic acid section mentions that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might be bad for hyaluronic acid. Is vitamin C good to take or not?


Question: What foods contain hyaluronic acid?"

Answer: I have found very little information on this myself, though I am aware of two possible sources. The first was mentioned in a segment from ABC news about a hyaluronic acid consumption in a village in Japan . In the 20/20 segment, "The Village of Long Life: Could Hyaluronic Acid Be an Anti-Aging Remedy?" the town doctor attributed the villager's long lives to "starchy root vegetables"-- satsumaimo, a type of sweet potato; satoimo, a sticky white potato; konyaku, a gelatinous root vegetable concoction; and imoji, a potato root. The doctor believes "these locally grown starches help stimulate the body’s natural creation of a substance called hyaluronic acid, or HA, which aging bodies typically lose. This may ward off the aging process by helping the cells of the body thrive and retain moisture, keeping joints lubricated, protecting the retina in eyes and keeping skin smooth and elastic. 'I have never seen anyone suffer from skin cancer here, ' he says. 'I have seen a woman in her 90s with spotless skin.' ”

I have never read anything else about these vegetables stimulating hyaluronic acid per se, but root vegetables do tend to have high amounts of magnesium, so it would seem plausible that this could be true. Recent research shows that root vegetable consumptions may also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

The second source of hyaluronic acid I can think of would be to eat animal parts known to contain a lot of hyaluronic acid. I make broth for soup from boiled animal parts that contain a lot of skin, tendons and joints. This is the one food that helped my fibromyalgia more than anything else. I've also noticed that if I eat too much of this broth my blood pressure rises, which is interesting because people like me with connective tissue disorders usually have unusually low blood pressure. It also seems to improve my breathing. My kids don't like to eat a lot of soup, so I make a nutritious broth from bones and vegetables for them and use it instead of water when I make rice, a food they do like.

Related Links:

Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease

Chicken soup is medicine, U.S. scientists confirm - One of the ways that bacteria enter the body is by breaking through the hyaluronic acid barrier. So perhaps this is one of the reasons chicken soup really does work against infections and colds. Maybe the hyaluronic acid in the broth prevents bacteria and viruses from invading the body. My kids like Campbell's healthy Request Chicken Noodle Soup, so I give that to them whenever they are sick and most of the time they start to feel better right away.

See my section on "What Helped Me - Diet Changes" for the dietary changes that helped my family's connective tissue disorder problems.

Question: Should I take HA supplements?

You should check with your doctor before taking HA or any other supplements.

I've gotten a number of questions on hyaluronic acid and breast cancer. To see all of the study abstracts linking these conditions, go to PubMed, and enter:

hyaluronic acid breast cancer

in the search box.

In particular, check out this abstract, from cancer researchers at the University of California San Francisco:

"A hyaluronan-rich environment often correlate with tumor progression, and may be one mechanism for the invasive behavior of malignancies. Eradication of hyaluronan by hyaluronidase administration could reduce tumor aggressiveness and would provide, therefore, a new anti-cancer strategy."

For information on hyaluronidase (an enzyme that breaks down HA) and hyaluronic acid, check out my MVP page.

Women with too low of estrogen levels are at higher risk for conditions like fractures, osteoporosis and a lack of menstruation. Women with high levels of estrogen tend to have increased risks of blood clots, high bone density, high blood pressure and breast cancer. It's not that estrogen is good or bad, it's just that both unusually high levels and unusually low levels are linked to a variety of adverse (and interestingly inverse) health conditions. Perhaps the same may be true for hyaluronic acid.

HA and Other forms of Cancer -

In a paper on hyaluronic acid and colon cancer, researchers wrote that "Hyaluronan (HA) is a cell-surface glycosaminoglycan that has been implicated in cancer progression......These data suggest that HA promotes adhesion to laminin and may thereby facilitate invasion of the basement membrane and metastasis in colon carcinoma."

In another study, researchers found that, "Hyaluronan a high-molecular weight glycosaminoglycan, is considered to be involved in the growth and progression of malignant tumours."

Question: I've read a lot of articles about the benefits of large quantities of vitamin C. Your hyaluronic acid section mentions that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might be bad for hyaluronic acid. Is vitamin C good to take or not?

Answer: I personally have not had good experiences with taking large supplemental doses of any single nutrient. Every nutrient in the human body has a multitude of co-factors that need to be consumed in balanced amounts for good health, so taking a single supplement may solve one deficiency and then create more problems by triggering co-factor deficiencies.

Vitamin C is a nutrient your body needs in the right amounts. If you don't consume any vitamin C, sooner or later you will develop scurvy, like sailors used to who went on long sea voyages. (British sailors were named "Limies" because of the limes they would take on their voyages to prevent scurvy.) Yet, too much vitamin C, as with too much of any nutrient, can be toxic. Large doses of vitamin C may lower other nutrient levels including vitamin B12, copper and selenium blood levels

I do note a study in my hyaluronic acid section that found that ascorbic acid can degrade hyaluronic acid. But this isn't necessarily bad, in fact for some people, this maybe good thing. While insufficient defective hyaluronic acid isn't ideal, too much HA may not be so great either. High levels of hyaluonic acid have been linked to different types of of cancers, including breast cancer, in a variety of different studies. Interestingly, vitamin C is often mentioned as being beneficial for breast and other cancers.

Think of it this way: Your body needs a variety of ingredients in the right proportions to function, just like you need a variety of ingredients to make a cake. If you are making a cake and you are short on eggs, it's okay to add more eggs, up to a certain amount. If you are not short on eggs, then just adding more eggs is going to ruin your cake. If you are short on flour but not eggs, but you keep adding more eggs but no extra flour, you are really going to end up with a mess.

It's the same basic principle with your body, only on a larger and much more complex scale. Some people might have defective collagen because they are short on vitamin C. For those people, getting extra vitamin C in their diets would probably be good. But taking massive doses of vitamin C, especially if a person isn't deficient in vitamin C to begin with, probably isn't a good thing.

If you are concerned you may have a vitamin C deficiency or any other nutritional deficiency, see my sections on Holistic Doctors and Nutrition Testing.


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Related sections of interest:

Links to Diet in Connective Tissue Disorders.

Genes may not be the only cause of Marfan Syndrome

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Diet Help for EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

Pectus Excavatum Causes, FAQ, and Exercises

Could Hyaluronic Acid Help with Aging or Connective Tissue Disorders?

Wrinkled and Dry Skin - What you Eat May Make a Difference

Zinc Deficiency Symptoms


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