Every few years, there's a new compound that the wellness and beauty industries fixate on. Sometimes this offers an excellent opportunity to learn about an important component of good health. But sometimes, helpful information gets lost in the hype and advertising.
Today, we're going to unravel the knot around one such popular compound. It's found in many skincare products and supplements, but also in nearly every cell in the human body.
You'll learn about its role in bone formation through the findings of published scientific studies. Then we'll review food sources of this naturally-occurring bone-regenerating element.
All About Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is produced by the body and found in most human cells, but is especially important for joints and skin. That's because it binds to water molecules to create a viscous fluid that's useful for providing lubrication and retaining moisture.
In your joints, that lubrication occurs in synovial sacs that prevent painful and harmful friction. In the skin, hyaluronic acid retains water, which helps to keep the skin moist, preventing damage caused by dryness.
As we age, the rate at which our body produces hyaluronic acid declines, contributing to arthritis and thin or wrinkling skin. Hyaluronic acid has become such a talked-about compound due to the suggestion that counteracting declining levels could delay or prevent the onset of aging. Maintaining a healthy level of hyaluronic acid may have an analogous benefit for bone health.
Hyaluronic is a compound produced by the body and found in most human cells. It binds to water to form a lubricating liquid that protects joints and helps the skin maintain moisture. As we age, our capacity for producing hyaluronic acid declines.
Hyaluronic Acid And Bone Health
Hyaluronic acid plays a structural role in bone. It forms part of the hyaline cartilage found on the ends of many bones, as well as in the nose, throat, and ribs. It's a particularly durable form of cartilage.
This compound also plays a role in bone formation. It helps the cells that engage in the bone remodeling process to bind to the bone matrix. As a result, hyaluronic acid is an essential component of bone resorption and has been found to accelerate bone regeneration.1
This ability was confirmed by a 2018 study of participants who needed a pair of molars removed for orthodontic reasons. In one of the molar sockets, the researchers applied a 1% hyaluronic gel, while the other they allowed to naturally fill with clotting blood.
The researchers measured the bone regeneration in the socket after 30 and 90 days. The molar sockets with hyaluronic acid showed a high percentage of bone formation at the 30-day mark. By 90 days, the two sockets had balanced back out. The researchers concluded that the compound was accelerating bone regeneration.1
Another study, published in 2020, examined the ability of hyaluronic acid (HA) to enhance bone formation in people undergoing bone regenerative therapy. They found that “HA derivatives or HA-incorporated composite scaffolds have shown excellent potential for improving osteogenesis and mineralization.”2
This research compiled existing knowledge about how hyaluronic acid's ability to bind bone-forming cells to the bone matrix can also be used to encourage bone to grow on an implanted replacement for lost craniofacial bone.2
This ability underscores hyaluronic acid's importance in the natural bone remodeling process.
Hyaluronic acid is a component of hyaline cartilage generation. It also facilitates the bone remodeling process by helping the cells that absorb and build bone bind to the bone matrix. This ability was confirmed by studies that found that hyaluronic acid accelerates and facilitates the regeneration of bone.
Food Sources OF Hyaluronic Acid
You have likely seen dietary supplements that include hyaluronic acid. While increasing your body's supply of the compound is certainly useful, oral supplementation has not proved an effective way of doing so in animal models.3
Instead, eat foods that help you to maintain healthy hyaluronic acid levels. While some of these foods do provide the compound itself, many support its production instead.
Below are the foods you should eat to increase hyaluronic acid levels.
- Kale*, broccoli*, and other leafy greens – Kale, broccoli and many other leafy greens are excellent sources of magnesium, which fuels the production of hyaluronic acid.
- Oranges*, grapefruits*, and other citrus – Many citrus fruits contain naringenin, a flavonoid that breaks down old hyaluronic acid, making way for the production of more of the compound and keeping the generative cycle healthy.
- Sweet potatoes* – Sweet potatoes are another great source of magnesium, which fuels hyaluronic acid production.
- Edamame – Edamame are soybeans, and the phytoestrogens they contain can increase levels of hyaluronic acid.
- Almonds* – Almonds and other nuts provide magnesium to increase and maintain healthy levels of hyaluronic acid production.
- Bone broth – Bone broth contains hyaluronic acid from the bone, cartilage, and other animal cells that break down in the cooking process, so it is an excellent way to get protein and additional hyaluronic acid.
- Organ meats* – Organ meats are rich in certain minerals and compounds, including hyaluronic acid. When carefully balanced with alkalizing foods, organ meats like liver or kidney can be a valuable part of a bone-building diet.
Supplementing with hyaluronic acid may be ineffective. Instead, choose foods that support your body's natural production of the compound, like leafy greens, citrus, sweet potatoes, edamame, and almonds. Bone broth and organ meats are both direct sources of hyaluronic acid.
What This Means To You
Support your body's ability to produce hyaluronic acid by including leafy greens, citrus, nuts, and the occasional serving of bone broth or organ meats in your diet. This powerful compound helps keep your joints and bones healthy and strong.
A visit to the doctor's office rarely if ever has time to delve into the myriad ways you can build stronger bones without the dangers of osteoporosis drugs. That's why the Save Institute created the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
You deserve to know exactly how your bones work, and what you can do to keep them strong and prevent fractures without taking osteoporosis drugs. And that's exactly what the program offers: a comprehensive approach to preventing and reversing bone loss.
Keep learning and applying strategies for living a healthier life– the result will be more life to live!