Hyaluronic Acid

What other names is Hyaluronic Acid known by?

Acide Hyaluronique, Ácido Hialurónico, Glycoaminoglycan, Glycoaminoglycane, Hyaluran, Hyaluronan, Hyaluronate de Sodium, Hyaluronate Sodium, Hylan, Sodium Hyaluronate.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally present in the human body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or made by bacteria in the laboratory.

People take hyaluronic acid for various joint disorders, including osteoarthritis. It can be taken by mouth or injected into the affected joint by a healthcare professional.

The FDA has approved the use of hyaluronic acid during certain eye surgeries including cataract removal, corneal transplantation, and repair of a detached retina and other eye injuries. It is injected into the eye during the procedure to help replace natural fluids.

Hyaluronic acid is also used as a lip filler in plastic surgery.

Some people apply hyaluronic acid to the skin for healing wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer.

There is also a lot of interest in using hyaluronic acid to prevent the effects of aging. In fact, hyaluronic acid has been promoted as a "fountain of youth." However, there is no evidence to support the claim that taking it by mouth or applying it to the skin can prevent changes associated with aging.

Likely Effective for...

  • Cataracts. Injecting hyaluronic acid into the eye is effective when used during cataract surgery by an eye surgeon.
  • Sores in the mouth. Hyaluronic acid is effective for treating mouth sores when applied to the skin as a gel.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Aging skin. Some research suggests that injecting a specific hyaluronic acid product (Juvéderm Ultra Plus, Allergan) into smile lines reduces the lines for up to one year.
  • Osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid might be effective for stiffness and joint pain when injected into the joint by a healthcare provider. Despite being approved by the FDA for treatment of osteoarthritis by injection, results vary. Some people report a moderate improvement in joint stiffness and pain decrease with hyaluronic acid treatment, but this is not always the case. Whether hyaluronic acid might delay or lessen progressive joint damage with long-term use is unknown.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Dry eye. Early research shows that applying a specific hyaluronic acid eye drop (Hyalistil) might relieve dry eye.
  • Eye trauma. Some research suggests that hyaluronic acid might be injected into the eye to treat detached retina or other eye injuries.
  • Healing skin wounds and burns. Early research suggests that applying hyaluronic acid to the skin might be helpful for treating burns and skin wounds.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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