Hyaluronic acid (also called Hyaluronan) is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate. Hyaluronan occurs throughout the body in abundant amounts in many of the places people with hereditary connective tissue disorders have problems such as joints, heart valves and eyes. Hyaluronic acid abnormalities are a common thread in connective tissue disorders. Interestingly, they are also common biochemical anomalies in most of the individual features of connective tissue disorders such as mitral valve prolapse, TMJ, osteoarthritis, and keratoconus.
Hyaluronic acid has been nicknamed by the press as the “key to the fountain of youth” because it has been noted that at least some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages. ABC News had a show on a village in Japan and hyaluronic acid entitled, “The Village of Long Life: Could Hyaluronic Acid Be an Anti-Aging Remedy?”. (It should be noted that the people in the ABC news show were thought to get high amounts of Hyaluronic acid from starchy root vegetables their natural diets. They were not taking supplements.)
While a number of studies have linked abnormal levels of Hyaluronic acid to either connective tissue disorders (CTDs) or conditions common in CTDs, such as premature aging, there are also a number of studies on Pubmed noting associations of high levels of Hyaluronic acid to some forms of cancer. With Hyaluronic acid as with other substances in the human body, such as estrogen and cholesterol, there are most likely optimal levels, and disease often occurs when these levels become out of range in either direction. Low estrogen levels have been linked to bone loss, while high estrogen levels have been associated with breast cancer. High cholesterol levels have been linked to heart attacks and stroke, while low levels have been linked to bleeding problems and depression. Hyaluronic acid has been studied less than either cholesterol or estrogen, but the prudent path would be to assume that the body has optimal levels of Hyaluronic acid, as it does for cholesterol, estrogen and many other substances.
As such, it is always prudent to consult your doctor before you decide to take Hyaluronic acid or any other type of supplement to make sure it is an appropriate treatment for your particular health condition.