Thursday, August 20, 2015
Heal your skin and arthritis with hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is found in virtually all of your body’s cells. HA clusters most densely, however, in the skin, cartilage and other connective tissue and in the synovial fluid that lubricates the body’s joints. Sometimes called "nature’s moisturizer,” HA attracts and retains water. As you age, your body’s natural stores of HA are depleted, and this plays a part in some of the most visible signs of aging, such as joint dysfunction and dryer, less elastic skin. Eating certain foods can help your body to maintain or replenish its HA stores.
A Cellular Sponge
HA is one of the key components of the extracellular matrix that surrounds and supports all human cells. Because it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, the HA molecule acts like a cellular sponge, according to certified nutritionist Marcia Zimmerman, author of “7 Syndrome Healing: Supplements for the Mind & Body.” As your body’s natural reserves of HA are depleted with age, this extracellular matrix of which HA is such an important part begins to lose some of its mass, causing the development of wrinkles and even furrows in your outermost layers of skin.
An excellent source of HA and a multitude of other valuable nutrients is bone broth, derived through the prolonged cooking of bones -- chicken, beef and other meats -- in water. Slow-cooking the bones, skin, cartilage and ligaments of animals in water releases nutrients hidden deep within these often cast-off portions, writes Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food.” Other nutrients found in bone broths include calcium, chondroitin sulfate, collagen, glycine, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
High levels of HA occur naturally in the organs of most livestock, including beef, lamb, pork and poultry. High concentrations are also found in the eyeballs of fish and other animals, according to Dr. Shanahan, although it’s doubtful such fare would find much favor with most Western diners. While a diet heavy in organ meats may supply rich amounts of HA, it also contains high levels of fat. Regularly eating organ meats in small amounts, however, can help your body to maintain or slightly increase its reserves of HA.
An article in an April 2011 issue of "The Epoch Times" introduced readers to the people of a tiny Japanese village called Yuzurihara. Tucked into the mountainous countryside roughly two hours north of Tokyo, the village is noted for the longevity and robust health of its residents, many of whom lead active lives well into their 90s. The villagers, according to Dr. Toyosuki Kimori, himself a native of the village, all have extraordinarily high levels of hyaluronic acid. The people of Yuzurihara eat a diet rich in root vegetables, primarily starchy tubers, which contain little to no HA. Kimori speculates that the high level of magnesium in these root vegetables stimulates the body to synthesize HA.
Researchers at South Korea's Konkuk University found that naringenin, a bioactive ingredient in grapefruit, oranges and tomatoes, has a strong inhibitory effect on hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid in the body. Based on these research findings, published in a 2009 issue of "Food Science and Biotechnology," eating foods rich in naringenin may help your body to conserve more of its natural reserves of hyaluronic acid.