Hyaluronic Acid and Joint Mobility

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Hyaluronic Acid and Joint Mobility

Batches of hyaluronic acid are synthesized and assembled into long chains before being secreted by articular chondrocytes (cartilage cells) and synoviocytes (cells that live in the synovial lining of the joint capsule). Regardless of its source, hyaluronic acid can be incorporated into the load-bearing sugar/protein mats of joint cartilage.

As shown in research recently published in the Journal of Physiology the unique properties of the special sugars that make up hyaluronic acid attract water and are responsible for the cushioning properties of healthy joint cartilage.3 Because the synthesis of its component sugars slows with age, the replenishment of hyaluronic acid within a joint also slows with age, creating an inevitable imbalance in the cartilage’s replenishment/replacement cycle. As the contact surfaces of the joint cartilage become depleted of hyaluronic acid, they become chronically dehydrated and lose their vital cushioning hydrostatic properties.

A large volume of published scientific research has demonstrated that adequate availability of hyaluronic acid can promote joint health and function. These conclusions have been echoed most recently in a mathematical analysis of the body of published research, itself published in the Journal of Family Practice.4 The strength of the evidence certainly argues in favor of adding hyaluronic acid to your personal joint health program.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Vision and Hyaluronic Acid

3. Scott JE, Stockwell RA. Cartilage elasticity resides in shape module decoran and aggrecan sumps of damping fluid. Implications in osteoarthrosis. J Physiol 2006; Mar. 31. doi: 10.1113/ jphysiol.2006.108100 (http://jp.physoc.org/cgi/content/abstract/jphysiol.2006.108100v1).
4. Modawal A, Ferrer M, Choi HK, Castle JA. Hyaluronic acid injections relieve knee pain. J Fam Pract 2005;54:758-767.

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