What Is Hyaluronic Acid ?
To understand why Injuv® (an exclusive nutricosmetic from Soft Gel Technologies, Inc.) is integral to skin health, it is important to understand the function and benefits of hyaluronic acid (HA).
HA is present in every tissue in the body. It is an essential structural element of the extracellular matrix (ECM) — the gel-like medium that houses the cells of connective tissue, cartilage and skin. The ECM has two basic components: fibrous proteins, such as collagen and elastin, and linear, unbranched high molecular weight polysaccharides, called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). HA is the most predominant glycosaminoglycan in the ECM. Since GAGs have a high viscosity in solution, they make excellent lubricators and shock absorbers. Also, their heavy weight — 1.2 to 1.5 million Daltons in their natural state —
allows HA to displace a large volume of water. HA and other sulfated GAGs combine with collagen and elastin to hold onto large amounts of water. When elastin is not bathed in water, it becomes arid and brittle, causing fine lines and dry, rough skin. The ECM, therefore, greatly influences the integrity and appearance of the skin.
In layman’s terms, HA acts as a sponge to hold onto water within the cells of the skin, connective tissue, and cartilage. HA moisturizes from the inside out.
The Importance of Hyaluronic Acid
HA has several important functions. It traps water, preventing moisture loss from the skin. It isolates and protects cells, giving them “breathing space.” It allows for the easy flow of nutrients to the outer layer of skin, and toxins and metabolic waste from it. Most importantly, it helps regulate the life cycle of skin cells, increasing their longevity, as well as the efficiency of their maintenance and repair. At the same time, HA may help the body eliminate the dead outer layer of skin cells and force skin to regenerate, acting like an internal exfoliant to reveal fresher, younger-looking skin.
Research has shown that exogenous (i.e., not produced by the body) HA has definite skin benefits. In a pre-clinical trial conducted at Otsuma Women’s University in Japan, 96 women ages 22 to 65 took 420 mg of Injuv®, standardized to contain 9% HA, every day for 45 days. Subjective interview tests revealed dramatic improvements in facial moisture, skin smoothness, and softness of the elbows, knees and heels. A randomized, placebo-controlled human clinical trial found that subjects who took Injuv® showed a statistically significant increase in skin moisture content compared to both baseline and placebo.
Hyaluronic Acid Distribution Changes with Age
As we age, the distribution of HA among the layers of the skin changes. Fetal epidermal tissues, for example, are rich in hyaluronic acid. That’s why baby skin recovers so quickly and completely from injury. However, as we get older, HA migrates downward through the layers of the skin, steadily declining in the upper layers of the epidermis, while rising in the lower layers of the dermis. That’s great for the dermis, but it’s terrible for the epidermis — the part of the skin that everyone sees — because that loss of moisture makes it look dull and wrinkled.
There’s another problem too: the HA that’s in the epidermis doesn’t last very long. It has a half-life of less than 24 hours, which means it needs to be renewed constantly. Otherwise, the structures that it bathes in moisture, such as collagen and elastin, become brittle and lose their structural function.
Fortunately, HA can be replaced with Injuv®, a low molecular weight HA complex in a softgel format that is easily swallowed and facilitates rapid absorption.
Advantages of Injuv® Hyaluronic Acid Complex
Injuv® HA offers four main advantages compared to regular HA:
1. Natural Source. Injuv® is derived from rooster combs, which have been safely used as a source of HA for more than 20 years, in the form of an injectable treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. Not only does this type of HA have a natural affinity for human tissues, it has been clinically shown not to cause an allergic response.
2. Easily Absorbed. What really differentiates Injuv® from other brands of HA is its structure. Because HA in its natural state is a high molecular weight molecule, it is simply too big to enter the epithelial cells of the small intestine, and is therefore not absorbed. Injuv®, on the other hand, is produced through an enzymatic process which reduces the HA molecule from 1.2 – 1.5 million Daltons to a mere 5,000 Daltons, making it easily absorbable.
3. Delivered to the Skin. Of course, it doesn’t matter if something is absorbed if it’s not delivered where it’s needed in the body. Injuv®’s absorption and delivery has been demonstrated using a well-established animal model to measure wound healing capacity. Rats treated with oral Injuv® experienced significantly improved wound healing compared to those given placebo demonstrating that Injuv® is absorbed and delivered to the target tissue: the skin.
4. Patented Process. The proprietary enzyme-cleaving process used to produce Injuv® HA is so unique, it’s been awarded a patent in Japan (#2971860).
Our body has a limited supply of HA, which decreases as we get older. Do you wonder why an older person’s skin doesn’t have the springiness and glow of youth? HA is a big reason for that difference. Supplementation with Injuv® helps skin cells survive longer and accelerates the shedding of the skin. It also helps the skin stay healthy by removing toxins and metabolic waste products, as well as keeping the skin nourished. Injuv® can increase the HA content throughout the body, most notably the dermis, epidermis, synovial fluid, cartilage, and extracellular matrix. These are all the parts that, if properly maintained, make skin supple, instead of saggy.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine August 2017