We never tire of extolling the virtues of collagen, and we’ve often talked about its many benefits for healthy skin, hair, nails and joints. If you’re thinking of getting started on your own collagen journey, or you’ve already discovered its advantages and want to get even more from your collagen supplements, it’s worth thinking about combining it with other powerful ingredients that help to support your skin and joints. One of the ingredients we get particularly excited about is hyaluronic acid, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about in today’s post.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is hyaluronic acid? The answer is that it’s a protein found in all living organisms, and it’s also known as hyaluronan. It’s produced naturally by your body, and it’s found in all your connective tissues. It’s also a vital part of cartilage, where it’s coated around each specialised cartilage cell, or chondrocyte. In the human body, it’s found in greatest concentrations in the synovial fluid of articular joints for lubrication, and most abundantly in the skin, which contains around half of your body’s natural hyaluronic acid.
The benefits of hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid brings many benefits to your health, as it’s there to perform several important functions in your body. It helps deliver nutrients and carry toxins from cells that don’t have a blood supply, such as those found in cartilage. It keeps joints lubricated, and encourages water retention in other bodily tissues. In particular, it’s known for its moisturising benefits for skin, which is why it helps to promote a youthful appearance. Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail.
Hyaluronic acid for skin helps to fight the signs of ageing
As we’ve mentioned, the greatest concentration of hyaluronic acid is found in the dermis of your skin, where it plays a vital role in keeping your skin hydrated. Specifically, it’s found in large concentrations in the extracellular matrix, or ECM - the fluid-filled space between cells. Think of it as being a bit like a built-in moisturiser: it binds itself to water, and it’s able to hold a staggering 1,000 times its weight in water. This moisture retention is what makes it so good at keeping your skin soft and supple.
But if your body already produces hyaluronic acid on its own, why the need to take a supplement? Well, the bad news is that as we get older, our body’s natural production of hyaluronic acid starts to slow down. This starts to happen at a surprisingly early age, at around 18 to 20 years old, and this can be exacerbated by external factors such as smoking, pollution or sun exposure. The result is that your skin has less moisture, and this leads to dryness, fine lines and wrinkles - in other words, some of the telltale signs of premature ageing.
Skin supplements containing hyaluronic acid help to counter this natural decline in natural hyaluronic acid production, locking moisture into the ECM and keeping collagen and elastin moist. The result: several studies have shown that it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promoting healthier skin and a more youthful appearance. Taken in conjunction with collagen, as in our Skin Plus collagen supplement, it’s a powerful way to increase skin hydration, along with a raft of other benefits from collagen, such as stronger hair and nails.
Hyaluronic acid for joints helps your bone joint health
As we’ve seen, hyaluronic acid plays an important role in cartilage, and helps to keep your joints lubricated. This is why taking hyaluronic acid as part of a joint supplement regime helps to promote healthy joints and can help to relieve joint pain. That’s because a well-lubricated joint means the bones aren’t grinding together, which is what causes pain and discomfort - so it’s little wonder that there are numerous studies that show the benefits of hyaluronic acid for suffers of osteoarthritis.
Combining hyaluronic acid with collagen, as in our Osteo+ collagen joint supplement, you get even more benefits. In fact, FORTIGEL® - the specific Bioactive Collagen Peptide® we use in our joint supplements - has been clinically tested and approved for its effects on relieving joint pain and regenerating healthy cartilage.
Hyaluronic acid helps to heal wounds
As if its benefits for promoting youthful skin and healthy joints weren’t enough, hyaluronic acid also helps with wound healing. Interestingly, although it’s found throughout the dermis of your skin, hyaluronic acid is found in higher concentrations in areas where damage has occurred. It’s been shown that it helps wounds to heal by regulating the different phases of the wound healing process, namely inflammation, cellular migration and angiogenesis - and it even has antibacterial properties. All this is why it’s considered “one of the key players in the tissue regeneration process”.
Incorporating hyaluronic acid into your supplement regime
At Proto-col, we’re big advocates of an ‘Inside Out’ approach to health and beauty routines. We’d recommend adding hyaluronic acid into your daily routine as part of your collagen supplement regime, as the two ingredients are a natural fit for each other whether you’re taking collagen for your skin, joint health or both.
Taking Collagen Skin Plus as part of your day-to-day routine is a great start, as each serving not only gives you 1060mg of collagen for healthy skin, hair and nails, but it also contains hyaluronic acid to help moisturise your skin. That makes it a great choice if your goal is better skin hydration.
The easiest way to get started with collagen and hyaluronic acid for your joints is to take out a subscription, such as our Complete Joint Health, which will keep you going with a steady supply of collagen supplements in the form of Osteo+ and Joint+. Formulated to target joint pain, Osteo+ also contains hyaluronic acid, so combined with Joint+ for improved strength and mobility, Complete Joint Health represents the ultimate joint health care programme.
Read more about the benefits of collagen and take a look at our quick guide to find out more about the best collagen supplement for your health and beauty goals.
Written by guest blogger Rachel Ramsay.