advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Do Your Joints Need a Lube Job?
What are the benefits and side effects of hyaluronic acid?
A
Answer (Published 12/9/2003)

Updated on 6/20/2005

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally-occurring substance found in the body. It is a constituent of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints, allowing them to move over each other easily; and also of vitreous humor, the clear, jelly-like substance in the eye. Hyaluronic acid made from rooster combs (the Mokawk-like crown on a rooster's head) or from bacterial cultures is used medically to treat the pain of osteoarthritis in the knee when no other treatment has helped. People with arthritis tend to have lower than normal levels of hyaluronic acid. The treatment, called "viscosupplementation," involves injecting hyaluronic acid, usually in three to five shots over several weeks time.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Bone and Joint Health - Wear and tear, joint stress, inadequate nutrition and genetic predisposition all can be factors in your risk for bone and joint issues. Help protect your bones with a proper diet, supplement routine and exercise plan. Learn more - join the Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide and get 14 days free.

If you're allergic to eggs, make sure to tell your doctor, so you can get bacterial HA in order to avoid an allergic reaction from the chicken-derived product. There are few side effects of treatment. Immediately after the shot, you may have some pain, warmth and swelling at the site of the injection, and it is best to avoid standing too long, jogging or heavy lifting for two days after getting the shot. HA injections don't work for everyone, but when they do, pain relief may last for several months. Although the injections are expensive, many insurance programs now cover them.

I'm aware of claims that oral supplements of HA can extend life, but I don't know of any scientific evidence that backs them up. I've also read about regions of Japan where many people live well into their nineties and seem to show few effects of aging despite such bad health habits as smoking and working outdoors without sunscreen. Supposedly, this is due to regular consumption of locally grown vegetables (mainly sweet potatoes and other root crops), whose special starches prompt the body to produce more hyaluronic acid. I don't believe it. And I know of no evidence that the HA supplements promoted on the Internet can help keep you stay young or, as advertised, preserve the health of your eyes, joints and skin.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here