Hyaluronic Acid - the anti aging nutrient?

Posted by Ada Hersko on March 14, 2014 0 Comments

Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is now widely available in supplements, skin creams and even injectables. But, is it the magical ingredient that appears to be on every skin manufacturers list and on every practitioner’s list of must have supplements?

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a gel-like water holding molecule that is the space filler and cushioning agent in all mammals.  HA cushions joints, nerves, hydrates skin and hair, and fills the eye.  Although originally discovered in 1934 by Karl Meyer, HA gained momentum only after a visit by a reporter to a Japanese village of Yuzuri Hara to find out why both men and women in their 80’s and 90’s had smooth wrinkle free skin, flexible joints, full heads of hair and activity levels that defied their age.  This was eventually found to be related to oestrogen-like molecules in their diet from soya and tofu, which sent signals to the cells to make more hyaluronic acid.

Our bodies roughly contain 15 grams of HA and it is found in virtually every part of the body.  With such a widespread occurrence, it is logical that HA also has multiple functions.   Scientific studies have shown that HA improves skin hydration, stimulates production of collagen in skin, works as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger, maintains skin elasticity, cushions joints and nerve tissues, has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity and maintains the fluid in the eye tissues, which may help to protect against numerous possible eye concerns.

The average human body contains roughly 15 grams of HA, one third of which is degraded and synthesized on a daily basis. This is where the problems arise! The manufacture of every single protective agent in the body declines with age and HA is no exception to this rule.  Decreasing levels of hyaluronic acid are known to accompany the ageing process and it is estimated that by the time we reach our mid-40’s, the synthesis of HA is roughly half that required by the body.

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

Skin:  Almost half of the body’s HA is located in the collagen of skin and it is logical that HA plays a vital role here.  Hyaluronic acid helps to retain over a 1000 times its weight in water within the cells of skin, making it an excellent moisturizer.  In fact, no other biological substance can retain as much water as HA resulting in increased smoothness, softening and decreased wrinkles.  Equally important is its ability to remove waste matter from cells including those where there is little blood circulation.

Today, hyaluronic acid is considered equally important, if not more important, than Collagen. The most common application for hyaluronic acid is in anti-ageing therapy, particularly with cosmetic procedures such as the elimination of skin imperfections and wrinkles, but these are not without problems and since HA is destroyed by the body, they need to be repeated regularly and are often expensive.

Joints:  Most of us have heard of glucosamine supplements used for the treatment of arthritic conditions. Glucosamine belongs to a group of compounds known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These compounds help you build stronger, healthier and more flexible joints.  Hyaluronic acid is the most active form of GAG’s and it works as a shock absorber lubricating the fluid in the joint tissues as well as stabilising its breakdown.   It also works to remove the waste products, often acidic in nature, that arise from the destruction of the cartilage matrix and hence eases joint pain.  As an antioxidant, it further supports joint health by protecting joint destruction due to free radicals. Hyaluronic acid can be administered by way of injections directly into the knees, although treatment can be very expensive and often needs to be repeated due to its natural breakdown.

Eyes:  Hyaluronic acid is found in the vitreous fluid in the eyes and gives them their shape and characteristics.  The first hyaluronic acid medical product was intended for use in eye surgery specifically for cataract surgery and glaucoma and was used to hasten the healing process following surgery.  Since hyaluronic acid lubricates the eye tissues, it is of great benefit for people suffering from dry eyes. Oral supplements of HA may also help your eyesight. The reason for this is that as we age, less HA is found in the eye tissues and it is required to help support the eye structures.

Gum Disease: Gum disease is a common problem affecting 3 out of 4 adults over the age of 35.  Gum disease, and not tooth decay, is the single biggest cause of tooth loss.  Hyaluronic acid is an important connective tissue component in the gums helping with the regeneration of fresh healthy gum tissue as well as reducing any inflammation that leads to bleeding gums. Several studies indicate that applying hyaluronic acid as a gel helps to reduce bleeding gums and other indicators of gum disease.

There are many additional benefits reported with the use of hyaluronic acid and these include faster wound healing, increased energy, dry skin relief, improved muscular strength and increased mental alertness. Can we really afford not to take hyaluronic acid supplements?

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The Health Benefits of Collagen Peptide

Posted by Ada Hersko on October 26, 2013 0 Comments

Aging is a reality that brings with it the inevitable wrinkles and aches.

Revolutionary products with medical backing allow us to fight this certainty -e.g. Collagen Pep. Collagen peptide is mainly responsible for the healthy maintenance of bones, cartilages and joints. It protects the skin from pathogenic substances and environmental toxins and renders young, smooth and healthy appearance to the skin devoid of wrinkles.

Collagen is the most plentiful protein present in the bodies of mammals including human beings. It is the focal building protein in bone, cartilage, skin and other connective tissues that constitute about 30 to 60 per cent of our total body protein.

As the largest protein in the body, collagen is the connective tissue for almost all our structures, including bones, cartilage, joints, skin, hair, nails, blood vessels, muscles and other organs. It provides structural scaffolding that aids the surrounding cells and organs in maintaining their form and structure, just like that the metal rods that hold a concrete building. Like any other protein, collagen is composed of amino acids, the most important ones being glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These amino acids are absorbed into the blood and regenerate collagen in our body.

80 per cent of the world’s hip fractures are being attributed to osteoporosis and the percentage is expected to go up over the years. With over 27 per cent of the world’s population being affected by osteoporosis, especially females in the post-menopausal stage, collagen Peptide is a savior in making sure those joints don’t creak so badly.

Intensive and modern research has proved the safety and efficacy of collagen peptide as a successful therapeutic supplement in the management of osteoporosis.

In India, an independent, double blind, randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial conducted in 2009 reconfirmed the efficacy and safety of collagen peptide in the sample population with osteoarthritis and with osteoporosis. The studies showed highly promising results in reducing the medical conditions and restoring their quality of life.

Collagen peptide naturally occurs in colored fruits and vegetables. Essentially, colour in such food translates to lycopenes, which are antioxidants, in turn increasing the production of collagen in our body.

Collagen peptide when taken orally is absorbed and amassed in your joints and cartilage thereby counteracting the degeneration process. Collagen peptide is found to be safe for consumption even in people with diabetes and cholesterol problems. It has no side effects and shows no interaction with other drugs.

Collagen peptide may be a wonder protein but it is a smart protein too. Collagen peptide, as discussed, acts on our body by stimulating repair and replacing cartilage, and so the effects do tend to wear off if you discontinue use. But with smoother skin and lesser joint aches, collagen peptide asks very little of us.

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Benefits of a Facial Massage

Posted by Ada Hersko on May 15, 2013 0 Comments

Facial massage can be a stand-alone massage or can be incorporated into a longer full-body experience. The face is full of nerves and pleasure points that make this particular form of a pampering an easy favorite. Whether you are looking for a quick midday pick-me-up or a soothing escape, the luxury of massage is easily justified by some of its more practical benefits.

                          

Improves Mood

Facial massage decreases anxiety and can improve a negative mood, according to a study conducted by the User Science Institute. Psychological tests administered after 45 minutes of facial massage showed significant improvements in both mood and anxiety levels. A relaxing facial massage may just help reduce psychological distress.

Wrinkle Prevention

Daily stress often results in tension building up in specific muscles. Foreheads furrow and lines form between the brows and along the lip line. Gentle, routine facial massage can help relax these tight and drawn muscles, decreasing the lines that they form. Massage combined with a hydrating moisturizer can also help minimize lines and dryness.

Relieves Sinus Congestion in Allergies

While therapeutic massage shouldn't be used for sinus infection without medical approval, it can aid in relieving allergy symptoms. A buildup of mucus in the sinus areas can result in pressure, puffiness and headaches. Steam inhalation and gentle massage helps to mobilize secretions, improve drainage and relieve congestion.

Detoxifies the Body

The lymphatic system plays a key role in health. Lymph is a clear fluid that removes toxins from the body. It's filtered through the lymph nodes, then moves into the blood stream where toxins can be eliminated. Muscle movement is needed to push lymph fluid through the body. A lack of movement can result in a sluggish lymphatic system and a buildup of toxins. Many lymph nodes are scattered throughout the facial area, especially along the edge of chin and jawline. Massaging the face stimulates the lymphatic vessels and facilitates toxin elimination from the facial area.

Here is a video of some facial massage exercises that you can practice to tone and improve your skin.

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