Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy | Other substances

Hyaluronic acid in food supplements

Commissioned:

Report no: 2023: 13

Published: 10.05.2023

Key message:

It is safe to use hyaluronic acid in certain amounts in food supplements, according to the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM).

VKM cannot conclude whether hyaluronic acid is safe to use for longer than 12 months, or whether rare side effects may occur at the population level.

This is the key message in a risk assessment that VKM has conducted for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

Methods

VKM has assessed the risk of adverse health effects from daily intake of dietary supplements containing 150 mg, 120 mg, 64 mg, and 48 mg of hyaluronic acid.

VKM has not estimated additional contributions from other sources of hyaluronic acid, such as food, cosmetics, and various medical uses.

The risk assessment is based on information from 18 animal studies where no harmful health effects have been found, and from 17 randomized controlled trials in humans totalling about 1,000 participants, whom half of which received hyaluronic acid in doses ranging from 25 to 225 mg/day. The longest study lasted 12 months, with a dose of 200 mg per day.

The human studies examined benefits of hyaluronic acid supplementation on osteoarthritis and skin conditions. Possible harmful health effects were documented and investigated to varying degrees, but the results support the animal studies showing no harmful health effects.

“Since the studies of hyaluronic acid supplementation did not last longer than 12 months, and had relatively few participants in total, VKM cannot conclude on effects over a longer period, or rare side effects, “ says Johanna Bodin, Chair of the project group.

About hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is regulated as "other substances", which are substances that have a nutritional or physiological effect and are not vitamins or minerals.

The hyaluronic acid found in food supplements is extracted from rooster- or chicken comb or is produced by microorganisms.

The body’s own production of hyaluronic acid is about 5000 mg per day. An adult person of 70 kg has approximately 15 g of hyaluronic acid in the body, of which about half is found in the skin. Studies in animals show that hyaluronic acid is broken down into harmless components.

The risk assessment has been conducted by the VKM Panel on Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food, and Allergy.

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