Now familiar not only to doctors and veterinarians but also to horsemen and horsewomen throughout the world, hyaluronan, formerly called hyaluronic acid or HA, is the biomacromolecule most directly responsible for joint health. It is the major component of synovial fluid and is responsible for the structural and metabolic integrity of articular cartilage.
Hyaluronan is a vital, bioactive molecule found naturally in all the body's tissues and fluids. It retains moisture in the skin, lubricates and maintains healthy connective tissues, and provides shock absorption and lubrication to the joints. Long molecular chains of hyaluronan are also the primary constituents of vertebral disks, absorbing shock, and lubricating the core of the spine. These along with the formation and differentiation of stem cells including red and white blood cells are just some of hyaluronan's many roles in the body.
Hyaluronan plays a vital role in bone's extracellular matrix. Hyaluronan influences the growth and differentiation of cells in the bone marrow, accelerating new bone formation. Hyaluronan also aids the bone repair process following a fracture including the early inflammatory stage, the repair stage, and the remodeling stage. Bones consist of osseous tissue that makes up the skeletal system, supports the body, protects vital organs, facilitates locomotion and mineral storage. Osteoblasts are active throughout the important physiological process of bone formation, and are vital to the overall healing of the bone by replacing cartilage with cancellous (spongy) bone forming a bridge between fracture fragments. Hyaluronan supplementation has a stimulatory effect on osteoblasts, enhances cell growth and increases bone mineralization, contributing to the overall bone repair process.