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What Are Hyaluronic Acid Side Effects?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 21, 2024
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Hyaluronic acid side effects are not very common when administered by a doctor and they can include redness, tenderness, mild pain, and swelling at the injection site. When consumed orally, side effects may be more severe. They can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, shortness of breath, lethargy, headache, and other symptoms. Both forms may, more rarely, cause allergic reactions.

Hyaluronic acid is commonly used in medical settings during certain eye procedures. It is a substance naturally produced by the human body, and it is located in high quantities in the eye. By injecting the eyes during surgery, the acid that is often lost during such procedures is replenished. It may also be used for treatment of osteoarthritis to cushion the joints.

More recently, oral and cream-based hylaluronic acid has been touted as an anti-aging treatment. There is no research to indicate that oral regimens are effective, and long-term safety has not been established. Side effects may be more severe when taking an oral version, and it is not usually recommended unless specifically advised by a doctor.

When administered by a trained medical professional through a small injection, hyaluronic acid side effects are usually mild if they occur at all. There may be some pain and swelling at the injection site as with most shots. Occasionally the area will remain red and tender for a short period of time, but this is rare. Pain reliever can be given if needed.

With oral doses, hylaluronic acid side effects can be much more severe. Digestive upset, breathing irregularities, and changes in energy or mood are the most severe side effects associated with taking oral hylaluronic acid. The exact number of people who experience these effects is unknown because oral supplements of this kind have not been fully tested or studied. If hyaluronic acid side effects become severe or prolonged, a doctor should be notified and the supplements should be discontinued.

Hyaluronic acid side effects may also sometimes include allergic reactions. Mild allergy symptoms can include hives anywhere on the body or other skin irritation. More severe signs of an allergic reaction can include shortness of breath, extreme swelling, nausea, and shock. These symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency, and those who experience them should receive immediate medical attention.

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Discussion Comments
By discographer — On Nov 23, 2013

If any diabetics are planning on trying hyaluronic acid products, beware that it may raise blood sugar. Hyaluronic acid contains glucosamine which can affect blood sugar levels. Sometimes hyaluronic acid supplements are added glucosamine as well. So it's a good idea to check with a doctor and use caution with these products.

I started using hyaluronic acid without asking my doctor and it increased my blood sugar. Thankfully, I monitor my sugar levels regularly, so I caught it early on.

By burcinc — On Nov 22, 2013

@ddljohn-- Where did you hear that? I have never heard about it and I have done a lot of reading on hyaluronic acid supplements. I don't think that there could be a connection between hyaluronic acid and cancer. I'm not a doctor though, so if an expert can answer this, that would be better.

I'm taking hyaluronic acid for my skin and my joints and it's working great. My skin feels very moist and soft and it's only been a few weeks.

The only side effect I've noticed has been mild stomach upset. But that might be because I often take the supplement on an empty stomach.

By ddljohn — On Nov 22, 2013

I've heard that taking hyaluronic acid supplements can cause cancer cells to spread. Is there any truth to this?

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