More people from the village of Yuzurihara, Japan live beyond age 85 than do people anywhere in the entire United States, according to a report on HealthWomen.com. These people live long productive lives and have youthful skin, optimal joint flexibility and minimal health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Dr Toyosuke Komori, the town’s doctor and author of five books on Yuzurihara, suggests the reason for the youthful healthiness is due to a low-iron, sticky vegetable-based diet that promotes hyaluronic acid levels in the body.
Yuzurihara is a village about two hours outside of Tokyo, Japan. The World Health Organization in Japan surveyed the 990 inhabitants and found the villagers to have extraordinary longevity. In addition to their diet including a sticky vegetable called moloheiya, which is rich in iron and calcium, they eat corn, taro root, okra, potatoes, rice and other starchy vegetables, which are known to stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, according to the Wolfe Clinic website.
Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in all living organisms and is a gel-like component that exists between cells and connective tissue. In synovial fluid, it acts as a cushion for joints and nerves to prevent degeneration, according to the Pain Clinic website. Hyaluronic acid hydrates skin and hair and moisturizes the eyes. With age, the body produces less hyaluronic acid and the skin and cells lose moisture and elasticity, causing wrinkling, dry eyes, thin hair and shrinkage of cartilage.
Food Sources of Hyaluronic Acid
The source of hyaluronic acid in Yuzurihara is the local diet. They primarily consume sticky carbohydrates such as satoimo, which is a sticky white potato; a type of sweet potato and imoji, which is a potato root. If you are not in Japan, there are other foods you can eat that contain hyaluron or stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid in your body, according to SteadyHealth.com. These foods include potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, peppers, citrus fruits, berries, cherries, bananas, brown rice, pumpkin, beans, parsley and cilantro.
Cornell University reported that fiber from 10 grams of soybeans per day may increase beneficial bacteria in the gut and reduce carcinogenic enzymes, correlating dietary fiber and aging. They suggested the prevalence of centenarians in Yuzurihara may be due to a high fiber diet. A study from the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Japan examined the feces of 84-year olds in the Yuzurihara area, compared with those of 68-year olds in Tokyo. They found that anaerobic bacteria, a bacteria that can cause diseases and infection, was significantly lower in the people of Yuzurihara than those in Tokyo. They concluded that the variation may be due to differences in intake of dietary fiber.
Hyaluronic Acid Preparations
Hyaluronic acid is available as a supplement but there is some controversy over its use. An article on BetterNutrition.com reports that hyaluronic supplements may be destroyed by stomach acid, making them ineffective. If buying hyaluronic supplements, choose reputable brands from your health food store. With recommended dosage, it may take several weeks for an effect to be noticed.
The Food and Drug Administration approved hyaluronic acid as a dermal filler to correct wrinkles and soft tissue damage resulting from advancing age. The 2008 “Clinical Interventions on Aging” recognized hyaluronic acid’s innate properties for the management of the aging face.
Topical hyaluronic acid applications are also available.
- H.A. Update Report: Yuzurihara Reveals its Secret: Hyaluronic Acid
- The Pain Clinic: Joint Pain Hyaluronic Acid: About Hyaluronic Acid
- SteadyHealth.com: Hyaluronic Acid Foods
- Clinical Interventions in Aging: Hyaluronic Acid Gel Fillers in the Management of Facial Aging
- Cornell University: Results: Gastrointestinal Flora
- Applied Environmental Microbiology: Comparison of Fecal Microflora of Elderly Persons in Rural and Urban Areas of Japan
- Better Nutrition: Say Hello to Hyaluronic Acid