mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Image by Atolas / Stocksy
June 29, 2022
If you’re on the prowl for hydrated, supple, impossibly dewy skin, chances are you’ve looked into hyaluronic acid (HA) serums. The beloved humectant has the ability to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water—and as it draws said water into your skin, your complexion immediately plumps up with moisture. Now, we’re all for snagging a pillowy, skin-quenching serum (we even compiled a list of our favorites, should you be in the market for a refill), but if you really want to supercharge your skin health, you might want to think about taking hyaluronic acid supplements, too.
Don’t worry—we’ll explain everything you need to know. Here, find out who can benefit most from an HA supplement (spoiler: It’s everyone), and the winning formulas that are actually worth your hard-earned dollar.
What is hyaluronic acid?
You may know hyaluronic acid as the buzzy humectant that draws water into your skin and makes it noticeably more plump—but did you know you have natural stores of HA in your body?
Yes, really: “Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring type of sugar that is produced by the body and found in the highest concentrations in our skin, connective tissue, and eyes,” says board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek, M.D., about the ingredient. “It functions to retain water, keep our tissues well lubricated and our skin looking firm and youthful.”
While 50% of the body’s total amount of hyaluronic acid resides in the skin, it’s also present in tissues, joints, and blood vessels; specifically, it plays a key role in helping joints feel lubricated, potentially supporting joint health as we age.
However, like all good things, your natural reserve of HA diminishes over time. According to naturopathic doctor Nigma Talib, N.D., by the time you reach your 40s, you have around 50% of the HA you had during your younger years. And when your body’s hyaluronic acid declines, you may notice physical signs of skin aging, like fine lines, wrinkles, and dry, dull skin.
Sure, a good hyaluronic acid serum can pull water into the top layer of your skin and temporarily fill out those fine lines, but to replenish your natural HA reserves, you might want to think about ingesting the ingredient, too, with quality supplements.*
How we picked.
Multidimensional health support
We researched and curated an array of HA-containing supplements with thoughtful multi-ingredient formulas that target diverse, relevant areas of hyaluronic acid’s health support, from beauty and joints to healthy aging and more.*
Efficacious dosing (no dusting)
Clinically meaningful doses (i.e., to humans, not mice) of hyaluronic acid, most featuring 70 milligrams and up. For example, you’ll find 100 milligrams of vegan HA in our best overall pick.
We prioritized formulas with strong active ingredient profiles and a limited number of clean excipients (those “other ingredients”) from brands with established reputations for quality testing and control.
Variety of delivery formats
Different strokes for different folks—we offer a variety of HA-containing supplement formats, from premium powder blends to capsules, tablets, on-the-go packets, and yes, even a vegan gummy.
mbg’s picks for the best hyaluronic acid supplements of 2022
- Layers in collagen plus 7 nutrients, botanicals, and bioactives for holistic inside-out support*
Considerations: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Unflavored, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, GMO-free, Keto-friendly, Major allergen-free
mbg’s standout collagen powder not only has 100 milligrams of hyaluronic acid (which has been shown to promote joint mobility) but is also packed with 17.7 grams of grass-fed collagen, as well as vitamins C and E, L-glutamine, biotin, and curcumin from turmeric extract to support healthy skin, hair, nails, muscles, joints, and blood vessels.* It’s the one-stop shop for all of your beauty needs, and it comes in both an unflavored and rich chocolate variety.
- Gummies often come with added sugar and flavors
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, GMO-free
If you’ve got to have a gummy, you can’t go wrong with these vegan tangerine jellies. Each serving size (two gummies) contains 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid, 5 milligrams of vitamin-C-rich amla fruit, and 15 milligrams of vitamin E. Of course, gummies often contain more extra ingredients (like sugars, flavors, and gums), but this option is about as clean as they come.
- Does not contain collagen, if you’re looking to streamline your supplement routine
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Unflavored, Dairy-free
Some people just love the ease of a capsule, and we can’t ignore that they’re great for on-the-go. We’re especially big fans of this simple mineral-rich ingredient list: Along with 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid, you’ll find vitamin C, biotin, magnesium citrate, zinc, selenium, and organic mustard seed extract, and it’s all housed in a silica capsule.
- Single-use packets are not environmentally friendly
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Dairy-free
This powder’s fruity flavor can’t be beat: Along with 70 milligrams of hyaluronic acid and 65 milligrams of amla berry extract, it includes coconut water and watermelon juice powder for a thirst-quenching sip. It instantly elevates your drink—and if you stir it into sparkling water, you’ll have a quick, cooling summer spritz. Toss a few packets into your tote for skin hydration wherever you go.
- Some don’t prefer a piña colada taste
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free
This powder is jam-packed with nutrient support: Their plant-based blend features spirulina, moringa leaf, wheat grass, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, amla fruit, sea buckthorn berry, spinach, and kale (to name a select few). Of course, it features 100 milligrams of hyaluronic acid, too, for extra skin hydration.* And that piña colada flavor is practically screaming for a tropical smoothie.
- Contains vitamin C, which is crucial to have with collagen
- Tablets are not the best delivery format for collagen
Considerations: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Unflavored, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, GMO-free
Hyaluronic acid is often paired with collagen, as both provide some noteworthy skin care benefits. We believe that powder is the best way to ingest a meaningful amount of collagen, but tablets are pretty easy to take with you on the go. In one of these capsules, you’ll get 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid, 100 milligrams of vitamin C (which is crucial to have in collagen supplements), and type II hydrolyzed collagen sourced from chicken.
- Can support healthy, full hair*
- Hard to know exactly how much HA is in this proprietary blend
- Four tablets for one serving
Considerations: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Unflavored, Soy-free, Dairy-free, GMO-free
Friendly reminder: Your scalp is your skin, and it should be treated as such. So just as hyaluronic acid supplements can support a hydrated, glowing complexion, they can also enhance moisture levels in your scalp—and your scalp, as you likely know, is the root of healthy hair.* We should note that each serving size is four tablets, which can be a nuisance for some, but know that you’re getting a whopping 1,680 milligrams of combined hydrolyzed marine collagen, ashwagandha extract, saw palmetto, curcumin, and hyaluronic acid.
Best joint support: Pure Encapsulations Joint Complex
Pure Encapsulations Joint Complex
VIEW ON Amazon | $54
- Contains anti-inflammatory botanicals & research-backed ingredients for joint support*
- Not the most potent dose of hyaluronic acid
Considerations: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, GMO-free
With a name like “Joint Complex,” how could this formula not nourish your cartilage and connective tissues? And it’s not just marketing: In each capsule, you’ll find 70 milligrams of hyaluronic acid, 100 milligrams of turmeric phytosome, and 400 milligrams of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). MSM, if you’re unfamiliar, is a naturally occurring organic sulfur compound, and research shows supplementing with the ingredient can help improve joint function.*
- Supports gut & skin health*
Considerations: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, GMO-free, Keto-friendly
Collagen is great for gut health—recent research even shows that 20 grams of collagen peptides improve digestion and bloating in women.* This Garden of Life blend does contain 20 grams (16 grams of grass-fed bovine collagen and 4 grams of wild-caught marine collagen), along with 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid and clinically backed probiotics to further support digestive health.*
- Provides joint & skin support*
- Some reviewers report a funky taste
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Unflavored, Soy-free, Dairy-free
If you’re in the market for a vegan, herbal-only blend, these capsules have you covered. The formula features 100 milligrams of hyaluronic acid and a proprietary blend of Indian frankincense, bromelain, ginger root extract, white willow bark extract, and cayenne fruit powder. It’s simple, easy, and elevates HA as an MVP ingredient.
Considerations: Cruelty-free, Gluten-free
When it comes to flavor, gummies generally take the cake. Sure, these often come with more added sugars (this one in particular includes glucose syrup, if you’re sensitive to that), but if taste is of the utmost importance to you, these juicy berry jellies are your best bet. Some people simply won’t stick to a supplement routine if the flavor experience is anything less than exceptional, so if a gummy format is what you need to consume 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid, we say go for it.
- Does not contain complementary actives
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Unflavored, GMO-free
This formula contains the highest amount of hyaluronic acid at 200 milligrams—so if you’re looking for a bounty of HA, this is your buy. Just know that hyaluronic acid is the only active ingredient here; so while you are loading up on HA, you aren’t reaping the benefits of complementary botanicals and nutrients. But if a straight-up hyaluronic acid supplement is all you’re looking for, these capsules are sublime. Plus, you get a lot of bang for your buck: 150 capsules for just $9.99.
- Addresses longevity from multiple angles
- The sugar alcohol (erythritol) can cause GI issues for some
- Single-use sachets
Considerations: Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, GMO-free, Keto-friendly
These powder packets contain 12 highly effective botanicals known for their ability to enhance skin health, cognition, mood, and energy levels.* To name a few: magnesium, rhodiola rosea, vitamin C, ginger, L-theanine, hyaluronic acid (duh), and even microdosed lithium, which studies have shown may support longevity.* We should note, the formula does contain erythritol, which is important to mind if you’re sensitive to sugar alcohols, and the single-serving sachets aren’t too environmentally friendly.
Benefits of hyaluronic acid supplements.
Now, you may be thinking: What’s the difference between taking a hyaluronic acid supplement and just applying the humectant topically? To which we say: Why not double down?
Oral forms of HA have been shown to support skin hydration and appearance: In fact, one study found that people who took 120 milligrams of hyaluronic acid a day for eight to 12 weeks experienced better skin aging (fewer wrinkles and more supple skin) compared with those who took a placebo.*
They have also been shown to support healthy joints, as oral HA supplements are absorbed in the digestive tract and then migrate to the connective tissues that are most in need of more HA.* Finally, says Chwalek, hyaluronic acid is great for “regulating the inflammatory response, blood vessel formation, and can increase collagen production, which is another way it can help our skin as we age.”
Not to mention, hyaluronic acid can be found in plenty of multi-ingredient formulas, so you don’t necessarily have to take a stand-alone HA supplement—it’s usually a complementary active to other ingredients like collagen, which only elevates its skin-loving benefits.*
Should you be taking a hyaluronic acid supplement?
Who should add an HA supplement to their repertoire? Well, technically, everyone is a good candidate. In terms of hyaluronic acid itself, “There’s not a person who can’t benefit from this ingredient,” holistic esthetician Amity Spiegel tells mbg. Everyone can fare well with a little more skin moisture, but if you’re starting to notice signs of skin aging (i.e., fine lines, dryness, and dullness), you might reap more noticeable benefits.*
Similarly, if you’re looking for some extra joint support, a hyaluronic acid supplement may be particularly helpful.* Just make sure to speak with a health practitioner before starting a supplement routine (that goes for any supplement) to make sure it fits within your specific lifestyle.
As for side effects, there aren’t any particular downsides associated with the humectant (unless you have an allergy to HA, which is pretty rare). As with any supplement, you’ll want to check the label to make sure there aren’t any potential allergens in the excipient list (aka, the “other ingredients”). Players like artificial colors, flavors, gluten, GMOs, soy, and gluten can all make an HA supplement less than stellar.
If you’re partial to a hyaluronic acid serum for dewy skin, you might want to think about supplements, too, for even more skin-quenching benefits (plus joint support!).* The good news is that you don’t have to add yet another product to your already crowded supplement routine—plenty of formulas (namely collagen powders) include HA in their blends, so you can get way more bang for your buck.*
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.