Anticancer and pro-longevity effects of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (from naked mole rat to human)

I was reviewing the VitaDOA proposals list recently and I think people might find this new research project on VitaDAO of interest. As with any targeted drug development effort there will likely be a number of compounds identified, and there may even be some compounds identified that are already available on the market. If anyone hears of any such compounds, please post details here.

Background on Hyaluronic Acid and Naked Mole Rat Longevity

From VitaDAO:

Naked mole rats (NMR) are long-lived rodents with a lifespan of up to 40 years, compared to normal rats which live about 3 years. Unlike other rodents, NMR are found to be cancer resistant. Previous research by the Gorbunova lab has demonstrated cancer resistance in NMR is modulated by the abundance of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) in tissues (1). Additional research has demonstrated that transgenic mice expressing naked mole rat hyaluronan synthase gene (NHAS2) have less tumours, improved health, and live 10% longer than mice without the transgene (2). To increase HA in human patients and translate these findings into the clinic, this project will screen and develop small molecule inhibitors of hyaluronidases, the enzymes that break down hyaluronic acid. These compounds can be used for cancer treatment and are expected to increase human healthspan and lifespan.

VDP-45 on Decentralised Tech Transfer outlined a new model of funding which, in collaboration with academic partners, conducts experiments at CRO or “fee-for-service” academic facilities. In brief, DTT allows for greater efficiency with treasury resources, speed of project initiation, and the ability to reward research collaborators for their effort.


Using exceptionally long-lived and cancer-resistant animals provides a strategy to identify molecular mechanisms that support longevity and healthspan, potentially uncovering novel targets and/or pathways for translation to humans. NMR, based on their size, would not be expected to live past six years, yet in some cases, live beyond 30 years. NMR also rarely get cancer, are resistant to some types of pain, and can survive up to 18 minutes without oxygen. At advanced ages, their mortality rate remains lower than any other mammal that has been documented. As such, the NMR’s biology has garnered great interest from ageing researchers.

Based on published work by the applicant, where it was found that NMR cancer resistance is conferred by abundant HMW-HA in tissue (1), the authors propose to design inhibitors against hyaluronidases, the enzymes that normally degrade HA. Furthermore, very-high-molecular-weight HA (vHMW-HA) has superior cytoprotective properties compared to the shorter HMW-HA, protecting both human and mouse cells from stress-induced cell-cycle arrest and cell death (7).

Most recently, the Gorbunova lab has found that transgenic mice that express the NMR hyaluronan synthase gene have less cancer, show improved health, and live 10% longer than mice without the transgene, supporting that higher levels of HA promote healthy living and longevity (2). While humans cannot produce vHMW-HA, it is possible to increase HMW-HA and decrease LMW-HA by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks hyaluronans down, namely hyaluronidase 2 (HYAL2). The aims of the proposed studies now intend to develop and validate HYAL2 inhibitors in order to translate these research findings into clinical applications.

Read the full Project Description Here:



How do you know if the Hyaluronic acid you are taking is high molecular weight? Are all HA supplements high molecular weight?

Also since most rodents die of cancer, anything that can protect them from cancer will extend their life dramatically. It’s as if cancer was mother nature’s way of preventing the world from being overrun with rodents.


I’ve seen articles on the issue of High Molecular Weight HA, and I think some of them self-identify on their labeling and advertising, but I suspect the strategy as outlined above would be much more effective at raising HMW HA levels…

But to get back to your question - just search on HMW HA and I think you’ll find what you’re looking for.

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Can anyone recommend a good brand?

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I think that it’s important that HA is food grade. Most brands on Amazon sell it for cosmetic applications. I have been using Micro Ingredients brand powder for cosmetic applications and also as a supplement. They advertise it as vegan, no preservatives, additives free, non-gmo. Re HMW, I’m assuming that it is because it doesn’t penetrate skin. They however don’t market it as HMW.

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Yes, I can’t find HMW listed on my HA supplement from Double Wood. I am wondering if I am taking the wrong one…

You can search on Amazon for “high molecular weight hyaluronic acid” and get lots of hits, and try to find a brand you trust:

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Taking HMW HA may not be different from taking regular HA because the molecules are broken down into small pieces by bacteria in the large intestine.

The results of the study suggest that orally administered HA is degraded to oligosaccharides by intestinal bacteria, and oligosaccharide HA is absorbed in the large intestine and is subsequently distributed throughout the tissues, including the skin.


The natural source is Japanese sweet potatoes.


Love those! Especially the orange ones. Incredibly delicious!

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Murasaki potato is my favorite. I eat them cold to prevent glucose jump.


The Naked Mole-Rat as a Model for Healthy Aging

Annual Review of Animal Biosciences


Seems Joe the naked mole rat will be 40 this year! Keep going Joe!


Lotion Crafter has several Hyaluronic Acid powder options at different molecular weights, including this HMW (1-1.5 million daltons) one, which is 5 grams for $14:

Is it food grade to your knowledge?

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It says cosmetic use only in the info sheet.

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Bryan Johnson is taking HA. Is it a high molecular weight HA?

I’ve seen links suggesting he takes this product, but I’m not sure its accurate:

from here: "Next level Human" Bryan Johnson - by Akkshay Mehta

also - someone mentioned Bryans’ brand and links here in our forums: Suggestions for ITP drugs to test - #30 by Neo

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This is the cheapest source of quality HA I’ve found: