Countless collagen manufacturers have been making the claims that consuming collagen supplements can make your skin dewy and fresh. It can also make your bones and nails healthy and further help with joints-pain. Collagen supplements come in all forms – powders, pills and creams.
For that reason and various others, collagen has become a sought after ingredient in the beauty world. But the efficacy is still a question?
Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein. The main structural protein binds the connective tissues throughout our body – from the skin to bones, muscles to tendons. Board-certified dermatologists have been praising collagen and its miraculous properties. Collagen makes 80 per cent of our skin’s protein, and it is also the one protein that manages the elasticity of the face because collagen works with elastin – so yes, it helps keep the skin’s elasticity high. But as we grow older, our body’s collagen production starts to reduce. Many dermatologists call collagen the threads of protein in the skin.
When we are young, the threads remain tight, but these threads begin to loosen up as we grow older. As we age, the body’s production of collagen starts to dwindle. And quickly as the collagen is breaking down, the body is unable to produce the same collagen. Beginning in the early 20s, we start losing 1 per cent of our body collagen every year. Various factors contribute to it further, such as sun exposure, cigarette smoke, pollution. These accelerate the process of collagen breakdown. And of course, with these facts, supplementing collagen is incredibly appealing and shouldn’t we then?
Collagen peptides which are used as the supplements are a little different. They are made by the same amino acids as your collagen, but our bodies easily absorb collagen peptides. Peptides have shorter chains of amino acids and are more easily absorbed in the bloodstream as it is more digestible.
Studies have proved that taking collagen for months can help improve the elasticity of our skin and the signs of skin ageing. Many other studies have also shown that consuming collagen helps with the bones weakened by age and improves joint, back and knee pain! But these studies can be biased as they are majorly funded by the manufactures of the supplements.
But ingesting collagen may help better your skin and also help with the bones :
Can help improve skin texture
Collagen plays a vital role in strengthening the skin, plus it also helps in skin hydration. As we age, our skin is more prone to dry skin and formation of wrinkles. However, various researches show that collagen peptides and supplements help slow the aging process and reduce the signs of wrinkles. Studies have shown that women who took 2-2.5 gms of collagen for 7-8 weeks, experienced skin hydration and a significant reduction in the wrinkle formation. Another study showed that taking the collagen supplements promoted the production of other proteins that help in the structure of our skin and help in our skin’s elasticity.
Prevent bone loss and help with joint pains
Our bones are made mostly of collagen, which helps define the bone structure and keep them healthy. But as we age, and the body starts to deteriorate, the bone mass also starts to reduce. Studies have shown that collagen supplements can help inhibit bone breakdown. Collagen also helps maintain our cartilage’s integrity, which is a rubber-like tissue that protects our joints. Some studies have again proven that taking collagen supplements help improve the system of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain as well.
Hair and nails
Collagen supplements can have various other health benefits as well. Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements helps prevent brittleness in nails and stimulates hair growth and nails to grow longer. These supplements also benefit the gut, and some health practitioners believe that collagen supplements can help with the interstitial permeability. Some studies have also shown that collagen can help maintain brain health.
But how does collagen get absorbed?
A large molecule like a naturally occurring collagen makes the body’s absorption extremely tricky by the body. Our bodies can easily absorb smaller peptides and pass the intestinal barriers and then into our bloodstreams. Our body then takes the collagen to places where it needs maximum repair. However, just like any other beauty fad, many companies are now promoting pills, powders and liquids with promises of better and healthier skin. However, because collagen is produced in deeper layers of the skin, topical creams might be a little tricky in its collagen absorption.
Eat your collagen, naturally.
Though our bodies can make collagen, some foods are extremely rich in collagen. Tougher cuts of meats such as chuck, roast and rump are extremely rich in collagen. Many food companies sell collagen-rich bone broth, which can be used in various soups, stews and many other dishes. Many dermatologists recommend eating more foods rich in the proteins (specifically amino acids proline and glycine) that help build collagen, such as meat, fish, dairy products, soy, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, dairy products, eggs, mushrooms and wheat germ. They also encourage people to eat more vitamin C-rich foods, since vitamin C is essential for collagen production, such as bell peppers, kiwis, citrus fruit, broccoli and kale.
Collagen has up-and-coming research. But eating foods rich in vitamin C foods and protein-rich with the right amino acids. Also, stay wary of sugars and white carbs!