Collagen, one of the building blocks of healthy skin (and a variety of other body parts such as hair, nails, and bones), is essential for youthful, smooth, and supple skin. Unfortunately for us, optimum levels don’t last, and our bodies’ capacity to manufacture it starts to decline from our mid-twenties onwards, resulting in a loss of elasticity, firmness, radiance, and the plumpness that we all want to keep as we age.
Collagen is produced by our bodies naturally as a result of the protein we eat. It can be obtained as a substitute or by eating lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. It’s also found in high concentrations in our bones, muscles, and ligaments. It’s thought to be the framework that keeps the body together.
Collagen aids in the formation of a network of fibers in the skin, allowing new skin cells to mature. This dynamic duo keeps the skin plump and youthful with the aid of elastin. It’s worth noting that the term “collagen” is derived from the Greek word “kólla,” which means “glue.”
Amino acids are essential for the development of muscle, bone, cartilage, skin, hair, connective tissue, and other body tissues. There are several different forms of amino acids, but collagen is the most plentiful in your body. Collagen is the most important structural protein in the connective tissues and skin.
Not only does our collagen production decline with age, but the nature of our collagen also deteriorates. Sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles are all caused by this. The idea behind ingestible or drinkable collagen supplements is that they can increase and enhance our body’s collagen and collagen production, resulting in better skin quality, anti-aging benefits, and other medical benefits such as joint and muscle improvements.
As a result, several supplement companies have begun to market collagen powders and tablets, which are mostly manufactured from animal parts such as fish scales, cow bones, and skin. Collagen supplements are part of a category of foods known as nutraceuticals, which are nutrient-dense foods that claim to improve health. They come in a variety of forms, including peptides, proteins, and hydrolysate.
Hydrolyzed collagen is the most common because it has a lower molecular weight and a higher water solubility, making it easier to dissolve in drinks and food. It’s most widely available as a powder that can be mixed into coffee or a smoothie. Gummies, capsules, and liquids, as well as effervescent tablets that dissolve in water, protein powders, and meal replacement bars are all available.
The majority of collagen supplements are derived from animals such as pigs, cows, and “marine collagen,” which is derived from fish. In terms of vegetarian and vegan choices, there are none, despite the fact that plant-based supplement companies offer collagen products. When you take a closer look at these supplements, you’ll notice that vegetarian and vegan choices include ingredients like vitamin C and zinc, which stimulate the body’s own collagen production but don’t contain any collagen.
Collagen supplement side effects and possible benefits are still being studied, but here’s what we know about the benefits for various body parts. The most comprehensive study is currently focused on joint wellbeing.
Collagen supplementation has been related to decreased arthritis symptoms since at least the early 1990s, according to reports. What isn’t obvious is how the collagen in the supplement improved the patients’ joints. These supplements, rather than increasing the body’s supply of collagen or cartilage, can reduce inflammation and thus improve symptoms.
A year later, postmenopausal women who took a daily collagen supplement showed improvements in their bone mineral density, particularly when it was combined with Vitamin D and calcium, according to one report. The researchers aren’t sure why collagen appears to reinforce our skeleton, but they believe it may be because it stimulates anabolic processes that promote bone development.
So, do collagen supplements really help with skin and hair? According to a 2002 study, hydrolyzed collagen, which is the form found in most powders, is broken down by your gut’s digestive enzymes and acids. Type-II collagen, on the other hand, can slip through your gut without losing its chemical structure, according to the same analysis.
Certain amino acids found in collage, especially one called glycine, have been shown to reduce GI inflammation and help digestion. But, once again, the proof is contradictory. The majority of the research didn’t use collagen powders or supplements, instead focusing on particular amino acids in a laboratory environment.
But, if you ask nutritionists, they’ll tell you that one of the most common blunders they hear about food and supplements is believing that what you swallow turns into the same thing in your body. Digestion and biochemistry don’t function like that.
Our stomach acid breaks down collagen (which is technically a protein) and transforms it to the amino acid proline-hydroxyproline as we eat it. There is no evidence that collagen survives absorption, and it’s possible that none of it reaches the bloodstream, let alone the right layers of the skin. Hirsch, on the other hand, sees some silver linings. This amino acid aids in the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin, resulting in a more hydrated appearance. This will tend to increase skin laxity and the appearance of wrinkled and saggy skin.
So at this point, the jury is still out it seems.
Check out my related post: How do you reduce wrinkles around your eyes?