Dietary Collagen supplements have been making its way into the skincare industry. Just in the last few years there have been some impressive studies showing that ingestible collagen can indeed impact the appearance of skin. A myriad of supplements have bombarded the shelves at super markets and it is important to know some important facts.
Collagen is a protein made up of amino-acids: glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, all of which help our body's connective tissue, skin, hair, nails, and gut health.
It’s the glue that holds the body together.
As we get older, we break down collagen faster than we can replace it. Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. We can thank this degenerative process for signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains due to weaker or decreased cartilage. Other lifestyle factors — like eating a diet high in sugar, smoking, alcohol and high amounts of sun exposure — also contribute to depleting collagen levels.
As a protein source alone, collagen is a good one, packing in more protein per calorie than other sources while containing less sodium and sugar. Collagen protein is different than whey and casein protein because of these high levels of amino acids. Muscular growth and joint health can be partially attributed to the amino acid blend in collagen that can't be found anywhere else.
Collagen can also help our skin stay toned, supple and glowing. It’s an important building block for the skin. Collagen makes up to 30% of the protein in our body and an impressive 70% of the protein is found within our skin. While some studies support the addition of collagen supplements for over all health, some doctors question how well it will work to improve skin elasticity.
The fact is stomach acids break down a large percentage of orally taken supplements before the body absorbs it. There is some evidence that say it is unlikely that someone would see any benefit from collagen supplements before it gets to the skin, but there is some some data out there that suggest otherwise.
One recent study of 53 elderly men with sarcopenia, a loss of muscle caused by aging, found that those who took 15 grams of collagen daily, in addition to lifting weights three times per week for 3 months, gained significantly more muscle and lost more fat than those who only lifted weights.
In a 2014 study of 69 women, ages 35 to 55, found that those who took 2.5 or 5 grams of collagen daily for 8 weeks showed a lot of improvement in skin elasticity, compared with those who didn’t take it.
Another found that people who took 1 gram per day of a chicken-derived collagen supplement for 12 weeks had 76% less dryness, 12% fewer visible wrinkles, better blood flow in the skin, and a 6% higher collagen content.
How to Choose
If you are interested in trying collagen it’s important to choose wisely. Look for companies that get their bones and tissues from cage-free, free-range, and antibiotic-free sources. Steer clear of fancy mixtures that combine collagen with probiotics, fiber, or other additives, which could interact with the collagen and change how well it works. The most important factor in choosing any supplement is quality. So look for reputable brands from reputable sources.
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