A popular type of supplement in Asia, oral collagen products are becoming more common in western countries as well. But can they really make you look and feel younger?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein found in the tissues of the body like the skin, bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and eyes. It's needed to support the structure of these tissues and keep them strong. Collagen is the type of protein we have the most of in our bodies, but as we age, the amount of collagen we have decreases and the body is no longer able to produce more.
As we get older and lose collagen, the skin's structure begins to weaken and the skin becomes thin and more loose. This is why fine lines, wrinkles and sagging occur. The abundance of collagen is why young skin remains taught and smooth. As for the other tissues in the body, the loss of collagen will also make them weaken. The joints will become more stiff and less flexible as the amount of collagen in the tendons and ligaments degenerates. This can make movement more difficult and uncomfortable. The hair will also become more thin and brittle from a loss of collagen.
Collagen Supplement Basics
There are different kinds of collagen supplements made from various forms of collagen (there are several). You'll most often see it listed as collagen hydrolysate/hydrolyzed collagen, collagen 1 or collagen 3. First of all, there are supplements made from ingredients like hyaluronic acid and genistein. These supplements provide the necessary building blocks for the body to support tissue health when collagen levels deplete. The other type of collagen supplement is one that contains actual collagen from animals, most often taken from cows, shellfish or other forms of marine life. You can find collagen supplements in pill form as well as powders which can be added to liquids. To enhance the effects of the collagen, vitamin C is often added, which plays a vital role in the body's natural production of collagen.
Therefore, when it comes to anti-aging, collagen supplements are said to help keep the skin smooth and firm by maintaining the elasticity of the skin while also supporting healthy and joints. But do they work? An eight-week study published just this year in the medical journal Skin pharmacology and physiology found daily oral supplementation with 2.5 to 5 g of collagen hydrolysate resulted in greater skin elasticity in women between the ages of 35 and 55. A 2006 review of previous studies published in Current medical research and opinion found daily ingestion of collagen hydrolysate improved collagen levels in the cartilage, suggesting it could be a possible treatment for those with osteoarthritis and other joint disorders. While the results of these studies are promising, more will need to be conducted to determine a widely recommended daily dosage.
If you're interested in taking an oral collagen supplement, make sure to read all product instructions carefully. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking a collagen supplement, especially if you're currently being treated for a medical condition, are pregnant or if you're breastfeeding. Collagen supplements may cause hypercalcemia (high calcium) or allergic reaction (depending on the source).
More Healthy Tissue Tips
If you're looking to further fight the visible signs of aging and keep all the body's tissues healthy, consider some of these suggestions:
Drink plenty of water.
Sleep between seven and nine hours per night.
Eat a diet that consists of mainly fruits and vegetables and protein.
Limit sugar and alcohol intake.
Wear sunscreen daily, all year round.
Make sure to get your daily calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.
You don't have to go to drastic lengths to look and feel younger. Get everything you need to support your body naturally at eVitamins. Have a great week!