Are Collagen Supplements Good for the Skin and Are They Healthy?

Collagen is a protein found in the human body, and it is the most abundant protein that most mammals have. It has several functions, but the most common one is as a component of connective tissues to support them. Connective tissues exist in many parts of the body parts like the muscles, ligaments, tendons, the skin, blood vessels, the gut lining, our teeth, and our nails. [1]. Collagen also strengthens the bones.

Collagen Does Several Essential Things That  Connected With Our Beauty:

Collagen provides the skin with the firm structure it has and all of which is essential for a youthful appearance:

 Collagen hydrates the skin due to its occlusive properties of binding water. Collagen gives skin its elasticity, 

Our bodies in youth naturally produce as much collagen as is required. However, with age and for various other reasons, the production of collagen can dwindle or slow down.

When collagen production slows down, eventually, the skin starts to lose its elasticity, hydration, and firmness. This is when sagging of the skin and wrinkles begin to form. The skin also becomes drier. This is naturally inevitable at a later age. Still, in our era, we see it occurring much earlier than it needs to. 

Why does collagen production decline:

There are several reasons for collagen production, and these include:

Smoking, sugar consumption, deficiencies in specific vitamins and minerals, alcohol intake, certain eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, cancer, and excessive exposure to sunlight at midday in summer months and aging in general.

For this reason, collagen supplements have taken off. They have become a multi-billion-dollar industry since most people want to look good and hate having wrinkles.

All collagen supplements are made from animal parts such as bovine bone or hide or chicken bone.

But are these supplements effective, and are they healthy for you? 

Let’s see what the science says.

Collagen supplements come in many forms (tablets, capsules, powders). They are all made to go through a process called hydrolyzation since collagen is a protein, and thus cannot be digested whole. So the producers break the collagen down into peptides, as these can be absorbed by the body more readily. 

Several studies confirm that collagen supplements support the skin’s overall health and elasticity. Collagen supplements can help slow the aging of the skin and reduce the amount of dry skin and wrinkles. These effects have primarily been attributed to collagen supplements’ ability to promote collagen production in the body and the production of several other proteins that improve the structure of the skin. [2] [3] [4] Collagen supplements have also been shown to have positive therapeutic effects on osteoporosis and osteoarthritis as well as an increase in bone mineral density,

As of now, there are no known side effects of collagen supplements, and they are also generally safe to consume in their recommended doses. However, it’s vital to point out that some of these supplements contain common food allergens and artificial additives and preservatives due to the animal nature of the supplements. Also, they can cause mild digestive side effects including heartburn [5]

What about topical collagen creams?

Collagen topical creams will hydrate the skin but cannot help the body produce more collagen because collagen cannot penetrate the skin. You can go for cheaper hydration rather than buying collagen creams.

 The best hydration found for skin that does seep through the skin is avocado oil. Avocado oil was shown to “significantly increase collagen.” 

What about collagen supplements for vegans?

If you are a vegan, and still want to look youthful but will not compromise your ideals, do not lose hope. Except for using avocado oil on your skin, there are natural ways to improve internal collagen production.

Here Are 5 Tips On How You Can Help Your Body Maintain And Build Collagen Naturally.

  1. It is vital to consume adequate amounts of protein, in particular, the amino acid proline, which can be found in foods from the cabbage family and soy-based products. This way, your body has the amino acids it needs to make collagen. 
  2. A diet rich in antioxidants is also vital. Antioxidant vitamins include: vitamins A or beta-carotene, and vitamins E and C. Foods rich in these vitamins include sweet potato, carrots, black-eyed peas, spinach, boccoli, sweet red pepper, strawberries, kale and nuts.
  3. The B vitamins are also essential. These are found in seeds, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and dark, leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and baby leaves.
  4. Minerals like magnesium and zinc also play a vital role in skin health and elasticity. Foods rich in these minerals include all seeds, whole grains, and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans. 
  5. Foods that have been shown to boost collagen production specifically include green vegetables, especially leafy greens, blueberries, mango, and broccoli and legumes. 

If you prefer to take these vitamins in the form of a daily supplement, here is a vegan supplement that helps the body build collagen. It is called MyKind Organic Plant Based Collagen Builder. You can buy it on Amazon here

References:

  • [1] Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/
  • [2] Borumand M, Sibilla S. Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration, and wrinkles. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2015;4:47-53
  • [3] Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376. Epub 2013 Aug 14.
  • [4] Borumand M, Sibilla S. Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clin Interv Aging. 2014;9:1747–1758. Published 2014 Oct 13. doi:10.2147/CIA.S65939
  • [5] Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;30(2):87-99. DOI: 10.1053/sarh.2000.9622

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