Do Collagen supplements really work?
Collagen is an essential component for healthy growth of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints. When we are young our various cells are constantly producing collagen to keep our body healthy. As we grow older the collagen production keeps decreasing gradually. Also the collagen begins to break down faster and hence less collagen in the body. Besides axing, there are other factors that can also decrease collagen production. such as –
- UV Rays
- Diet rich in sugars and processed carbohydrates
What is collagen?
Collagen is a major protein in our bodies, making upto 30% of protein in our body.
It’s a component of skin, hair, ligaments, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and other connective tissues.
It’s shaped like a triple helix with three chains of amino acids. It is divided into 28 types, based on its structure and where in the body. Type 1 is found in skin, bones, tendons and ligaments.
collagen is produced by fibroblasts. vitamin ZZC and zinc are the essential nutrients needed for collagen production.
Function of collagen
- Strength and structure
- Elasticity to the skin
- Helps new skin cells to grow
Consensus on Collagen supplements
Suddenly the market is flooded with collagen supplements. They are available in the form of pills, capsules, powder, gummies and drinks.
The scientific society is still undecided about the effectiveness of collagen supplements. There are not enough studies to support the role of health benefits from collagen. In a few studies they noticed that intake of collagen supplements, reduced the wrinkles, improved skin elasticity and hydration. But these supplements had other nutrients which could have helped improve the skin texture and elasticity. Though few studies have shown improvement in joint mobility and help relieve knee and joint pains too.
The collagen supplements are not regulated by the US FDA. There are no standard guidelines being followed by the manufacturers. The collagen in the supplements is derived from beef (bovine), fish (marine), chicken and other sources. A few are being sold as collagen peptides which are short chains of fatty acids.
There are a number of dermatologists, including me too (Dr. Jastinder Gill, best dermatologist in Ludhiana), who are not recommending collagen to their patients or taking the collagen supplements themselves.
As for me, I still haven’t started taking them, but i do take other supplements like, B complex, iron, antioxidants, minerals, calcium, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids.
2.5 to 15 gm of collagen peptides.
Collagen is not absorbed by the body as such, it breaks down into amino acids, which are then utilized by the body to produce collagen
Food rich in collagen
- Bone broth
Nutrients which can help in increase collagen production
- Vitamin C
- Amino acids proline and glycine
You can consume them as supplements or eat food rich in these nutrients.
My take away point
Whenever someone asks me whether they should take collagen supplements ,my advice to them is – that there is no well documented proof of the health benefits on skin, but as there are no side effects and the supplement contains other nutrients which would benefit for overall good health, so no harm in taking the collagen supplements.
Eat collagen rich food and nutrients which will help the body produce its own collagen. Collagen is considered as a one stop solution for aging skin and healthy bones and joints.