Collagen, an essential protein present in the body, is fragment of the connective tissues for bones, muscles, blood cells, cartilage, arteries and organs. As you get older, collagen production decreases, leading to many ill-effects especially to skin. Collagen, considered as skin’s glue, provides skin’s strength, plumpness, smoothness and elasticity.
There are 27 types of collagen identified. However, exposure to sun and aging affect the healthy look of the skin, in which, wrinkles appear.
In recent years, collagen drinks have proliferated as supplement to skin renewal. Made from animal or fish materials, drinking this beauty beverage can aid in collagen loss as it is said to restore plumpness, bounce and suppleness to aging skin.
This beverage comes in powder or shots and is offered in spa treatment areas as complement after facial. Indeed, taking this beverage has brought some controversies as to how it would help in regaining collagen.
Taking the stance about collagen supplements
Skin experts are skeptical if consuming collagen orally can help in the production of collagen. However, dermatologist and medical director at European Dermatology London, Dr. Stefanie Williams, believed otherwise as some products live up to their claims.
According to Dr. Williams, he thought that collagen would simply be digested and broken down before it passed through the bloodstream; therefore, it would never reach the skin.
After thorough analysis of the data, Dr. Williams revealed and found out that the process of taking in collagen works differently. He explained that once the molecule is broken down, the fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through the other parts of the body, including skin, where it remained for up to 14 days.
Interestingly, Dr. Williams expounded that drinking collagen makes the body tricked into thinking that these broken fragments indicate collagen breakdown, sending signal that there is a need for urgent repair. This leads the fibroblasts to produce more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, the essential compounds that are responsible for providing youthful skin.
With these outcomes, Dr. Williams determined that collagen drinks works by persuading our bodies to synthesize new collagen. Collagen supplement may work as aid during collagen production and strengthening skin’s dermis or the second layer of the skin where collagen resides. Drinking this beauty beverage also helps in retaining skin’s moisture and allowing the skin to appear plumper. Certainly, there is a data to show that certain collagen supplements can improve skin’s hydration, elasticity and wrinkling.
What are other benefits of taking collagen supplements?
One, it provides nutritional value to the body. Collagen powders are rich source of amino acid, glycine that supports metabolic functions and detoxification. In order to absorb amino acids and achieve better digestion, consume this drink on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before a meal.
Two, collagen supplements aids in joint support. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the effects of collagen supplementation on 55 healthy participants who suffered from joint pain caused by physical activity. The participants were given placebo or UC-I, a patented form of un-denatured type II collagen on a daily basis. After the four-month study, the result showed that those who had taken collagen supplement had increased knee joint mobility, less joint pain and they were able to exert themselves pain-free for longer periods. Despite this outcome, it is recommended that necessary research needs to be done, yet researchers concluded that type II collagen demonstrates potential in alleviating exercise-induced joint pain.
Three, preliminary studies suggest that collagen supplements may help in enhancing other areas of the skin like hair and nails. It also helps boost immune system, balance blood sugar, regulate sleep and assist in wound healing and reduce inflammation. However, further clinical evidence needs to be done to support the aforementioned claims.
Of all the 27 types of collagen, it has been identified that type I and II have the most research to support benefits. Hence, look for a collagen drink that contains these types. Complement it with vitamin C or take vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C works well in combination with collagen. A caution though, collagen supplement, particularly the powdered one are safe but the downside is they can cause gastrointestinal upset. Before taking this beneficial supplement, consult your physician.