Feb 17 , 2021
Collagen might be the fountain of youth, but you don't need it in pill form.
You've probably noticed a trend popping up on the internet: collagen supplements. Collagen marketed as the "fountain of youth", and you can buy it in pill, powder, liquid and gummy form.
Collagen supplements and elaborate skincare treatments promise a host of benefits, including giving you better skin and nails, improving your gut health, promoting joint health and making you stronger. But do they work?
What is collagen, and what does it do?
Collagen is relatively crucial for your body's daily functioning -- it's the most abundant protein in the body. the best way to think about collagen is "as a glue to hold things together." It's the primary building block of tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and skin. It also helps your body rebuild itself after injuries, especially at sites like tendons, ligaments and muscles. Take a moment right now to thank collagen for literally keeping your body together.
Your body creates its collagen by combining amino acids. The process also uses vitamin C, zinc and copper, so you can promote natural collagen production by eating a well-balanced diet.
Do I have enough collagen?
As we get older, our bodies start to produce less collagen naturally. While wrinkles and aches are a part of the aging process, you may be wondering if low collagen is to blame for your ailments.
the following are signs that you may be missing out on the vital protein:
- Less flexible tendons and ligaments
- Wrinkles on skin
- Weak muscles
- Worn out cartilage or joint pain
- Gastrointestinal issues caused by thinning of the lining of the digestive tract
Of course, if any physical symptoms are significantly interfering with your quality of life, you'll want to check in with your doctor. But, if you'd just like smoother skin and a little more pep in your step, it could be worth looking into how you can increase your collagen levels.
Do I need collagen supplements and skin treatments?
Although you can certainly try to produce more collagen, naturally, you're probably wondering if those trendy collagen supplements and skin treatments work. I have an unsatisfying answer to the burning question: they do.
First, let's start with supplements. Active people take collagen supplements one hour before working out, and there's undoubtedly scientific research that supports this suggestion.
One comprehensive literature review found that collagen supplements can help with wound healing and skin aging and increase skin elasticity and hydration. These results are just preliminary, however -- a lot more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness. And be careful when searching online -- many studies are performed by companies who manufacture collagen supplements, so you can't put too much stock in them.
On the other hand, I don't see any reason to invest in skin treatments designed to increase collagen. These treatments often have a hefty price tag, and most of the supporting research is inconclusive at best.
If you have the resources to spare, however, specific treatments might be worth a shot. Some studies have shown that micro-needling (which is said to increase collagen) can treat facial scarring and stretch marks. At the same time, ultrasound therapy seems to be sufficient for tightening and lifting facial muscles. Again, this research is far from definitive, so consider trying collagen supplements first before you leap.
If the world of supplements and freaky skin treatments puts a bad feeling in your stomach, you can take a more natural route to increase your collagen.
The most effective way is through a well-balanced diet. When your body produces collagen, it uses amino acids, vitamin C, zinc and copper. To get the necessary amino acids (Castillo specifically names proline and glycine), you can eat eggs, bone broth, beans and meat. For vitamin C, go for citrus fruits, berries and bell peppers. Eat meat, shellfish, nuts, whole grains and beans for zinc and copper.
collagen bone broth
If you had to choose just one food to increase your collagen levels, it'd have to be bone broth. When you simmer beef, chicken or fish bones in water, the collagen and other minerals seep into the water, delivering a delicious and nutrient-dense liquid. Just be sure to plan-making own bone broth can take a day or two.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.