Anti-aging Collagen Supplements: bogus or legit
Have you seen Collagen supplements in your local health food stores and thought “what’s this all about?” Collagen comes in the form of powders, pills, and creams. Countless manufacturers of collagen supplements claim anti-aging benefits. Everything from reducing wrinkles, joint pain relief, wound healing to bone loss prevention. For that reason, collagen has become wildly popular in the beauty industry. Numerous bloggers, influencers and celebrities endorse collagen as a miracle cure. But does collagen actually work? Or is it just the latest snake oil product? We did some digging. Here’s what we found.
What is collagen?
Before looking at the claims, first, we need to explain what collagen is. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in all animals. In humans, collagen comprises 1/3 of our total protein and accounts for 75% of our dry weight of skin. Experts often refer to it as our body’s scaffolding. Collagen is the main structural protein that forms connective tissue throughout our bodies. This includes skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen cements cells together giving skin its structure and elasticity.
Collagen is plentiful in young skin but starts to break down as we age. Starting in our mid-20s collagen production declines at the rate of about 1% every year. And women lose as much as 30% during the first 5 years post-menopause. In addition to natural aging, sun exposure, cigarette smoke, and pollution accelerate collagen breakdown. The result of collagen loss is dry, saggy, dull, and plump-less skin. Enter Collagen supplements to the rescue with it’s (quite appealing) claims that it can “supplement” our collagen loss.
Do collagen supplements work?
Despite its popularity, the question remains. Do collagen supplements work? A 2019 review of eight studies (totaling 805 patients) concluded that “preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging. Collagen supplementation is generally safe with no reported adverse events.” Positive results from these eight studies include:
- increased skin elasticity
- collagen density
- overall improved signs of aging
- noticeable benefits to bone density and joint pain
Professional opinions are mixed. But in general, experts agree preliminary results are promising. It’s also been in use for centuries. Starting as far back as the first century BCE, Chinese people consumed collagen-rich foods for skin and joint purposes. In addition, a large body of evidence supports collagen supplements are safe to use. As with most supplements, more study is needed for definitive efficacy.
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