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Collagen Supplements: Do They Work?
Collagen is one of those products that are most widely accepted on the market.
And we really must consider whether it is as effective as they tell us or not.
The consumption of food supplements is becoming more and more frequent, especially since the pandemic in which the sale of this type of product experienced a growth of 75.4% in value compared to the same period of the previous year.
Collagen is one of those products that are most widely accepted on the market, and we really must consider whether it is as effective as they tell us or not.
We can find it in many forms, in powder, tablets, capsules, and ampoules, combined with other substances such as vitamins and hyaluronic acid and the benefits that they promise us are multiple:
It improves the health of joints and bones, regenerates tissues, enhances the immune system, skin rejuvenation. But is collagen the panacea?
Let’s start at the beginning, collagen is a protein, and like all of them, it is made up of a series of amino acids (its simplest fraction).
When we ingest collagen, our body breaks it down into amino acids (which will no longer be collagen) so that they can be used by it.
These amino acids will later form new proteins that nothing guarantees us that they will return to being that initial collagen.
It’s like breaking a lego figure and expecting it to transform itself and be perfect magically.
Sources of collagen
Food also contains collagen; in fact, the one we find in the different presentations of supplements comes from the bones, skin and other tissues of food, although we can also find vegan formulas (which come from the manipulation of bacteria and yeasts)
Meat, eggs, and fish contain collagen and amino acids that will be precursors to its formation.
Of vital importance in collagen formation is the intake of foods rich in vitamin C, its precursor.
Remember to add peppers, kiwi, strawberries and citrus to your diet.
So if we want to improve our joint and bone health, all we have to do is improve our diet, add more vitamin C (from food, not supplements), exercise.
And if it’s better strength (which will help strengthen your bones), rest. Properly and it will be the best supplementation you can receive.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a necessary protein for the body since “it is responsible for the support of skin tissues.
“It is present in all body tissues that act as a framework to support body posture (bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, muscles and skin)”, a pharmacist and expert in Nutrition.
In the case of the skin, ” collagen provides elasticity and firmness.Which is why it is essential to have young skin without wrinkles.
But not only does it help the skin, but it is also essential” to maintain the proper functioning of joints. And muscles.As it is responsible for the cohesion of muscle tissues .”
Age and collagen degeneration
Regarding the age at which we begin to lose collagen. It is “approximately from the age of 30.
When its production decreases naturally, although there are also external factors that influence its degradation.
Such as excess sun, tobacco, alcohol, lack of rest or sugars”.
The beneficial effects of hydrolyzed collagen intake on osteoarticular health and skin ageing, “from the age of 25-30, human cells begin to see their ability to synthesize collagen gradually.
So we lose 1.5% of tissue collagen every day year”.
That is why, at 45-50 years of age, “the effects of the loss of tissue collagen are already visible in the form of discomfort and joint pain ( osteoarthritis ), loss of bone mass (osteoporosis ), wrinkles, and dermal ageing, among many others .”
The lost collagen is tough to recover since, “our body’s ability to produce collagen decreases with age.
And it is difficult to regenerate through food “, for example.
What can be done from birth is to help have “a correct production of collagen and the intake of amino acids,
which are the components of proteins, and how is it done?
To activate collagen formation naturally,eating foods rich in protein, vitamin C (citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, parsley…).
and vitamin A (carrots, peppers, paprika, basil, dried apricots… )”.
Supplements, yes or no?
Another option is the intake of oral collagen supplements, but what is sure about their effectiveness? The reality is that today there is still some controversy regarding the use of these products.
However, there are indeed studies that indicate beneficial effects, specifically of hydrolyzed collagen.
“It obtains from different tissues, such as skin, bones, cartilage, spines or scales, from animals.
Such as pigs, cattle, chickens, fish, etc.”
Regarding efficacy, one of the complete analyzes carried out in Spanish .
It is the one contained in the document Review of the beneficial effects of hydrolyzed collagen intake on osteoarticular health and skin ageing.
In this analysis, the authors conclude that “at the joint level,
There are studies that support the effectiveness of this type of collagen” to reduce joint pain.
And improve joint mobility and functionality. These studies endorse it as a beneficial therapeutic agent in the long-term treatment of degenerative joint diseases (osteoarthritis)”.
The authors mention a clinical study over six months with 250 patients with gonarthrosis over 50 years of age.
Does collagen supplements really work?
Which “shows a significant improvement in pain on the VAS in the group that took 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily compared to the placebo group”.
Another clinical study carried out over 24 weeks with 150 athletes of both sexes “shows a significant improvement in joint pain in the VAS of the group that took 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily compared to the placebo group.
The study concludes that treating athletes with hydrolyzed collagen reduces the risk of joint deterioration and improves physical performance”.
At the dermal level, several clinical studies support the beneficial effects of hydrolyzed collagen on the properties of the skin. Such as better hydration and elasticity, reduction of wrinkles and identification. Better functionality of both the dermis and the epidermis also detects. For all these reasons, it concludes that hydrolyzed collagen is a helpful agent to combat skin ageing.
Who could use them
Experts in clinical practice recommend that “a young person, with a balanced diet.
Collagenous tissues from overuse or other circumstances ( overweight, menopause, trauma, burns, surgery, dermal or dental implants, aggressive oncological treatments.)”.
Collagen supplements can help both the skin and the joints;
their intake complements by other habits such as following a balanced and varied diet.
Sunscreen daily, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.
Hydrolyzed collagen ” market in the form of capsules or the form of powder soluble in water or liquid foods (water, milk, juices, yoghurts).”
The powder presentation is preferable because it makes it easier to gather the effective dose .
And digest it in a single amount with ease .”
When choosing the format for the intake of this type of product.
It is best to consider each person’s tastes and look at the formula to know the concentration of ingredients.
“Collagen Supplements “are usually mixed with other ingredients that are also important for the skin or the joints.”
In any case, it is necessary always to consult a doctor so that he can recommend the most appropriate in each case.
It is crucial to consider since, although “in principle, they have no contraindications.
And may be the case that the chosen product contains an active ingredient to which you may be allergic.”
It is essential to know that the treatment with hydrolyzed collagen supplements is long .
And , “to see the effects on the body of the collagen that we are replenishing through the accessories, it is necessary to take them for long periods “, concludes.