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It is no news that ageing is a natural process. However, we still try to slow down or stop this uncontrollable phenomenon. Trust me; nobody ever wants those wrinkles and ageing marks on their glowing skin. But truth be told, we all will age as we grow old, and the signs will show on our faces. Sadly, reality can’t be changed. But don’t we all want to age like fine wine? Wondering if it’s possible to accomplish this long-yearning dream? Well, collagen can be your best partner in such a case. So much has been heard about the term ‘collagen’ or ‘collagen supplements’ as it is considered a miraculous ingredient for youthful skin.

Most people believe that consuming collagen supplements or using collagen-rich cosmetics can do wonders to their skin. But little do we know about the reality or truth behind it. So let’s understand more about collagen, its benefits, collagen supplements and how often we should consume them.

Collagen

Interestingly, collagen is vital in building love relationships in today’s era. Wondering how? My friend, people fall in love with the other person’s looks rather than their traits. For the unversed, collagen is the most abundant protein found in our body. It’s the main component of connective tissues that comprise several body parts, including bones, ligaments, skin, and muscles. It makes one-third of all types of protein and provides your skin with a structure while strengthening your bones. All these properties make collagen an excellent agent that helps strengthen the skin and provides elasticity and hydration, leading to suppler and softer skin. However, as you age, your body reduces the production of collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. In addition, as we get older, we break down collagen faster than we can replace it, making our bodies prone to injury.

All these properties of collagen undoubtedly made the beauty and pharma industry fall for it. And soon, collagen emerged as a wonder supplement in the market and was crowned as the ‘fountain of youth’. People went crazy for it, and a slew of collagen-rich creams and serums emerged in the market. All these manufacturers claimed that collagen could be used in skin creams to improve its structure, but their claims weren’t backed up by research. Though collagen creams feel nice and may help moisturize the skin, collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the upper layer of the skin and get down into the deeper layer, where the real magic happens. Therefore, collagen creams sound nice and glam as per the marketing perspective only.

Collagen supplements

These days, social media has promoted the idea of looking healthy and young, rather than making oneself healthy and young. Thus, in an urge to look young, people are trying everything under the sun to make it possible. One such phenomenon is taking collagen supplements, which have become popular recently. These supplements come primarily in powder form but are also available in capsules. Taking collagen supplements probably won’t hurt you, but they may not help you either. You may find evidence related to this, but unfortunately, all these are marketed by manufacturers of collagen supplements. And when it comes to promoting the product, they leave no stone unturned to make it look like the best product ever. So, it is always advised that one do thorough research before becoming part of the rat race.

How your body makes collagen?

Your body makes collagen and other proteins by combining various amino acids.  Any edible source of protein has the amino acids you need to build protein, including collagen. Whatever protein you eat- animal and plant-based break down into amino acids. Later, these amino acids reassemble into protein as per the body’s requirement. With that said, we don’t get to decide how our body will use the amino acids in food or supplements. Though getting our nutrients or collagen straight from a pill sounds easy, supplements don’t necessarily deliver on the promise of better health or good skin. 

Moreover, studies have proved that our body directly absorbs nutrients present in the whole and natural food compared to the nutrients present in supplements. Therefore, nutrients present in the supplements need some added factors to get controlled or absorbed by the body. Similar is the case with collagen formation in the body. Therefore, whether or not you take a collagen supplement, you must eat a healthy diet that acts as an additional factor to ensure that you have enough nutrients to produce collagen in your body. The diet includes:

  • Protein-rich food
  • Proline
  • Vitamin A &C
  • Copper
  • Zinc 

Therefore, to ensure your body has enough ingredients to make collagen, you should include legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vitamin C-rich citrus fruits and berries. In addition, foods like leafy green vegetables, tomatoes and almonds are equally important for collagen production. Eating all these ensures you have enough nutrients and other proteins that support collagen production without the trouble, expense and uncertainty of relying on a supplement. 

Risks of Collagen supplements

There are lot of concerns about collagen supplements containing heavy metals and toxins that could be harmful. The Food and Drug Administration does not examine collagen, like all dietary supplements, for safety and efficacy prior to their sale to customers. So, the purity of their active ingredients is not standardized.

Boost Your Collagen

Looking young has become the ultimate obsession. We are so obsessed with youthful skin, that if Genie is let out of the lamp and ask about our three wishes, most of us would wish to look young. However, have you ever wondered what will happen to the filters if we all start looking young naturally? Poor, Snapchat and Instagram. With that said, among other factors, lifestyle also plays an important role in how much collagen you produce and how well collagen works in your body, along with a healthy and balanced diet. So, here are some habits that may help you to preserve collagen and improve your skin’s health:

  • Protect your skin against UV rays 
  • Quit Smoking
  • Avoid Alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy diet that is low in added sugar
  • Eat enough protein foods, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Exercise regularly

Bottom line

We all want to make ourselves look superior to others, but when it comes to age, we are more than happy to be the last ones standing in the line. Such is the craze to look and be called young. The bottom line is that collagen supplements may provide the required nutrients, but the non-funded research on collagen supplements is lacking. Hence, the key is eating a collagen-supportive diet that includes protein-rich foods and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, nutrients like copper and zinc that give you a variety of amino acids to meet the body’s need to build collagen. So, in a nutshell, you may or may not take collagen supplements, but the diet matters. Thus, be careful about the food you consume, and see how it works wonders for your body. For more queries, suggestions or feedback, please get in touch with us at editor@yuvaap.com.

References

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20191212/collagen-supplements-what-the-research-shows

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