Should You Drink Collagen for Healthy Skin and Joints?

Should You Drink Collagen for Healthy Skin and Joints?

Should You Drink Collagen for Healthy Skin and Joints?

January 19, 2022

Educational program Health

Supplements can help, but don’t expect miracles.
Photo by Iya Zorina

Iya Zorina

Author of Lifehacker, athlete, CCM

Should You Drink Collagen for Healthy Skin and Joints?
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What is Collagen and What are Supplements Made of?

Collagen is the main protein in the human body included into the composition of the skin, bones, teeth, tendons, ligaments and organs (type I), articular cartilage (type II), muscles and blood vessels (type III).

The body creates different types of collagen from amino acids obtained from food, but with age it gets worse manages with this task.

Dietary supplements with this protein do from bones, tendons, cartilage and other tissues of livestock and poultry. Marine collagen is produced from the skin, scales and cartilage of fish. It is believed that such a protein is better digestible due to the lower molecular weight.

To further increase the bioavailability of an animal-sourced supplement, it is broken down into peptides, small molecular weight amino acids bound together. Collagen, which has undergone such processing, called hydrolyzed, or hydrolyzate, and now most dietary supplements contain it.

Once in the body, the peptides are absorbed in the small intestine, enter the blood and serve building material for its own protein, and also stimulate its production and synthesis of elastin and hyaluronic acid.

Supplement manufacturers claim that they help improve skin and joint health. And these statements have some scientific basis.

Can Collagen Improve Skin Condition?

Collagen is 75 to 95% of the skin and determines its appearance, elasticity and hydration.

As fiber protein ages become thinner and change their structure. In the long term, by increasing its amount, it is possible to reverse some age-related changes.

In studies involving women aged 35 to 60 discoveredthat daily supplementation with 2.5–10 g of hydrolyzed collagen for 8–12 weeks improves skin hydration, density and elasticity, and also reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

To the same conclusion came and in a review of 10 scientific papers, and in a fresh meta-analysis 19 studies with data from 1,125 participants aged 20 to 70.

Thus, three months of taking hydrolyzed collagen can actually improve the condition of the skin. But since no one can vouch for the quality of a particular additive, you should not expect miracles.

Do Collagen Supplements Help Protect Joints?

articular cartilage educated predominantly water and type II collagen. It also includes chondrocyte cells and proteoglycans – molecules that retain water and ensure the transport of substances.

Damage to the collagen network or decreased proteoglycans destroys dense connective tissue and is seen in degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis.

In one study figured outthat in people with this disease, after six months of supplementation, the number of proteoglycans in cartilage increased, while in the control group, the composition of joint tissues only worsened.

And the analysis of seven scientific papers also came concluded that the use of collagen hydrolyzate stimulates chondrocytes to produce more molecules of intercellular substance. This, in turn, protects tissues from destruction and even promotes regeneration.

In addition, collagen can protect joints during strenuous exercise, such as sports. even the International Olympic Committee turned on it to the list of useful supplements for athletes as a way to improve the condition of cartilage, reduce pain on movement and provide injury prevention.

However, it is still too early to declare supplementation as an effective measure to protect the joints. For example, in meta-analysis 2012 reviewed eight studies on the use of collagen or gelatin for the treatment of osteoarthritis and concluded that the evidence is insufficient: studies are few and their quality is poor.

More optimistic results have been obtained in recent scientific papers. In a 2018 meta-analysis establishedthat collagen supplementation significantly reduces joint stiffness and pain levels, as assessed by patients, and in review 2020 concluded that this protein is beneficial for cartilage repair.

Although at the end, the authors nevertheless noted that the scientific community cannot yet recommend the supplement as an effective treatment method and more high-quality experiments need to be done.

Thus, 10 g of collagen type II per day for 3-6 months can positively affect the condition of cartilage, although the topic requires further research.

Should You Take Collagen Supplements?

Despite numerous studies in this area, the website of the Harvard School of Public Health notedthat most of the scientific work was carried out in whole or in part at the suggestion of manufacturers of dietary supplements.

Therefore, it is difficult to say whether supplements are really effective and whether it is worth spending money on them, especially given the high price.

In addition, the article noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not test collagen capsules and powders before they are sold and do not evaluate their effectiveness and safety.

Thus, no one can guarantee that supplements will improve skin condition and protect…


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