Collagen is a structural protein that participates in building up different structures in our body. In fact, it is one of the most important structures in our body. This is the most abundant protein present in our body making up nearly one-third of all the protein types in our body. Dermatologists say that collagen makes three by fourth of the dry weight of our skin, this point highlights the collagen benefits for skin in terms of anti-aging.
Collagen is naturally produced in our body using four basic nutrients; proline, glycine, Vitamin C, and copper. Our body produces 16 to 20 different types of collagen which serve various purposes. It is present throughout our body in the form of the densely packed fiber of skin, cartilage, muscles, and bones, and even arteries and body organs. Thus there is no doubt collagen is beneficial for our skin and overall health but are the collagen products available in the market promising great results any good? Can collagen supplements, masks, and aesthetic products claiming collagen benefits for skin actually deliver the results? Let’s find out!
Do we really need collagen supplements?
Our body naturally produces collagen using nutrients that we consume through our diet however as we age our body experiences a decline in certain abilities such as food digestion, absorption of nutrients, and even production of collagen. This means after certain age no amount of oral consumption will boost collagen production. Research has shown diseases like cancer and immunity-related disorder or even simply catching the flu can also decrease collagen production in the body. In such circumstances consuming collagen from external sources has shown to provide relief.
Collagen supplements are typically sourced from pigs, cows, or fish and may contain types I, II, or III collagen. Supplements are available in three main forms: collagen peptides, raw, or as gelatin and contain high amounts of three amino acids that are essential for collagen synthesis in our body: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. This means that if our body has reduced the amount of collagen it is producing we can supply it with collagen protein extracted from animals and help our body stay healthy, fit, and young.
Does collagen supplement work? Collagen Supplement Benefits for skin
It is important to note that there are not many studies done in regards to the benefits of collagen supplements and all the data and research we have is mainly company funded and with most research results being objective observations of researchers. This means there is very little credible data to prove or disapprove of the benefits of collagen supplements for skin or any other health benefits.
Theoretically speaking, consuming collagen supplements works exactly the same for your body as having a steak dinner, minus the fats consumed. So you take all the good stuff and exclude the extra calories or fatty content that can have adverse effects on health.
In theory, collagen supplements not only replenish the building blocks of collagen for increasing the production of new collagen in the body, the amino acids in the supplement act as antioxidants to block the action of enzymes that break down collagen and protect the body’s existing collagen. This helps in reducing the appearance of wrinkles, healthier-looking skin, nails, hair, more lean muscles, and stronger bones.
According to some studies consuming collagen supplements has shown to significantly improve skin health, relieve joint pain, strengthen bones and muscles, and even reduce the risks related to heart diseases. A study has shown that collagen can slow down the aging of the skin by reducing wrinkle formation and dryness in the skin.
Another study recruiting a hundred and fourteen women with an age range from 45-65 years revealed that after 8 weeks of consuming collagen supplement there was a significant reduction in wrinkle and improved overall skin health. The women consuming collagen supplements also showed higher levels of procollagen I, elastin, and fibrillin biosynthesis in the skin which give youthful fresh looking skin.
Additionally, your diet is also important in regards to how effective the collagen supplements will be for you. Sometimes for weight loss plans, people try to cut down calories and end up taking a diet that does not meet recommended portions of protein in their diet which causes dull and dry skin.
People who are not consuming the recommended amount of protein through diet might see a more significant difference after taking collagen supplements in comparison to those who are already consuming a healthy protein-rich diet. Similarly, people consuming unhealthy junk food on regular basis might also find that collagen supplements are not as effective for them even after consuming for several months. Hence for best results, collagen supplements must only be used as an add-on to a healthy diet.
How Much Collagen Should You Take per Day?
The recommended dosage for young adults is 2.5 to 5 g per day, but for middle-aged ad older adults wishing to witness antiaging results a dose of 10g per day is recommended.
How Long Does it Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?
Most dermatologists are of the view that taking collagen supplements doesn’t give you overnight results but you will have to take it consistently for at least 8 to 12 weeks before you can see any significant difference.
Collagen Supplements come in different forms like collagen powder and collagen pills and even collagen gummies. I am interested in knowing what is the best form of collagen supplement? so let’s explore these.
Collagen Powder vs Pills
It doesn’t make much of a difference in what form you are consuming the collagen as long as you are taking the optimum dosage, the formula has minimum sugar and preservatives added and you are consuming and you are taking vitamin c along with it to help it work on your skin better.
Consuming: Collagen powder can be flavored or unflavored to be consumed in any hot drink, that could be water, tea, or coffee, or can even be added in the cooking and baking recipes of anything from soups to cakes and cookies. Consuming collagen powder is much easier and more fun in comparison to swallowing big chunky pills.
Source: Powders are typically made from animal extracted collagen while pills are filled with procollagen nutrients mostly plant extracted cellulose, however, there is no hard and fast rule about it. The source is important as collagen extracted from fish has 1.5 times higher bioavailability than that of any other animal.
Dosage: Collagen powder claims to have a lot higher dosage in comparison to pills
Collagen Sheet Mask Benefits
Honestly, I was a little suspicious about these masks after all how applying this mask once for a few minutes can do what capsules or powder take weeks to do, making the face more plump, wrinkle-free, and younger. But I have noticed that applying an egg white homemade face mask does help me in skin tightening temporarily, giving my face a facelift for a few days, so why not give the collagen sheet mask a chance? I researched them and found out the following information for you.
The collagen sheet masks are pieces of clothes infused with saturated hydrolyzed collagen. Collagen is macromolecules in our body that are made by fibroblasts cells in connective tissues in our body. While skin itself is made up of these macromolecules it is really difficult for macromolecules to be absorbed into the skin directly. While egg white has many amino acids one of them is proline; a building block of collagen and much smaller in size than collagen itself, so that it is easily absorbed into the skin and helps to replenish the skin.
It is more likely that the temporary improvement people experience after applying collagen sheet mask is due to the hydration, moisturization from the mask. Additionally, there is always some hyaluronic acid HCA in these masks which is also great for skin but personally I believe you are better off with retinol, HCA and Vitamin C serums for topical application. The collagen sheet masks really look like a hoax to me.
Collagen Side Effects
While the research on the supplements is scarce, and they are not tested for safety, there are no reported side effects of collagen. Some people allergic to the source of collagen may experience an allergic reaction from the product itself. There are individual reports of problems related to gastrointestinal symptoms, like stomach ache from indigestion, heartburn, headache, dizziness or rash after consuming collagen orally. Pregnant women and lactating women should avoid them.