If you’re always on the lookout for new supplements, creams or serums that will keep you looking younger for longer, you may have come across the term’ Collagen’, but do you know what it is, and where it comes from? Most people don’t know what it is, but after you read this Blog hopefully you will
What Is Collagen
Collagen is the main structural Protein found in the body’s various connective tissues. So, it makes up your skin, hair, nails as well as your muscle, ligaments, tendons, joints, and bones. Basically everywhere! It is the most abundant Protein in the body of a mammal making up 25 -35% of the whole body’s total Protein content (1).
Sources of Collagen
Your body naturally produces Collagen, and you can consume it from food, specifically meat, fish, and poultry (2). You can also consume foods that contain materials your body can use for Collagen production, so they aid in Collagen production.
Here is a list of foods that both contain Collagen, or they aid in the body’s production of Collagen.
- Egg whites
- Brightly coloured fruit & vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Cashew nuts
- Certain herbs
Vitamin C is very important for Collagen production, which is why brightly coloured fruit vegetables, and berries are on the list. Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency and it is the breakdown of connective tissue, which is made mainly from Collagen.
Why is ageing associated with Collagen?
A type of connective tissue called fibroblasts produce and maintain Collagen, and as you age the fibroblasts become impaired and Collagen production slows. This is accompanied by a reduction in elasticity of the skin (3). This is all a slow, natural progression. However, there are certain things that cause drastic signs premature aging. These include.
- Excessive drinking
- A diet high in added sugar can cause premature aging
- Excessive sun exposure, so use sun protection!
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of exercise (4)
Collagen supplements, serums & creams
Despite it being so abundant in the body, and easily accessible through a balanced diet, Collagen has become the world’s most popular supplements supposed to improve skin, hair and nail health (4). It’s being made out to be the main ingredient in ‘the fountain of youth’, but is it?
Collagen first appeared in creams & serums, but its effectiveness in this was doubted by the experts. Se Collagen isn’t fount naturally on the surface of the skin, only deeper. As well as that, Collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin (4).
As for supplements, there are very few human studies looking at whether they actually improve skin and joint health. These studies have shown that Collagen supplements can be effective in improving skin elasticity (5,6), joint mobility and reduce soreness in the joints (7). Just don’t go racing to the health food store or Pharmacy just yet! Finding studies that look legit and give promising results is one thing, but what you really need to do is see who is funding the study. Most of these studies were either partially funded or fully funded by industries that could benefit from a positive result. Making these studies a bit biased in my opinion.
So, I hope you can come to you own conclusion after reading this, but my conclusion on whether cream, serums and supplements that contain Collagen will slow down aging is…. no. Of course, I could be wrong, but there really isn’t enough good solid evidence to say otherwise.
If you consume a varied diet, even a Vegan diet, you will consume foods that will either contain Collogen or will help your body produce more of its own. Also cutting back on drinking and smoking. Getting enough sleep and exercise and being more aware of how much added sugar is in your diet should help too.
Staying hydrated is another one that a lot of people forget, and no I don’t mean just moisturising your skin, although that does help, I mean drinking enough water. The recommended amount is 1200-2000ml.
So please don’t go out spending a fortune on lotions and potions hoping they’ll make you look 20 years younger. Ageing is a natural thing, and we need to normalise it more.
1. Mandal A. What is Collagen? [Internet]. News-Medical.net. 2011 [cited 2022 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Collagen.aspx
2. Kubala J. Collagen: Benefits, Side Effects, and More [Internet]. Healthline. 2022 [cited 2022 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen
3. Wu M, Cronin K, Crane JS. Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 [cited 2022 Apr 15]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507709/
4. Harvard TH Chain. Collagen [Internet]. The Nutrition Source. 2021 [cited 2022 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/
5. Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47–55.
6. Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):E826.
7. Bello AE, Oesser S. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006 Nov;22(11):2221–32.