Is eat­ing col­la­gen the se­cret to great skin?

Ed­i­ble col­la­gen could be the new foun­tain of youth.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents -

The new foun­tain of youth

putting col­la­gen on your face has long been the talk of the beauty in­dus­try, with lo­tions promis­ing smoother skin. Now, with the rise of the foodas-medicine move­ment, peo­ple are buzzing about in­gest­ing col­la­gen via pills and pow­ders. A num­ber of sup­ple­ments in­fused with the stuff have hit the market. Der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Jes­sica Wu no­ticed the trend when her pa­tients brought home col­la­gen prod­ucts af­ter be­ing in Eu­rope, say­ing that they made their skin look bet­ter. Dr Wu found early stud­ies to be promis­ing enough that she now rec­om­mends col­la­gen sup­ple­ments to her clients. Soon enough, A-lis­ters got on board.

Col­la­gen is the pad­ding that gives your skin, bones and joints the strength, struc­ture and cush­ion­ing they need. When you smile, col­la­gen pro­vides the elas­tic­ity that lets your skin plump back out. As you age, en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors like the sun, stress and pol­lu­tants can cause col­la­gen to de­grade, and de­clin­ing oe­stro­gen lev­els in your mid 30s make your body pro­duce less of it. When col­la­gen breaks down faster than your body can make it, your skin loses elas­tic­ity and may be­gin to wrin­kle.

Mak­ers of col­la­gen food prod­ucts say in­gest­ing col­la­gen, which is usu­ally ex­tracted from the bones or skin of cows or fish scales, can re­store the body’s di­min­ish­ing sup­ply. But does a daily dose re­ally work? Sev­eral stud­ies have shown that down­ing col­la­gen can re­duce wrin­kles and im­prove skin elas­tic­ity. A 2018 meta-anal­y­sis in the Jour­nal of Sports Medicine found that col­la­gen could help re­duce pain in peo­ple with os­teoarthri­tis. And a small 2008 study found that col­la­gen sup­ple­ments may re­duce joint pain in ath­letes. Still, many ex­perts are hold­ing out for more re­search be­fore rec­om­mend­ing col­la­gen sup­ple­ments.

“When you in­gest a col­la­gen sup­ple­ment, your body doesn’t take that col­la­gen and put it di­rectly into the skin or joints,” says Romi Lon­dre, a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian. Like any other pro­tein you eat, col­la­gen is bro­ken down into ba­sic build­ing blocks called amino acids. Then your body re­assem­bles those into many dif­fer­ent pro­tein struc­tures, of which col­la­gen is only one. In­stead of sup­ple­ments, Romi rec­om­mends eat­ing foods known to boost col­la­gen pro­duc­tion: lean pro­teins, un­sat­u­rated fats like av­o­ca­dos and olive oil, and colour­ful fruits and veg­eta­bles. Whole grains and nuts also con­tain an­tiox­i­dants that can both amp up your pro­duc­tion and pro­tect any of your ex­ist­ing col­la­gen from wear­ing down.

If you want to try col­la­gen sup­ple­ments, Dr Wu sug­gests hy­drol­ysed col­la­gen or col­la­gen pep­tides, which are smaller and eas­ier for your di­ges­tive sys­tem to ab­sorb. Dr Wu also notes that one of the most im­por­tant things you can do is safe­guard the amount of col­la­gen you do have. “It doesn’t mat­ter how many drinks or sup­ple­ments you’re in­gest­ing if you’re not pro­tect­ing your col­la­gen from be­ing bro­ken down,” she says. Wear sun­screen daily and use a retinoid cream at night, which has been proven to in­crease col­la­gen pro­duc­tion.

“As you age, en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors like the sun, stress and pol­lu­tants can cause col­la­gen to de­grade.”

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