What you need to know about na­ture’s anti- ag­ing, beauty- boost­ing pow­er­house

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - /// BY VERA TWEED

Your Col­la­gen Ques­tions An­swered What you need to know about this anti- ag­ing pow­er­house.

Bo­tox, in­jectable fillers, laser treat­ments, chem­i­cal peels, facelifts … In the age- old quest for youth and beauty, more women— and men— are choos­ing one or more of these in­va­sive pro­ce­dures. So­cial me­dia amps up the pres­sure to look good by set­ting un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions. So it isn’t sur­pris­ing that even peo­ple in their 20s and 30s are jump­ing on the an­ti­ag­ing band­wagon.

Yes, we’re a youth- ob­sessed cul­ture. But what if you pre­fer to take a more holis­tic, beauty- from- within ap­proach? En­ter col­la­gen, one of to­day’s most pop­u­lar beauty sup­ple­ments.

What Can Col­la­gen Do for My Skin?

Col­la­gen is a pro­tein that gives skin its struc­ture, and that soft, plumped- up look. Our bod­ies make it— less and less as we get older. In our 20s, we start los­ing about 1 per­cent of col­la­gen per year, and in the first 5 years af­ter menopause, women lose about 30 per­cent, in­creas­ing wrin­kles and sags. Stud­ies have found that re­plen­ish­ing col­la­gen re­duces crow’s feet, fine lines, and wrin­kles; boosts hy­dra­tion; makes skin more elas­tic; gives it a smoother, more youth­ful ap­pear­ance; and re­duces cel­lulite.

Can Col­la­gen Help My Hair and Nails?

Col­la­gen is also a build­ing block for hair and nails. An an­i­mal study found that de­creas­ing lev­els of col­la­gen around hair fol­li­cles un­der­neath the skin leads to thin­ning hair. In nails, de­creas­ing lev­els of col­la­gen can con­trib­ute to brit­tle and rough nails that are more sus­cep­ti­ble to peel­ing and break­age. An­other study found that among most peo­ple who took bioac­tive col­la­gen pep­tides daily for 24 weeks, nails were less brit­tle and less likely to peel. In ad­di­tion, col­la­gen in­creased nail growth by 12 per­cent and re­duced the fre­quency of bro­ken nails by 42 per­cent.

Can I Get Col­la­gen From Food?

The­o­ret­i­cally, yes, but to­day’s di­ets don’t con­tain much. Col­la­gen is con­cen­trated in parts of an­i­mals that we don’t usu­ally eat: ten­dons, lig­a­ments, skin, feet, bones, and mar­row. Bone broth, made by cook­ing these parts for hours, ex­tracts col­la­gen and other nu­tri­ents,. Real bone broths made in the tra­di­tional, slow- cooked way, and con­cen­trated bone broth in pow­dered sup­ple­ments, are food- based sources of col­la­gen.

What Types of Col­la­gen Sup­ple­ments Are There?

Col­la­gen sup­ple­ments can be made from the skins or car­ti­lage of cows, pigs, chicken, or fish, or from con­cen­trated bone broth. In ad­di­tion to pills, col­la­gen is avail­able in pow­ders— as a sin­gle in­gre­di­ent or com­bined with other nu­tri­ents for spe­cific ben­e­fits for skin, hair, nails, bones, or joints— and in con­cen­trated liq­uids. It’s also be­ing added to cream­ers, nu­tri­tion bars, teas, and other foods and drinks. Col­la­gen in­gre­di­ents that have been tested in stud­ies in­clude BioCell Col­la­gen and Verisol, found in a va­ri­ety of sup­ple­ment brands. Col­la­gen in sup­ple­ments may be de­scribed as “hy­drolyzed,” “hy­drolysate,” “bioac­tive,” or as “col­la­gen pep­tides.” These are all forms of col­la­gen de­signed to be more bioavail­able. Other col­la­gen sup­ple­ments con­tain con­cen­trated bone broth.

How Should I Use Col­la­gen Sup­ple­ments?

Col­la­gen is one of the most ver­sa­tile sup­ple­ments. It can be taken in pills or in pow­ders, which are taste­less and can be mixed into bev­er­ages, sprin­kled on foods, or used in vir­tu­ally any recipe for cold or hot dishes— even in bak­ing.

A key com­po­nent of con­nec­tive tis­sue, col­la­gen also im­proves joint health. Stud­ies of BioCell Col­la­gen have found that it re­duces os­teoarthri­tis pain, pro­tects joints of healthy peo­ple dur­ing ex­er­cise, and en­hances ex­er­cise re­cov­ery.

What Other Nu­tri­ents In­crease Col­la­gen Lev­els?

Vi­ta­min C is es­sen­tial for col­la­gen pro­duc­tion. In scurvy, the dis­ease caused by vi­ta­min C defi ciency, skin le­sions are com­mon be­cause the lack of vi­ta­min C de­pletes col­la­gen pro­duc­tion. The vi­ta­min also pro­tects against skin dam­age from UV rays, which de­stroy col­la­gen. Stud­ies have found that con­sum­ing more vi­ta­min C re­duces wrin­kles and im­proves skin’s ap­pear­ance, and top­i­cal vi­ta­min C helps en­hance col­la­gen pro­duc­tion and smooth skin.

Sil­ica sup­ple­ments stim­u­late cells that make col­la­gen. Sil­ica is also found in hair and helps to pro­tect against hair loss. Sil­ica is also a ma­jor com­po­nent of nails, and sil­ica sup­ple­ments can en­hance nail strength and health.

Many sup­ple­ments for skin, hair, and nails com­bine col­la­gen with bi­otin, which can strengthen hair and nails and may be benefi cial for skin. An­tiox­i­dants, that help pro­tect against col­la­gen break­down are other pop­u­lar in­gre­di­ents in beauty for­mu­las.

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