Collagen is a nutrient that is been splashed throughout the packaging of snack bars, bone broths, bottled waters, supplement powders, and even skin-care products for *fairly* a while now. However for those who’ve ever puzzled what collagen is and whether or not it is one thing it’s essential be involved about squeezing extra of into your food regimen, you’ve got come to the best place.
Merely put, collagen is the most abundant type of protein found in our bodies. It is used to create connective tissue (aka fascia)—and to maintain it robust and resilient. Collagen can be a key part of our bones, muscular tissues, pores and skin, cartilage, and tendons. As a pure a part of the getting older course of, our bodies will produce less collagen gradually over time, however way of life habits (corresponding to solar publicity, smoking, and a scarcity of sleep) may lower collagen production.
As a result of the quantity of collagen in our our bodies does naturally lower with age, some select to look to collagen-rich merchandise to up their consumption. And largely resulting from its connection to healthy skin, hair, and muscular tissues, collagen has been positioned as a kind of “fountain of youth” nutrient in some sectors of the meals, skin-care, and complement industries. Whereas there is definitely nothing mistaken with eager to optimize your getting older course of in ways in which really feel good to you, ought to we actually be this involved about consuming collagen? Right here, diet, well being, and skin-care specialists provide some much-needed readability on collagen’s real-deal advantages—in addition to its limitations.
Collagen myths it is time to debunk, in line with RDs and derms
Fable 1: Collagen is the *greatest* kind of amino acid
Fact bomb: Our our bodies don’t know the distinction between amino acids, the constructing blocks of protein, so it doesn’t instantly understand what supply they’re coming from. They could be from an animal protein, like hen or fish; a plant-based option, corresponding to beans or tofu; or these amino acids could derive from a collagen peptide powder or a bowl of bone broth. “For the reason that physique doesn’t register amino acid supply upon consumption, and as a substitute solely takes under consideration the total quantity of and selection in amino acid profile, there isn’t any preferential therapy based mostly on protein’s origin,” says registered dietitian Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN.
Based on Harris-Pincus, whereas it’s completely nice to incorporate collagen as a part of a well-rounded, nutritious diet, it is vital to even be persistently consuming a wide range of protein-rich whole foods so you are not lacking out on any very important vitamins—amino acids included. A current research discovered that eating a variety of protein-rich food sources is directly linked to lower cholesterol and better heart health, too.
Fable 2: Collagen-rich merchandise are specifically focused towards combating wrinkles
It doesn’t matter what advertising and marketing says, you possibly can’t dictate or direct the place you ship the collagen you devour as soon as it is in your system—so for those who’re supplementing with collagen to counteract the pure lack of it in your pores and skin, there is no assure it’ll go there. “Our our bodies are sensible and know how you can prioritize,” Harris-Pincus says. “For example, our our bodies know that therapeutic a wound or repairing broken muscle will probably be extra necessary than stopping a wrinkle from creating in your face resulting from age, and can thus make the most of its needed amino acids accordingly.”
Whereas collagen definitely will not reverse getting older and is not thought of any type of cure-all for nice traces, frequently consuming it could provide some potential advantages in sustaining pores and skin elasticity and texture. A scientific evaluate which analyzed 11 research throughout 805 sufferers discovered that collagen supplementation supported wound healing and skin aging, and increased skin elasticity, hydration levels, and dermal collagen density. “The identical evaluate discovered collagen supplementation to be typically protected and with none damaging negative effects,” says Harris-Pincus.
Many flip to collagen to reverse or forestall the looks of getting older, which is not attainable; nonetheless collagen could assist to enhance hydration within the pores and skin and supply energy and assist with pores and skin cell restore. “This will decelerate getting older and make pores and skin seem youthful; nonetheless, it requires topical software, too,” says registered dietitian Trista Best, RD, LD, MPH.
TL; DR: It is all about managing expectations. “Typically talking, collagen-rich meals and dietary supplements could also be barely efficient in delaying the getting older course of to some small extent, however they definitely should not be relied upon for stopping wrinkles fully,” Finest says. “Collagen does offer skin-enhancing benefits when used topically particularly, and a minimum of received’t trigger any hurt—it simply can’t be the muse of your food regimen or skin-care regime.”
Fable 3: Collagen powder and protein powder are the identical factor
In terms of including protein to your post-workout routine, a collagen complement won’t be as efficient as conventional protein powders—or, extra importantly, consuming extra protein-rich meals.“Protein comprises 20 amino acids, 9 of that are important, that means they can’t be made by the physique,” says Finest. “Protein powders are thought of ‘full’ proteins as a result of they’re nearly all the time formulated with all 20 amino acids. So sure, protein powder tends to be extra preferrred so that you can devour post-workout for restoration [compared to exclusively consuming collagen] and is more practical at rebuilding muscle and assembly the necessities of these 9 amino acids.”
It is because collagen dietary supplements aren’t made with almost the quantity of amino acids that conventional protein powders are. “Collagen isn’t a whole protein, due to this fact it isn’t an excellent complement for the aim of accelerating protein consumption,” provides Harris-Pincus. “A complete protein, such as whey, is extra becoming for a post-workout restoration snack, particularly since it’s excessive in [the amino acid] leucine, which is necessary for supporting muscle progress and restore.”
Fable 4: You’ll be able to take up collagen instantly into your pores and skin
Collagen, when utilized to the pores and skin, is just too giant a molecule to actually be absorbed instantly—so there isn’t an excessive amount of depth in permeation. So while you see “collagen” on a skin-care product, it is almost definitely hydrolyzed collagen. “Hydrolyzed collagen is a broken-down model of the fundamental constructing blocks of collagen,” says Erum N. Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and the CEO and founding father of AmberNoon. “Some merchandise could include hydrolyzed collagen provided that precise collagen is just too giant to be absorbed, and so theoretically this kind could also be higher absorbed due to the smaller breakdown merchandise of collagen. That being mentioned, the extent to which this differs compared to different moisturizing components is troublesome to say for sure. I personally don’t use collagen supplementation as a part of my wellness routine, as a result of it’s merely not important for pores and skin safety with age.”
Fable 5: Including collagen to water is one of the simplest ways to devour it
“The truth is that the recognition of collagen water seems to be primarily linked to the advertising and marketing campaigns of assorted manufacturers and the convenience of consumption, as we’re all in search of easy options to anti-aging,” says Dr. Ilyas. (Who cannot relate?) She recommends not selecting collagen water over fundamental water (or over consuming protein-rich meals) for its touted advantages. “Solely drink it for those who benefit from the style,” she says. “The collagen is after all ingested, spends time within the acidic surroundings of the abdomen, and theoretically must be absorbed and transferred to the pores and skin so as to increase pores and skin’s help—however whether or not or not this course of really occurs and the extent to which we’d like to learn and see outcomes has but to be well-vetted or validated by reliable scientific analysis.”
So go forward and luxuriate in these collagen protein bars or pair it with a few of these different meals that may help boost its efficacy.
Nonetheless confused about collagen? This is a deeper dive into its advantages in your pores and skin and past.