Home Health Does eating collagen benefit your health and skin? – Deccan Herald

Does eating collagen benefit your health and skin? – Deccan Herald

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If you look at a skin care product on the market that promises to make fine lines and wrinkles disappear, you will find that they often have collagen as an active ingredient.
What is collagen?
The word collagen comes from the Greek word “kola”, which means glue, an apt name for a protein that holds the body together. A protein that acts as a building block for body tissues, collagen helps form a network of fibres to grow new skin cells. This is what keeps the skin healthy, hydrated, and youthful.
The collagen we make naturally in our bodies tends to decrease as we get older. When we hit our 20s, we begin losing 1 per cent of our collagen every year. Our bodies start breaking down collagen more quickly than it can be replenished.
Lower collagen levels lead to sagging skin and wrinkles on the outside and muscle wasting, weaker joints and ligaments, and slower wound healing on the inside.
Is edible collagen the magic pill?
We have all heard the saying, “You are what you eat!” With its clear benefits when applied to the skin, eating or drinking collagen should have even better results for our bodies, right?
We could potentially increase collagen levels with edible collagen, not only for taut younger-looking skin but also for its anti-ageing benefits like muscle strengthening and pain relief.
With all the potential advantages, it is natural to wonder if edible collagen works as a veritable “fountain of youth.”
A recent review of studies done over the years revealed that, medically, oral collagen supplements seem to show promising results for wound healing, especially from pressure ulcers or bed sores and non-healing diabetic ulcers. Others showed improvement in skin elasticity and hydration. Another study demonstrated that collagen supplements helped with arthritis and sports-related joint pain.
The flip side
However, some health professionals remain sceptical. When ingested, collagen breaks down into smaller amino acids or peptides (also called hydrolysed collagen) absorbed into the body. Whether the body uses these peptides to enhance the skin or other normal functions is still unclear.
Another bone of contention is that many collagen supplements may not be regulated. Since they are made from animal protein, ensuring safe and sterile manufacturing practices is essential. There are newer vegan brands that make collagen using genetically modified yeast and bacteria, which have a lower risk of allergies and safer consumption. There are also plant-based collagen supplements that don’t contain any protein material but are made up of collagen boosters like vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc. So, it is essential to read the ingredients of the supplements before taking them.
Collagen is abundant in bone broths rich in other minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Other animal sources include chicken, fish, and eggs, while citrus fruits and garlic boost collagen production.
As the research currently stands, edible collagen supplements don’t seem to harm the body in any way, but we may not know how much they help. As we wait for more conclusive research, only time will tell whether this health fad is here to stay.
(Lovneet Batra is a clinical nutritionist and the author of ’50 Desi Super Drinks.’)
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Does eating collagen benefit your health and skin?
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Does eating collagen benefit your health and skin?
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