December 4, 2023
Our bodies make collagen. Do we need to eat it too?

On Diet

The dietary supplement field is worth about $35 billion for every 12 months in the U.S., with a respectable chunk of that coming from profits of collagen tablets, gummies, powders and drinks. A lot of the buzz all-around collagen nutritional supplements comes from promises that it can improve gut wellness, cut down joint suffering, decrease signals of pores and skin getting older, and make hair and nails more powerful and shinier. But does the science match the hype?

Collagen is a family of at the very least 30 unique proteins that act as creating blocks for pores and skin, hair, nails, cartilage, tendons and other overall body tissues — collectively, collagen accounts for about one-third of the protein in the human physique. Specialised cells in our bodies make collagen from amino acids in the protein-wealthy meals we eat, but this generation starts slowing down in our 20s and is not-so-coincidentally linked with noticeable skin getting old. Excess solar publicity, using tobacco, environmental pollution, alcoholic beverages abuse and a diet regime minimal in veggies and fruits can also inhibit collagen manufacturing (hint, trace).

When you get a collagen health supplement, that collagen likely comes from cow, pig and fish areas, such as tendons, pores and skin and bones. When handled with warmth, collagen becomes gelatin, and most supplemental collagen has been even more broken down — hydrolyzed — into limited chains of amino acids referred to as peptides.

The force to seem for good young is genuine, and some little, short-phrase scientific tests — generally field-funded — have proposed that collagen health supplements can make improvements to pores and skin hydration and elasticity, at least temporarily. Having said that, it is not obvious what dose of collagen is required, and a lot of products incorporate other ingredients, these types of as the antioxidant nutritional vitamins C and E, that could be accountable for any observed pores and skin rewards.

Collagen supplementation has also grown in reputation for supporting intestine well being, with the declare that it can make your intestinal lining a lot less permeable. But despite countless web influencers stating that collagen can “heal and seal” or “fix” leaky gut, there simply just is no stable proof to guidance that claim. What minor evidence there is arrives from research on animals, not on humans.

Hunting at osteoarthritis, some randomized placebo-controlled trials have located that collagen nutritional supplements can reduce joint stiffness, but do not appear to affect discomfort or useful limits. You might have found collagen powders touted as a protein strengthen write-up-exercise or in your morning coffee, but in contrast to soy or whey protein powders, collagen does not incorporate all the amino acids your overall body wants. In simple fact, when collagen is as opposed head-to-head with whey protein, whey protein is the very clear winner for supporting development and repair of muscle mass after exercise. 

There is a fundamental flaw in the thought that ingesting collagen straight benefits areas of your body that comprise collagen. Fundamentally, when you ingest protein — no matter whether from a collagen complement, a salmon fillet, a hen breast, some tofu or a bowl of chili — your digestive method breaks down that protein into amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Your human body then draws from its pool of amino acids to build new proteins as wanted. Individuals new proteins may possibly go to your pores and skin, hair, nails or intestinal lining — or they may be utilised to develop muscle tissue, bone, blood cells, digestive enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Each individual single mobile in your body has some protein, and you really don’t get to immediate where the protein you ingest goes.  

The bottom line is that collagen health supplements surface to be safe and sound — despite the fact that there have been some isolated problems with contamination with lead or other heavy metals — so take them if you want, but know that the claims considerably exceed any precise evidence.