Collagen for anti-aging: Facts about collagen supplements you must know

The craze around collagen is hard to ignore, and the fad continues to spread across the country. That explains why consumers are left wondering if the touted benefits really live up to the expectations or not. While you may be planning to level up your collagen intake, get to know these facts about it.

Health Shots got in touch with Dr Kashish Kalra, Head of the department of Dermatology at Max Smart super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, to know some facts on collagen supplements.

What is collagen?

Collagen as a protein is found in abundance in our bodies. It is the main component that makes up our bone, muscle and ligament structure.

Collagen is of several types, but here are the three most common ones you must know about.

Type 1: This type makes up most of the collagen in our body. It is made of fibers that are densely packed and needed for teeth, bones, ligaments, skin and connective tissue.

Type 2: This type is present in our elastic cartilage that provides joint support.

Type 3; This type is present in the structure of arteries, organs and muscles.

As we age and grow, our bodies start producing less collagen which might lead to aging skin and wrinkles. Some lifestyle factors such as smoking or excessive sun exposure can also damage collagen production in our bodies.

While there are benefits of collagen supplements, we should be fully aware about the other side of the story too.

collagen benefits
Collagen supplements claim to reduce signs of aging. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Facts about collagen supplements

In an era when people are readily consuming supplements, there’s a lot of buzz going around collagen supplements. It sounds very fascinating to pop a pill and wipe a few years off your skin. But is it true? Let’s find out through answers to some frequently asked questions by Dr Kalra.

1. Are all collagen supplements equal?

Few studies claim that marine collagen is better than bovine collagen. But in reality, what matters more is the form of collagen, that is if it is in hydrolyzed form or not. A collagen molecule is a big molecule and needs to be broken down into amino acids to get absorbed, so the hydrolyzed form is better no matter what the source is.

2. Collagen can reverse signs of aging

A lot has been said against and for this, but few randomized controlled trials that are conducted double blindly with a placebo, concluded that taking collagen improves skin elasticity. However, there were no effects on wrinkles and aging.

collagen rich foods
Eat collagen rich foods to boost the way your skin looks and feels. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Are collagen supplements regulated?

One of the biggest concerns is that collagen supplements are not regulated by FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and manufacturers don’t have to prove that they are safe or effective before putting them on the shelves or marketing them.

Also read: If you’re losing collagen, turn to these 7 foods to get back the healthy glow

4. Should we take collagen supplements or not?

Collagen supplementation is not harmful but may be not worth the hype. Our body can synthesize collagen from amino acids taken from plant or animal protein. The richest source is bone broth or any meat which contains connective tissue. An adequate protein diet is enough to maintain collagen in the skin and joints.

5. What’s the best way for collagen production then?

The better way to induce collagen production in the skin is to apply proper actives rather than eating collagen powder and gummies. Procedures like micro-needling, ablative and non-ablative lasers, radio frequency devices and HIFU induce collagen in a much more efficient way rather than oral supplements.

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