What to know about collagen supplements for your skin and joints


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Collagen is probably the most ample protein in our our bodies. It’s used to make all our connective tissues — together with pores and skin, bones, blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, muscle tissue and tendons. That has led scientists to look into whether or not consuming collagen dietary supplements can hold pores and skin and joints youthful as we age. The reply is perhaps.

In the meantime, collagen dietary supplements are already common. In a current Shopper Experiences’ nationally consultant survey of greater than 3,000 U.S. adults, 7 p.c of males and 19 p.c of girls mentioned they’ve used collagen. And among the many 27 p.c of People who mentioned they’ve ever taken any sort of supplements for nail, skin or hair health, 3 in 10 have used collagen for that motive.

Right here’s what it is advisable know for those who’re contemplating taking a collagen complement.

“Collagen is just like the body of your mattress, offering crucial construction and assist to tissues within the pores and skin and different areas of the physique,” says Joshua Zeichner, affiliate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

If you’re younger, the physique frequently produces new collagen and degrades the previous — that means there’s at all times a plentiful provide to feed these connective tissues. However as with many issues, manufacturing of it slows down as we age. Life-style elements can even have an effect on your provide.

“Solar publicity, smoking, extreme alcohol or sugar consumption, lack of sleep and being sedentary can speed up the lack of collagen,” says Jamie I. Baum, director of the Middle for Human Vitamin on the College of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Earlier than you already know it, you’re shedding collagen quicker than you’ll be able to exchange it.

With out the construction that collagen fibers present, pores and skin begins to sag and wrinkle. With out sufficient recent, spongy collagen in your cartilage, tendons, ligaments and joints might be much less versatile.

Collagen supplements show early promise for skin and joints, but don’t stock up yet

The analysis is much from definitive, however “some knowledge means that collagen supplementation does have a helpful impact on collagen turnover charges in older adults,” says Keith Baar, professor of molecular train physiology on the College of California at Davis.

A 2017 review of several small studies of people with osteoarthritis concluded that day by day collagen dietary supplements (between 10 milligrams and 40 mg) decreased ­reported joint ache by 26 to 33 p.c. And a 2018 study, published in the journal Nutrients, regarded on the impact of collagen on bone density in postmenopausal girls. Those that took a 5-gram collagen complement had important will increase within the backbone and neck vs. those that obtained a placebo. (The examine was partly funded by a complement producer.)

“I do suppose that future analysis will present extra optimistic results,” Baar says. “However the high quality of the present knowledge isn’t super-high, and we want proof from massive, long-term trials.”

And dietary supplements have a draw back: They aren’t regulated by the Meals and Drug Administration, so there’s no assure that you simply’re getting precisely what the package deal claims.

Heavy steel contamination can be a priority. In 2020, the Natural Customers Affiliation and the Clean Label Project tested 28 brands of collagen supplements and located that many contained arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium.

Will collagen ingredients, supplements really make you look and feel younger?

Finest methods to get this protein

For now, you’ll be able to improve collagen manufacturing by following a nutritious diet.

Collagen is discovered naturally in animal protein, equivalent to meat and fish.

“Bone broth and hard cuts of meat, like brisket or pot roast, include plenty of connective tissue, which is made up of collagen,” Baum says. However you don’t must eat collagen to make collagen. “If you eat any sort of protein [animal- or plant-based], your physique breaks it down into particular person amino ­acids,” Baum says. These are reassembled to make proteins your physique wants, together with collagen.

“The kind of protein doesn’t matter as a lot as ensuring you’re getting sufficient quantities of essen­tial amino acids in your food regimen,” she says. For older adults, that’s about 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal.

We all know that vitamin C, zinc and copper assist with collagen manufacturing, and different dietary elements may play a job. Researchers in Baar’s lab are micronutrients (equivalent to phytoestrogens in soy and polyphenols in darkish chocolate) which will improve the physique’s potential to make extra collagen at the same time as we age.

“I’ve a sense we’re going to seek out that teams who historically eat these meals will present decrease charges of musculoskeletal issues,” he says.

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Shopper Experiences is an unbiased, nonprofit group that works facet by facet with shoppers to create a fairer, safer, and more healthy world. CR doesn’t endorse services or products, and doesn’t settle for promoting. Learn extra at ConsumerReports.org.

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