What is collagen and why do people swear by collagen supplements?
Collagen is naturally occurring in our skin and is essential for skin elasticity. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is essential for our bodies’ success. Collagen holds together bones, muscles, tendons, and for the purpose of this post…our skin. So every time you smile, move and take a breath its collagen hard at work. So now that it’s been established that collagen is arguably one of the most important and abundant proteins in your body we can get into the meaty stuff. (Get it meaty stuff and bodies)
I bet you’re asking yourself if we have some much collagen; Why do people take collagen supplements? Because our bodies end up betraying us as we age. We produce collagen rapidly when we are young but as we age our body starts to produce less and less collagen. Our collagen production starts to decline in our 20s and early 30s. Which sucks because that is pretty early in our lives. When we think of collagen and our skin more specifically, our face. We are losing elasticity and our face becomes less tight. So in terms of appearance, we begin aging. We start getting wrinkles, smile lines, and forehead marks. Which for most of us is not an ideal and the last thing we want in our 20’s and early 30s.
How do we get more collagen into our bodies? Before you freak out we can absorb collagen from outside sources. Collagen isn’t only the most abundant protein in our body. It is also the most abundant protein in the animals we eat as well. So every time you eat meat you are getting a little more collagen. One thing scientist has noticed is that collagen is highly concentrated elastic tissues like heart and livers as well as bones. So to maximize your collagen intake you can digest animal livers and bones. Sounds delicious right? You’re welcome.
This is where the beauty industry comes in with collagen supplements. Rather then you drinking bone broths and consuming pig livers you can just take a pill full of collagen. The concept is simple right? If we produce less collagen then we can take collagen supplements and pump our bodies full of it. As a result, we will be young forever! We found the elixir for eternal life and looking young forever. Everyone should take collagen supplements and we will live forever our organs will never age, we will find the loves of our lives, make millions of dollars, get our dream houses, cure world hunger, and our lives will be perfect. All our problems are solved forever.
Hopefully, you caught the sarcasm above. It’s not that simple, unfortunately. Why tho? There isn’t enough research done on collagen supplements. Scientists still don’t know how much collagen we digest is used and repurposed and how much is just well discarded. Research as of right now suggests we probably discard more than we repurpose. So as of right now, we don’t know if collagen supplements can increase the elasticity of our skin or our heart. So it probably isn’t the elixir of life. One thing that studies have seen is that collagen supplements have shown increased skin hydration. In terms of our skin collagen supplements couldn’t hurt.
But, collagen has been seen to make a big difference when it comes to our bones. As we stated earlier collagen in concentrated in our elastic tissues and bones. Collagen supplements have been shown to increase bone health and can limit earlier joint damage. I’m not saying collagen supplements will keep your grandma from breaking her hip if she skateboards but hopefully with further research can limit the damage she’ll get if she falls.
Sadly we don’t know if we can take collagen supplements and life forever but what we do know is how to slow down the deterioration of collagen in our bodies. How do we keep the collagen in our bodies longer? Sunscreen! When we wear sunscreen we protect the collagen in our skin from harmful UV rays that can breakdown collagen. One thing that also breakdown collagen is free radicals we encounter such as smoking. By using antioxidants we can reduce free radical damage and keep the collagen in our skin longer. Scientist has also seen by using retinol and lasers we can stimulate collagen production in our skin.
Collagen supplements are probably not the secret elixirs to everlasting life. But if we wear sunscreen and take good care of our skin we can hold on to our collagen longer and avoid those smile lines.