Monday, September 18, 2023

The Science Behind Collagen Supplements and Drinks: Are They Worth the Hype?

In this article I will help you discover the truth about collagen supplements and drinks that are currently popular among influencers and celebrities. Learn about the role of collagen in our bodies and what scientific studies say about their effects on nails, hair, and skin.

Collagen drinks and supplements are the talk of the town right now, with influencers and celebrities praising their amazing effects on nails, hair, and skin. Given that collagen in our bodies is what gives these tissues the support they need, it makes sense that ingesting collagen could result in shiny hair and a more youthful appearance. What does science say, though?

Describe collagen.

One of the main structural proteins in human tissues is collagen. It is present in the bones, cartilage, tendons, hair, nails, and skin. Collagen maintains the suppleness, volume, and hydration of the skin in conjunction with other components like hyaluronic acid and elastin. It also contributes to the formation of proteins like keratin, which form nails, skin, and hair.

Our bodies use the amino acids found in high-protein or high-collagen meals, such as fish, meat, and bone broth, to naturally make collagen. However, smoking, drinking alcohol, getting older, and UV exposure all reduce the formation of collagen.

Supplements and drinks containing collagen are frequently made from a variety of sources, including fish, cattle, pigs, and poultry. They typically contain peptides, which are short sequences of amino acids that contribute to the formation of keratin and collagen, two important proteins in the body.

What is the scientific consensus regarding collagen supplements and drinks?
Studies on the skin consist of:

A review and analysis of 19 trials with 1,125 individuals in total that were published in the International Journal of Dermatology. The firmness, suppleness, and moisture content of the skin improved in those who took collagen supplements, and wrinkles were less obvious. Although it's unclear if collagen was the real cause of these skin changes, it seems good. The majority of the studies made use of widely available supplements that included substances other than collagen, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulphate.

Drinking collagen supplements with high concentrations of the peptides prolylhydroxyproline and hydroxyprolylglycine can enhance skin hydration, elasticity, wrinkles, and roughness, according to a few randomised, controlled trials (see here and here). However, extensive, high-quality research is required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of commercially accessible products.

There is very little evidence to support the use of collagen for improving nails and hair. In a small 2017 study, the development and brittleness of the nails were improved in 25 individuals with brittle nails who took 2.5 grammes of collagen daily for 24 weeks. Nevertheless, there was no placebo-taking control group in this little trial to compare with the collagen supplement-taking group.

No human research have looked at the advantages of supplementing with collagen for hair growth. As of right now, marketing claims that collagen beverages or supplements can increase hair thickness, volume, shine, and growth are not supported by any medical research.

Are collagen drinks or supplements worth trying?
There isn't enough evidence to say that taking collagen supplements or drinking collagen drinks will improve the condition of your skin, hair, or nails right now. Collagen cannot be absorbed in its whole by our bodies. It must be converted into peptides in order for the gut to absorb it and allow it to enter the bloodstream.

These peptides can undergo additional breakdown to produce the building blocks of proteins like keratin, which support the formation of skin, hair, and nails. Alternatively, the peptides may create collagen, which is then deposited in other bodily tissues like tendons, muscles, bone, and cartilage. Currently, there are no human studies that conclusively demonstrate that oral collagen will end up in your skin, hair, or nails.

You would be better off concentrating on sun protection and utilising topical retinoids if your objective is to reduce wrinkles and improve the texture and suppleness of your skin. These measures have previously been shown to be beneficial by extensive research.

Before attempting collagen drinks or supplements, read the protein profile and ingredient list. Steer clear of supplements that contain undue fillers or additives. Products with higher concentrations of hydroxyprolylglycine and prolylhydroxyproline are more effective at minimising wrinkles and boosting skin hydration.

See your physician prior to beginning any new supplement regimen. Collagen supplements and drinks are not recommended for people with gout or other medical disorders that need them to restrict their protein intake.

In summary
There are no extensive studies assessing the advantages of oral collagen supplements for the health of the skin and hair. If you're worried about brittle nails, thinning or lifeless hair, or maintaining healthy, smooth skin, consult a dermatologist or your physician for guidance on available choices.

It'll be beneficial for:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and consume a diet high in protein-rich foods.
  • Give up smoking.
  • Men should only have two drinks or fewer of alcohol every day, while women should only have one drink or less.
  • Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours after applying it everyday.
  • When spending a lot of time in the sun, wear clothing and hats with wide brims or UV protection.

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