Collagen is a fibrous scleroprotein of the connective tissues that provides support to all tissues and cells of the body including skin, hair, nails, bone, muscles, tendons, etc. Together with keratin and elastin, collagen maintains skin elasticity and makes it appear smooth, tight and supple. It also plays a crucial role in bone health and strengthens the blood vessels and cartilage.
The Need for Collagen Supplements
The production of collagen slows down with age, which causes the skin to lose its elasticity. This gives rise to the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Collagen supplements, which come in the form of pills, injections or as liquid, promise to compensate the age-related reduction in collagen production. These supplements are generally derived from the tissues of animals like cow, chicken, or pigs.
Do These Supplements Work?
Right from cosmetic surgery, burn surgery, wound surgery, to reconstruction of bones, there is a wide range of medical and industrial uses of these supplements. 'Do they work?' is still a debatable question though. The effectiveness of most of these supplements is yet to be proven.
• For SkinClaim: It is claimed that these supplements help to slow down the aging process by replenishing the level of collagen in the body and thereby help maintain a more youthful look.
What Research Studies Reveal: Many studies have revealed that they fail to produce the desired results, especially when used for counteracting the effects of aging on skin. This is probably because collagen molecules are so large with complex molecular structure, that they cannot be absorbed by our skin. Even if they are absorbed, problems arise in their assimilation with the natural collagen produced by our body. Many people are of the opinion like functional keratin and Nano-Lipobelle can help to stimulate collagen production. Hence, such substances have shown more efficacy in reducing wrinkles and fine lines as compared to collagen supplements.
• For Joint ProblemsClaim: Collagen is believed to provide relief from stiffness and pain in joints. It facilitates faster healing of wounds and tears. People suffering from arthritis and osteoarthritis may benefit by taking collagen pills.
What Research Studies Reveal: People with arthritis and degenerative arthritis have been reported to benefit from these supplements. A significant reduction in joint pain and increased mobility has been experienced by many individuals after taking this supplements. These supplements are found to be effective in reducing joint inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Another important benefit is that they can strengthen the blood vessels and thereby improve circulation. Some studies carried out in animals have pointed out that these supplements can be useful in the treatment of osteoporosis as well.
Note: Since these supplements are manufactured from the tissues of cows, pigs, and chicken, and can also contain yeast, shellfish, wheat, gluten, soy, etc., adequate care should be taken by people having allergies to these food products. So, before taking any kind of supplements, always consult an expert health care practitioner to know the various aspects like benefits, side effects, etc.
So, basically there's a unanimous opinion regarding the utility of these supplements. Do they work only for geriatric illnesses or are they equally effective in skin care? Most of the experts are of the opinion that collagen supplements may benefit those who suffer from joint problems, but the anti-aging supplements are not effective. Rather the anti-aging skin care products that contain certain natural substances like keratin can prove more beneficial, as they stimulate the body's natural production of collagen. Vitamin C has the ability to boost the natural production of collagen. Similarly, lysine, an essential amino acid can also help in this regard.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.