Protein dream: can eating collagen improve your skin? | Diets and dieting

To fulfil our tradition’s relentless drive for wrinkle-free pores and skin and an everlasting youthful glow, collagen dietary supplements have been gaining extra consideration, fuelling a booming industry. How properly do they work? The quick reply: there’s proof that consuming collagen could also be efficient, however specialists say we will get what we’d like by means of a nutritious diet.

There’s little question this protein – probably the most considerable within the physique – is vital. Collagen is derived from the Greek phrase kólla, that means glue, and makes up round three quarters of the pores and skin. More than skin-deep, collagen offers construction for bodily organs, blood vessels, enamel, bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments (its properties have even been exploited for an assorted array of improvements together with glue, musical instrument strings, materials and cord baskets).

As with many different organic belongings that youth take without any consideration, collagen begins waning with age as our bodies decelerate and produce much less of it. This manifests in wrinkles as pores and skin turns into much less supple and in a position to retain its tightness, probably reducing its different vital functions akin to hydration, antioxidant help and immune defence. Lower collagen manufacturing may gradual wound therapeutic, which explains why rising dietary protein can double the restoration charge.

Here’s the kicker: collagen is a fancy protein made up of 19 totally different amino acids. If you eat it, the digestive tract’s job is to interrupt down the amino acids earlier than releasing them into the blood stream – and there’s no assure they may reform in the identical method.

“Collagen doesn’t keep collagen,” explains Pia Winberg, a scientist exploring the advantages of seaweed for wound healing, “and [your body] solely makes it if [that’s] what you want first by way of protein and you’ve got the correct set of amino acid constructing blocks to make it”.

“The advertising and marketing of collagen dietary supplements is taking individuals for a journey, a bit, until they’re poor in sure dietary amino acids, during which case after all it should profit. But they may equally get that from simply rising quantities and/or range of protein consumption.”

Associate professor Stephen Shumack, a scientific dermatologist, agrees that whereas there’s little hurt in taking collagen dietary supplements, getting the constructing blocks of the protein from a great, rounded eating regimen is a logical and cheaper technique to go.

“Collagen dietary supplements are a present fad primarily based on little scientific proof,” he says. “Fortunately, there’s little draw back to taking them.”

Some proof helps dietary supplements

However, various animal studies counsel the entire protein is perhaps straight absorbed, so the story may very well be a bit extra advanced. Whether it’s from the entire protein or its constituents, the small physique of analysis that has been carried out in people does supply some help for collagen supplementation (often derived from cows, pigs and fish, though Winberg is exploring seaweed as a vegetarian supply of the important thing amino acids).

A 12-week placebo-controlled trial reported {that a} collagen complement with dietary cofactors together with nutritional vitamins C and E, and zinc improved pores and skin high quality in girls over 35 years previous. Overall, a review discovered 11 research that present supporting proof for improved pores and skin elasticity and hydration, and wound therapeutic.

There may additionally be some profit for osteoarthritis, supported by a controlled trial with athletes that discovered diminished subjective joint ache in those that took the collagen complement. Another study studies superior muscle mass and power following supplementation mixed with power coaching in male volunteers.

One limiting issue to research is inconsistent dosages, which makes it arduous to find out optimum ranges of supplementation.

Dominique Condo, a sports activities dietitian and researcher with Deakin University in Melbourne, says we’re nonetheless studying about collagen, however she makes use of the dietary supplements usually with elite athletes to strengthen their joints and muscular tissues, significantly vital for harm prevention and rehab. She notes that dose is vital, particularly on condition that it may very well be used wherever within the physique.

“I can’t converse to the wonder merchandise as I don’t know sufficient about them,” she says, “however from a muscle and joint perspective we all know there’s a sure dose you’ll want to see will increase in collagen manufacturing (round 15 grams per serve). This is an honest quantity of collagen and so it might be that a number of the merchandise marketed for the advantages don’t even have the quantity wanted.”

Supplements apart, there are a number of methods to guard and increase collagen ranges, the place wholesome habits come up trumps. First, keep away from collagen damaging activities like smoking, consuming an excessive amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates, lack of sleep and exercise, stress and ultraviolet rays from extreme solar publicity.

A healthy diet wealthy in various plant meals can ship a collection of antioxidants that assist counter pores and skin injury. We may derive the required amino acids and dietary cofactors that assist the physique make collagen from dietary sources.

Amino acids come from protein-rich meals like eggs, legumes, dairy, fish, poultry and meat. Vitamin C, a essential cofactor, is discovered in lots of plant meals together with purple capsicum, broccoli, citrus and berries. Zinc can also be vital, excessive portions are present in shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds. Others embody proline, present in egg whites, wheat germ, dairy merchandise, cabbage, asparagus and mushrooms, and glycine, delivered by gelatin and protein-rich meals. Copper may also assist, which might be ingested by means of sesame seeds, organ meats, cashews, lentils – and for chocolate lovers, it’s additionally present in cocoa powder.

So in case you’re beginning to see undesirable wrinkles or have deeper wants like wound therapeutic and muscle restore, there’s no hurt in taking a collagen complement. However, you’re more likely to get the identical advantages from dwelling and consuming properly and together with loads of good high quality protein.

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