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Are collagen supplements worth your money?

Collagen is the main structural protein that helps build the connective tissues throughout the body but its effectiveness as supplement is not well known.

Mounting to the big claims made by collagen supplement companies about young and supple skin, string nails and bones, it’s no wonder that collagen has become a popular ingredient in the beauty and wellness communities. Unfortunately, its effectiveness is still not widely known. Here’s what is known so far.

What is collagen

One of the most abundant nutrients in the body, collagen is known to play a role in the formation of various tissues, such as bones, ligaments, muscles, and skin.

Around 80% of our skin is made up of collagen, and it works with another protein known as elastin to keep it elastic. However, as we age, the body's natural production of collagen begins to decrease. This is similar to how ropes of protein are formed in the skin. When we're young, the ends of these ropes remain tight, but as we get older, they start to fray.

Does collagen supplement work

Some studies suggest that people who take collagen supplements for a couple of months can improve their skin's elasticity and reduce their signs of aging. Others claim that it can boost the density of bones and improve joint and knee pain. Unfortunately, most of these studies are small and are funded by companies that make the supplements.

A 2019 review of the literature, Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that some of the benefits of collagen can be achieved through a combination of clinical trials and placebo-controlled studies. These studies suggested that it can improve the appearance of skin's elasticity, as well as its collagen density and hydration.

How to turn to collagen supplement

Before you start taking collagen supplements, make sure that they're made by a third-party quality-testing organization. This ensures that they're safe to use. For most people, starting with a small amount of collagen will help them feel better about their joints and improve their overall health. If you're not seeing any effects, increase your intake to a maximum of 1,000 milligrams every two to three weeks. If you want to see results, go ahead and increase your dosage.

How to boost collagen absorption

Getting the nutrients needed to boost the body's natural production of collagen can be done through a variety of food and supplements. Three vital factors are needed to ensure that the body's collagen stores are protected from damage: iron, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the most effective sources of these nutrients are leafy greens, soybeans; spirulina, an edible blue-green algae, agar agar powder etc.