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Are collagen supplements really necessary?

Published on March 13, 2024 at 17:45 / Updated on March 13, 2024 at 18:23

Taking care of your skin is important if you want to minimize the effects of aging and environmental factors. Many vitamins and minerals are widely praised for their benefits in people’s beauty routines. One of these is collagen, a supplement that is gaining in popularity. Many even consider it a miracle product. But does collagen really work to improve your skin?

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein found throughout your body, including cartilage, blood vessels, skin, nails and hair. It accounts for 30-35% of your body’s protein, making it the most prevalent one. Collagen can also be taken as a supplement. Sources of collagen for these supplements include fish, beef and chicken cartilage.

What is collagen used for?

In your skin, collagen is responsible for hydration, firmness and elasticity. In the joints, it is present in cartilage, helping to maintain its durability and rigidity. Collagen production declines by around 1% per year from the age of 25. As collagen production declines, your skin and joints lose their firmness and durability. Many think that taking a collagen supplement to counteract this loss is a good idea. Certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking, can accelerate the decline in collagen production.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is, therefore, a good way forward. 

The possible benefits of collagen

In some people, collagen may have an effect on nail and hair health when taken regularly over the long term. It could stimulate growth, leading to stronger, thicker nails and hair. Collagen supplements help reduce wrinkles and restore elasticity and radiance to the skin. It stimulates skin hydration and reduces moisture from evaporating.

It would appear that taking collagen may also be effective against joint pain by stimulating collagen production in the joints, enabling cartilage regeneration in certain osteoarthritis patients. This regeneration may reduce pain and the deterioration of the disease.

Collagen: Is it a viable solution?

The benefits of collagen for your skin and pain treatment are widely promoted. But what is it really? Is it all true? Let's take a look at the evidence.

Before ruling on the real effectiveness of collagen, it's worth noting that there is some controversy surrounding studies carried out on natural health products. Although most of them show efficacy, they have not necessarily been carried out according to rigid scientific protocols. For example, they are often financed by companies producing natural health products; they include an insufficient number of subjects in the studies, which means that the results are often unreliable. Also, the number of studies on this subject remains very limited. There may be collagen benefits, but you should take marketing claims with a grain of salt.

Product purity

Collagen is also found in large and sufficient quantities in your diet, so you don’t need supplements. It's important to remember that natural health products are not subject to the same rules as drugs. It is impossible to know exactly how pure the product is. The results that can be obtained from supplements are as variable as the ingredients found in different products.

Collagen is not the fountain of youth

Although the evidence for the effectiveness of collagen supplements is unclear, the fact remains that it may have some efficacy in some people for skin, nail, hair and joint health. It should be noted, however, that effects take time to appear and that collagen supplements are not the fountain of youth; their effects remain limited.

As with all natural products, it's important to talk to your healthcare professional before opting for a collagen supplement to ensure that the product is safe for your situation.

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