Theoretically, it makes sense to take collagen supplements to make up for the body’s natural losses, but in practice it’s completely different. Collagen from the capsules should be broken down into its constituent parts during digestion, enter the bloodstream, and then somehow and in some form end up in the skin. Yes, according to a few experiments on mice, collagen (taken orally) eventually got into the skin of animals, but in studies in humans it was not possible to track this effect.
It must be borne in mind that collagen supplements can cause negative reactions: digestive disorders, allergic reactions (especially “under attack” – people with allergies to seafood). Nothing more is known about the “side effects” of collagen – the food supplement industry is not well regulated.
Collagen is an important protein that provides strength and elasticity to the skin, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons and cartilage; bone tissue is built on the collagen matrix. However, collagen production decreases with age – after 20 years, we lose about 1.5% of collagen every year. Companies that produce various cosmetics and dietary supplements, it seems, this fact is only at hand. So, among the dietary supplements that Russians buy most often, “vitamin complexes with collagen” are especially popular.
There are studies that show: collagen supplements, unlike placebo, improve skin elasticity and hydration. Nevertheless, scientists are not in a hurry with conclusions. Little data, they cover only a short period – people taking the supplements were monitored for several months. In this case, the conflict of interests was not taken into account: part of the research was funded or managed by companies that sold collagen-containing products. In general, more extensive and independent research is needed to assess long-term prospects. Dermatologists have no reason to recommend collagen supplements to their patients to prolong skin youth.
At the same time, doctors recommend taking into account the information that we, humanity, know about the mechanisms of aging. For example, the fact that ultraviolet rays stimulate collagen loss – yes, this is another call to use sunscreen. Or the fact that to maintain healthy skin it is important to eat well (read: varied) and give up cigarettes.
As for dietary supplements and joint health, here again everything is debatable. Just like in the case of the skin, the theory is that the collagen contained in the capsules should enter the part of the body where it is needed: the ligaments and tendons. However, so far, no one has proven that using collagen helps restore cartilage and strengthen joints.
If you still want to take collagen capsules, it might make sense to try to get this important protein from food. For example, include broths or legumes in your diet – there are other nutrients in addition to collagen. But you should not count on conditional jelly smoothing out wrinkles and restoring joint elasticity.