Collagen is a protein that constitutes about 75% of the dry weight of skin and it is also present in bones, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue where collagen in the skin helps to keep the skin firm and provides it durability and resistance to withstand internal and external stresses. Collagen is a type of protein that helps you look youthful or to be specific, it’s a structural protein that makes up the structure or framework of your cells and tissues and also plays a major role in tissue repair, immune response, cellular communication and cellular migration – a process necessary for tissue maintenance and the list goes on.
Collagen boosters are gaining immense popularity especially in advertisements and on social media and is making everyone swear on it. However, note that our body makes collagen naturally abut as we age, our collagen production naturally declines as aging, sun exposure, smoking and alcohol intake leads to the breakdown of collagen resulting in wrinkles, fine lines and skin sagging.
In the nutraceutics, collagen supplements are gaining a lot of popularity but are they really beneficial, is a big question. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Manjot Marwah, Celebrity Dermatologist, Hair Transplant Surgeon, Consultant and Director at Dr. Manjot’s Clinic, shared, “The main issue with collagen supplements is its absorption in our body. Collagen is normally found in Animal sources as connective tissue such as bones and ligaments. Collagen is then treated to form collagen hydrosylates so that can be readily absorbed by the body.”
He added, “This oral collagen has shown to increase skin elasticity, hydration, and toughness when used for 12 weeks or more. They are generally safe with no reported side effects but need to be used for at least 3 months or more to show results. Studies have shown that the animal source collagens are more potent than the veg or marine sources collagen. The downside is that collagen supplements may contain heavy metals and are unknown of what it actually contains. Hence using a certified product is necessary.”
Elaborating upon the benefits and downside of collagens, Dr Sushma Yadav, Dermatologist, Cosmetologist, Hair Transplant Surgeon and Founder of Skinology Centre in Bangalore, shared:
Pros – Collagen supplements may help escalate the firming of the skin and improve its quality. Taking supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity, (i.e., wrinkles and roughness) as well as signs of aging. They can also help in relieving joint pain, prevent bone loss, boost muscle mass, and promote heart, hair, nails, gut and brain health.
Cons – These supplements are considered safe on their own but may contain other ingredients that aren’t appropriate for everyone and lead to allergic reactions. Sometimes collagen can cause severe acne. Additionally, liquid collagen supplements sometimes contain vitamins, minerals, or herbs. These may be safe in moderate amounts, but some may interact with a person’s medications and underlying skin conditions. They can also lead to mild side effects like heartburn, bloating, or feelings of fullness. Therefore, one must consult their doctor before taking any type of medication or supplement.
Dr Sushma Yadav advised, “If you want to boost your collagen naturally – maintain a healthy lifestyle by avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption and following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods can help protect against collagen loss and damage and keep you looking firm, young and youthful!”