There is a buzz in the industry about Collagen and Collagen Supplements. Do they really work, if so How Long Does it Take for Collagen Supplements to Work and much more questions are answered in this post. Lets begin with what is collagen in general.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that binds the cells of our body together. This glue like substance is found in cells of skin and connective tissues like muscle and tendon. Our skin has 75% collagen by weight. The presence of collagen makes our skin look plump, healthy and youthful. As we age, our skin’s natural collagen level starts to deplete. Studies have shown that during our mid 20’s we lose 1% of our body collagen. It increases to more or less 30% after menopause. This drastic downfall of collagen brings various major and minor health issues including dullness, sagging, appearance of wrinkles and joint pain.
Collagen Supplements- Past, Present and Future
The first use of collagen supplements date back to ancient Chinese civilization. The noble women of China included collagen rich animal parts like pig’s feet and donkey’s skin in their daily diet to alleviate the effects of premature ageing. In the recent years, the use of collagen supplements can be linked to the botox treatments. In the initial years of botox, liquid collagen fillers were extremely popular for anti aging. Though they were replaced later as the effects of collagen botox wears out faster. According to recent scientific studies, the use of dietary supplements of collagen is an effective way to replenish our body’s natural collagen.
Effects of Collagen Supplements on Skin, Hair and Overall Health
Benefits Of Collagen on Skin
- Collagen Increases Skin’s Elasticity
Young skin is naturally strong and bouncy. As we age, our skin loses this elastic texture and falls prey to sagging. Collagen stimulates the cell regeneration of the skin. It also increases the production of two most important skin proteins Elastin and Fibrilin; both of which helps in maintaining baby soft and bouncy skin even in your 30s.
- Collagen Prevent Premature Ageing
Collagen caters various premature ageing related problems like dullness, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, fine lines, wrinkles etc. It also helps to increase body’s cell turnover rate and keeps the strength of the skin intact. This results in reversal of some of signs of ageing.
- Collagen Reduces Dryness
Mature skin issues usually start with dull and dry skin. Later the dryness brings more and more skin issues like fine lines. Collagen increases skin’s water retention power. The skin remains moist and hydrated through the day.
Benefits Of Collagen on Hair
- Collagen Strengthens Hair
Our hair is nothing but protein clumped together to form threadlike structure. When our hair lacks protein, it becomes brittle. This is a serious cause of hair fall due to breakage other than the use of colour treatments and use of heat styling. Collagen replenishes the protein level of the hair and improves hair’s strength. For the same reason collagen strengthens brittle nails.
- Collagen Boosts Hair Growth
Collagen stimulates the hair growth from within. It causes better hair growth rate. That’s why collagen supplements are really helpful for those who want to grow out their hair or suffering from low growth rate,
Benefits Of Collagen on Overall Health
- Collagen Increases Bone Density
Decaying bone is a common issue in mature people. Our bones start to lose its calcium deposits once we enter late 20s and 30s. Collagen works like a binding agent and prevents osteoporosis or the calcium loss in bones.
- Collagen Prevents Joint Pain
When the muscles and tendons attached to the bones degenerate to due to wear and tear, the bones in the joints has to bear body’s pressure. This is how the joint pain issue starts in mature people. Collagen takes care of the muscles and keeps their strength intact and this prevents arthritic degeneration in joints.
- Collagen for Heart and Liver
Our heart and liver has high amount of muscles. Collagen is great supplement for muscle strength. Regular intake of collagen supplement might be beneficial for heart and liver health in the long run.
Side Effects of Collagen
Adverse reactions from collagen supplements are uncommon. Headache, lingering bad taste in mouth, sleep disturbance are rare side effects of it. Many brands make collagen supplements from animal ingredients. If someone is allergic to any of the constituting ingredients like chicken or fish, he/she might experience some minor reactions.
How much Collagen should You Take?
There are not enough research to indicate the best dosage for Collagen Supplements for maximal benefits. However, 2.5mg collagen supplement is considered to be safe for daily intake. This supple can be taken upto 6 months continuously. It is best to consult a dietician to determine your correct dosage based on your age and other health status.
How to Include Collagen Supplements in Your Diet?
There are two ways to include collagen in your daily diet. The first one is increasing the intake of collagen enriched foods. This is the most natural way with zero chances of adverse reaction. Foods containing gelatin is a good source of collagen. Fish, beef, skin of chicken, pork etc. contain plenty of collagen. Plant based collagen rich foods are scanty so this is not the best choice for vegans.
The second way to increase body’s collagen level is through collagen supplements. Studies have shown that collagen supplements are able to incorporate collagen in our system. Collagen supplements are available in various forms like dietary powders, capsules, chewable gummies and tablets. Depending on your convenience and your dietician’s suggestions you can chose any form of collagen supplement.
Does Collagen Supplements work?
Yes. They do work if you are taking it in correct way. When you take a collagen rich food, your body’s digestive juices break it down or hydrolyze it into a more simpler form. This simple substance gets absorbed into your system during the digestion process and reaches to the cells.
The collagen supplements are nothing but the broken down form of natural collagen so they absorb into the body faster and they also needs minimal intervention for the body. That’s the reason collagen supplements are more effective.
How Long Does it Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?
Generally, collagen supplements take at least 4-6 weeks to show minimally noticeable results. It varies from person to person. Some changes like skin’s suppleness shows faster while the other benefits come within a few months of usage.
Precautions You should Follow for Collagen Intake:
Everyone is unique in terms of their body’s biology. Something that shows great results for someone might not be as effective for another person. Plus, supplements should be added to the diet only in necessity. It is best to seek the opinion of a registered dietician before starting with collagen supplement. The effect of collagen supplement on foetus or breast-feeding babies is not well versed so pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should avoid this supplement.