You may have heard a lot of buzz about collagen in the beauty world lately, particularly when it comes to anti-aging. The most popular claims are that eating more collagen can make your skin look more youthful and can also help with joint pain. Not only is this good news for the the aging population, but healthy joints are also a coveted thing among highly active individuals such as athletes and weightlifters who put a tremendous amount of strain on their joints regularly. However, what is collagen exactly and how do you get the benefits of it?
Collagen is fibrous protein found in human tissues. It helps to give structure to our skin, hair, nails, ligaments, bones and tendons in our body. You may have also encountered collagen when your soup gelatinizes after being refrigerated. The more collagen in our body, the healthier and stronger these structures are. Unfortunately, as we age, collagen is broken down at a rapid rate when the body can no longer produce the amount of collagen it still needs. When this happens, joints, which are made up mostly of collagen, begin to become worn and painful during movement as the collagen breaks down. It is also suggested that the collagen found under the surface of the skin may cause wrinkles when broken down.
So, how can you slow this process to stay feeling everything running smoothly? The most noteworthy foods that support collagen formation contain adequate amounts of protein. Remember to include servings of meat, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, and nuts as protein choices. It is also important to have enough Vitamin C which is a nutrient that is absolutely required to produce collagen. Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen. Without the help of Vitamin C, collagen would not be produced. Remember, while some foods support collagen formation, it is also important to keep in mind that lifestyles may accelerate collagen breakdown in spite of an adequate diet. These lifestyle factors include eating excess added sugars, smoking, or too much sunlight.
Currently research is being done on the appropriate amount of collagen needed to supplement, with most of the subjects of this research having osteoarthritis. It is shown that collagen supplementation may benefit those with knee joint symptoms. However, it is unclear, whether or not supplementation for healthy individuals may benefit skin’s elasticity and youthfulness, so larger studies are needed
The bottom line? Unfortunately, there will be a time when our skin starts to show signs of aging. Before turning to supplementation, we should consider sticking to a healthy diet and include foods that have quality protein and helps fight inflammation. These include your good fats, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, fruits and vegetables. It has been shown, though, that supplementation does seem to help with joint pain and symptoms. Though there is not a national recommendation for collagen requirement, it seems that 30 grams of supplemental collagen may be beneficial for health.