Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It’s particularly important as a building block for your connective tissue – this is the stuff that makes your body supple, resilient and stretchy where it needs to be.
Collagen is an essential component of our bones, skin, muscles, and cartilage. It’s found in meat and fish which contain connective tissue, but we can also get the basic ingredients to make collagen in our own bodies by eating a healthy varied diet, including plant-based.
You produce less collagen as you age, which is one of the reasons why your skin becomes less elastic and more lined. However, collagen production is affected more by your lifestyle. Collagen decreases due to overexposure to sun, smoking, a poor diet (too much sugar, processed food, and alcohol), and lack of sleep and exercise. The use of collagen supplements is on the rise, with claims they can improve bone and joint health, and reduce the signs of aging – but do they really work?
Are collagen supplements, creams and lotions effective?
Research on the benefits of extra collagen in the diet has found that it may improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain, or slow the collagen loss that comes with aging. However, more comprehensive human studies are needed to support these results.
Also, collagen supplements can vary in quality. If you are thinking of taking a collagen supplement it’s important to know exactly what’s in it, as it may be combined with other ingredients that might require more caution.
Topical preparations – creams and lotions that we rub into our skin – that contain collagen are thought not to be very useful, as collagen is not absorbed through the skin.
Adding collagen to the diet through collagen supplements may have some benefits, but most people make enough collagen naturally by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. To give your body the best chance to make its own collagen, make sure you’re getting plenty of low fat protein, whole grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables.
Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.