Why collagen supplements are so popular, their benefits and possible side effects

What are collagen supplements and should you try them? While collagen powder has gained popularity among Westerners, most Indians are still sceptical about it

Myupchar November 06, 2019 16:03:43 IST
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Why collagen supplements are so popular, their benefits and possible side effects
  • Collagen the most abundant protein found in the human body and gives structure to many body parts such as bones, joints, muscles and skin

  • Collagen supplements benefits include prevention of bone loss, limits osteoporosis and builds muscle mass

  • Scientists have not uncovered any side-effects of collagen supplements yet, although it is something they are looking into

If you happen to follow any health, fitness or even beauty bloggers on social media, you might have heard of collagen supplements. While collagen powder has gained popularity in the West, most Indians are still skeptical.

Is it really a youth potion? Will it turn back time? Is it worth all the hype? Time to separate fact from fiction.

Why collagen supplements are so popular their benefits and possible side effects

Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

What is collagen?

Collagen the most abundant protein found in the human body. If you think of your body, it is made up of organs, organs are made up of tissues and tissues are made up of cells. But what connects and holds them together? Must be glue or connective tissue. Well, collagen is a major part of that connective tissue. Collagen gives structure to many body parts such as bones, joints, muscles and skin.

What makes collagen supplements so popular?

Your body changes as you age. It is natural. As you add years to your life, the breakdown of old collagen increases but the production rate remain the same or sometimes even slows down. Wrinkles appear, joints wear, arthritis happens, bones and muscles ache, all the regular middle and old age problems.

Scientists have found that replacing the lost collagen with an external collagen source can slow down ageing, rejuvenate the skin, repair joints and offer more health benefits, after all, it constitutes for a third of all the protein in our body.

Commercially available collagen supplements are mostly derived from animals such as fish. During the processing, they might be flavoured with vanilla or chocolate. There is no vegan option for a collagen supplement, but there are some that do not contain collagen themselves but claim to increase your production of the protein.

Benefits 

  • Boosts skin hydration and reduces dryness
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Reduces joint pain and provides relief from arthritis
  • Prevents bone loss, limits osteoporosis
  • Builds muscle mass

Side effects 

Scientists have not uncovered any side-effects of collagen supplements yet, although it is something they are looking into.

Some researchers have argued that collagen supplements cannot have the purported benefits for the simple reason that our stomach digests proteins, collagen supplements would, therefore, be broken down to amino acids and used just like any ordinary source of protein rather than reaching the skin or bones as collagen.

However, there are other studies that support the use of a collagen supplement.

A study published in 2014 indicated significant improvement in skin elasticity in 50 middle-aged women who had a scoop of collagen powder daily for a few months. Another study suggested that taking two and a half grams to 10 grams of collagen for eight to 24 weeks may help in healing wounds and reducing the effects of aging on the skin.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read Protein: Sources, Health Benefits & Side Effects.

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