Collagen is a natural occurring protein that is the building blocks for skin, bone, cartilage, tendons, organs and other tissue like joints. Collagen gives the skin its elasticity, structure and youthfulness. As women continue to search for the fountain of youth and are willing to spend big money, beauty companies have jumped on collagen and turned it into a supplement.

The body produces collagen naturally however this production declines as we become older, just like everything else in the body. Men actually produce more collagen than women. Women lose collagen at a rate of 1% per year. Therefore by the age of 50, women have lost half their collagen production. Collagen is not just found in the skin but everywhere, so if collagen of the tissue is lost this causes osteoporosis, just as if it is lost in the skin this causes wrinkles.

As well as being naturally lost through age, there are also some other environmental stresses that cause a loss of collagen, leaving the skin loose, dry, wrinkled, lined and saggy:

  • The Sun

    Our skin is very sensitive to the sun, so prolonged sun exposure damages the skin cells and in turn the collagen production. The most important step to preventing collagen degradation is to never over expose your face to the sun and also have an efficient sun care regime.

  • Your Diet

    The diet of the 21st century is very different to that of the past. The staple diet of today does not usually include high collagen food. For example instead of boiling a whole chicken to make chicken stock, we now use a liquid or powder form. However when a whole chicken is boiled it releases collagen into the water. We also prefer to eat boneless everything, like boneless chicken breast and boneless turkey breast. This leaves us eating a collagen deficient diet. Some ways to combat this is by eating foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 and vitamin C. Eat colorful fruits, leafy vegetables and avoid all processed foods.

  • Alcohol and Drugs

    Prolonged use of alcohol or drugs can impact on the body as a whole and reduce one’s production of collagen. Collagen productions are at their peak when we are healthy and active people. So cut back on the alcohol and drugs to help your body and skin stay youthful.

  • Pollution

    Pollution is found everywhere from the air to the water to even the creams we use on our faces. It is important to keep the skin away from these harmful chemicals and just expose it to a natural non-toxic environment. If you take care of your skin, it will take care of you. So just be aware of the environment round you and make sure you have a solid cleansing routine that will gently exfoliate off daily pollution.

There are heaps of different types of collagen supplements on the market. Some women swear by these products but others don’t. One thing is for sure though, there is actually no scientific based conclusions to prove that collagen can help eliminate the signs of aging.

There are two main ways of adding collagen to the body. The first is via collagen injections, also known as fillers. The substances that are injected reduce wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. The other is via collagen creams. These creams aim to promote the production of collagen and reduce lines.

Pros of Collagen Supplements

  • Reduce wrinkles
  • Reverse signs of aging
  • Tighten skin
  • Increase skin elasticity
  • Enhanced strength and flexibility of joints and tendons
  • Decreased appetite
  • Age spot reduction
  • Increased bone strength

Cons of Collagen Supplements

  • Decreased appetite
  • The fact that there is little evidence to prove that these collagen supplements actually work in favor of the skin and joints
  • May increase your levels of calcium leading to possible nausea, vomiting, bone pain, fatigue or an irregular heartbeat
  • Possibility of having an allergic reaction
  • Collagen injections are only temporary
  • Oral collagen supplements can leave an awful taste in the mouth for some time
  • The collagen molecules found in most collagen creams are actually too large to absorb into the pours so they simply sit on the surface of the skin

It seems that from the little research that is out there, there is actually no evidence to prove these supplements work. However many people claim to have had amazing results, so results may be person dependent. So it would seem that what works for one may not work for another but, if you do decide to try a collagen supplement (there are definitely plenty of products out there) research the product thoroughly first.

Claire Trojkovic

Claire Trojkovic is a health and fitness expert from Australia. She is also an international fitness model competitor who has won many champisonships in Australia as well as overseas. The most prestigous being the INBA World Championships in 2013 which was held in Greece.

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