As we age, our body produces less collagen, a protein that, among other things, ensures tight and supple skin. So at first glance it seems logical that collagen supplements can prevent skin aging. But there is little scientific evidence that these remedies actually fight wrinkles.
Collagen is a natural protein that is crucial for the structure of the tissues in our body. It is not only essential for the firmness of our skin, but also for those of our bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. However, as we age, our body begins to make less of this protein. It is estimated that from about 25 years of age we lose about 1% of the collagen in our skin per year and women would lose about 30% during the first five years of menopause. As a result, we get wrinkles and our skin generally becomes less tight.
Dietary supplements with collagen peptides
Of course, many people want to counteract this natural process as much as possible. For this purpose, people look in the direction of dietary supplements with collagen. These usually contain so-called collagen peptides, also called hydrolyzed collagen, which should stimulate the production of collagen. These remedies are made from animal material, usually from cows, pigs or fish.
But do these supplements also have a scientific basis? A recent Brazilian study found that they do. The researchers analyzed 19 studies conducted on 1,125 participants, with some of the subjects given dietary supplements containing collagen, and another part a fake drug. According to them, the studies show an improvement in the hydration, elasticity and roughness of the skin.
However, Flemish experts from the website Health and Science argue that this analysis contains too many weaknesses. They point out that most of the studies included did not actually show any beneficial influence at all, but that the results of the analysis are distorted by a small number of studies that expressed a very positive opinion about the supplements. The studies also referred to crucial factors such as smoking behavior, healthy eating, exercise, sunbathing and the use of tanning beds. In addition, any effects would not occur until after 90 days of taking supplements.
There has long been criticism of the health claims linked to collagen supplements. Many experts argue that the published studies on this topic are usually still too small-scale and are often sponsored by companies that produce collagen products. Some believe that the collagen in the remedies after ingestion is completely broken down in the stomach and can never reach the skin.
It therefore seems very much that research into these supplements is still too limited to make firm statements about their effectiveness. On the positive side, they don’t normally have any harmful side effects, unless for your wallet. But at the moment, the best tips to keep your skin supple is to not smoke, sunbathe little, avoid tanning beds and generally eat healthy and exercise enough.
A journalism student at the University of Florida, Serena writes mostly about health and health-related subjects. On her time off, she enjoys binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix or going on a weekend get-away.