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Can supplementing with collagen really help reverse ageing?

by , 24 November 2017
Can supplementing with collagen really help reverse ageing?
Collagen plays a big role in your physical health, especially the ageing process. The word, which comes from the Greek word for glue, refers to the structural proteins that binds your cells and tissues together, helping them to maintain shape and integrity.

Collagen is present in your skin, muscles, tendons, skeleton and even your teeth. While your body produces its own collagen, it starts producing less as you age due to the collagen and elastin that becomes disconnected. The result? Your skin becomes thinner and drier, and develops sags and wrinkles.

Many supplement- and food-makers are marketing collagen products as an anti-ageing cure-all. So, the question is: Can supplementing with collagen really help reverse ageing? Let's take a look at what the experts say…

The building blocks that make up all proteins, including collagen, are called amino acids

“Collagen is basically the sale of amino acids,” says Dr Mark Moyad, director of preventative and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan in the United States and author of The Supplement Handbook.
 
Amino acids are protein’s building blocks, and all foods and supplements with collagen contain amino acids derived from the collagen or just the amino acids themselves, separated from their bonds, explains Dr Moyad.

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One expert believes that extra animal-sourced collagen is the best for anti-ageing

There are a number of major sources of collagen. Some are derived from animal skin or bones, while others are derived from animal cartilage. One source that tops the list if fish collagen peptides, which are known to have the best absorption and bioavailability thanks to their smaller particle sizes compared to other animal collagens.
 
Dr Moyad explains that it makes sense that consuming extra animal-sourced collagen like bone broth can help restore diminished collagen levels in your body and reverse signs of ageing. “There are many preliminary trials showing potential benefits for everything from osteoarthritis to skin improvement,” he adds.
 
Meanwhile, research has also found that collagen supplements improve skin moisture and elasticity. But Dr Moyad points out that all of this research is preliminary. “The studies are weak in general,” he says. By this, he means they’re short in duration, small in scope or not yet replicated by follow-up studies.
 
In conclusion, Dr Moyad says it isn’t yet clear exactly which type of collagen is most effective for anti-ageing. He says that gelatin – which is derived from animal collagen and sold cheaply in grocery stores – might be just as good for your skin as expensive supplement powders. “But no one’s done the studies, so we don’t know,” he says. How interesting!

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