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Fact or Fiction: Collagen Supplements Help Skin and Joints

As we age, our skin becomes less firm and our joints stiffen and ache. Why is this? It’s partially due to the slowing of our bodies’ ability to produce collagen, the main structural protein of connective tissues that, among other things, helps repair our skin and joints. Those seeking to maintain youthful skin and ease joint pain may turn to collagen supplements for a lift, but are these supplements really the fountain of youth they claim to be? To cut through the hype, the Washington Post reported on the following studies exploring collagen’s effects in the body:

  • A research review, published in the Open Nutraceuticals Journal, found hydrolyzed collagen supplements, which contain small collagen peptides that are easy to digest and absorb, improved skin hydration and elasticity and reduced the formation of deep wrinkles in women taking 10 grams daily for more than six weeks.
  • A 2017 study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, found 25 participants had increased nail growth and decreased nail brittleness after taking 2.5 grams of collagen peptides daily for 24 weeks.
  • A 2018 review and meta-analysis, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at randomized controlled trials testing supplements used to treat osteoarthritis and found both hydrolyzed and un-denatured collagen supplements were associated with meaningful reductions in joint pain.

While collagen’s benefits seem promising, it’s important to note that much of the research so far has come from small trials looking at short-term benefits. Longer and larger clinical trials are needed to understand collagen’s role, if any, in your beauty or pain management regimen. While we wait for answers, look to a nutritious diet containing plenty of vitamin C, which plays an essential role in your body’s collagen production.

Source: Washington Post

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