Collagen for Daily Consumption - Fountain of Youth?
Article extracts from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20191212/collagen-supplements-what-the-research-shows
Dec. 12, 2019 -- In January 2019, Jessica Sansevera looked in the mirror and discovered the holidays had not been kind to her skin. Winter dryness and stress had deepened her fine lines, and overindulgence in caffeine and sugar had left her with welts of rosacea-related acne around her mouth.
“My skin was just not where it should be for a woman my age, and I wanted to do something preventive before those lines got too etched in,” says Sansevera, a 30-something mother of two and schoolteacher from Westchester, NY.
Due to her sensitive skin, fancy treatments and expensive creams were off the table. So, at the advice of her dermatologist, she took a different “inside-out” approach. She began spiking her morning smoothie or coffee with a scoop of ground-up cow or fish parts -- aka collagen.
Within a month, her acne abated, replaced with a rosy glow. And within 3 months, she noticed a host of other unexpected changes. Her nails were thicker. Her hair stopped falling out in the shower. And she could dance without pain from her knee osteoarthritis.
“It is not a miracle pill,” she stresses, noting that she also cleaned up her diet and added a probiotic to her daily routine. “But I absolutely believe the collagen is helping.”
For centuries, Chinese women have viewed collagen -- a protein that binds tissues in fish and animals -- as a fountain of youth, routinely consuming foods like pig’s feet, shark fins, and donkey skin in hopes of smoothing withered skin and preserving aging joints. In the United States, collagen became best known in the 1980s as an expensive injectable filler to plump lips and soften lines. But only in recent years, as companies have come up with more appetizing ways to take it (including fruity chews, vanilla-flavored-coffee creamers, single-serving sachets, and easy-to-swallow capsules) has edible collagen begun to catch on here.
Instagram endorsements from celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian (who starts her day with a hot collagen beverage) haven’t hurt. And thanks to a small but growing body of evidence suggesting it can improve skin, ease arthritis symptoms, promote wound healing, and fend off muscle wasting, former skeptics in the medical field are also beginning to come around.
In 2020, in the United States alone, consumers are expected to spend $293 million on collagen supplements, up from just $50 million in 2014, according to market research firm Nutrition Business Journal. Globally, as collagen makes its way into more foods and beverages, topicals, and even the operating room, the market is projected to reach $6.5 billion by 2025.
The Body's Scaffolding
Collagen is often called the body’s scaffolding.
“It’s the glue that holds the body together,” says New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out.
She says collagen makes up about 75% of the dry weight of your skin, providing volume that keeps skin looking plump and keeps lines at bay. It’s also rich in in the amino acids proline and glycine, which you need to maintain and repair your tendons, bones, and joints.
“As we get older, we break it down faster than we can replace it,” she says, noting that we begin to lose about 1% of our collagen per year in our mid-20s and lose as much as 30% during the first 5 years of menopause.
Injecting collagen has fallen out of favor in many medical skin care practices, since it doesn’t last as long as other fillers and tends to prompt allergic reactions. And when it's put on the skin, it doesn’t absorb well, Bowe says.
When she learned a few years ago that people were eating it instead, she was skeptical. But she has since changed her mind.
“Just in the last few years, there have been some impressive studies showing that ingestible collagen can indeed impact the appearance of skin,” says Bowe.
And a 2019 review of eight studies including 805 patients concluded that “preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging.”
Moyad, author of The Supplement Handbook: A Trusted Expert's Guide to What Works and What’s Worthless for More Than 100 Conditions, cautions that many of the studies done so far on collagen are small and at least partially funded by industry. But he, too, believes collagen holds promise.
As a protein source alone, collagen is an excellent one, packing in more protein per calorie than other sources while containing less sodium and sugar. And Moyad finds the evidence suggesting it may improve body composition, joint health, and healing rates intriguing.
Collagen has also been shown to act as a powerful wound healer, able to stop bleeding, recruit immune and skin cells, and stimulate new blood vessel formation. One study of 89 long-term care residents with pressure ulcers found that those who took collagen supplements three times daily for 8 weeks saw their wounds heal twice as fast. Another, of eight patients who had a small surgical skin biopsy, found that daily topical collagen healed their wounds at least as well as sutures.
Escalia's Keto Collagen instant coffee contains marine collagen from fish.