Liquid Collagen Might Actually Prevent Aging
Liquid collagen is among the latest wellness trends, alongside gua sha facial massages, intermittent fasting and health wearables.
According to fans, liquid collagen supplements are a gateway to smoother skin, healthier joints and shinier hair, but do they live up to the hype? To answer that, it helps to understand what collagen is and how it functions.
What Is Collagen, Anyway?
To start with the basics, collagen is a naturally occurring protein that helps make up your body's tissues, including skin, bone and muscles. There are several types of collagen, but all types are important to the elasticity and durability of your connective tissue and other vital structures. One-third of the proteins found in the human body are collagen proteins.
While collagen's elastic properties are responsible for keeping skin youthful, its purpose is more than skin-deep. Without it, arteries and veins wouldn't have enough elasticity to function. Wounds wouldn't heal, and life wouldn't be possible. There are more than 70 different types of collagen, but disorders that influence one of the most important five come with severe side effects, ranging from joint instability to brittle bones. Suffice it to say, we like collagen.
Collagen Changes As We Age
We really, really like collagen. To put it simply, more collagen = good. Less collagen = bad. Unfortunately, naturally occurring collagen doesn't last forever. Collagen production begins to slow in your late teens or early 20s. After 30, collagen depletes by 1 percent every year. On your 80th birthday, you'll only have about 25 percent of the collagen you had as a kid.
This helps explain why we're more prone to injury as we age. It's also the reason why no amount of exfoliation or moisturizing can completely prevent wrinkles. It's not a surface-level problem but a structural one.
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The Benefits of Collagen Supplements
There's no way to stop the aging process entirely. Collagen is going to deplete as you age, and there's not much you can do to stop it from leaving. (Sorry about that.) Anecdotal evidence suggests that taking collagen supplements, like drinking liquid collagen, can help replace lost collagen and reduce the effects of collagen loss associated with aging.
Potential health benefits include:
- Improved skin elasticity and hydration
- Firmer skin with less visible wrinkles
- Improved joint health
- Improved bone density
- Greater muscle mass when combined with exercise
- Better heart health
- Stronger nails and teeth
Most of these claims require more studies to determine the extent of their accuracy, but the preliminary findings are promising.
Types of Collagen Supplements
If you want to try taking collagen supplements, you have a few options. Collagen capsules are taken like a vitamin. Powdered collagen can also be added to smoothies or coffee, although it may add an odd aftertaste if you drink your coffee black. Liquid collagen is popular because it's already dissolved, so you don't have to bother stirring it up.
Whichever option you try, use it daily for best results. All types of collagen supplements have a similar effect, but you have to take them consistently for at least a few months before you'll notice a difference.
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Collagen Is Also Found in Food
If you want to increase your collagen intake without buying liquid collagen, just visit the grocery store. Collagen supplements are made from animal products, and you can acquire it straight from the source instead. Beef, poultry and fish are among the best sources of collagen.
Bone broth is also high in collagen and protein. Swap out chicken broth for bone broth in your favorite soup and stew recipes, or enjoy the broth on its own with curry powder, allspice, sage and sauteed onions.
Bottom Line: Are Collagen Supplements Worth It?
There aren't any risks in taking it, as long as you keep an eye on the source of your collagen supplements. If you're allergic to shellfish, for example, avoid marine collagen sources. Other than that, the only downside of taking liquid collagen is the cost. Amazon's most popular supplement, for example, costs about $25 for a one-month supply.
Is that worth it? Depends on how you define "worth it." Will collagen supplements give you an instant facelift? Not a chance. It might, however, help your joints move easier, keep your skin glowing for longer and support overall health as you age.
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