02 Apr Should You Be Taking Collagen Supplements?
Collagen is one of the popular buzzwords in health and fitness. It’s being added to everything from protein bars, nutritional powders, pills, and even coffee creamer. But what is it, is it safe, and should you be following in this latest trend?
What Is It?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and can be found in skin, hair, tendons, and ligaments. You need adequate amounts to maintain strong bones, smooth skin, and healthy joints. In your 30s, the body naturally begins to produce less and less collagen so it makes sense that supplement companies have been pushing it. Many claim that collagen can help your skin look younger, strengthen hair and nails, reduce joint pain, and even improve gut health, but what does the research say?
The research on collagen is limited. Some studies have found that taking collagen supplements may help reduce pain in osteoarthritis sufferers as well as in athletes. Another study found that the intake of collagen supplements can help reduce age-related skin wrinkles. With such limited research on various health-related issues, it’s tough to make straight out claims on its benefits– more research is needed.
The Therapeutic Research Center’s Natural Medicines database states that when taken orally, collagen type II in up to 2.5 mg per day doses for no more than 24 weeks, is possibly safe. Some other types of collagen products, such as bovine collagen, have been shown to have possible side effects, such as nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, skin reactions and headache, but there currently doesn’t seem to be any known reactions with drugs, foods, herbs or supplements. Whenever purchasing supplements, always look for ones that are certified by a third-party quality-testing company, such as NSF or USP.
If you want to give a collagen supplement a try, then take it in the dosage listed above. However, if you’re hoping for health benefits there’s no clear evidence that you’ll see any results. Keep in mind that collagen is a form of protein so if you’re using collagen supplements, taking protein supplements, and eating a balanced diet with protein then it can be easy to overdo.
To get enough collagen from food, eat a well-balanced diet from a variety of protein foods including meat, fish, and soybeans. Also, eat foods high in vitamin C like citrus fruits, potatoes, and bell peppers, and iron like lean red meat, green leafy vegetables, and beans. Both vitamin C and iron help with your body’s natural production of collagen.