By Christina Fattore
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, aging is inevitable.
As we age, the physiological changes that occur in our body can cause alterations in the way we look, the way we feel, and the way we act.
A lot of times, the entire process feels out of our control. Where did those wrinkles come from? That back pain? That wave of exhaustion that hits you at 3 pm even though you’ve just had your fourth cup of coffee?
Yep, you can thank your biological clock.
In our skin, the aging process negatively affects our connective tissues, leading to a breakdown of collagen and elastin—the proteins that keep our skin looking fresh and young. As our natural collagen stores dwindle, our skin begins to sag and dry, causing fine lines and wrinkles to appear in places we’ve never seen them before. It makes sense, then, that orally ingesting collagen would help to reverse the physical signs of aging. Studies have shown that oral collagen supplementation can lead to improved skin hydration, skin elasticity, and skin texture in as little as 8 weeks. Collagen keeps us looking young, but aging isn’t only skin deep.
Aging also effects our cartilage, which leads to softening of the articular surface—or the part of our bones that makes direct contact with our joints. These changes contribute to some of the hallmarks of the aging process, including decreased motor function, muscle tone, and joint mobility. Aged cartilage is prone to damage from joint movements, which often leads to joint pain, stiffening, and even osteoarthritis (OA) in the long-term. Just as hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to benefit our skin, it’s also been shown to benefit our cartilage connective tissues. Oral collagen supplementation has been shown to improve the quality of life in people with pre-existing OA by reducing pain and delaying the progression of disease*. In one study, 78% of participants who orally supplemented with collagen reported less age-associated joint discomfort, while 60% reported improved joint flexibility, mobility, and reduced joint stiffness*. During the 90-day trial, subjects also reported improvements in their skin, hair, and nails*.
The research says it all—collagen, in more ways than one, keeps us young.
Orally supplementing with collagen not only helps us look better, but can help us feel better, too. Collagen may help us slow the inevitable process of physical decline by improving our flexibility, mobility, and levels chronic pain.
It can help us to better ourselves as athletes, parents, entrepreneurs, and travelers. It can help keep us feeling our best even when our body processes have other plans. Is collagen the fountain of youth we’ve been waiting for?
I’ll leave it to you to decide.
* Czajka A, Kania EM, Genovese L, et al. Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing. Nutrition Research. 2018;57:97-108.