Collagen is starting to catch fire. It’s become a buzzword around the health and wellness industry. But how helpful is collagen supplementation?
Here’s a balanced breakdown of the pros and cons of collagen supplementation to help you decide whether it’s right for you or worth your money.
Pro: Collagen peptide powders are easy to use, convenient, and dissolve into liquids and other foods without adding much flavour. But make sure it comes from a high-quality source and not from a provider using cheap, random animal parts.
Con: Collagen supplements aren’t guaranteed to be absorbed and used in the way you intend. Like any protein you eat, collagen supplements are broken down into their amino acids and put back together how your body sees fit. That means it may not be reconstructed as collagen, so your levels may not raise significantly. Collagen is also low in some essential amino acids, so make sure to eat other good sources of complete proteins.
Pro: You don’t have to turn to expensive powders or pills. Regular gelatin and homemade bone broth can be cheaper alternatives that are still packed with collagen. Gelatin is essentially just collagen that’s been cooked. Bone broth is made from boiling collagen-rich materials. That means both options provide the amino acids needed to produce collagen. But you need to check your sources. And remember that more collagen ingested doesn’t always equal more collagen in your body.
Con: Collagen is a large molecule. Too large, in fact, to be easily absorbed by your skin. That fact makes collagen creams and other cosmetic products that contain the protein a bad bet for increasing levels in your skin.
Pro: There have been a few studies that have showed promising results for skin elasticity in women, muscle mass, and joint function in athletes.
Con: There aren’t many studies on collagen supplementation. And those that have been done are in small populations. More thorough, large-scale research about absorption and benefits will paint a clearer scientific picture about collagen supplementation.