In recent years, collagen has been touted as the “holy grail” of the beauty industry. Laser treatments, chemical peels, radio frequency, and even skincare products all claim to increase collagen production to combat skin aging. But can simply drinking collagen actually increase collagen production in the body?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, accounting for 30% of the body’s total protein. It’s not a special substance; in fact, the body produces collagen naturally and uses it in various parts of the body such as the skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, blood vessel walls, and connective tissue. The body produces collagen continuously every day to replace what is lost through metabolism.
Collagen loss is most noticeable through changes in outward appearance, such as rough, sagging skin and wrinkles, which occur as the body ages. Rapid collagen loss can also result in weaker bones due to the lack of collagen tension, which increases the risk of fractures in the elderly. In addition to aging, collagen loss can also be caused by overusing muscles in athletes, leading to a loss of elasticity in tendons and ligaments, resulting in soreness and inflammation. Therefore, athletes often choose to consume high-protein foods as a way to boost collagen production and enhance muscle elasticity and tension.
But can collagen supplements really help replenish the collagen in the skin? Actually, collagen molecules are much larger than the molecules that can be absorbed by the body. Therefore, collagen cannot be directly absorbed into the body. Enzymes in the intestines break down proteins into amino acids or short peptides before they can be absorbed by the body. However, just because they are absorbed does not mean they will be synthesized into collagen. Protein production is strictly controlled by the body’s cells, which translate DNA into tRNA, and then transport it to the ribosomes in the cell, where amino acids are synthesized into proteins. But the new protein produced is not necessarily collagen, nor is it necessarily produced in the skin. If you consume more collagen than your body needs, the excess will be eliminated by the body. Therefore, if you consume enough protein in your daily diet, there is no need to take collagen supplements.
In conclusion, rather than spending money on collagen supplements, it is better to absorb protein from your daily diet. Once the protein is broken down into amino acids, it can then be synthesized into enough collagen.