Skin mostly consists of the protein collagen, which over time becomes fragmented, like a fraying rope. We also produce less of it as we age. The result: wrinkled and less-firm skin. Research has shown that if you improve your collagen, your skin will look better. But taking collagen or its building blocks (amino acids) is unlikely to help. Collagen, like any protein, gets broken down during digestion into amino acids, which are used to make new proteins. Those new proteins could be collagen or anything else, depending on what your body needs. Our body’s machinery that makes collagen doesn’t work as well as we age. Unless your diet is deficient, loading up on more amino acids by taking collagen supplements is not likely to do anything. Collagen supplements contain peptides: short chains of two or three amino acids. But enzymes in the intestinal cells break peptides down into single amino acids and that’s primarily what you will absorb.
Bottom Line: Want to protect your skin? Invest in a broad-spectrum sunscreen, not collagen supplements.
Reprinted with permission by NutritionAction.com, Center for Science and Public Interest.
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