Supplements are nothing new—it seems like there’s always at least one type of nutritional supplement in the spotlight touting health benefits ranging from more energy to a more youthful appearance. Currently, collagen supplements are getting a lot of attention with some saying they’re akin to a fountain of youth. But are they really as great as some people claim? Even more importantly, are they safe? Read on for the info you should know.
Collagen supplements may offer an array of benefits for your health.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the body. It’s essentially scaffolding for our muscles, bones, and skin. Unfortunately, collagen production slows down over time. So, collagen supplements are intended to improve the skin and musculoskeletal health as we get older. Users of collagen supplements have reported more youthful looking skin, thicker nails and hair, reduced joint pain, and improved muscle development. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the benefits of collagen have long been recognized—for these reasons, foods like pig’s feet have been routinely consumed in the hopes of delaying the aging process.
Proper sourcing is important for collagen supplement safety.
When it comes to safety, sourcing is key. Collagen is derived from animal sources (so it’s not something to consider if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet). To ensure you’re getting the safest supplements possible, look for products from cage-free, free-range, and antibiotic-free animals.
The jury is still out on the efficacy and safety of collagen.
While there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence boasting the benefits of collagen, the body of scientific research related to collagen supplements is still limited. In addition, supplements aren’t regulated like food and medicine, so there may be unwanted additions in your supplements of choice. One test from consumerlab.com found the heavy metal cadmium present in 14 popular collagen brands.
To play it safe with collagen and any other supplements you’re thinking about adding to your diet, consult your doctor before you head to the drug store. MeMD can connect you with a board-certified medical provider anytime, anywhere, so you can always make the most informed decisions about your health.