For seemingly forever, people have been searching for the fountain of youth—a mythical source of eternal life and vitality. This never-ending search for a way to look and feel young has created a confusing marketplace of strange products with miraculous claims.
Vitamin supplements, cosmetic surgeries, superfoods, fitness programs, and more all promise to help turn back the hands of time. While some of these products may offer some benefits, you should always be skeptical of anything that claims to be a miracle cure-all.
One product that has been getting lots of attention is collagen drinks.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is an essential protein that is found throughout your body. It’s a significant component of skin, hair, nails, and tendons. It is essential in wound healing and provides structure and support to your body’s tissues. Collagen gives your skin its structure, elasticity, and youthful appearance.
Your natural collagen production declines as you age, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and joint pain. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and sun exposure can also accelerate collagen loss and contribute to signs of premature aging.
Will Collagen Supplements Help?
Collagen supplementation continues to be extensively studied from different angles.
Human studies have also drawn beneficial conclusions in their tests with different brands of collagen drinks. Still, before you go out and buy a case of the stuff, it may be helpful to do a closer examination of these studies.
Conflicts of Interest and Industry-Biased Research
When searching for new health and skincare products, it’s always a good idea to check what clinical research and scientific studies have been done on the product or active ingredients. Although these studies can be a bit dry and technical, they will usually give you a clearer view of what results you can or can’t expect from using the product—more accurate than the marketing claims in commercials and advertising.
Unfortunately, you can’t always assume that the studies you’re reading are accurate and free from bias. It’s not uncommon for companies to fund their own research or hire outside researchers to produce results that make their products look good. Then, they can point to this research and say, “See, scientific evidence proves our product really works!”
With collagen drinks, for example, you can see in the footnotes of many studies that the companies that make these products have provided funding, financial support, or free product to the researchers conducting the study.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the research is a lie or the product is bad, but it calls into question the reliability of the results. The researchers may have been more likely to find positive results because the collagen drink companies financially supported them.
So What Is The Truth?
If you’re interested in trying a collagen drink to improve your skin or joint health, there doesn’t appear to be any risk of harm in doing so. They might help you look and feel younger, but don’t expect miracles.
But overall, the tried and true methods for maintaining healthy skin, joints, and tendons are still a better bet:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Be physically active.
- Get enough sleep.
- Use sunscreen.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid smoking.
- Limit your alcohol consumption.
The consistent effort with these basic lifestyle choices will do more for your health—inside and out—than any quick fix or fad product.