Beware of the marketing claims surrounding collagen-infused foods like collagen broth or the “beauty hot pot,” promising a youthful glow and reduced wrinkles.

As a consumer, it’s crucial to understand the science behind these claims rather than being swayed by enticing promises. Collagen, a protein crucial for skin elasticity and structure, is naturally produced by the body from amino acids found in protein-rich foods such as bone broth, fish, and meat. It constitutes a significant portion of the body’s protein, contributing to skin, hair, nails, tendons, and bones.

However, the body’s natural collagen production declines with age, starting in the mid-20s, and is influenced by genetics. Despite the marketing, collagen molecules in food and drinks are too large to be directly absorbed by the body intact. Instead, during digestion, collagen is broken down into peptides, short chains of amino acids. These peptides are then absorbed and distributed throughout the body, potentially benefiting muscles, bones, tendons, and cartilage rather than the skin.

Nutritionist Adlyn Farizah highlights that amino acids essential for collagen production can be obtained from a variety of protein-rich foods, not solely from collagen-infused products. Everyday foods like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and legumes are rich sources of these amino acids without the added sodium or sugar present in many collagen products.

Regarding collagen supplements, which often contain hydrolysed forms of collagen broken down into smaller peptides for better absorption, clinical evidence supporting their effectiveness remains limited. Studies on their benefits for skin health are often small-scale and conducted by manufacturers themselves. Look for keywords like “collagen peptides,” “marine collagen,” or “hydrolysed collagen” on supplement packaging for higher quality options.

Additionally, supplements may include ingredients like vitamins A and C, zinc, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid, beneficial for skin health. However, individuals with kidney or liver issues should monitor their protein intake, and avoid supplements with fillers like mineral oil or carrageenan.

For those seeking to stimulate collagen production effectively, dermatologist-recommended ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C in skincare products can offer visible results. These ingredients promote collagen synthesis and skin rejuvenation, suitable for various skin types and conditions.

Moreover, treatments like high-intensity focused ultrasound, CO2 fractional laser, and microneedling directly target collagen production in the skin’s deeper layers, yielding longer-lasting results compared to oral supplements or topical products alone.

Incorporating a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins C and E, zinc, and copper, alongside healthy lifestyle habits like sun protection and limited alcohol consumption, supports overall skin health and collagen production. Consider consulting a dermatologist for personalized advice on maintaining skin health and addressing specific concerns.

Ultimately, staying informed and adopting sensible health practices ensures you make informed decisions about skincare and overall well-being, avoiding unnecessary expenditures on products with unproven benefits.