Collagen is a very important protein for our body. It has another protein friend which accompanies it, almost always, called elastin. The first is responsible for tissue strength and the second for its elasticity. Think about body parts that need to be strong: skin, tendons, cartilage, bones… and then about body parts that need to be elastic like skin, lungs and arteries, especially the aorta. The more the body part needs to remain strong, the more collagen it’ll contain, and the more it needs to remain elastic, the more elastin it’ll contain. As you can see, collagen is very important, and not just aesthetically for your face, but even more so for internal body parts. Nobody wants their veins or arteries to tear or break easily.
Where does our body get them in the most efficient way? That’s simple - from anywhere on the body that they exist (skin, cartilage, bones, internal organs of animal such as chicken, fish, beef…). collagen and elastin, in their natural form, don’t exist in plants, only in animals. When we cook food that contains those animal parts, the collagen and elastin separate in the heat and we get a substance you’ll all be familiar with: gelatine.
When you chill a dish that was cooked with animal organs then you get a top layer of jellied fat. The jellied part is the gelatine, which is incredibly good for our skin (and other body parts).
If you are vegan, you may get a deficiency in these wonderful substances, and then you start having issues with your joints and cartilage, wrinkled skin, brittle veins and more…
Despite our body knowing to how to make synthetic collagen and elastin (from amino acids which is produces by itself) - eating food which contains proteins composed of those amino acids will provide the body with an abundance of available amino acids, ready and willing to be used as building blocks.
When there’s a deficiency (incomplete nutrition) and then newly published studies are added, which praise the importance of this protein, commercial companies which manufacture additives quickly step in. I searched for “collagen pictures” on Google and didn’t get one photo of collagen fibers or any photos of ingredients for marrow soup containing lots of gelatine (photo), nothing but dozens of companies selling collagen additives. That’s why you started seeing advertisements everywhere for the wonder-capsules that’ll stretch your skin.
So in conclusion: Collagen is good, especially for those whose nutrition doesn’t contain it. Just remember that even in the sold additives, the collagen is derived from animals. Gelatine sheets that you can find affordably on the baking section shelves, are actually the same substance that you’d pay loads for in the form of collagen capsules. Some additives claim that their formula is more accessible for building the skin’s collagen protein (like Collagen Peptides). From what I’ve gathered through objective studies (most of which are subsidized), it may be true, it’s not totally proven. We need a lot more studies in order to prove this claim. Either way, both the cheap natural version that we get through eating animal products or using gelatine sheets, and the expensive version of collagen powder, will break into amino acids during digestion, and the body will use them for what it needs, with varying efficiency and in accordance with the biological age. The main issue is that as we get older everything works less, production of collagen, too.
Personally, I prefer my building blocks all-natural 😊 Yummy and natural at the same time… What about you? In my book you’ll find many eye- opening explanations such as this one, to truly organize your knowledge of skin, nutrition and cosmetics.