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Collagen supplements for the joints: why it is better that you spend your money on something else

The collagen supplements, alone or combined with other magnesium and vitamins, are a hit, especially in the sector of sports supplements. In theory they help maintain and recover tendons and muscles, especially in the joints.

That being the case, who would not want to take advantage of their properties? The problem is that, as often happens, it is not like that. It is not like that at all . Collagen supplements have not proven their supposed benefits and in fact their mechanism of action is scientifically incorrect. We explain why.

The first thing: what is collagen

The collagen is what we call a family of proteins that are related to each other even if they have a different genetic origin. They are formed by different amino acids, especially proline, lysine and glycine.

In any case, grouping all these proteins we can say that collagen is the most abundant family of proteins in the body (25% of those we have belong to that group) and that they are the main element of the connective tissues of our body, as skin, hair, bones or tendons.

Its function is to create the basic structure in which these tissues are held and therefore our entire body. We could say that they are the scaffolds that give shape and structure to our body.

The collagen of your body you have generated

But it is important to be clear that 100% of the collagen in your body you have generated yourself . That is to say, it does not come from collagen that you have ingested in food or supplements, but that your cells have produced it using amino acids , which are the pieces that make up the proteins, and under the instructions of your RNA.

This is because collagen is too large a protein to be completely absorbed by the walls of our digestive system, so to get into our bloodstream and travel to our joints it must break down into its essential amino acids first.

We might think that, well, maybe we do not absorb the collagen as such, but we do absorb its basic pieces that are then reassembled, right? Well maybe yes, or maybe not. The truth is that amino acids do not remember in what way they were organized before , so they are not restructured the same once they are in our body.

That is to say that by consuming collagen we are providing our body with essential amino acids that this will then use to produce proteins, yes, but it is not we who decide which ones. In fact, it is not necessary to consume collagen at all , since some of those amino acids can be found in other foods, and many of them are generated by our own body.

What the studies say

Some studies give collagen supplements beneficial properties for the treatment of joint pain, but they are mostly studies conducted by the supplement manufacturers themselves (and therefore there is a conflict of interest), or have samples too small to be representative

In contrast, the EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) has issued a couple of reports in which it shows that there is no evidence that taking collagen supplementation has any effect on the joints of active people, and certainly not on health and skin smoothness

So if you are thinking about trying this type of supplements, either in the form of tablets or creams, think about it well. Our advice is that you spend your money on something else. For example, in gelatin : this typically infantile dessert is basically based on collagen, and although it is not a solution to your joint problems , it is richer and, above all, much cheaper.

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