Collagen can improve the skins elasticity and hydration (Shutterstock)

Increasingly, collagen has been touted as the fountain of youth. Reputed to reverse the signs of ageing by reducing wrinkles, smoothing and plumping up the skin, relieving joint pain and reducing bone loss, more and more people are using them regularly.

Which begs the question, does taking collagen really work? Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, making up 75 per cent of your skin and containing vital amino acids to maintain and repair bones and joints.

As we age, we break it down faster than we replace it, losing about one per cent annually from our mid-20s and as much 30 per cent when we hit menopause.

While our body still manufactures new collagen, it is much less and of lower quality, as we get older. This loss of collagen is essentially what causes the outward appearance of ageing.

It would make sense, therefore, that ingesting collagen in sufficient quantities would help shore up the shortfall our bodies produce.

 Ingesting collagen in sufficient quantities would help shore up any shortfall our bodies may produce (Shutterstock)

Dietary collagen is found in pig and chicken skin, chicken cartilage, bone soup and foods containing gelatin. It is also important to make sure you are eating at least 60-80g of protein per day.

In addition, consider taking a collagen supplement which is hydrolysed, meaning the molecules are small enough for rapid absorption.

Although there is little research on the benefits of ingested collagen, in one study, four in five women who took collagen saw a 26 per cent increase in mobility and reduction in joint pain as well as an improvement in their skin’s elasticity and hydration.

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