Collagen supplements offer the hope of restoration to affected tissue. Collagen is a protein in the human body that plays many roles in maintaining good health. This protein helps maintain a youthful appearance, keeps tissue such as skin, bones, muscles, tendons and cartilage firm and strong, and treats osteoporosis and arthritis. Natural aging leads to an overall decrease in collagen in the body. A question you may have is whether collagen supplements are actually safe.
Supplements come in the form of pills, creams and injections. All forms have a different purpose. The oral supplements are used to treat arthritis, build muscle, help with weight loss and improve skin tone. The creams are supposed to prevent wrinkles. Injections temporarily (lasting about three months) plump up otherwise wrinkled skin or shriveled lips.
Safe or Not?
Collagen supplement pills are manufactured from cow or chicken products; anyone with food sensitivities to these products risks a potential allergic reaction. Topical collagen creams are safe but costly to the consumer. Collagen injections can cause a local reaction, especially if the consumer has previously been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. This reaction demonstrates the body's response to a foreign substance. Injected collagen, especially a facial treatment, has been known to occasionally migrate and cause uneven facial distortion.
Collagen is not an essential supplement for most healthy people, unless it is taken in an attempt to control arthritis or as a beauty aid supplement to improve appearance. Be aware that collagen is water soluble, so it becomes a waste product if too much is taken; overdosing is unlikely.
The United States Food and Drug Administration declared processed collagen, formally called hydrolyzed, to be "generally recognized as safe" in 1999.