Q: Of late, I have been hearing a lot about collagen and how it can benefit the body. What is collagen and what does it do to your body?

A: Collagen is a protein. It is also a part of the connective tissue in our skin, bone joints, hair. Collagen is produced only in animals and is a rich source of amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine.

As we age, our body reduces, and eventually stops the production of collagen.

From the age of 25-30 years, our body uses the collagen stores as the production of collagen almost ceases. With limited collagen, the lubrication in bone joints reduces, elasticity of the skin reduces and you start getting fine lines and wrinkles.

Skin cells are dependent on vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen, and for the regulation of the collagen/elastin balance in the skin.

Collagen supplements are used to replenish collagen stores in the body. Incidentally, collagen helps to heal the gut as well.

Foods naturally rich in collagen are bone broth, salmon skin, chicken skin, non-muscle parts of meat (tendons, cartilage, bone marrow), pastured eggs, and gelatin.

Research shows that vegan sources of these amino acids or isolated amino acids are not as efficient as the animal sources to help the body make new collagen. So the vegan collagen boosters might not be as efficient as the animal sourced collagen.

Collagen should be consumed along with vitamin C or lemon juice for better absorption.

Having collagen an hour before workout results in greater collagen production in the recovery period after exercise. Ensure that your bovine collagen is Type 1&3, grass fed and gives at least 5g of collagen in one serving. Marine collagen should be wild caught.

However, consult a dietician or a GP before taking collage supplements.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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