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Collagen And Glutathione Drinks For The Skin—Are They Really Effective?

We consult well-aging expert, Dr. Kaycee Reyes, to find out

Collagen and glutathione feel like “magic words” thrown around in recent years to prevent and stop many signs of aging. Many are infused in skincare, are available as supplements, and more recently, appear as drinks.


But what exactly does collagen and glutathione do to help prevent skin aging? And does consuming it as drinks worth the expense?  


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Collagen

Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the body that contains the amino acid hydroxyproline, which makes your skin look youthful and plump. As we age, the natural levels of collagen decline in the body, leading to the common signs of aging like wrinkles, skin sagging, and thinning. In general, by the time we turn 50, most of us will have lost about 50 per cent of the collagen in our skin.


In theory, collagen in your food or drinks should help your body produce more natural collagen, to keep the skin younger-looking for longer.  



Glutathione

While collagen deals primarily with the aesthetics of skin aging, glutathione is an antioxidant that helps combat free radicals, which can damage your body's cells and affect many bodily processes. Like collagen, glutathione levels in our body may decrease over time and can be affected by poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and stress.


While glutathione is usually fed to the body intravenously, nowadays, glutathione drinks are also becoming more popular, claiming they can boost the immune system and support internal organ health.  


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Expert says

 It’s hard to decipher scientifically backed claims from marketing strategies, so we turn to well-aging expert, Dr. Kaycee Reyes, of Luminisce to find the answers.


When asked whether glutathione drinks and collagen drinks can help prevent the decrease of glutathione and collagen levels in the body, her short answer is “it’s a controversial subject.”


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Dr. Kaycee Reyes | @drkayceereyes

When it comes to collagen, Dr. Kaycee says, “There are few limited studies that show a statistically significant positive effect of oral collagen intake to skin hydration and skin moisture.” Most of the studies referenced when it comes to the benefits of collagen drinks are not comparable, and may vary depending on the source material and manufacturing process.


“Some also argue that amino acids needed by the body for collagen synthesis can be consumed from a normal protein diet, which I agree with, especially if you don’t have micronutrient deficiency and any built-up inflammation in the body from stress, infection, pollution, and intrinsic aging,” she adds.


Glutathione drinks are even more divisive. Dr. Kaycee referenced one trial conducted in 54 adults, all of them receiving varying doses of oral glutathione for six months. While results showed a steady increase in glutathione levels when compared to the baseline, this is the only trial that support the concept of oral supplementation to raise glutathione levels in adult, and only uses a specific brand of glutathione that was manufactured by the company funding the trial.



The bottom line

Generally, collagen and glutathione drinks are safe and do not pose any risk to those who choose to drink them. But Dr. Kaycee emphasizes that it’s also a matter of being knowledgeable about the fine print when it comes to these products, and managing your expectations.


For glutathione drinks, for example, the effectivity of oral glutathione is dependent on time and dose so if you want results, the best way to consume glutathione is 1,000 mg/day for at least 6 months.


For collagen drinks, it’s best to only use products with clinical studies that support them. For the best results, you should get at least 2.5g to 10g of collagen with higher content of bioactive dipeptides in your drink.  


For Dr. Kaycee, it’s more than just these drinks. The best way to supply your body with the glutathione and collagen it needs is by eating well and living more responsibly.  


“Fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts are natural sources of glutathione. Tomatoes, avocados, oranges, walnuts, and asparagus are some of the most common foods that help to increase levels of glutathione in the body. Whey protein is another rich source of glutathione,” says Dr. Kaycee. “To boost your collagen levels, have a proper protein meal and lessen chronic inflammation in the body through your lifestyle.”


Lead photo via cottonbro on Pexels


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