Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, hair, nails, blood vessels, and the digestive system. It is responsible for the smoothness, firmness, hydration and elasticity of the skin, and its depletion can result in visible signs of aging like wrinkles, dryness, dullness sagging and loss of integrity of the skin. It provides structure, strength and support to the bones, teeth, blood vessels and to all tissues of the body and it confers flexibility and easy movement of the joints. Collagen supplementation during pregnancy confers the following benefits:
-reduces the severity of stretch marks, as it promotes elasticity of the skin
-Strengthens the bones, muscles and ligaments to help the body cope with the increased mechanical load during the course of pregnancy, and it also helps to deal with the stress and strain of labour and reduces joint pains.
-also ensures prompt wound healing
-supports placental attachment and participates in the formation of healthy skin, bones, cartilage and immune system of the growing baby
-forms one of the important sources of protein during pregnancy, as a pregnant woman would need about 80-120grams of protein every day
-helps to deal with the inevitable postpartum hair loss, as it can stimulate hair growth and prevent further loss of hair.
Are collagen supplements safe during pregnancy?
Since collagen is just a protein at a molecular level and there are no any serious adverse events reported with collagen supplements to date, they are generally considered to be safe (except for marine collagen). However, since there are not enough data and clinical studies in pregnant women demonstrating the efficacy and safety profile of these commercially formulated collagen supplements during pregnancy, it would be advisable to refrain from self-medicating with these agents and instead let your doctor decide on what would be safe for you and what would suit you the best.
However, collagen can be derived from natural sources of food like chicken, meat especially red meat, eggs, fish, bone broth, and beans. Vegetarians are advised to consume foods rich in Vitamin C, Copper and Zinc as these help boost synthesis of healthy collagen in body. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, kiwis, broccoli, and bell peppers. Zinc can be derived from soy products, nuts, and seeds and Copper is found in cashews, green leafy vegetables, and mushrooms. By avoiding factors like excessive sun exposure, alcohol and smoking that cause collagen degradation and ensuring a balanced diet rich in collagen, can help the body produce its own healthy collagen of good tensile strength.
Read the full story that first appeared in Deccan Chronicle dated Dec 1, 2022 here: