Genacol Derma is composed primarily of hydrolyzed collagen derived from Type 1 collagen of bovine skin, with other ingredients added to favour the production of collagen in the skin and hence improve skin health. There have been numerous studies that clearly demonstrate the soundness and efficacy of using dietary supplements based on hydrolyzed collagen to promote better skin health.
Firstly, collagen is a crucial component of skin, where it makes up nearly 80% of its dry weight. The health and appearance of the dermis and epidermis are dependent on their structural integrity since collagen, together with elastin and other components, is responsible for skin firmness, hydration and smoothness.
Collagen is produced by fibroblasts and keratinocytes in the skin. In vitro treatment with hydrolyzed collagen was clearly shown to increase the proliferation of these cells as well as their production of Type 1 collagen (Chen et al., 2010) and hyaluronic acid (Ohara et al., 2010). Hydrolyzed collagen also protected cultured keratinocytes from soap-induced damage (Kobiela et al., 2013). In parallel, animal and human studies have reported that hydrolyzed collagen is well digested and absorbed through the intestines. Indeed, individual amino acids and small peptides derived from hydrolyzed collagen make their way easily into the blood stream (Iwai et al., 2005; Ohara et al., 2007). These get integrated into the skin of animals where they can remain for up to 14 days (Watanabe-Kamiyama et al., 2010). Hydrolyzed collagen was also found to protect the skin of mice against UV-induced photo-aging. Underlying mechanisms involved enhanced repair (production) of skin collagen, protection against oxidative stress, increased skin hyaluronic acid content, improved hydration and enhanced immune response (Zhuang et al., 2009; Fan et al., 2013; Oba et al., 2013).
A number of human clinical trials have confirmed the usefulness of hydrolyzed collagen for skin health. An open label trial followed 26 healthy women showing signs of natural or photo-aging for a period of 3 months during which they consumed 1 gram of hydrolyzed collagen daily (Schwartz & Park, 2012). At the end of the study, skin dryness was significantly diminished by 76% and wrinkles by 13% while collagen content in the dermis increased modestly (3-6%). Interestingly, skin microcirculation was also improved, as indicated by a sustained and significant increase in dermal haemoglobin content (15-18%).
In another recent open label randomized trial, hydrolyzed collagen intake was studied in 300 healthy volunteers undergoing or not cosmetic interventions (Borumand & Sibilla, 2014). Taking 5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily for two months significantly reduced wrinkles in 15% of patients even without cosmetic intervention. Photo-aging (pigmentation) and skin dryness were also decreased in 30 to 40% of patients taking the hydrolyzed collagen supplement. Importantly, nasolabial fold depth in responders was reduced to an extent similar to that seen after cosmetic interventions involving the injection of fillers. Skin firmness was improved in 37% of patients. Finally, collagen density increased by up to 20% when hydrolyzed collagen intake was prolonged to 3 months.
Two randomized, double blind and placebo-controlled trials have also recently been carried out. In the first, 69 healthy women aged 35 to 55 were randomly assigned to consume 2.5 or 5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen or a placebo daily for a period of two months (Proksch et al., 2014a). At the end of the study, skin elasticity (the principal measured outcome) was significantly improved in the treated groups as compared to placebo. Interestingly, this effect was maintained during follow-up for up to one month, even after stopping the intake of hydrolyzed collagen. There was no dose-response relationship observed. Moreover, an improvement in skin moisture and evaporation was observed, but was modest.
In a subsequent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, the same group followed 114 healthy women, aged 45-65 and taking either 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen or placebo daily for two months (Proksch et al., 2014b). This time they measured wrinkles around the eyes as well as the skin content in procollagen I, elastin and fibrillin. At the end of the treatment period, the volume of eye wrinkles was significantly reduced by 20% as compared to placebo. Using skin biopsies in a subgroup of patients, the investigators found that hydrolyzed collagen treatment significantly increased the dermis content in procollagen I (by 65%) and in elastin (by 18%) compared to placebo, whereas changes to fibrillin content was more modest (6%).
Hydrolyzed collagen intake helps to enhance the production/content of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in the skin. This has direct beneficial effects on skin integrity, microcirculation and hydration. Consequently, wrinkles and other signs of normal and photo-aging are noticeably reduced.
Borumand M, Sibilla S, Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging 2014:9 1747–1758
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Oba C, Ohara H, Morifuji M, et al. Collagen hydrolysate intake improves the loss of epidermal barrier function and skin elasticity induced by UVB irradiation in hairless mice. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2013 Aug;29(4):204-211.
Ohara H, Ichikawa S, Matsumoto H, et al. Collagen-derived dipeptide,proline-hydroxyproline, stimulates cell proliferation and hyaluronic acid synthesis in cultured human dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol. 2010;37(4):330–338.
Ohara H, Matsumoto H, Ito K, et al. Comparison of quantity and structures of hydroxyproline-containing peptides in human blood after oral ingestion of gelatin hydrolysates from different sources. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(4):1532–1535.
Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, et al. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014a;27(1):47-55.
Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, et al. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014b;27(3):113-119.
Watanabe-Kamiyama M, Shimizu M, Kamiyama S, et al. Absorption and effectiveness of orally administered low molecular weight collagen hydrolysate in rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(2):835–841.