Beauty has always been an important aspect of social judgment. While e.g. opinions about the ideal physique are more divided, the healthy appearance of our hair, teeth and skin is uniformly a symbol of youth. Nowadays, teeth can be replaced, hair implants are possible, and with the help of plastic surgery, the shapes that are considered perfect have become available, the only thing we can’t replace is our skin.
Skin is the primary and most authentic mirror of our age. Tight, healthy skin has high levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid - the former provides a framework for the skin that protects against sagging, while the latter has a water-retaining function, helps keep the skin smooth and increases its elasticity. Aging is accompanied by a deterioration in the condition of the skin, because over the years, our body is no longer able to produce either collagen or hyaluronic acid with sufficient efficiency. Over the age of 30 collagen content of the skin may decrease up to 1% per year, and because the 90% of the dermis is collagen, the skin is thinning, wrinkling and sagging. To compensate for this, external replacement is needed.
A common goal of anti-aging skin care products is to promote or replace collagen production. However, the effectiveness of the product is also significantly affected by the technology used or the source of collagen. From a technological point of view, as a dietary supplement, the so-called hydrolyzed collagen is most suitable. The collagen is then broken down into smaller peptides and building blocks by enzymatic digestion to promote absorption and thus a beneficial effect.
Collagen extracted from cattle, pigs and fish skins has proven to be suitable and widely available for replenishing skin collagen. Bovine and porcine collagen are generally less well absorbed, less efficiently utilized, and there is a risk that if animals are treated with hormone, it will enrich their skin and may be present in the product. In addition, bovine collagen may pose an additional health risk with the appearance of mad cow disease.
The development and research of collagen peptides from marine fish is growing most dynamically in the food supplement market. They are efficiently absorbed through the intestines, show homology (similarity) to human collagen, making them safer to use, and show many bioactivities.
Their anti-aging effect is mainly through the support of skin and bone health, but collagen hydrolysates may also have antioxidant properties and antihypertensive activity. Collagen peptides penetrated into the skin stimulates the collagen and elastin synthesis of the skin cells (the fibroblasts), and may increase the production of hyaluronic acid, which also may require additional hyaluronic acid in excess of the diet intake.
Collagen synthesis and flavonoids
Importantly, a side effect of intense collagen synthesis has also been observed: increased metabolism of fibroblasts leads to low levels of oxidative stress, which may limit the beneficial effects of collagen peptides.
However, to counteract this, some antioxidants, e.g. of polyphenols and flavonoids, proved to be excellent, so it is worth providing its intake. In general, dietary intake of vitamins, plant polyphenols, fatty acids, certain proteins, essential amino acids and trace elements (e.g. selenium) also have a beneficial effect on the appearance and health of the skin.