Can You Take Collagen and Omega-3 At The Same Time?
Many nutrients offer better health benefits when combined with other nutrients; however, others can be conflicting and reduce their effects or create unwanted side effects. Omega-3 and collagen are both vital nutrients for maintaining healthy skin, among other health benefits, but do they work together or against one another?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in your body and can be found in your bones, muscles, tendons, and skin. It is usually found in the body as long strings that anchor structures and cells together and play an important role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of our skin. It does this by providing a structure around which new skin cells can grow and acting as a pathway for transporting nutrients to repair cells or remove and replace dead cells.
At least 16 different types of collagen have been identified, with different types performing different functions in various parts of the body. Some of these types of collagen have been found in plants, animals, and fish, which are used in supplements and other collagen products and treatments.
Collagen is produced naturally by the body, however various conditions can interfere with collagen production, and our bodies will produce less of it as we grow older.1
To replenish lost collagen, some take certain plants and fish, or simply take a supplement. Many skin creams advertise collagen as an anti-aging ingredient. However, its use in this form is debatable. As these creams are not considered drugs, their claims of increasing collagen levels do not need to have been proven by clinical trials. Collagen molecules are too large to pass through the skin barrier and into the body, so these creams are unlikely to increase your collagen levels.
Although collagen is found in many plants and foods, it is difficult for our body to break down and process in its natural forms. Additionally, it is generally found in the parts of food that we don’t eat, such as animal skin, gristle, and bone. As a result, collagen supplements are usually a more effective way to increase your overall collagen levels.
Besides supplements, collagen can also be applied as a dressing to wounds. Collagen dressings can help heal injuries by attracting and stimulating the growth of skin cells on the affected area. They are often used as part of healing burn sites, necrosis, and skin grafts.
Side Effects Of Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements can cause mild digestive side effects for some people, such as a sense of fullness or loss of appetite. However, it is often extracted from foods that are common allergens, such as fish, shellfish, and eggs. Collagen supplements made using collagen extracted from these sources can cause an allergic reaction if you have allergies to these foods. Make sure to check the source of the collagen in a supplement before you buy.2
Collagen is also used in injection treatments to rejuvenate skin by improving its elasticity, removing wrinkles, and helping scars fade. These typically use collagen from humans or cows, and you will be given a skin test to check for allergies before treatment.
What Is Omega-3?
Omega 3 is a group of fatty acids that the body uses for a range of important functions. There are three main types of omega-3:
- Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA) is mainly used as a source of energy, but the body can also convert small amounts of it into either of the other types of omega-3 if needed.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plays several important roles in maintaining the health of your cardiovascular system.3
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is arguably the most essential omega-3 fatty acid that your body needs. It is a key structural component of your brain, eyes, central nervous system, and other body parts. DHA also plays an important role in regulating your immune system’s inflammatory responses.4
ALA can be found in meat and plant-based foods, but EPA and DHA are mostly only found naturally in animals. They are primarily found in high concentrations of fish and are also found in some species of microalgae. Vegans, vegetarians, and other people who do not consume meat or animal products are often deficient in these forms of omega-3 and can take supplements of these forms of omega-3 extracted from microalgae.
Side Effects Of Omega-3
Omega 3 supplements can cause mild side effects, including:
- Bad breath
- Foul-smelling sweat
Omega 3 supplements can also interfere with some blood clotting medications. Supplements often use fish oil as a primary source of omega 3, which may cause an allergic reaction in people with fish allergies.5
Can You Take Collagen and Omega-3 Together?
Taking collagen and omega-3 together provides your body with a wider range of valuable nutrients that you might not be getting from your regular diet. Taking both simultaneously can improve their health benefits, and they do not conflict with each other or create any major adverse effects. Both can cause mild gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn, however, so combining the two may increase the likelihood of experiencing these effects.
Collagen and omega-3 supplements both offer a range of health benefits with little to no side effects for most people. There are no reasons not to take both at the same time, and doing so will only improve the positive effects they can have on your body. If you are taking medications that may be affected by omega-3 supplements, or have an allergy to a common source of either nutrient, check with your doctor which supplements are safe for you to use.
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