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Big in Japan: Drinking Collagen Keeps Japanese Women Young and Beautiful
Ever wonder why it is that Japanese women have such healthy looking skin? Ever wonder how Japanese women manage to look so young well into their golden years?
What if I told you that there was a simple and cheap remedy for reducing wrinkles, hiding blemishes and firming up loose skin. For just a few dollars a day, you too can turn back the clock and wash away the visible signs of aging.
And no, the answer is not a face lift...
And no, the answer is not Botox...
Although the secret is slowly spreading to the Western World, for years Japanese women have been drinking daily mega-doses of collagen as supplement to their diet.
Collagen, the main protein of connective tissue in animals, is a long, fibrous, structural protein that gives strength to tissues and cells. It is also responsible for skin strength and elasticity, and its degradation leads to the formation of wrinkles that accompany aging.
Collagen, dissolved in vitamin water and bottled for your consumption, is also sold at convenience stores across Japan.
Now, I know that it's easy to be skeptical about health and beauty products, especially since the next big thing is always being touted on late night infomercials across North America. And of course, we all know that the Japanese have incredibly healthy diets that are based on rice and fish, compared with the North America propensity for fatty foods.
Also, I don't want to discount their genetic predisposition, especially considering that the Japanese tend to age very well, and generally look younger than their Western counterparts.
But, there is scientific reason to believe that collagen may in fact be something of a fountain of youth. And although anecdotal evidence isn't exactly the most reliable of methods, my Japanese friends swear by stuff.
As a structural protein, collagen has great tensile strength, and is the main component of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and teeth. In addition to retaining the firmness of skin, it is also responsible for strengthening blood vessels as well as connective tissues.
For years, collagen has been widely used in various types of cosmetic surgery, as a healing aid for burn patients, for reconstructing bones and ligaments, and in a number of dental and orthopedic procedures.
Of course, all of this doesn't necessarily mean that drinking collagen will result in better skin, thicker hair, stronger teeth and healthier bones, and the scientific consensus on the benefits of liquid supplements remains undecided. However, this hasn't stopped Japanese health and beauty companies from packaging the stuff and selling it in bulk to the consumer, netting millions of dollars of profit each year.
In Tokyo, you can by bottles containing 10,000 mg of collagen dissolved in a vitamin and mineral packed peach-flavored solution for approximately US$2 (230 yen). And remarkably, you don't even have to go to a specialty store to buy the product.
Instead, just simple walk out of your apartment, head into the first convenience store you see, and give in to your vanity for the same price as a cup of coffee.
Truth be told, I can't stop drinking the stuff.
Call it vanity (or possibly stupidity), but there's no denying how young and healthy all of my Japanese friends look.
Will let you know how my quest for beauty works out in a few months' time...