Mind & Body
Women's Wellness
5/3/2018 10:12:06 PM
Women's Wellness

Benefits of Collagen Supplements? The Jury is Still Out
by Andrea Mongler

Collagen supplements have grown in popularity in recent years. But what is collagen, and does ingesting it actually have any benefits?

Collagen is a protein found throughout your body — in your bones, muscles, tendons, teeth, skin, and hair. It binds your body’s tissues together and helps them keep their strength and stability.

But as you age, the amount of collagen in your body decreases, which is  one of the reasons why your skin develops lines and wrinkles.

As a result, supplement-makers are marketing collagen products as a way to make your skin look younger. Replenish your body’s collagen and you’ll lose the wrinkles, right? Well, maybe not.

One problem is that after you ingest collagen, your body breaks it down so that it’s not really collagen anymore. Still, some research shows that collagen supplements are associated with improved skin elasticity and skin moisture. The research was pretty weak though — taking place in a small number of patients and for a short period of time. 

When it comes to collagen supplements for your skin, the bottom line is that it’s possible they’re effective, but more studies are needed before we can know for sure.

More youthful-looking skin isn’t the only potential benefit of collagen supplements though. Some studies have found lower rates of joint pain in athletes and people with osteoarthritis who took the supplements. But, again, the research was preliminary, and the evidence isn’t strong enough to be sure that the supplements really do reduce pain.

If you’re interested in trying collagen supplements, it’s probably safe for you to do so. But talk with your health care provider first, and stop if you experience any side effects.

Also, there are other steps you can take to help reduce the formation of wrinkles. First, if you’re a smoker, quit. And if you’re not, don’t start. Cigarette smoke causes a substantial decrease in the production of new collagen, which is why smokers can end up with more wrinkles on their faces than nonsmokers.

Another important step you can take to prevent premature aging of your skin is to protect it from the sun. Too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun’s rays also damages collagen. Be sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when you spend time outdoors.

So, yes, it is possible to reduce wrinkle formation, but whether collagen supplements are a good method for doing so is still to be determined. Regardless, remember that wrinkles are a normal part of life as you age, and there’s nothing wrong with having them!

May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month
by Staci Boudreaux

Osteoporosis is a misunderstood disease. The most common misconception about osteoporosis is that it is a normal part of aging.  In fact, it is not. May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, and the perfect opportunity to learn the basics about osteoporosis. 

The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s goal is to educate people about osteoporosis -- how to prevent it, who should take a bone density test, and to help patients with osteoporosis learn about treatment options. You may think osteoporosis only affects older women. But osteoporosis occurs in both men and women, and it can affect them at ages that may surprise you. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 50% of women and 25% of men will have a broken bone due to osteoporosis at some point in their lifetime. This is a disease that can be easily screened for, prevented, and treated. The problem is there are no symptoms unless you have a fracture. There is no pain or warning signs. Knowledge of who should be screened and when is extremely important. All women 65 years old and older and all men 70 and older should have a bone density test done, and it should be repeated every two years, in most cases. Younger women who have gone through menopause by total hysterectomy or the normal aging process who are not on hormone replacement and/or have other risk factors for osteoporosis should be screened. Men age 50 and older with symptoms of low testosterone and risk factors for osteoporosis should also be screened.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:
  • Exercising and eating a healthy diet, including the recommended amount of calcium (in food and supplements if needed) and vitamin D, are essential to help build and maintain bone.  However, if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, exercising and eating right are simply not enough.
  • One broken bone can lead to a series of them, if the underlying cause – osteoporosis – is left untreated.
  • If you are 50 and older and break a bone, you may think a fall is to blame, but osteoporosis is most likely why your bone was weak enough to break.
  • Ask your doctor for a bone density test if you find yourself in the recommended screening groups.
  • If you are over 50 and break a bone, ask for a bone density test.

Staci Boudreaux is a member of the 2018 National Osteoporosis Foundation Ambassador Leadership Council. Part of her responsibilities is to bring awareness about the seriousness of osteoporosis, who should be screened, and where to find the resources for prevention and treatment. Started in 2009, the Bone Health Central program of Imperial Health in Lake Charles is recognized as part of the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s Professional Partner Network. They are a resource for patients and other medical providers to improve the quality of osteoporosis care. For more information, call the Bone Health Central program directly at 337-721-7270 or visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s website at www.nof.org.

Be on the Lookout for Sneaky Stroke Symptoms

Most people are familiar with the classic warning signs of stroke – slurred or difficult speech, one-sided facial drooping, and weakness or paralysis on one side. These are all good to know, but May is National Stroke Awareness Month and we want you to be aware of the possible not-so-obvious symptoms for stroke.

Stroke can present itself in numerous ways. Because it is so critical to be treated for stroke quickly to prevent brain damage, long-term disabilities, even death, it is important to familiarize yourself with stroke’s more subtle signs. Stroke can affect many different parts of the body and the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other maladies. Here are some key indicators that you may need medical help quickly:
  • Difficulty walking, muscle weakness or stiffness, problems with balance or coordination.
  • Dizziness, blurred or double vision, rapid involuntary eye movements, loss of vision in one or both eyes.
  • Numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling.
  • Difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, fever, hiccups.
  • Sudden and severe headache, brief loss of consciousness.
  • Confusion or problems with comprehension.

F. A. S. T.
In a stroke situation, the brain is not getting enough blood and oxygen, either due to bleeding in the brain or a blood clot slowing or stopping blood to the brain. It is imperative to get treatment as quickly as possible to reverse the situation. Follow the acronym FAST:
  • Face: Smile and see if one side of the face droops.
  • Arms: Raise both arms. Does one arm drop down?
  • Speech: Say a short phrase and check for slurred or strange speech.
  • Time: If the answer to any of these is yes, call 911 right away and write down the time when symptoms started.
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