Toxic “healthy” habit: Collagen supplements contaminated with heavy metals

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collagen(NaturalHealth365) The word collagen comes from the Greek word for “glue.” It’s a structural protein that binds cells and tissues together, helping them maintain their shape.

Collagen makes up 80 percent of our skin.  As we age, the body produces less and less collagen, resulting in signs of skin aging and joint pain. In fact, starting in our 20s, we begin losing 1 percent of our collagen each year.

In a bid to turn back the clock and maintain a healthy glow, consumers have turned to collagen supplements, a health habit that has origins in China – Chinese women have viewed collagen as a fountain of youth for centuries, routinely consuming pig’s feet and shark fins – but which has recently been endorsed and marketed by American celebrities.

In 2020, U.S. consumers are expected to spend over $293 million on collagen supplements, up from $50 million 2014.  The popular health habit, which has come under fire for being an edible hoax, is far more dangerous than any “placebo miracle pill.”  In fact, many collagen supplements are derived from industrial factory farms and contain heavy metals!

Heavy metals are worse than a spoonful of pseudoscience

While images of grazing cows, open pastures and cage-free chickens often grace the packaging on collagen supplements, followed by labels claiming that they’re “Pure” and “All “Natural,” most collagen supplements are neither pure or all natural.

The Organic Consumers Association and Clean Label Project recently tested 28 of Amazon’s best selling collagen supplements. The results are as follows:

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64% tested positive for measurable levels of arsenic
37% tested positive for measurable levels of lead
34% tested positive for trace levels of mercury
17% tested positive for measurable levels of cadmium

How dangerous are heavy metals? Some heavy metals are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as known or probable carcinogens. Even at low levels, heavy metals can cause organ damage.

For example, low levels of lead exposure has been linked to various neurological impacts, and chronic cadmium exposure has been linked to kidney, liver, and bone damage.

Beware: Collagen supplements made from animals raised on industrial factory farms

Animals raised on industrial factory farms (CAFO’s) are routinely exposed to heavy metals. Over the course of a year, concentrated animal feeding operations are said to generate over 575 billion tons of manure containing everything from nitrogen and phosphorous to antibiotics, bacterial endotoxins, and heavy metals.

Here’s a key point: if you’re going to purchase collagen supplements, be sure to avoid “pure and natural” claims; look for grass-fed or organic (if possible) and call the company directly to see if it’s heavy metal tested.

Consumers love the powder form in their breakfast smoothies and post-gym shakes.  But, whether this will make your skin look dewy and fresh and your bones and nails strong remains to be seen.  The widely sought after ingredient has as many detractors as it has supporters.

Still, one thing is for certain: if you want to take collagen as part of your health routine, be sure to use certified organic products only!  Due to the fact that 99 percent of U.S. farm animals live on factory farms, discovering safe products might be a lot like … finding the fountain of youth.

Sources for this article include:

Organicconsumer.org