We often talk about the negative effects of technology – inequity, job losses and implicit bias in algorithms. These are real issues that need to be discussed, but equally, we should not forget the positive effects technology is having on our lives. We need to look no further than biotechnology in this regard – covid vaccinations, for example, would not have been possible without the rapid advances in technology that have occurred over the last few decades. In this piece I want to talk first about collagen, an important supplement that has undergone some exciting research in the last few years.

Dryness has been linked to the acceleration of aging. Dryness increases the fragmentation of the dermal collagen network, which is what keeps our skin healthy, elastic, and wrinkle-free. When the collagen in our skin begins to break down, wrinkles form because there is not enough collagen to hold it taut. Taking an oral collagen complex has been shown to increase hydration, preventing dryness and slowing future aging. Collagen also improves elasticity in the skin, preventing wrinkles caused by small fluctuations in our face, such as “laugh lines” or “crows feet”.

Supplementing with a collagen complex has been shown in preclinical studies to improve collagen and hyaluronic acid production, two crucial components to skin hydration. Recently research has proven these preclinical thoughts. Taking an oral collagen complex was shown to significantly increase skin hydration after eight weeks.

The density of collagen in the dermis of the skin increased in this study, while fragmentation of the dermal collagen network decreased after four weeks. Long-term benefits were shown as effects persist after 12 weeks. Collagen supplements were also shown to produce collagen and glycosaminoglycan production, showing the pathway’s observed clinical outcomes.

Collagen Complexes Are Not Just for Wrinkles

The recent study says that not only does collagen aid in the repair of wrinkled skin, but that it can increase hydration, lower aging effects over time, and help heal damaged skin from the effects of hormonal imbalances and sun. This means that there is no better time to start taking a collagen complex than now! Adding this supplement to your diet will provide increased elasticity and hydration and help your skin heal from the effects of daily life, regardless of your age.

Another added benefit to collagen besides skin health is nail and hair health. Collagen is found in our nails and hair and has been shown to improve hair and nail growth and strengthening. So not only will you be doing your skin a favor, but you will also be helping your nails and hair, too!

Collagen is considered generally safe as it is a protein naturally produced by the body. Collagen supplements are simply just extra of a biological molecule found in humans. The only side effect seen in collagen products is the digestive effects of a full feeling or heartburn. After all, since collagen is a protein source, it would make sense that it will make you feel full like any other protein. 

Marine collagen is sourced from wild-caught fish scales. A good marine collagen will blend beneficial ingredients together, creating a superfood of sorts. Make sure you know the ingredients in the collagen you’re taking—there shouldn’t be any dyes or artificial ingredients. You’re helping your body by taking collagen supplements, feed it right. 

The Future of Biotech

We have already seen the positive effects of biotechnology in the field of health care, but there are other areas in which we can expect to see it shine. For example, we will likely see more research into how biotechnology can benefit our planet and the environment. One of the most pressing issues of our time, as we are all aware, is pollution. Biotechnology could be a key weapon in this fight.

The reason that biotechnology is so well suited for dealing with this problem is because it can be used to manipulate living organisms. There are many living organisms that can help us deal with pollution by eating it – for example, bacteria that can be used to digest waste or produce electricity as a result of their metabolisms are already being tested today.  You can expect to see more of this kind of research in the future. 

Another issue that biotechnology shows huge potential for is the issue of food security. People will always need to eat and biotechnology could be used to produce more food, and more nutritious food. For example, it is well known that plants can be genetically modified to be more nutritious. This is done by first identifying the genes responsible for things like protein content. Scientists then use CRISPR to isolate those genes. The genes are then inserted into the plant’s genome. This process can be used to make plants more nutritious, and this will likely prove to me a powerful weapon in the fight against world hunger as the global population grows in future.

There is also research into the use of biotechnology to make farming easier. For example, scientists have recently modified tobacco plants to produce more of a certain protein. The plants were then used to create a vaccine (unrelated to covid). This vaccine stimulated the immune system in animals to produce antibodies, and these antibodies could be used in the development of new drugs. This research is still in its very early stages, but it could prove to be very beneficial in the future.

Conclusion

Biotechnology is a really exciting field, and one that I think will have huge positive effects on the future provided it is managed and regulated appropriately. Whether it is in beneficial health supplements like collagen, or life-giving research into farming and food security, the effects will be profound.