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Collagen liquor claims to be the boozy fountain of youth

Lizzy Hill is an internationally published writer, into writing about arts and entertainment, food and drink, feminism and her own misadventures. With a background in film and television production, journalism and visual arts, Lizzy's in...

Cocktail trend mixes booze and collagen for the most counterintuitive health fad ever

Liquor that gives you that youthful glow? Sounds like heaven in a bottle. Pour me a glass! The headline-making Anti-aGin was created exclusively for the U.K. hotel chain Warner Leisure, which serves the gin at their 13 locations. Warner Leisure promises that the gin will "help people look younger whilst having fun." Sounds great to me! But are the claims of the world's first anti-aging gin backed up by science?

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I checked with experts in the dermatology community to see what they thought about the product's claims. Dr. Christopher G. Nelson, a director of the Clinical Research Unit at the University of South Florida's Department of Dermatology, isn't sold on the health claims made by collagen drinks. "Collagen taken orally gets digested and broken down," Nelson says. "It cannot improve the appearance of skin."

That being said, there is some new research behind the idea that collagen taken orally does have health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that giving participants oral collagen over the course of eight weeks significantly reduced the signs of skin's aging. Researchers reported that the skin's collagen density increased while the breakdown of the skin's collagen networks decreased in just four weeks, with the youthful effects of taking regular collagen supplements lasting more than 12 weeks.

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Yet not everyone is convinced by the research: "While there are some studies suggesting that taking certain forms of oral collagen (collagen peptide supplements) can improve skin hydration, the jury is still out, and more research needs to be conducted to evaluate the safety (and accuracy!) of these claims," says Dr. Elizabeth Geddes, a dermatologist from Texas' Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center. Geddes says that if you're looking to amp up your skin's collagen, the most reliable way to do so is "through the injection of dermal fillers, which can stimulate the body to produce more collagen in areas where there is volume loss."

So the dermatology community is still split on the effectiveness of collagen-infused health drinks. But here's the other thing we need to talk about: Anti-aGin is 40 percent alcohol. Can alcohol ever really be a health drink, or is this just a case of wishful thinking?

"I think the claim is a bit ridiculous," Geddes says. "In order to see the potential benefits, you would need to consume the drink regularly, and we know that regular consumption of alcohol causes dehydration and would leave your skin appearing worse." In the case of collagen-infused liquor, "The harm way outweighs the (potential, not proven) benefit."

Yet people really insist this gin is good for us: “For those that want to do everything they can to stay young but don’t want to give up alcohol, this is surely the next best thing," says Nicky-Hambleton Jones, the host of the TV show 10 Years Younger, in an endorsement for Warner Leisure. "By including some classic botanicals known for their rejuvenating properties and combining it with drinkable collagen, it’s the alcoholic equivalent of a facial.”

The dream of an alcoholic facial seems to resonate with a lot of consumers, as the gin appears to be flying off shelves. When I checked to see if I could get my hands on a bottle of Anti-aGin via the U.K. retailer DrinkSupermarket, which ships internationally, it was sold out with promises of being back in stock soon.

But are all of these people really going to look younger while getting a little tipsy? The jury's definitely out, and personally, I wouldn't count on it. That being said, if you want to indulge in the latest health fad, no judgments here. I just wouldn't hold my breath for anything other than a fun night out.
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