Collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient over the past few years. For that reason, you will find countless forms of collagen supplements on the market. These include collagen pills, creams, and even powders.
More people hope to improve their skin, joint, and hair health by taking collagen supplements regularly. Dewy skin, strong hair and nails, and pain-free joints are a few perks of adding collagen to your daily intake.
Collagen’s popularity is pretty up in the air these days. And thus, you may be wondering whether taking collagen supplements is a good idea. Continue reading to learn more about collagen and its amazing benefits for your body.
What is Collagen, Exactly?
Collagen is one of the most common proteins in the body. In fact, it is the primary structural protein forming connective tissues.
It is located in your skin, hair, tendons and ligaments, eyes, bones, and cartilage. Collagen’s main purpose is to provide structural support by enabling tissues to withstand without stretching.
The most abundant protein in mammals comes in 28 types, but the most common ones include:
- Type 1: present in all connective tissues
- Type 2: mostly present in intervertebral discs and joints
- Type 3: a major component of reticular fibres in blood vessels and skin
- Type 4: found in the eye lens, kidney, and inner ear
What Are Collagen Supplements and How Do They Work?
Natural collagen production decreases as the body ages, mainly resulting in hair, skin, and joint health-related issues. Many people try restoring collagen in their bodies by taking collagen supplements.
Collagen supplements undergo hydrolyzation, a process that breaks collagen into peptides. This process makes it easier for the body to absorb and use collagen supplements. As already mentioned above, you can find collagen supplements in numerous forms, including capsules, tablets, liquid, creams, and powder.
Whether or not a collagen supplement will work for you depends on why you decide to take it in the first place. Are you looking to improve your skin’s elasticity, or do you want to get rid of joint pain? You’ll need the right type of collagen supplement according to what you’re hoping to fix.
Collagen supplements vary in type; some only contain type 1 collagen, while others may combine up to four collagen types.
- Collagen Improves Skin Health
Making a large part of the skin, collagen plays a vital role in maintaining hydration, strength, and elasticity. However, your skin may start losing form and elasticity with age due to decreasing collagen production.
Some evidence suggests that collagen peptides in collagen supplements can help slow down the process of skin aging. It can improve elasticity and hydration in your skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A study in the Journal of Medicine Nutrition and Nutraceuticals describes an experiment associated with collagen’s impact on skin. A group of women regularly drank hyaluronic acid, various minerals and vitamins, and hydrolyzed collagen. The results revealed significant improvement in overall skin health and a reduction in wrinkles.
- Collagen Relieves Joint Pain
People often experience joint pain for several reasons. For example, your joint pain may be the result of injury or intense physical activity.
Some other people also suffer from aching joints and tendons as a result of ageing. Degenerative joint disorders like osteoarthritis also begin to set in with decreasing collagen production in the body.
Osteoarthritis symptoms interfere with daily life, but adding collagen to your daily intake can help. Collagen hydrolysate helps improve overall joint pain by maintaining cartilage health.
Various studies and research also reveal that taking hydrolyzed collagen with vitamin C can help prevent injury in athletes. In addition, it also helps with tendon repair after intense physical activity.
- Collagen Prevents Bone Loss
Collagen is a critical component making up your bones. It provides them with strength and structure.
Natural collagen production in the body decreases as you age, leading to deteriorating bone mineral density. Reduced bone mineral density means your bones become brittle and prone to breakage and injury.
Besides making you more vulnerable to fracture, low bone density can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. This condition affects women in the postmenopausal phase more than others.
Regular collagen consumption can help restore normal bone mineral density and prevent the risk of developing osteoporosis. Not only are collagen peptides associated with reduced bone degradation, but they may also help with new bone formation.
Hence, taking collagen has promising benefits for bone health.
- Collagen Promotes Heart Health
It may be abundantly clear by now that collagen is an essential component in many areas of the body. Your circulatory system is no exception. Your arteries are critical to overall health as they carry blood from the heart to other organs in the body.
Collagen helps maintain arterial structure and provides your blood vessels with elasticity and flexibility. These characteristics are critical for arteries to perform their function well. Arterial stiffness can also lead to conditions like hypertension, impacting heart health.
Besides, collagen also helps prevent abnormal thickening of the arteries, which can cause atherosclerosis. Characterized by narrowed arteries, this risky condition can lead to stroke or heart attack. As such, collagen supplements promote enhanced heart health by preventing heart diseases.
According to a few studies, collagen tripeptide may also improve cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Collagen Improves Gut Health
Collagen improves gut health in numerous ways. Firstly, taking collagen supplements can help treat intestinal permeability. Also commonly known as leaky gut syndrome, the condition allows toxins in the digestive tract to move to reach the rest of the body.
As such, a leaky gut can negatively impact your overall health, making it crucial to seal the intestines. Since collagen is a protein, it contains amino acids that can help repair the gut lining and reverse leaky gut syndrome.
In addition, collagen is also beneficial for patients suffering from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Collagen can help reduce inflammation caused by such conditions by maintaining a healthy gut-immune response.
Glycine, an amino acid in collagen, is responsible for regulating inflammation along different areas of the digestive system. These include the gastrointestinal tract, stomach, and small intestine.
Harmful toxins in the digestive tract passing through into the gut are a primary reason behind inflammation. These toxins are transported to the bloodstream, irritating your body’s inflammatory tissues. Glycine forms a connective tissue to protect your gut’s barrier and reduce the chances of inflammation.
- Collagen Boosts Mood and Improves Sleep Quality
Various studies and research suggest that collagen supplements significantly improve mood and reduce stress. For many people, it is the ultimate mood booster and body relaxer.
Collagen supplements can help you get back on track if you struggle with maintaining a healthy sleep cycle or suffer from insomnia. So, how does collagen help relax your body and put you to sleep?
Each serving of a collagen supplement contains three grams of glycine, which is the real game-changer here. The amino acid works to lower your body’s temperature, leading to inhibition in muscle activity.
When you regularly consume collagen supplements, your body temperature will automatically decrease as bedtime approaches. Your body will remain at a low temperature throughout your sleeping period, ensuring no disturbance or restlessness.
On the other hand, glycine also has excellent mood-boosting benefits. Much like GABA, it also works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. As such, it increases serotonin production, reducing stress and anxiety to promote healthy moods.
Other Health Benefits of Collagen
Collagen also has several other benefits, some of which include the following.
Increases muscle mass
Collagen makes up to 10 per cent of total muscle composition.
Increased muscle mass is another fantastic benefit of consuming collagen supplements. The amino acid helps increase lean muscle mass by converting glucose into energy.
More lean muscle equals a faster metabolic rate as muscle mass is much better at burning calories than fat. You can pair vitamin C with your collagen supplements to aid the process.
Enhances Brain Health
As already discussed, glycine in collagen is an excellent mood booster that increases serotonin production to reduce stress levels. These benefits further extend to brain health.
Many practitioners prescribe collagen supplements to reduce symptoms of conditions like schizophrenia. Glycine aids in mental fluency, and in some cases, collagen supplements may also improve psychotic symptoms.
Healthier Hair and Nails
Collagen supplements are also excellent for growing healthier hair and nails.
Many people have brittle nails that break easily and grow slowly. Collagen supplements may help if you want faster nail growth and fewer instances of chipped and broken nails.
On the other hand, hair thinning and hair loss is common with increasing age. Several studies reveal that taking collagen supplements aids in increased hair growth and better scalp coverage.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals that makes most of the body’s connective tissue. It provides structural support and strength to muscles and skin.
However, the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases dramatically with age, causing health-related issues. Although new, collagen supplements are gaining increasing popularity as more people try to restore their collagen.