Top 6 Benefits of Collagen
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Table of contents
- Importance of Collagen
- Foods That Contain Collagen
- Proven benefits of Collagen
- Supplements and dosage of collagen
- Collagen side effects
Importance of Collagen
Collagen is one of the richest proteins in mammals. It is responsible for various biological functions, one of which is to provide structural support in connective tissue, muscle, and skin. Collagen is the protein responsible for skin elasticity. It also has a role in joint and bone health. Human bodies create collagen naturally. However, the production of this protein slows down. As a result, a person's skin begins to lose some of its capability to bounce back into shape, a process that many call "elasticity." As this occurs, wrinkles begin to form. Anyhow, certain foods, such as bone broth, contain collagen. people who want wrinkle-free skin or other health benefits often look for collagen supplements to increase their collagen intake.
Foods That Contain Collagen
In the connective tissues of animals Collagen is found. Anyhow, foods such as chicken skin, pork skin, beef and fish are sources of collagen (4, 5, 6). Foods that have gelatin, such as bone broth, also provide collagen. Gelatin is a protein substance obtained from collagen after it has been cooked (5). Collagen in food is split into individual amino acids and peptides by digestive enzymes. The collagen in supplements has previously been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it is thought to be absorbed more efficiently than the collagen in foods.
Proven benefits of collagen
- Can Improve Skin Health
Collagen is a major component of your skin. It has a role in strengthening skin, it plus may benefit elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body decreases the production of collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles (7). Studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness (8, 9, 10, 4). The wrinkle-reducing effects of collagen supplements have been attributed to their ability to stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own (7, 8). And also taking collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin (7, 8).
- Helps Relieve Joint Pain
Collagen helps maintain the coherence of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. As you get older the amount of collagen in your body decreases, the risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases (11). Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall (2, 11). Studies have theorized that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen. They have suggested that this may lead to lower the inflammation, for better support of your joints and reduced pain (12).
- Prevent Bone Loss
Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and helps keep them strong (13). As collagen in your body declines as you age, bone mass does too. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and linked with a higher risk of bone fractures (13, 14). Researchers have shown that taking collagen supplements may have certain effects in the body that help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis (11, 15). BMD (Bone mineral density) is a measure of the amount of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. Low BMD is associated with weak bones and the development of osteoporosis (16).
- Boost Muscle Mass
Muscle tissue is composed of collagen, as it contains between 1–10% of collagen. This protein is necessary to keep your muscles strong and functioning properly (17). Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age (18). Studies have suggested that taking collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, and may also stimulate muscle growth after exercise (18). More studies are necessary to investigate collagen’s potential to boost muscle mass.
- Promotes Heart Health
Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without sufficient collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile (1). This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis has the potential to lead to heart attack and stroke (21).
- Other Health Benefits
Collagen supplements may have many other health benefits, but these do not have proper research studies.
- Hair and nails: Taking collagen may improve the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may stimulate your hair and nails to grow longer (22).
- Gut health: As there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, some health practitioners promote the use of collagen supplements to treat intestinal permeability, or leaky gut syndrome.
- Brain health: No Research has examined the role of collagen supplements in brain health. Anyhow, some people claim they improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- Weight loss: Some people believe that taking collagen supplements may promote weight loss and a faster metabolism. There have not been any research studies to support these claims.
As these potential effects are promising, research is needed before formal conclusions can be made.
Supplements and dosage of collagen
There are hundreds of collagen supplements on the market, in powders, capsules and drinks, usually obtained from bovine and marine sources, however, there is differing advice on when and how to take collagen supplements. Collagen supplements are much recommended and safer option than collagen injections (fillers) and topical collagen. Ensure that you buy products that contain collagen obtained from antibiotic-free and cage-free sources. Make sure to check with a dietitian or a healthcare professional before using any collagen supplement. There are different formulation and dosage forms of Collagen like Tablets, Capsules, powders, liquids, etc (Nature's Velvet Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides (1 & 3) Powder - Unflavored (250 GMS) is one of the examples).
TIP: Vitamin C enhances collagen absorption, so we suggest you taking a collagen supplement along with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Collagen Side Effects
Presently, there are not many known risks of taking collagen supplements. Anyhow, some supplements are made from common food allergens, such as fish, shellfish and eggs. People with a sensitivity to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients to prevent allergic reactions. Some people have also reported that collagen supplements leave a lingering bad taste in the mouth (23). Additionally, collagen supplements have the potential to cause digestive side effects such as feelings of fullness and heartburn (23). Anyhow, these supplements appear to be safe for most people.
Taking supplements that contain collagen may be helpful for slowing the aging of your skin, to reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen synthesis in the body. This may aid to promote pain relief for people with joint disorders such as osteoarthritis. They have the potential to help increase BMD and lower levels of proteins in the blood that stimulate bone breakdown. Studies have shown that consuming collagen supplements increased muscle growth and strength in people with age-related muscle mass loss, which may help reduce the risk factors associated with heart conditions such as atherosclerosis. It has been claimed to promote brain, heart and gut health, as well as to help control weight and keep hair and nails healthy. Various foods contain collagen, including animal foods and bone broth. However, their absorption is not as efficient as that of hydrolyzed collagen.
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- Rakesh Gupta