10 reasons to take collagen supplements
In recent times, the inclusion of collagen in various skincare products and supplements has gained significant attention.
Many tout its beneficial effects on skin, bones, and muscles, sparking curiosity or interest in understanding its holistic advantages. That’s where we step in!
Before you dive into the next hyped product, let’s delve deeper into what collagen truly is and how it contributes to your body. This insight might just help you determine if collagen is the right fit for you.
What's the essence of collagen?
The term "collagen" frequently emerges in discussions about natural skin aging. But what precisely is it?
Collagen represents a protein inherent in both animals and humans. It stands as the most abundant protein in the body, accounting for about one-third of its total protein reserves. However, its significance extends far beyond facilitating firmer skin – collagen serves various indispensable functions throughout the body.
From tendons to gums, collagen predominantly constitutes the structure of both hard and soft tissues. It's present in bones, skin, ligaments, as well as in blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.
Though renowned for providing skin structure, collagen also plays a crucial role in aiding the blood clotting process. This protein boasts four primary types, supporting several bodily systems. As we age, not only do we produce less collagen, but the quality diminishes too.
This decline becomes noticeable in the skin, contributing to thinning and the emergence of wrinkles. After 20 years of age, each passing year leads to approximately 1% less collagen production in the skin. This culminates in thinner skin prone to wrinkles.
How does collagen function?
The exact biological intricacies remain elusive, but scientists propose that collagen's anti-wrinkle prowess might stem from its breakdown into amino acid chains and peptides.
Upon collagen breakdown in the digestive system, these amino acid fragments and peptides enter the bloodstream, stimulating the body's natural collagen production within the skin.
Collagen acts akin to a resilient scaffold for the skin – maintaining its integrity, structure, and ability to rebound after injury. It also contributes to scalp health, fostering strong hair growth and preventing nail brittleness and flaking.
At a chemical level, collagen comprises robust amino acid strands firmly bound together in a rope-like chain. These sturdy chains underpin the resilience and suppleness of youthful, healthy skin.
Babies, children, and teenagers experience rapid collagen production during growth, explaining their smooth, wrinkle-free skin. However, as we age, collagen synthesis gradually dwindles, manifesting in wrinkles, sagging skin, weakened hair, and brittle nails.
Can we replenish lost collagen as we age?
Yet, if your aim is to preserve skin structure, diminish fine lines, and sustain healthy hair and nails, collagen supplements might offer assistance.
Collagen supplements contain collagen protein fragmented into shorter amino acid chains known as collagen peptides.
These peptides purportedly stimulate the body's innate collagen production, leading to visible and tangible improvements over time.
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What do collagen supplements comprise?
The versatility of collagen intake awaits your choice!
Options range from collagen pills, liquid forms, powders, serums, creams, chewable gummies, to drink additives.
Most collagen supplements contain Type I or Type II collagen, or a blend of both.
Type I collagen holds prominence in beauty applications as it naturally exists in hair, skin, and nails. Bovine-derived supplements commonly feature Type I collagen.
What are the advantages of consuming collagen?
Could embracing collagen supplements or increasing collagen-rich foods rejuvenate the allure of youthful hair, skin, and nails with age?
Indeed! Here are ten primary benefits of collagen:
1. Enhanced skin health
Mounting evidence suggests that collagen may combat wrinkles. A 2014 study in Clinical Interventions in Aging reported fewer facial lines and wrinkles among 15% of participants consuming a liquid collagen beauty supplement enriched with vitamins and minerals over 60 days.
The same study indicated that 32% exhibited improved photo-ageing effects and 39% experienced decreased skin dryness.
German researchers documented statistically significant enhancements in skin elasticity, moisture, and hydration levels in individuals taking hydrolysed collagen supplements.
Another study in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology showcased a 20% reduction in eye wrinkles after 8 weeks of collagen supplementation. More recent research in the same journal affirmed notable enhancements in skin hydration, elasticity, and density following 12 weeks of oral collagen intake.
2. Alleviated joint discomfort
Collagen, a key component of cartilage that safeguards joints, diminishes with age, potentially elevating the risk of joint disorders like osteoarthritis. Studies suggest that collagen supplements can prompt increased cartilage production.
Moreover, research from Current Medical Research and Opinion observed reduced joint pain among athletes consuming 10g of collagen daily for 24 weeks, compared to those not taking it.
3. Augmented muscle mass
Collagen's role in maintaining muscle tissue, constituting 1 to 10% of human muscle, contributes to muscle strength and functionality. Research from the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that collagen supplements can potentially foster muscle growth and encourage muscle protein synthesis, such as creatine production.
While collagen supplements might aid muscle mass, they should complement, not substitute, dietary protein sources like meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, and soya, which form the foundation of a balanced, nutritious diet.
4. Heart health support
Collagen's contribution to maintaining artery structure was highlighted in a study by the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis. Arteries, responsible for blood circulation, may weaken without sufficient collagen.
5. Fortified bones
Collagen constitutes a significant portion of bone structure, fostering bone strength. Research compiled in Seminars in Arthritis & Rheumatism suggested that collagen supplements potentially sustain healthy bone mass compared to before and after supplementation.
Additionally, collagen aids joint health and is believed to help manage arthritis symptoms. It also bolsters bone mineral density in older women, presenting one among numerous benefits for women.
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6. Improved digestion
Certain studies propose that collagen, containing the amino acid glycine, may promote healthy digestion.
7. Strengthened hair and nails
Collagen's lesser-known benefits for hair and nails were showcased in a 2014 American study. An oral supplement containing collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and lipids led to significant improvements in nail cracking, nail brittleness by nearly 80%, along with hair dullness, hair dryness, and nail softness after 8 weeks. A longer trial over 60 weeks indicated substantial enhancements in hair and nail quality compared to before supplementation.
The study concluded that nutritional supplementation with peptides, lipids, hyaluronic acid, and collagen could yield rapid, significant, and enduring results for skin, hair, and nails.
8. Improved Gut Health
Recent studies shed light on collagen's potential benefits for gut health. A study published in Food & Function in 2017 revealed that collagen peptides have shown promise in preventing the breakdown of intestinal linings. This finding hints at the role collagen might play in maintaining gut integrity.
Moreover, another investigation detailed in Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology in 2012 highlighted the presence of collagen in gelatine tannate supplements. These supplements showcased the ability to trigger anti-inflammatory responses within the gut, underlining collagen's potential in fostering gut health.
9. Weight loss
While ongoing research aims to fully substantiate the claim, some speculation hints at collagen's impact on weight loss by potentially boosting metabolism. Additionally, a particular type of collagen derived from Skate fish exhibited promising results in reducing body fat in humans, as documented in a 2019 study published in the Marine Drugs journal.
10. Accelerated recovery
Collagen's role in fortifying connective tissues that support active muscles signifies a potential reduction in injury recovery time. An article in the Amino Acids journal (2021) endorsed this notion, suggesting that a daily intake of 5-15g of collagen could improve joint pain and functionality. It also highlighted a modest yet significant enhancement in muscle recovery.