Collagen is the amplest protein in your body. It’s a major component of connective tissues that comprise several body parts, like ligaments, skin, muscles, and tendons. Collagen has numerous essential functions, including strengthening your bones and giving your skin structure. There are 28 types of collagen, but there are four general types. The first is the most common, found in all connective tissue. The second is found in your intervertebral discs and joints. You can find the third type in reticular fibers in your blood vessels and skin. The last type is found in your kidneys, eye lens, and kidneys.
Collagen supplements have become popular in recent years. Most of them are hydrolyzed, meaning the collagen is broken down for easier absorption. Collagen supplements mainly come in powder form but are also available in capsules. The kind of collagen used in supplements differs. Some have one of two varieties, but some have up to five. Several foods, including pork skin and bone broth, may naturally increase your collagen intake.
Foods compromised of gelatin, a protein substance obtained from collagen after it’s cooked, also provide collagen. Because collagen comes from animal connective tissues, foods like fish, beef, pork skin, and chicken skin are collagen suppliers. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, so you should also eat vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits. However, more research is necessary to figure out if eating collagen-rich foods help increase your body’s collagen levels since they might not have the same advantages as supplements.
Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into peptides and individual amino acids. However, the collagen in supplements is already broken down, which is why it’s believed to be absorbed more effectively than collagen in foods. Here are some benefits of taking collagen supplements.
Improves skin health.
Collagen is a significant component of your skin. It plays a part in boosting skin and its hydration and elasticity. As you grow older, your body generates less collagen, forming wrinkles and dry skin. However, numerous studies show that collagen supplements or peptides might assist in slowing the aging of your skin by reducing dryness and wrinkles.
One review of 11 studies mainly focusing on women revealed that taking three to ten grams of collagen daily for 69 days improved skin hydration and elasticity. Supplements might work by promoting your body to produce its own collagen. Also, collagen supplements may stimulate the production of other proteins that help form your skin, like fibrillin and elastin. There are many anecdotal statements that collagen supplements help stop acne and other skin conditions, but no scientific evidence supports these statements.
Relieves joint pain.
Collagen helps safeguard the integrity of your cartilage, the tissue that protects your joints. As you age and the collagen in your body decreases, your risk of deteriorating joint disorders like osteoarthritis increases. There are studies that suggest that collagen supplements improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and lessen overall joint pain.
A review of five studies on over 500 people with osteoarthritis revealed that daily ingestion of about 10 grams of collagen for about 24 weeks led to substantial developments in self-reported joint pain and stiffness. Researchers speculate that supplemental collagen builds up in cartilage and promote your tissue to produce collagen. This stimulation may reduce pain, better joint support, and lower inflammation. Research indicates that you’ll see a difference with 10 grams daily if you want to try collagen supplements for pain-relieving effects.
Prevents bone loss.
Our bones are compromised of mostly collagen, giving them strength and structure. Our bone mass deteriorates as we age, just like the collagen in our bodies. This deterioration may lead to osteoporosis, characterized by low bone density and a high probability of bone fractures. Studies suggest that collagen supplements could assist in preventing bone deterioration that leads to osteoporosis.
A 12-month study focused on women who took either a calcium supplement with five grams of collagen or no collagen and a calcium supplement daily. At the conclusion of the study, women taking both supplements had lower blood levels of proteins that encourage bone breakdown than women who only took the calcium.
A different study found parallel results in 66 women who ingested five grams of collagen for one year. Women who took collagen showed an increase in bone mineral density or BMD compared to women who didn’t take the supplement. BMD measures the thickness of minerals like calcium in your bones. Low BMD is connected to osteoporosis risk and weak bones.
Increases muscle mass.
As the most prevalent protein in our bodies, collagen is an essential component of skeletal muscle. Studies found that collagen supplements assist with boosting muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle mass that comes with age.
In a 12-week study, 27 men with sarcopenia took 15 grams of collagen while partaking in a daily exercise program. They gained more muscle mass and strength than men who didn’t take collagen. Researchers suggest that collagen supplements may stimulate the production of muscle proteins like creatine and encourage muscle growth following exercise.
Still, collagen protein isn’t more efficient than whey protein for building strength or muscle. Unlike whey protein, collagen has fewer essential amino acids, which play an important role in muscle building, but more research is needed to explore collagen’s potential for boosting muscle mass.
Outside of these advantages, there are numerous other benefits to taking collagen supplements. For example, taking collagen supplements may improve the strength of your nails by stopping brittleness. Also, it could help your nails and hair grow longer. Though there’s no scientific evidence to back up this claim, some health practitioners believe collagen supplements can remedy leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability.
Collagen supplements are linked with numerous health benefits and very few identified risks. Supplements can prevent bone loss, relieve joint pain, increase muscle mass, and improve skin health. Other advantages may exist, but they aren’t backed by research. Several foods have collagen, but it’s unknown if these foods have the same benefits as supplements. Collagen supplements are typically easy to use, safe, and worth trying to help you with your health goals.