Have you incorporated collagen into your daily routine? If you haven’t, the benefits of collagen may be enough to make you reconsider.
Although people often think of collagen as a supplement related to appearance and skin elasticity, its benefits extend far further than that. In this article, Healthy Directions goes in-depth about what collagen is, how it helps, and the various ways you can use it depending on what your personal needs are.
What Is Collagen?
Although we’ll be talking about collagen as a supplement, collagen itself is a protein produced naturally in the body through the combination of amino acids like vitamin C, glycine, and proline. Collagen is the most abundant protein as it makes up between 1/4th and 1/3rd of all protein in the body.
The primary function of protein is making connective tissue, which connects tissue to other tissue in the body. It is also a central component of bone, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, skin, nails, and tendons.
Collagen types also work closely with another protein, elastin, to form the skin’s extracellular matrix (ECM), which helps repair and rejuvenate it. No matter where it is found in the body, it adds strength and resiliency to the area.
As the body ages, it begins to produce collagen at a lesser rate. This degradation becomes more pronounced around the age of 30 and continues at a rate of one to two percent less collagen yearly after that. The process can also be sped up due to chronic sun exposure, excess alcohol consumption, smoking, and sleep deprivation.
How Is Collagen Beneficial?
There are multiple benefits of collagen, and the protein can impact nearly every part of the body. Here are some of the more significant benefits that collagen supplementation can provide.
Helps Manage Joint Discomfort
Our joints provide our body with the ability to move, and they are present all over the body. Cartilage is between each joint, which provides padding and protects both the joint and the bones it connects. One of the main components of that cartilage is collagen, which helps to maintain its integrity and strength.
Due to the degradation of natural collagen production in the body and potentially sped up due to injury, we have an increased risk of degenerative joint problems (like osteoarthritis) as we age. Collagen supplements may replace some of that lost collagen, helping to support the joints and potentially reduce discomfort.
Supports Skin Health
One of the most sought-after effects of collagen is its ability to support skin health. Because collagen is the main protein that makes up the skin when it naturally starts to degrade, it can have various visible impacts on appearance.
Collagen helps to firm and strengthen the skin, as well as boost its hydration and elasticity.
When the skin doesn’t have a high collagen level, it shows more fine lines and wrinkles. It can also make the skin appear to be thinner and less radiant. Boosting collagen levels can help reduce some of those symptoms and make the skin appear more youthful. It can also make the skin appear to be thinner and less radiant.
Helps Build Muscle
Protein is essential for building strong, healthy muscle tissue. While muscle is made up of a variety of different components, between 1 - 10 percent of it is composed of collagen. For people hoping to build more muscle mass, including a collagen supplement in your diet can help make the process easier.
However, these benefits are still the subject of scientific research and have not been as thoroughly vetted as many of the other benefits of collagen.
In addition, this effect of collagen supplementation can not work without weight lifting.
Can Protect Against Bone Loss
One final way that collagen can benefit the body is its ability to support healthy bone mass. Collagen is a primary structural component of the bones, and a reduction in the amount of collagen present can have negative consequences, like a decrease in mineral density.
As we age, our bones become more at risk for fracture. This risk is increased by the development of certain conditions like osteopenia or osteoporosis. Increasing the bone’s collagen level can protect the body from bone loss, especially in older people.
How To Supplement Collagen
There are multiple ways in which you can enjoy the benefits of collagen fibers through supplementation. Although there are different routes, the key is finding the route that provides you with the most absorption and has the most significant impact on why you’re seeking supplementation.
Some collagen supplements are present in powder form, which can be added to smoothies, bone broth, beverages, or even food while cooking. Although easy, many people avoid this method because it can have an unpleasant taste or texture.
Some also report bloating or GI upset, especially when first starting out on powder collagen supplementation.
For those reasons, oral supplementation of collagen peptides in capsule or tablet form is a more popular option. You can purchase plain collagen supplements or choose a supplement targeted to your specific issues (like joint support, for instance).
These supplements are meant to be taken with a glass of water or occasionally with a meal to help fend off nausea. However, people experience far fewer side effects than they do with powder collagen.
The benefits of collagen can impact the body, outside and inside. Knowing the options available for supplementation and which route is best to help you reach your specific goals gives you an edge.
The experts at Healthy Directions want you to have as much information as possible to make the most educated decision you can for your health. We are here for you and want to provide you with a better path to better health.
Extracellular Matrix Modulation: Optimizing Skin Care and Rejuvenation Procedures | PubMed (nih.gov)
A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study | PubMed
Structure and Function of the SkeletalMuscleExtracellular Matrix | PubMed