The most abundant protein found in the body is Collagen. It is one of the connective tissues’ major components and is present in the different parts of the body such as muscles, skin, ligaments, and tendons. Collagen supplements in recent years have gone up in demand due to their popularity due to its supposed health benefits such as having the bones strengthened and ensuring a healthy structure of the skin. Most supplements containing collagen are hydrolyzed meaning the collagen is easier to absorb as it is already broken down.
Aside from these supplements, individuals may also consume certain types of food or food items to have their intake of collagen increased. Such food items include bone broth and pork skin. Taking in collagen can provide several health benefits such as improving the health of the skin and having joint pain alleviated.
In this article, we look at the different benefits of collagen. Read on to find out more!
Collagen Review: The Benefits of Collagen and Taking Collagen Supplements
Below are some of the possible health benefits of collagen that are backed by scientific data:
1. Collagen can aid in the improvement of the skin
One of the major components of the skin is collagen. The skin must become strong and it can also benefit in terms of hydration and elasticity. As people get older, the body will produce reduced amounts of collagen which can lead to skin getting dry and for wrinkles to form. There are several studies, however, that show how supplements containing collagen or collagen peptides can help in slowing down the skin’s aging process through the reduction of skin dryness and the formation of wrinkles.
One study conducted on women had the said subjects take collagen supplements containing 2.5 to 5 grams of collagen for 2 months wherein the women had less dryness of the skin and experienced elasticity of the skin that is increased versus individuals who were not given the supplements. A different study also observed that women who consumed collagen supplement laced beverages daily for 3 months had skin hydration that is improved or increased and a significant wrinkle reduction versus the group that is controlled.
The wrinkle-reducing effects of collagen have been linked with the ability of the said supplements to aid in the body’s stimulation in the production of collagen. Also, taking in supplements containing collagen has been shown in the promotion of protein production which can help the skin’s structure such as fibrillin and elastin. Several claims are anecdotal where supplements containing collagen can be beneficial in the prevention of skin conditions such as acne but this will need further evidence backed up by science.
2. Collagen can help in the alleviation of pain in the joints
Collagen can aid in the maintenance of cartilage integrity, a tissue that is rubber-like that can have the joint protected. As the level of the body’s collagen gets reduced as individuals get older, there is a very real risk for the development of degenerative joint disorders which include osteoarthritis.
Some studies also show that the use of supplements containing collagen can aid in the improvement of symptoms such as osteoarthritis and help in the reduction of pain of the joints. A study conducted on 73 athletes who took in collagen in the amount of ten (10) grams daily for five (5) months had a reduction of pain in the joints while at rest and while walking versus those who did not consume collagen supplements. In a different study, adults who consumed collagen in the amount of 2 grams for more than two (2) months. Those who consumed collagen had a reduction in the pain of the joints and engaged in physical activities much better compared to those who were not taking any supplements containing collagen.
Experts theorize that collagen supplements can be collected in the cartilage resulting in the stimulation of the tissues to develop collagen. This has been suggested to reduced inflammation, improved joint support, and pain that is reduced. For those who want to take supplements containing collagen for its pain-relieving effects, it may be best, to begin with, an intake of eight to twelve grams every day.
3. Collagen can help in the prevention of bone loss
The bones are mostly composed of collagen which can give them their structure and aid in ensuring the strength of their bones. As the collagen in the body gets reduced as people get older, so does bone mass. This can lead to certain health conditions like osteoporosis which can be described as being linked to increased risk of fracture of the bones and low bone density. There is evidence to suggest that the intake of supplements with collagen can provide effects to the body which can aid in the inhibition of the breakdown of bones that can result in osteoporosis.
In another study, females who consumed supplements containing calcium mixed in with collagen in the amount of five (5) grams or a supplement just calcium but lacking collagen for a year. Towards the end of the study, those who took in supplements of combined collagen and calcium had lower levels in the blood of proteins which can lead to the promotion of the breakdown of the bones compared to the people who took in calcium only.
4. Collagen can aid in increasing muscle mass
Around one to ten percent of tissues of the muscle is made up of collagen. The protein is required to retain the strength of muscles and for the muscles to properly function. Some studies point to supplements containing collagen that can help in enhancing the mass of muscles particularly for individuals suffering from sarcopenia which is muscle mass loss which can occur due to the aging process. In another study, 27 frail male individuals who took collagen in the amount of 15 grams while undergoing exercise programs for 3 months. The side individuals gained more strength and muscle mass.