Collagen: What is It & Its Benefits?
Imagine a nutritional supplement shown in numerous clinical trials to defy aging for skin health and support bone and joint health. Collagen – its name comes from the Greek word kólla, meaning “glue.” It weaves throughout our body, holding it together. There are many types of collagens with type 1 collagen accounting for 90% of our body.
What is Collagen?
As the most abundant protein, collagen (especially type 1) can help rejuvenate your hair, skin, and nails. It’s also a major component in bone and joint cartilage. The main amino acids composed in collagen are proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. Collagen production naturally slows down as we age, beginning as early as our late 20s. But since collagen is a large molecule, its production declines at a steady rate.
Although collagen use is on the rise, many people don’t know exactly what collagen is good for. The benefits of a collagen supplement can be many. Collagen is found throughout the body including your skin, tendons, connective tissue, bones, and cartilage. Its main function is to provide structural support for tissues and plays key roles in cellular processes and tissue repair.
Collagen is the perfect matrix for your body due to its elasticity, rigidity, and strength. Collagen for skin can improve signs of aging and reduce wrinkles. Furthermore, collagen can be a key therapeutic in healing the gut lining from inflammation, trauma, and dysbiosis. It helps further facilitate the immune response and cellular machinery.
Recently, collagen has been found to have a positive effect on cellulite, improving the skin’s appearance by a noticeable percentage. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, the Journal of Medicinal Food concluded that long-term therapy with collagen leads to an improvement of cellulite and can preserve skin firmness and elasticity. It has also been shown to modify wrinkles, improving the quality of the skin, making it look many years younger.
Collagen, however, touts more than just beauty benefits. New research from the University of Rochester shows that Collagen has effects on the immune system for joint cartilage, supporting joint comfort and flexibility. An interesting Penn State study found that individuals who took hydrolyzed collagen for six months had greater joint comfort during physical activity and at rest. Similar research has linked collagen with improvements in back and knee pain among aging adults.
In addition to beauty and joint health, hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to support bone mineral density; 30-40% of your bone is made out of Collagen and this is what Vitamin D and calcium adhere to for creating bone. Collagen can be a great supplement for individuals with osteoporosis as collagen makes up nearly 90% of the organic bone matrix.
Why Collagen is Right for Me?
Collagen can be a great addition if you’re seeking support for:
- Skin Hair and Nail Health (Benefits of Collagen for Women)
- Bone Health
- Joint Pain
- Gut Health (Intestinal Permeability, IBS, and Stomach Ulcers)
Tips on choosing a collagen supplement: look for collagen that comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals or wild-caught fish. Purity is key as there shouldn’t be any fillers or additives added to the collagen.
Some great options include: CanPrev, Progressive, Genuine Health, Organika, North Coast Naturals, Ancient Nutrition
Is there the best collagen? Bovine (cow) and marine collagen are the two main sources of collagen. Both provide similar benefits, so it ultimately comes down to personal choice. Fish collagen benefits might be slightly superior if you want slightly faster results and for those who don’t eat cow products. Both are helpful and provide similar benefits. With that being said, it comes down to personal preference.
Our bodies make less collagen as we age but some factors can compromise collagen production even further. These include smoking; excess alcohol and sun exposure, suboptimal exercise, and sleep. Environmental exposure can also damage collagen fibers leading to more wrinkles on the skin. Overall, collagen supplementation doesn’t replace a healthy lifestyle, but it can further support a balanced diet with adequate protein intake, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Because of its effects on the body, collagen can make a profound impact on how you look and feel.