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Top 5 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements

Collagen – the supplement that seemingly does it all. Whether you’re looking to improve your digestion, enhance muscle recovery, boost your protein intake or reduce fine lines and wrinkles, incorporating collagen supplements into your diet may be the answer to all of your problems.

Without a doubt, collagen has made a buzz in the world of health and wellness– for good reason. Collagen supplements can be found on the shelves at every health market and behind the counter of every chic café – but what is collagen, and why do you need it?

Collagen Defined – What Is It?

It’s safe to say collagen supplements are the trendiest product in the wellness industry – and research leads us to believe the hype is real. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen provides structure to our skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles and ligaments. Essentially, collagen is what holds the body together.

 

While there are 28 types of collagen, research suggests 3 types of collagen hold the most importance: collagen I, II, and III (1,2). These three types account for 80-90% of collagen in the body and are all deserving of their own collagen definition– so, let’s break them down.

 

Type I Collagen:

Type I collagen is the most abundant type of collagen (3) in the body, providing structure to the skin, bone and connective tissue. When it comes to maintaining our youth, reducing the appearance of aging skin, and creating strong teeth, hair, and nails, type I collagen is the type of collagen we want to preserve. If you’re in search of the best collagen supplement for sagging skin, look no further!

 

Type II Collagen:

While type II collagen is less common in the body, it is vital for the maintenance of a healthy skeletal system. This type of collagen is readily found in cartilage and is essential for joint health.

  

Type III Collagen:

Type III collagen, found in the skin, ligaments, blood vessels and internal organs, is most beneficial for gut health and improving skin elasticity. This type of collagen most notably provides structure to the intestines, spleen, liver, lymph nodes, smooth muscle and adipose tissue. Type III collagen is often seen alongside Type I collagen in the body – therefore, they share many similar functions!

 

 

Now that we have a better understanding of collagen and the different types, let’s explore the collagen structure– what is collagen made of?

 

The Triple Helix Structure

 

As the main structural protein in the body, you may assume that the collagen structure itself must be pretty secure – and you’re right.

 

This tightly coiled structure – known as the triple helix – is what gives collagen the ability to be strong and stable, while being flexible enough to stretch without breaking. Think of it in terms of your body – collagen is what gives skin its firm texture, cushions our joints while providing mobility, and lines the intestinal wall to maintain optimal gut health! 

What is Collagen Good For And Why do You Need It? 5 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements

1.   Promotes Anti-Aging Benefits

 

A serving of collagen a day keeps the wrinkles at bay! That’s not how the saying goes? Well, research may support this claim! Recent studies show (4) improvements in skin elasticity, hydration and dermal collagen density with the use of collagen supplements. But, do we really need it?Well, if you want to slow down the aging clock – in short, yes!

 

As collagen levels deteriorate, elastin fibers promote the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (5). Collagen and elastin work together to maintain the skin’s youthful appearance. Similar to collagen, the loss of elastin tissue with age inhibits optimal elastin function, resulting in sagging, stretched skin. Think of elastin as a rubber band – it has the ability to stretch (it’s about 1000 times more flexible than collagen!) and then tightly recoil. As elastin decreases with age, the skin loses the ability to recoil – hence, sagging skin. If the secret to maintaining our beauty could be as simple as incorporating collagen for skin health into our diet, you better believe we’re grabbing our daily dose of collagen supplements!

 

2.   Aids Joint Health And Helps Prevent Arthritis

 

One of the well-known benefits of collagen is its role in joint health. Joints are very susceptible to wear and tear – after all, their two primary functions are movement and maintaining bone structure. To support flexibility, mobility, and structural support, the use of collagen supplements is key! Without collagen, our joints become weak and susceptible to injury, or disease such as arthritis.

 

According to the CDC, 1 and 6 adults (6)suffer from arthritis, which is defined as the swelling or inflammation of one or more joints. These painful diseases cause persistent discomfort and swelling in the joints, making even the most basic daily activities debilitating. Don’t wait until you’re injured to take action – when it comes to maintaining your health, prevention is your best friend! Good news – incorporating collagen supplements into your diet is easier than ever – so, let’s keep our joints happy and healthy, shall we?

 

3.  Builds and Maintains Muscle Mass

Supplementing with collagen is a great way to increase muscle mass in the body. Collagen supplements contain essential amino acids which have been shown to (7) increase muscle mass when taken after resistance training.

 

Collagen supplements are just as important for building muscle as they are for maintaining muscle mass! As we know – collagen levels decrease with age, which has been shown to decrease muscle mass. In fact, a 3-8% decrease in collagen (8) has been seen every ten years after the age of 30. To maintain a strong, healthy body, taking preventative measures (such as a daily dose of collagen!) is key. 

4.   Aids Gut Health

 

While collagen supplements are widely associated with skin and joint benefits, they are also incredibly beneficial for gut health.

 

Let’s face it, nobody wants to feel bloated or suffer from indigestion, which is why we take our daily dose of collagen! Collagen lines the intestinal lining, helping to maintain optimal digestion and gut function. Without collagen, chronic inflammation (from various sources such as poor diet, stress, or free radicals) can eventually penetrate the gut wall lining, resulting in digestive issues. The amino acids in collagen supplements can help to restore the gut wall lining, repair damaged cells and help create new healthy tissues (9).

 

5. Helps Prevent Bone Loss

It makes sense that the loss of collagen with age is directly associated with the decrease in bone mineral density, seeing as bones are mostly made of collagen. When collagen levels are low, bones become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related degenerative diseases.

 

The function of collagen in bone is to provide flexibility and tensile strength, ultimately helping to keep bones strong and maintain a healthy skeletal system. For this reason, maintaining optimal levels of collagen in the body is essential! A recent study(10) showed the use of collagen supplements resulted in an increase in bone mineral density in post-menopausal women who had previously suffered an age-related decrease.

 

 

Avoid Collagen Deficiency

 

Why do we need collagen supplements when collagen is the most abundant protein in the body? Well, as we age, collagen does too. The body’s natural production of collagen begins to decrease as we grow older. Yes, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and those pesky grey hairs are telling signs your collagen levels are decreasing. The fountain of youth is draining, and it needs to be replenished! 

 

A decrease in collagen production (11) can occur between the ages of 18-29. Once you reach the age of 40, expect collagen levels to steady around 1% per year. When you reach the age of 75, it’s likely your body’s natural collagen stores will have decreased by 75%! This is why collagen supplements are key if you’re looking to reverse the aging clock.

 

In addition to nature's biological clock, lifestyle factors and behaviors can damage and destroy our precious collagen reserves. Avoiding excess sugar, sun exposure, and smoking are all preventative ways to sustain your natural collagen levels.

 

Speaking of prevention, that’s where collagen supplementation comes in.

 

Get Your Daily Dose of Collagen

 

Incorporating collagen supplements into your daily regime has proven highly beneficial (and highly delicious when your collagen just so happens to be in the form of a tasty protein bar).Whether you’re looking to improve your gut health, your skin health or your overall health, the best place to start is by implementing collagen supplements daily!

 

What’s important to keep in mind here is consistency is key! The biggest changes in your body happen with time. While collagen supplements may offer more immediate relief when targeting issues such as gut health or joint inflammation, addressing long-term wellness goals won’t happen overnight! While we wish it were true, taking one serving of collagen at random won’t keep wrinkles at bay – it’s all about consistent, daily usage.

 

Quality Matters – How To Choose The Best Collagen Supplements

 

It’s important to understand that not all collagen is created equal! While there are countless collagen supplements on the market, choosing a high-quality source is essential. What should you look for?

 

  • Grass-fed or wild-caught
  • Organic or Non-GMO
  • Simple Ingredients (there shouldn’t be any fillers or additives)

 

Why do we need collagen supplements when collagen is the most abundant protein in the body? Well, as we age, collagen does too. The body’s natural production of collagen begins to decrease as we grow older. Yes, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and those pesky grey hairs are telling signs your collagen levels are decreasing. The fountain of youth is draining, and it needs to be replenished!

 

  • Bovine Collagen: Bovine collagen, also known as beef collagen, is the primary source of collagen peptides on the market, derived from cows.

 

  • Marine collagen: Marine collagen is a pescatarian collagen supplement derived from the bones of fish, namely cod or snapper.

 

The takeaway:

Along with a healthy diet and proper nutrient intake, collagen supplementation may prove beneficial in helping to enhance your wellness goals. While many collagen supplements are on the market, it’s important to opt for a clean source – remember, always read the ingredient label!

 

Now that you’re an expert in all things collagen, start incorporating your daily collagen dose and watch your body flourish!

 

Sources

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