1. Promotes healthy, youthful skin
Collagen is widely marketed for its “anti-aging” properties of achieving youthful looking skin. Many cosmetics such as anti-wrinkle creams and serums promote the power of collagen to rejuvenate facial skin cells for firmer and brighter skin. While there is no solid research to back claims of reversing signs of aging, collagen is essential to skin health and does wonders for your skin, especially from the inside out.
Collagen is by far the most abundant protein in the skin, making up 85% of the total content! As the body starts to produce less collagen due to the environment and effects of aging, wrinkles and signs of aging begins to show up. By consuming collagen either through food (such as bone broth or gelatinous foods) or supplements, you’re directly providing the skin with natural building blocks to help restore and rejuvenate the skin.
Potential health benefits from consuming collagen to support skin health:
- Improved skin firmness and elasticity
- Smoother and youthful skin appearance
- Reduced appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging
- Higher hydration and plumpness of skin
- Increased collagen density
- Healthy skin due to overall descreased collagen fragmentation
Increasing collagen intake is directly responsible for keeping your skin smooth and hydrated to help support healthy skin and prevent early signs of aging.
2. Strengthens joints and bones
Similar to your skin, collagen is the core building block of our skeletal muscle structure. While calcium and vitamin D is very well know for increasing our bone density and strength, collagen is also very necessary as it gives our bones flexibility. This is especially important for athletes and the more elderly. Bone flexibility increases the ability for bones to absorb impact in the case of an accident, thus reducing risks of major injuries.
For joints health, wear and tear will start to cause stiffness and discomfort as we age. The traditional supplements used to be glucosamine and chondroitin. However collagen is becoming a popular active ingredient for joint health as well. As our bodies already contains and produces collagen, it is a safe, natural substance able to be very effectively absorbed and used by our bodies.
Some key effects collagen can have on our joints and bones:
- Increased bone flexibility
- Replenishes wear and tear of joints
- Can reduce joint discomfort
- Can improve joint function and mobility
- May reduce joint inflammation
- Improves overall skeletal muscle structural integrity and health
Overall, collagen plays an important role to keep our bones and joints healthy as a whole. It is especially great for the older population and athletes engaging in high repetition sports.
3. Promotes healthy hair
Protein in general is a key component to healthy hair and nails, as protein helps the body in the synthesis of keratin. Collagen protein provides additional benefits by helping to protect against free radicals and enrich the skin around hair follicles and glands. By supporting the skin around hair follicles and glands, your hair will naturally become healthy, thick and strong.
Collagen helps to keep your hair and help them stay healthy, and overtime it can:
- Improve overall hair and scalp health
- May improve hair growth and volume
- May help to reduce hair loss
- Can help keep hair shiny
4. Healthy and strong nails
Similar to hair, our nails are made up of keratin layers. Protein, iron and vitamin C are all important contributing nutrients for keratin synthesis and healthy hair and nails. Some studies have found oral supplementation of collagen to be especially effective when it comes to combating brittle nails. The study even found that collagen can improve nail growth!
It is important to keep in mind that for healthy nail and hair, it takes more than a short period of extra collagen intake. To improve the overall health of hair and nails requires a commitment to incorporate more proteins, collagen and healthy foods in general to your diet. Over time, collagen can help your nails:
- Increased nail growth rate
- Reduced frequency of broken/chipped nails
- Improved thickness and strength of nails to be less brittle
5. Improves gut health
Like we’ve mentioned, collagen is naturally found everywhere in our bodies. As we naturally have so much collagen in our system that it is able to be absorbed so efficiently and used by our bodies as basic building blocks. It is also very rare and for allergies to collagen, and most cases it is due to low quality or contaminated ingredients. On top of not posing any digestive issues for our bodies, collagen is found to actually help support healthy gut functions!
A lack of collagen in the intestinal tissues may be linked to chronic inflammation and similar diseases. This is due to collagen being a vital component to the intestinal barrier. This barrier sits on the surface of our intestines and is an incredible vital organ. It helps to absorb nutrients while keeping harmful substances out. Collagen peptides helps to protect this barrier by protecting the tight junction of the barrier membrane.
Collagen protein also have the added effect of maintaining the integrity and functioning of the intestine by supplying collagen and amino acids as building blocks. Other amino acids abundant in collagen protein support intestinal mucosal healing and lastly have functions to reduce stomach inflammation.
6. A good supplement for exercise
Collagen protein is also a great sport supplements protein product. While it does not offer the same glycine content of a whey protein optimised for muscle synthesis, collagen protein is still very effective in helping performance and recovery. Collagen protein can be used for:
- Aiding muscle restoration after exercise
- Provides protein and nutrients to muscles
- Providing energy during exercise
- Helps with feeling of satisfaction and staves off hunger
Collagen protein works the same way as whey protein, helping to offset effects of oxidation, membrane microlesions and inflammatory reactions of muscles after exercise. A main component of collagen protein is the amino acid glycine. Glycine plays a major role in converting glucose into energy to fuel muscles and general activities. Additionally, collagen protein is a very satiating macronutrient. It can be used to help feel fuller for longer in the event of exercising or for weight management.
7. Promotes tissue repair and assist in wound healing
As we have explained, collagen is the main building block of skin tissue. Collagen is helpful in the synthesis of keratin, inflammation and very easily absorbed and used by the body. These properties prove to be very useful as well when it comes to helping heal wounds and scars.
Collagen plays many important roles during the wound healing process, acting as transportation mechanisms for cells like kerotinocytes, acting as enzymes to for chemical signals, making up the actual wound bed and healing scar itself. This becomes more necessary as collagen production within the body slows down. Using collagen protein essentially provides the body what it needs to help close wounds, by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Providing essential amino acids
- Transportation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts which help close wounds
- Helps rebuild skin with abundant collagen
8. Supports tendon and flexibility
Collagen is referred to as “the glue that holds everything together”. This is because of its high tensile strength and elasticity, which are very useful properties when it comes to joints, tendons and skin. For our tendons, collagen makes up more than 85% of the dry mass. Tendons are what helps us with our range of motion, though due to slowed collagen production as we age tendons tend to stiffen as well. By providing your body with abundant levels of collagen, tendons will be benefited – being able to replenish cells.
Supporting the healthy functioning of tendons and ligaments will provide our bodies many benefits. From the ability to fast track recovery of a wound or tear to keeping us flexible and maintain a high range of motion, collagen is definitely the best supplement for tendons and ligaments.