Many people talk about collagen supplements when discussing the steps they take to combat skin aging. Collagen is a protein that plays a role in the youthful and plump appearance of your skin. Collagen is one of the main building blocks of our skin, and it’s also found in our tendons, bones, and ligaments. Your skin’s support structure is largely made up of this vital protein. It gives your skin elasticity, support, structure and a more youthful appearance.
It’s not just skin benefits that are to be gained by taking collagen supplements, however. Those looking to enhance or support the health of their hair, nails, skin, joints, bones and even heart health may look to collagen supplementation.
You could take a collagen supplement daily, or add a packet of collagen powder to your morning smoothie, juice, or coffee.
Why Do People Need Collagen Supplements?
As you age, collagen will start to deplete. Your genetics can affect how fast this collagen degradation happens. Take a look at your CircleDNA genetic skin report to find out your genetic skin traits, including whether or not you have a younger skin age.
It’s not just aging or your genes that causes a loss of collagen, however. Exposure to pollutants, sun exposure, smoking cigarettes and eating a poor diet can all cause free radical formation, which speeds up collagen breakdown. Luckily, there are collagen supplements you can take.
Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements
Taking collagen supplements can offer a number of health and beauty benefits. It’s always best to speak to a medical professional before you begin taking any supplements for any reason. Generally, taking collagen supplements is safe.
Collagen supplements typically come in powder form, and many people add a packet of powdered collagen to their morning smoothie.
Below are some of the benefits of taking collagen supplements:
Anti-Aging Benefits and Enhanced Skin Health
Collagen is a critical component of your skin, responsible for strength, elasticity, and hydration in your epidermis. As you get older, the loss of collagen in your skin can lead to dryness and wrinkles. However, taking collagen supplements can reduce aging and minimize wrinkles.
A review of 19 studies found 95% of women between the ages of 20 and 70 found taking hydrolyzed collagen helped to improve wrinkles, hydration, and elasticity. These supplements work by helping to stimulate the body to produce collagen on its own.
There are also a number of anecdotal claims indicating collagen supplements can help with minimizing skin conditions such as acne, but there is limited scientific evidence to support this.
Better Joint and Bone Health
Aside from supporting skin health, collagen also helps to maintain cartilage between your joints. As your collagen levels decrease with age, your risk of degenerative disorders including osteoarthritis increase.
Collagen supplements could help to minimize stiffness and discomfort caused by collagen depletion. Researchers believe collagen from supplements may accumulate in the cartilage and stimulate the production of collagen internally.
It’s also worth noting your bones contain a significant amount of collagen. As the collagen in your body deteriorates with age, your bone mass can dip too.
Collagen supplements could be an excellent tool for inhibiting bone breakdown according to studies. Often, this substance is used alongside calcium supplements and other medications intended to support ongoing bone strength.
As the most abundant of the body’s proteins, collagen is crucial for creating skeletal muscle. Studies indicate collagen supplements can help to improve muscle mass in people with sarcopenia. One report found men taking 15g of collagen when participating in a regular exercise protein over 12 weeks gained significantly more muscle than their peers.
Scientists believe supplemental collagen may help to boost the synthesis of various muscle proteins, such as creatine, as well as stimulating muscle growth post-exercise.
However, researchers also say collagen protein isn’t necessarily more effective than whey protein for building strength, because collagen is low in various amino acids such as leucine.
Researchers believe collagen supplements may also be crucial in reducing the risk of heart conditions. After all, collagen is responsible for providing structure to arteries which carry blood from your heart. Lack of collagen can make arteries less flexible, leading to atherosclerosis.
In one study over 6 months, adults taking 16 grams of collagen per day experienced a significant reduction in measurements of artery stiffness. Levels of HDL cholesterol for the patients in this study also rose by approximately 6%.
Since HDL is a valuable factor in reducing the risk of heart conditions, this further enhances the potential of collagen for protecting the heart.
Other Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Aside from the various benefits mentioned above, collagen supplements are also being investigated for a host of other advantages. For instance, there are many groups who believe taking collagen can increase the strength of nails and hair, allowing them to grow longer.
Collagen has also been associated with gut health, with some professionals suggesting the substance may be suitable for treating leaky gut syndrome. Some proponents even believe collagen supplements can promote faster metabolic performance and weight loss, but there aren’t any studies to support these claims yet.
Notably, collagen supplements are also generally well tolerated by most people, with very few reported side effects. However, some supplements will be made from sources of common food allergens, such as shellfish and eggs, so you’ll need to be cautious when choosing your supplement.
Some patients also report side effects such bloating and nausea when taking collagen supplements, alongside heartburn or a feeling of fullness. However, it’s difficult to ascertain in these cases whether the side effects were related directly to collagen.
The Bottom Line
In addition to taking collagen supplements, you can also eat more collagen-rich foods to boost your collagen. Which foods are good sources of collagen? Collagen is often found in the connective tissues of animals, so foods such as bone broth, pork skin, chicken skin, beef, and fish are all excellent sources of collagen. Because your body produces collagen naturally from amino acids, you can also ensure you’re supporting the production of collagen by eating plenty of protein with beans, eggs, fish, and poultry.
If you take collagen supplements as well as eating more foods that are good sources of collagen, you should start reaping the health and beauty benefits of collagen before you know it.