Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our body. Like a protein powder, collagen peptides, are made of different amino acids and are a good source of protein.
It is the major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.
Collagen has many important functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your bones .
In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for you to absorb.
There are 3 types of collagen found in our body:
- Type 1 Collagen: most abundant form of collagen found in our body – skin, tendons, blood vessels, organs, bone matrix…etc
- Type 2 Collagen: the least abundant in our body, found in the cartilage of our spine
- Type 3 Collagen: found in our skin, tendons, intestines, reproductive organs, blood vessels
Type 1 and 3 collagen are commonly found as a powder/supplement from a marine (fish) or bovine source. It is important to understand the source of the supplement you buy as not all of them are pure or of the same quality. When looking for a collagen powder, look for a hydrolyzed collagen. The process of hydrolysis makes sure that the amino acids remains intact and is more easily absorbed in the body.
Best food source of collagen comes from bone broth – which can be made at home, or store bought. Make sure to check the ingredients to ensure that there are no unnecessary ingredients!
Consuming collagen may have a variety of health benefits, from relieving joint pain to improving skin health.
Skin, hair, nail health: the most common reason people turn to collagen is for slowing down aging, wrinkles, hair loss, brittle nails.
Collagen is a major component of your skin.
It plays a role in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinklesCollagen helps with aging by retaining water and keeping your skin hydrated and hence increasing skin elasticity. Furthermore, after receiving collagen from external sources for a while, the body’s ability to create internal collagen on its own increases.
- Bone Health: As you age, the production of collagen in your body decreases, which also impacts our bone matrix. Collagen is a large component of our bones and hydrolyzed collagen can strengthen joints, bones, and prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall.
- Heart Health: Collagen is a key component of our arteries. It gives our arteries structure and integrity. Supplementation with collagen may prevent the arteries from being too frail and building up plaque. There are also some studies that show that collagen may increase our “good” HDL cholesterol. Additionally, they increased their levels of HDL “good” cholesterol by an average of 6%. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis
- Gut Health: our intestinal walls are made up of collagen and create the integrity of our gut-lining. Inflammatory bowel disease or other digestive concerns result in a loss of that integrity and can reduce the absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients from the gut. Collagen supplementation, along with reduction of overall inflammation, might help re-build that gut lining and support tissue growth and cellular repair.
- Injury repair: Type 1 and 3 collagen is highly involved in the repair process of the tissues after an injury. It creates cross-links and stabilizes the repair site. Studies suggest that tendon injuries and wounds may have a shorter time to recovery after collagen supplementation, given that collagen is the primary building block for these tissues.
Collagen supplements may improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness. They may also help increase muscle mass, prevent bone loss, and relieve joint pain.
People have reported many other benefits of collagen supplements, but these claims haven’t been studied much.
Although several foods contain collagen, it’s unknown whether the collagen in food offers the same benefits as supplements.
Collagen supplements are generally safe, quite easy to use, and definitely worth trying for their potential benefits.