Skin, bones and joints: 6 Benefits of collagen supplements
08/10/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Skin, bones and joints: 6 Benefits of collagen supplements

Collagen is the most common protein in the human body. In fact, roughly 25–35 percent of all proteins in your body are collagen. It’s a crucial component of your bones, skin and muscles, to name a few. Put simply, it is the glue that holds your body together.

Your body naturally produces collagen. But as you age, it starts to produce less collagen. It’s the reason why you’ll get things like wrinkles, sagging skin and thinning hair in later life.

The good news is, you can boost your body’s collagen levels by taking high-quality collagen supplements. In recent years, collagen supplements have become widely popular. Most supplements are hydrolyzed, which means that the collagen has been broken down so that it’s easier for the body to absorb.

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Health benefits of collagen supplements

From skin and bones to gut health, here’s how collagen supplements boost your health and well-being:

  1. Maintain healthy, radiant skin – Collagen makes up 75 percent of your skin’s dry weight. It helps keep your skin healthy by maintaining elasticity. A 2015 study also showed that collagen peptides, a form of collagen supplement, helps hydrate the skin.
  2. Relieve joint pain – Collagen is a key component of cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that cushions your joints. As your body produces less collagen, your risk of developing joint conditions like osteoarthritis increases. Luckily, studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain.
  3. Maintain strong bones – Collagen gives your bones structure and keeps them strong and healthy. According to a 2018 study, taking collagen peptides helps maintain optimal bone mineral density by stimulating healthy bone formation.
  4. Support muscle growth – Most collagen supplements contain the amino acids glycine and arginine. They support healthy muscle growth and are also used by your body to make creatine, a compound that provides your muscles with energy to perform quick, short bursts of activity, like sprinting and weightlifting.
  5. Lower risk of atherosclerosis – Collagen gives structure to your arteries. Without enough collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile, raising your risk of atherosclerosis. This disease is marked by narrowed arteries and may lead to heart attack and stroke. Luckily, some studies have shown that supplementing with collagen helps in maintaining healthy arteries.
  6. Support a healthy digestive system – Collagen maintains the integrity of your intestinal wall so that toxins and harmful bacteria can’t escape and wreak havoc inside the body.

How to take collagen

Collagen supplements are digestible forms of collagen, which are derived from animals like cows, chickens and fish. Popular supplements you may encounter include hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides and gelatin.

  • Hydrolyzed collagen – All collagen supplements have been hydrolyzed to a degree to make them easier to absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen is also sometimes labeled collagen hydrolysate.
  • Collagen peptides – Collagen peptides are produced through a process called hydrolysis, which breaks down the collagen into more digestible pieces.
  • Gelatin – Gelatin is a mixture of amino acid chains. It forms when collagen is heated slowly. Put simply, gelatin is cooked collagen.

Collagen supplements come in various forms, including pills, tonics, drinks and powders. Powders are best because they deliver the most potent amount of collagen, and they blend easily into many foods and drinks.

You can add collagen powder to the following:

  • Water – Stir a scoop of powder into a cup of cold water.
  • Nut milk – Make your morning cup of milk healthier by adding a scoop of collagen powder.
  • Hot chocolate – Collagen powder dissolves easily when added to hot drinks like tea and hot chocolate.
  • Protein shake – Enjoy a healthier pre- or post-workout protein shake by adding collagen powder.
  • Pancakes – Add a scoop of collagen powder to your pancake batter.
  • Soup – Use collagen powder to thicken your favorite soups.
  • Eggs – Add a scoop of collagen powder to your scrambled eggs.
  • Yogurt – Stir a spoonful of collagen powder into your yogurt for a healthy afternoon snack.

When buying collagen supplements, opt for brands that describe in detail where their collagen comes from, such as the animal and the country or region, be it on their packaging or website. A quality supplement will also note what type of collagen it contains (type I, II or III), as well as its amino acid profile.

As with most things, make sure the collagen supplement is clean. This means it should have no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and other fillers.

Collagen is a key structural protein found throughout your body, including your skin, bones, tendons and nails. To naturally boost your collagen levels, incorporate high-quality collagen supplements into your diet.

Sources:

EcoWatch.com

OnlineLibrary.Wiley.com

MDPI.com

CBSupplements.com

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