Collagen comes from the Greek word “kola” which means glue, and “gen”, which means producing. It is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in bones, hair, cartilage, tendons, skin tissue, gut, muscles, and blood vessels. It makes up 1/3 of the human body, and there are about 16 types of collagens, but the human body contains mostly type 1, 2, and 3.
Benefits of taking Collagen Supplements
Numerous medical advantages are asserted and clinically proven with medical trials. Here’s a list with the most important health benefits:
Improved skin health
A considerable number of individuals who take collagen supplements do so for the advantages to the skin. Collagen supplements can boost moisturizing levels, skin flexibility, and decrease the appearance and severity of wrinkles and fine lines in the process. This contribute to slow down the aging process of the skin. An inspection reported in the Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals studied how drinking a collagen supplement containing hydrolyzed collagen led to a significant improvement in the skin's flexibility and hydration (1).
Hair strength and hair loss
Collagen can battle tissue damage brought about by free radicals. These unstable substances can hurt your proteins and DNA. They can also harm your hair follicles. Thus, the body needs cell reinforcements to create new healthy tissue, and that’s where collagen comes in.
2-12% of our muscles are made from collagen. This protein contributes to maintain the shape and facilitate their function. Researchers have found that collagen may have a significant effect in muscle growth, just like creatine after exercise. Clinical studies confirm that collagen supplements prolong muscle development and quality in individuals with age-related muscle mass loss (2).
Contributes to bone strength
Our bones are made from minerals, collagen, and other tissues. Actually, collage gives them structure and contributes to their mineralization. Not having enough collagen leads to osteoporosis, fractures and related bone health problems. Healthy collagen supplements may assist these individuals by reducing the risk of bone mineralization issues (3).
Promotes heart health
Researchers suggest that taking collagen supplements may decrease the risk of certain heart conditions. Collagen gives structure to the blood vessels. Without an adequate collagen content, the affected tissues turn weak and fragile. It may even prompt atherosclerosis, a condition that features narrowing of the vessels and increased cardiovascular risk. Atherosclerosis can lead to stroke and myocardial infarction, but collagen can prevent the buildup of artery plaques and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (4).
Other benefits of collagen supplements
Taking collagen supplements can also contribute to cell strengthening and detoxification. Some research shows that it may even help you when you’re trying to lose weight, along with a proper diet and exercise. In this regard, your skin elasticity improves and the so-feared cellulite after won’t be so severe after losing weight (5) Also, some studies suggest that collagen improves brain health and helps neurons work faster, improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (6).
- Borumand, M., & Sibilla, S. (2015). Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, 4(1), 47.
- Zdzieblik, D., Oesser, S., Baumstark, M. W., Gollhofer, A., & König, D. (2015). Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(8), 1237-1245.
- Elam, M. L., Johnson, S. A., Hooshmand, S., Feresin, R. G., Payton, M. E., Gu, J., & Arjmandi, B. H. (2015). A calcium-collagen chelate dietary supplement attenuates bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteopenia: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of medicinal food, 18(3), 324-331.
- Tomosugi, N., Yamamoto, S., Takeuchi, M., Yonekura, H., Ishigaki, Y., Numata, N., ... & Sakai, Y. (2016). Effect of collagen tripeptide on atherosclerosis in healthy humans. Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis, 36293.
- Schunck, M., Zague, V., Oesser, S., & Proksch, E. (2015). Dietary supplementation with specific collagen peptides has a body mass index-dependent beneficial effect on cellulite morphology. Journal of medicinal food, 18(12), 1340-1348.
- Cheng, J. S., Dubal, D. B., Kim, D. H., Legleiter, J., Cheng, I. H., Yu, G. Q., ... & Mucke, L. (2009). Collagen VI protects neurons against Aβ Nature neuroscience, 12(2), 119-121.