10 Health Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements
This is the year 2020. We are at the heights of health supplements science. Amongst the prominent supplements that are ever more popular is collagen. Collagen has been touted as an anti-aging miracle pill. It is also an effective ingredient in facial moisturisers. Right now, the use of collagen has never been more popular.
We are constantly inundated with advice and articles about collagen supplements and its amazing benefits.
But what exactly is collagen and how does it help our bodies?
Photo by Shiny Diamond from Pexels
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that is found in abundance in the human body. Our bodies need collagen to function optimally. Collagen is found in cartilage, marrow, tissue, membranes, hair and surfaces of cells. Think of collagen as something our bodies need to run like a well-oiled machine, with our joints moving smoothly and our skin looking soft and supple.
In daily active lives, it is important to ensure that our body creates enough collagen to heal and regenerate itself. This will keep us looking youthful and our joints moving smoothly.
However, as healthy as we are, there are everyday things that cause damage to the collagen in our body. These include :
- Refined Carbohydrates
- Ultraviolet Radiation (Sunlight)
Furthermore, as our bodies age, collagen production slows down. One of the signs that the body has less collagen is that our skin will lose its elasticity and we will see the start of wrinkles. We may also experience some stiffness in joints, commonly around the knee as we do a lot of walking and this will be the first to show.
Understanding the importance of collagen to the human body and how it can get damaged, we should consider collagen supplements to aid our body’s supply of collagen.
What are collagen supplements?
Collagen supplements generally are marine-based, which means it is derived from fish. These have been found to be the most abundant source of collagen.
In order to ensure that the human body can absorb this processed collagen, it has to be hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzation of the collagen means that the collagen is broken down from vital proteins to collagen peptides.
Once hydrolyzed completely, it can be made into several different forms such as tablets, capsules or powders.
Collagen supplements generally should contain at least 4 main types of collagen out of the 16 types that are produced by the human body.
- Collagen Type 1: This is the most abundant type of collagen in your body. It is responsible for your skin structure, bones, tissue, teeth, tendon and fibrous cartilage
- Collagen Type 2: This second type of collagen is commonly found in your cartilage around your joints
- Collagen Type 3: This third type of collagen brings muscle, organ and arterial structure.
- Collagen Type 4: The fourth type of collagen is mostly responsible for your skin filtration.
When choosing a collagen supplement, it is ideal that the supplements have at least three of the above, however, depending on your nutritional needs, a collagen supplement containing at least one type of collagen can be sufficient.
There is a great Japanese collagen supplement that contains multiple collagen types that can be found here, that is ideal for an overall collagen body health.
Ok, I want to try collagen supplements, what are the top ten benefits I can expect?
1. Skin Health
Collagen is very important for our skin health. As we age and our body produces less collagen, one of the first visible signs of the lack of collagen will be dry skin as well as the appearance of wrinkles. There was a study whereby women who drank collagen supplement drinks showed less skin dehydration and better skin elasticity.
Many people consume collagen supplements for overall skin health. They believe that these supplements help add elasticity and moisture back to their skin. Furthermore, taking collagen may promote the body to produce elastin and fibrillin.
Some people who have been taking collagen supplements regularly have reported that they see an obvious improvement in their skin appearance.
2. Joint Health
As we age, we will notice a huge difference in the way our joints move and respond to everyday activity. In other words, we will feel that our joints may “creak” a little more, or ache a bit more. This is because the “sponginess” of our cartilage gets more worn.
Taking collagen supplements can help with restoring joint movement, as well as stop further damage and deterioration to aging joints. It can also reduce joint pain too.
Furthermore, there has been a review showing that collagen supplements have helped osteoarthritis and osteoporosis patients restore some bone density.
3. Prevention of Bone Loss
As the human body ages, the collagen production starts to reduce, and there is a chance that osteoporosis might occur because the bones will weaken from the lack of collagen.
Again, there has been some proof that taking collagen supplements may help in the prevention of bone deterioration. A small study was done where one group was given a calcium supplement and another group was given a calcium with collagen supplement.
It was interesting to note that the group that had the extra collagen supplement showed fewer signs of bone breakdown. Researchers believe that the supplemental collagen will build up in the cartilage and thus stimulate your tissue to grow more collagen.
4. Boosting Muscle Mass
Taking collagen supplements has also been known to increase muscle mass. There have been some regular supplement users that have reported that they have “bulked up”.
There have been studies that showed that men that were given a collagen supplement mixture over 12 weeks, showed a significant improvement in muscle mass and overall strength. The theory is that the collagen supplement promoted a protein (creatine) that directly correlates with muscle growth.
5. Building a Healthy Heart
Collagen is one of the major proteins that is responsible for a strong arterial structure. Arteries are the major blood vessels that carry blood from your heart and circulate through the whole body.
When collagen production in the body has lessened, the blood vessels will become weak and fragile. This may lead to the narrowing of the arteries as one age which is known as atherosclerosis.
One surprising benefit of taking collagen supplements is that it promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. Researchers have also theorised that it can reduce heart diseases.
In a study with 31 healthy adults, they were given collagen supplements for 36 weeks. After the end of the study, it was discovered that they had a significant reduction in measured artery stiffness, compared with before the start of the supplements. On top of that, it was also discovered that their HDL (good cholesterol) actually increased.
6. Stronger Hair and Nails
Collagen helps promote healthy hair and nails in a variety of ways. The body uses amino acids in collagen to build keratin. Human hair and nails are predominantly made of keratin proteins.
A study showed that collagen also helps build strong hair and reduces brittle nails.
Collagen also contains antioxidants, which helps slow the graying of hair. As you get older, free radicals affect the generation of melanin pigments on the scalp. Antioxidants from collagen supplement can help to reduce the body’s exposure to these free radicals, thus reducing graying of the hair.
7. Managing Joint Inflammation
A key amino acid in collagen is glycine. Glycine has been shown to be anti-inflammatory. This is good news for people who suffer from chronic inflammation such as osteoarthritis. Collagen supplements also help with the growth and repair of cartilage tissue, which leads to pain relief of joint inflammations.
8. Improving your Sleep Quality
The glycine that is found in collagen has been also known to improve the overall quality of sleep. Furthermore, it improves fatigue as well as helps insomnia. Glycine works to reduce your core body temperature and this turn helps your body to relax and get into an REM (rapid eye movement) state.
9. Collagen and Brain Health
Again, the key player here is glycine, which is found in collagen supplements. Studies are showing that glycine has been improving the overall mental health of people who are taking the supplements.
These positive effects are being noted in healthy individuals who have been taking the supplements regularly. They have shown an increase in visual and verbal memory recollections, and also improved attention span. However, do note that it is still very early to say this conclusively.
10. You get a Healthier Gut
Everyone’s heard of the term ‘leaky gut’. As our age catches up to us, gut issues may present itself as well. The glycine in collagen has been known to help heal and seal the gut lining. This is in turn, helps improve our digestive system as well.
What’s the best way to take collagen?
Collagen supplements are the most convenient and practical way to get your required dose of collagen into your system.
Commonly, these supplements come in several common forms :
- Drinks (dissolved collagen)
The jury is still out on which one of these is better than the other, so the key consideration here is your preference.
Generally, capsules and tablets are the most convenient to consume, as you can take it on the go, or at the office, or at home. Powders are a bit more tricky as you need to prepare it ahead of time, either mixed into your drink or some forms of food.
Capsules and tablets are also considerably better, as they now come packed with other good nutrients as well. You can get your daily dose of collagen and also vitamins packed into a convenient capsule to go. You can find the convenient capsules here.
Collagen drinks are also a great way to get your daily dose of collagen goodness. They come prepacked in the right amounts, and suitable for people on the go.The Koreans are known for making some of the best selling collagen drinks that have all the crucial ingredients that are required for the most optimal collagen supplement.
Are there collagen supplements side effects?
Generally, taking collagen supplements following the recommended guidelines is safe. However, if you are introducing this as a new supplement into your diet, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor first.
However, the general side effects of collagen supplements are mild and may include:
- General heavy feeling in the stomach
Also, collagen supplements are generally derived from marine collagen. Please ensure that you are not allergic to shellfish or seafood. Beyond that, there should not be any further side effects to a regular adult.
The Bottom Line
Collagen is undeniably an important protein that helps build key structures in our bodies. We can also help preserve our natural collagen by reducing activities that damage collagen.
Understanding how collagen works, and why collagen supplements can help our bodies is beneficial to our overall health and cell longevity.
Once the decision is made to start on collagen supplements, it is important to buy from established health supplement stores. Purchase quality Japanese collagen and New Zealand collagen online now.
Healthline, Brianna Elliot RD, Feb 2019, Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements. [online] Available at:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits#1.-Can-improve-skin-health [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Gustava Bernardes Fanara, 2016, Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review, [online] Available at: https://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbgg/v19n1/1809-9823-rbgg-19-01-00153.pdf [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Marcus L Elam, Sarah A Johnson, Shirin Hooshmand, Rafaela G Feresin, Mark E Payton, Jennifer Gu, Bahram H Arjmandi, A Calcium-Collagen Chelate Dietary Supplement Attenuates Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women With Osteopenia: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Mar 2015, [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25314004/ [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Denise Zdzieblik, Steffen Oesser, Manfred W. Baumstark, Albert Gollhofer, Daniel König, Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial, Oct 2015, [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/ [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Naohisa Tomosugi, Shoko Yamamoto, Masayoshi Takeuchi, Hideto Yonekura, Yasuhito Ishigaki, Noriaki Numata, Shogo Katsuda, Yasuo Sakai, Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans, May 2017, [online] Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429168/ [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Doris Hexsel, Vivian Zague, Michael Schunck, Carolina Siega, Fernanda O Camozzato, Steffen Oesser, Oral Supplementation With Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Improves Nail Growth and Reduces Symptoms of Brittle Nails, Dec 2017, [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28786550/ [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Sproos, HOW TO TAKE COLLAGEN: POWDER, CAPSULES, LIQUID OR INJECTIONS?, Aug 2018, [online] Available at: https://sprooslife.com/fr/how-to-take-collagen/ [Accessed 03 June 2020]
Hyumi is a certified nutritionist under the Singapore Nutrition & Dietetic Association (SNDA), she has 8 years of professional experiences in providing health consultations & advice for clients and corporates alike, all the while researching & developing new functional ingredients for better formulation. Hyumi obtained her Degree in Food Sciences & Nutrition from University Malaysia Sabah
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