Collagen, in recent years, has become a much talked about substance. Indeed, if you are one bit interested in the health of your skin, you’ve probably heard of collagen. The latter is a protein that occurs naturally in the body. This protein, made up of amino acids, is the most abundant in the human body.
Collagen has a dual function. Its main action is to fix calcium on the bones, thus helping to preserve the joints and prevent osteoarthritis.
But collagen is also beneficial for the skin. In fact, it allows the tissues of the epidermis to regenerate and preserve their elasticity.
As we age, the body produces less collagen, which affects the skin, weakens the bones, and promotes certain diseases. Thankfully, there are today collagen supplements and activators that you can take to guarantee that you have a sufficient supply of this important protein.
Main Health Benefits of Collagen
1. Repairs and protects the skin
Collagen takes on an important role in maintaining the elasticity of the skin and its hydration. It most notably firms up the skin while reducing the formation and appearance of wrinkles.
The consumption of a collagen supplement makes it possible to improve the elasticity of the skin and in particular of the face. This was demonstrated by a study carried out in 2014 on a group of women aged 35 to 55 years.
2. Maintains joint health
Collagen maintains the integrity of cartilages, these elastic connective tissues that line the joints. With the decrease in collagen production, the joints become more prone to inflammation and joint degeneration contributing to pain and loss of movement. Taking collagen slows down this degradation and helps support the body during joint injuries.
3. Support bone health
Bones are mainly made of collagen on which minerals are deposited. In order to support the structure and strength of your bones, maintaining an optimal level of collagen is paramount. It is a supplement that is too infrequently recommended in cases of osteoporosis and fracture, yet it is essential for bone health.
4. Promotes cardiovascular health
Collagen ensures the strength and flexibility of the arteries. Without an optimal level of collagen, the arteries can weaken, which offers a favorable ground for the development of cardiovascular diseases including arteriosclerosis. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation maintains arterial health.
5. Prevents osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
Because of its purported benefits to bone tissue, collagen has also been tested to reduce the onset and progression of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Osteoporosis causes a decrease in bone tissue in postmenopausal women. This is a natural phenomenon, but nonetheless disabling when bone strength is excessively affected.
In order to overcome this inconvenience, it is common to prescribe calcitonin, a hormone aimed at preserving bone tissue. A study was thus conducted by combining the intake of calcitonin with the intake of 10 g of collagen per day.
Carried out in 108 postmenopausal women, this study demonstrated that the daily intake of collagen increases and prolongs the effect of calcitonin. It would therefore seem that collagen can have a protective effect on bone tissue for postmenopausal women.
6. Promotes digestive health
Large amounts of collagen are present in the connective tissue of the intestines. An important decrease in this protein can lead to disorders of the digestive sphere.
Indeed, the collagen found in the connective tissue of the intestine supports and strengthens the protective lining of the digestive tract. Its role is crucial since changes in the function of the gut barrier allow unwanted particles to enter the blood. This is the leaky gut syndrome that causes chronic inflammation.
In 2003, a study of 170 people with inflammatory bowel disease showed that they were more likely to have lower than normal serum collagen levels.
While research on these direct effects of collagen supplementation on the digestive system is currently limited, the fact remains that the few data available suggest that increased collagen consumption would be beneficial for tissues that line the digestive tract.
7. Necessary for proper functioning of muscles
Muscular health is necessary for the proper functioning of the body, in particular for strength, endurance but also postural health. Collagen makes up about 10% of muscle tissue. Thus, taking collagen promotes the development of muscle mass and its maintenance in addition to allowing better recovery during intense training or muscle injury.
8. Strengthens hair and nails
Collagen is an important protein for the strength of hair and nails. Studies have shown that taking collagen reduces the fragility of nails and hair by 42% in addition to accelerating their growth.
9. May reduce cellulite
Although cellulite results from a normal skin aging process, it is a concern for 80-90% of women. Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplementation can help reduce this issue.
Cellulite occurs when the layer of fat under the skin puts pressure on the connective tissue. This ultimately creates a dimpled appearance often referred to as orange peel. While cellulite is normal, it is often a self-confidence issue for many people.
A study carried out in 2015, with a supplement of type I collagen peptides, demonstrated an improvement in skin texture in a group of women aged 24 to 50 years. The improvement measures were carried out after 6 months of daily intake.
If this study is obviously insufficient to draw definitive conclusions, it nevertheless opens the way to the usefulness of a collagen supplement to reduce the visible dimpling of cellulite.
5 ways to take collagen to maximize its benefits
To benefit from the properties of collagen, it is recommended to supplement the body with collagen since the latter slows down its production over the years. Depending on your diet and your convictions, you will have to choose from the following 5 options:
From food sources
Food is a good primary source of collagen. Some foods naturally contain it, such as bone broth, chicken, and pork skin. Other foods provide important nutrients that stimulate collagen formation including vitamin C, glycine, and proline.
By adopting a diet rich and varied in animal and vegetable proteins (meat, fish, nuts, legumes) and in fruits and vegetables providing vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, green vegetables, squash, berries) you will support the formation of natural collagen.
However, over time the body synthesizes nutrients less well into collagen. This is why we must turn to a food supplement that is highly assimilable and bioavailable.
Using bovine collagen powder
Highly digestible and more affordable than some other options, bovine collagen is more often sold in a hydrolyzed form. This soluble white powder mixes well with many beverages, including smoothies, juices, matcha tea, or coffee.
Using marine collagen powder
This collagen comes from the skin of fish. This is an efficient way to get a source of highly digestible collagen without contributing to mass cattle rearing. Make sure that the marine collagen comes from a wild and sustainable fishery. Like bovine collagen, the intake of marine collagen should be 5g to 12g per day to ensure its effectiveness.
From plant collagen substitutes
Collagen substitutes are mineral and herbal formulas that support the natural production of collagen in the body. These formulas are generally vegan and gluten-free. This is particularly the case with Bambousil, a plant formula based on bamboo silica, vitamins, and minerals.
Using collagen activators
Collagen activators stimulate and activate collagen-generating cells, fibroblasts. The secret to this method of activation is its chemical formula, choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (ch-OSA).
Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of collagen activators such as Biosil. This is a vegan and environmentally friendly way to maintain a healthy youthful body.
Video Summary – Main Health Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the animal kingdom. It is present in all the connective tissues of the human body (skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) to which it gives cohesion. It, therefore, acts as a kind of internal mesh allowing to maintain the soft tissues.
The benefits of collagen have been recognized in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia. However, in the West, it was not until the 19th century that collagen and the resulting gelatin attracted the interest of scientists.
Today, collagen supplements are used to promote skin health, strengthens the bones, and even prevent cardiovascular diseases.
If you have taken collagen supplements recently, let us know in the comment section what the experience was like. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family.
Born in London, England and raised in Orlando, FL, Elena graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelors’ degree in Health Sciences. She later received her masters’ in Creative Writing from Drexel University. She writes part-time for the Scientific Origin and focuses mostly on health related issues.