Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It is the main component of connective tissues that make up many parts of the body, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.
Collagen has many important functions, including structuring your skin and strengthening your bones.
There are 28 types of collagen, but here are the four most common:
Type I: the most common type, present in all connective tissues.
Type II: Present in joints and intervertebral discs (the cushions that act as shock absorbers for the spine).
Type lll: the main component of reticular fibers, found in skin and blood vessels.
Type IV: component of the kidneys, inner ear and lens.
In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down to facilitate its absorption. These supplements mostly come in powder form but are also available in capsules. The types of collagen found in supplements vary – some contain one or two, while others contain up to five. Several foods can naturally increase your collagen intake, including pork skin and bone broth.
Foods containing collagen
Foods that contain gelatin, such as bone broth, provide collagen. Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen after it is cooked. Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals. Thus, foods like chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish are sources of collagen. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen. It is therefore necessary to ensure that you consume foods rich in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, broccoli and peppers.
More research is needed to determine if eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen levels in your body, as they may not have the same benefits as supplements. Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides. However, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, so it is believed to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from food.
Health Benefits of Collagen Supplements
1. May Improve Skin Health
Collagen is a major component of your skin. It plays a role in strengthening the skin, as well as in its elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, which leads to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen can help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness. An analysis of 11 studies involving mostly women found that taking 3–10 grams of collagen daily for an average of 69 days helped improve skin elasticity and hydration. These supplements may work by stimulating your body to produce collagen on its own. Additionally, collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin. There are also many anecdotal claims that collagen supplements help prevent acne and other skin problems, but these are not supported by scientific evidence.
2. May relieve joint pain
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, the rubbery tissue that protects your joints. As the amount of collagen in your body decreases with age, your risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases. Some studies suggest that collagen supplements may help improve osteoarthritis symptoms and reduce overall joint pain. An analysis of five studies involving more than 500 people with osteoarthritis found that taking approximately 10 grams of collagen daily for an average of 24 weeks resulted in significant improvements in joint stiffness and reported joint pain. researchers have hypothesized that collagen supplements can build up in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to produce collagen. In turn, this can lead to less inflammation, better joint support and reduced pain. If you want to try collagen supplements for their potential pain-relieving effects, most research suggests you’ll see an effect with 10 grams per day.
3. May Prevent Bone Loss
Your bones are mostly made up of collagen, which gives them structure and strength. Just as your body’s collagen deteriorates with age, so does bone mass. This can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and a higher risk of fractures. Studies indicate that collagen supplements may help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis. In a 12-month study, women took either a calcium supplement with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium supplement without collagen daily. At the end of the study, those taking the calcium and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of bone-breaking proteins than those taking only the calcium. Another study found similar results in 66 women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months. Those who took collagen showed an increase in their bone mineral density (BMD) of up to 7% compared to those who did not take collagen.
4. May Boost Muscle Mass
As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is an important component of skeletal muscle. Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that occurs with age. In a 12-week study, 27 men with this condition took 15 grams of collagen while participating in a daily exercise program. Compared to men who exercised but did not take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength. Researchers have suggested that collagen supplementation may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise. However, collagen protein is no more effective than whey protein in building muscle or strength. This is because, unlike whey protein, collagen is low in essential amino acids — especially leucine — which play a key role in building muscle. More research is needed to investigate collagen’s potential to boost muscle mass.
5. May Support Heart Health
Researchers have hypothesized that collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, the arteries can become less flexible and less elastic. This can lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by narrowing of the arteries. This disease can lead to heart attack and stroke. In a 6-month study, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily. They found a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness from the start to the end of the study. In addition, their HDL (good cholesterol) levels increased by an average of 6%. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart disease, including atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, more studies on collagen supplements and heart health are needed.
6. Other Health Benefits
Collagen supplements may have other health benefits, but these have not been studied extensively.
Hair and nails
Taking collagen can increase the resistance of your nails by preventing their fragility. Plus, it can help your hair and nails grow longer.
Although there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, some health practitioners claim that collagen supplements can treat leaky gut syndrome, also known as leaky gut.
No studies have looked at the role of collagen supplements in brain health, but some people claim they improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Proponents believe collagen supplements can promote weight loss and boost metabolism. However, there are no studies to support these claims.
While these potential effects are promising, more research is needed before any formal conclusions can be drawn.
How long does it take to see results?
Collagen renewal is a slow process. As such, whatever your goal for using collagen, it will take at least 8 weeks to see visible results. Most studies use a minimum of 8 weeks to assess the effects of collagen on skin health and joint pain relief, but other studies use longer time periods, such as 12 months, for bone health.
It is therefore necessary to be patient and not to expect results for a certain time.
Oral collagen supplementation: a systematic review of dermatological applications
Cellular aging leading to osteoarthritis
Calcium-collagen chelate dietary supplement attenuates bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteopenia: a randomized controlled trial
* The information and services available on pressesante.com in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals.
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