In recent years, collagen supplements have gained a lot of popularity in the supplement market. Recent studies have examined the effect of collagen supplementation on humans. In most cases, it is found that collagen can offer many health and skin benefits. But how safe are they? Do collagen supplements work?
Let’s find out.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of structural protein in our body that makes most of our connective tissues. It forms the connective tissues in our body including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Collagen is produced by fibrils combining three amino acids: proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. When these fibrils come together, they create larger groups and form collagen. Collagen has a cable-like structure comprising smaller bundles of protein joints together. In Collagen makes up to 33% of all protein in the human body and makes up 80% of our skin. Collagen works with another protein called elastin that improves the elasticity of our skin. But as we age, the body’s ability to produce collagen gets low.
Collagen supplements are a great way to treat skin conditions along with other health benefits. Collagen supplements are made from the same amino acids like collagen, but they are fast-absorbing. The reason is shorter chain amino acids that get easily absorbed into bloodstreams.
You can also add more collagen to your diet by including foods high in it. Good sources of collagen are protein-rich food like chicken, beef, fish, and eggshell. Bone broth is an excellent collagen-rich food that you can include in your diet.
Do collagen supplements work?
One can increase the level of collagen in their body by consuming food sources rich in it. But taking collagen is far more effective. This is because collagen supplements promote amino acids for building muscles as well as signals skin cells to make more collagen. Many studies have provided evidence of the benefits of collagen and have marked it completely safe. Taking collagen supplements may be useful in improving the health of skin, bones, and hair.
Benefits of collagen supplements
So how do collagen supplements work? Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of collagen supplements.
Promotes skin’s natural collagen and improve elasticity
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our skin known as the extracellular matrix. The primary role of collagen in your skin is to maintain its hydration, elasticity, and structure. Due to these benefits, many skin care companies use collagen in their products. However, there is a lack of enough scientific evidence for the effect of creams containing collagen. Creams may not be the best form of collagen to get all the benefits. Because collagen is produced in the dermis, a deeper layer of skin. Collagen molecules are too large to make it there. Studies suggest that collagen can improve wrinkling and elasticity of the skin. There are also some claims that taking collagen supplements can prevent acne and other skin conditions. But these claims are not supported by scientific evidence.
Alleviate joint pain
Many studies have been conducted to test whether collagen supplements work or not. And evidence has found that it can lower joint pain and treat osteoarthritis. Collagen is also one of the prominent proteins available in joint connective tissues. One study was conducted on young athletes who consumed 10mg collagen every day. By the end of the study, they showed significant improvement in joint pain.
Improve bone health
As with age, the collagen in your body declines, your bones also weaken. This can increase the risk of low bone density and lead to conditions like osteoporosis. Supplementation with collagen is known to prevent age-related bone loss and improve bone strength. In one study, two groups of women took calcium supplements with 5 grams of collagen. The other group only took calcium supplements. After 12 months, women taking calcium combined with collagen have a significantly lower bone breakdown. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25314004/
In another study, women taking a 5 grams collagen supplement daily showed an increase of up to 7% in their bone mineral density. All the evidence gives promising results, but more human studies are required to confirm the effect of collagen on bone health.
Contributes to muscle mass
Collagen is not a complete protein, but between 1-10% of muscle tissues are formed by collagen. Collagen may provide amino acids necessary to keep your muscle strength and functioning properly. Studies suggest that collagen supplements may help people who suffer from muscle loss due to age. In one study, 27 men took 15 grams of collagen combined with regular exercise for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, they gained more muscle and strength compared to the men who did not take collagen. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/
Studies suggest collagen may boost muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth after exercise. However, more research is needed to confirm how collagen impacts muscle and contributes to its growth.
Promotes heart health
Supplementing with collagen is also known to boost heart health and reduce the risk of heart conditions. Collagen provides structure to arteries that supply blood from the heart to the rest of your body. Lack of collagen may weaken the arteries and increase blood pressure levels or even lead to heart failure. Collagen may also increase HDL known as good cholesterol which is an important factor in keeping your heart healthy.
What are different types of collagen?
While there are many different types of collagen, the most common ones are types I, II, and III. These different types of collagen can be obtained by eating bone-infused food. Consuming bone-in fish, bone broth, and cartilage can help you top up collagen levels.
Let’s look at these different types of collagen more in detail:
Type I collagen
Type I collagen is the most abundant type of collagen found in the body. The Type I collagen is the most effective to preserve the collagen level in the skin, hair, or nails. The level of type I collagen begins to decline after the age of 25. Low levels of type I collagen often result in sagging skin, brittle nails, and thinning hair. It also contributes to building the structure of tendons, organs, and bones.
Type II collagen
Type II collagen is less prevalent compared to type I. It is composed of glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. But they are the main component of cartilage. It is extremely important for the skeletal system. Athletes who often rely on their joints for exercise may benefit from type II collagen. By providing support for joints, type II collagen can reduce the risk of arthritis.
Type III collagen
The third type of collagen is type III collagen. It is found in reticular fibers such as in bone marrow. Marine collagen supplements are rich in type I and type III collagen.
Type I and type III collagen is the most occurring collagen in our body. While these two are responsible for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Type III can benefit aging bodies by supporting joints and cartilage health.
Type of collagen supplement
There are two main types of collagen available in the market- Bovine and Marine. Both the collagen provides similar effects but have minor differences. Marine collagen supplement provides type I and types while bovine provides types I and III collagen.
There are also differences in how these two are sourced. Marine collagen is sourced preliminary from the skin, bones, and scales of fish. On the other hand, bovine is derived from cow skin and connective tissues. The collagen in cows is similar to the collagen we have in our bodies. Look for bovine collagen from an established company that sources its products from humanely raised cows. It is also recommended to seek clean sources with independent nutritional and quality testing.
Collagen supplements are available in the form of powders, capsules, and tablets. The powder form of collagen supplement is the most popular as it can easily be added into smoothies or water.
According to Body Transformation Coach Aditya Shrivastava, the ideal dose for collagen may range from 2.5 to 1p per gram per day. But it may vary depending on in which form you are taking it. But it is best to consume collagen supplements in moderate doses(< 30 grams per day). If you are looking to reap the skin and bone benefits of collagen, then take 10-15 grams per day.
Potential side effects:
The potential side effects of taking collagen may include unpleasant taste and heartburn. If you are allergic to supplements, you may also experience some allergic reactions. Those who are allergic to fish, eggs, or shellfish should avoid taking collagen supplements. Because collagen is made using many of these ingredients. The safety of collagen is not fully established for pregnant women, children, and nursing women. Products that claim to boost collagen production are considered drugs by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA). Some collagen products have been called out by the FDA because of their false claims. If no research evidence is provided by the collagen supplement company, they are banned from the market.
AnExtraRep is a body transformation and fitness agency headed by Aditya Shrivastava. Aditya is into bodybuilding for the last 19 years and is known for his practical and solid knowledge.
He is also a certified fitness trainer with I.S.S.A.
Over the last 9 years, his company has been Transforming over 2000 people every year from body to mindset about fitness.
Aditya helps those who want to stay fit. Not only looking in great shape but also disease-free with a happier lifestyle.
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