PSA: You need collagen protein! I’ll tell you why.
You may associate collagen with the popular phrase, “the fountain of youth”. But collagen is so much more than that. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body! It’s actually the glue that holds our body together as its present in our muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin. Collagen provides us with structure and elasticity, and it also helps strengthen our bones.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen but after our twenties our collagen production starts to decline. This is when our skin starts to get dry and shows fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also when we start losing muscle and our joints become achy. Although reversing this process is not possible, collagen supplementation can definitely help boost our collagen production and replenish lost collagen. Keep reading to learn why you can benefit from collagen supplementation!
Hair, Skin, and Nails
As mentioned before, collagen is popularly known as the “fountain of youth” and for good reason. When collagen declines, we lose the strength, moisture and elasticity of our skin, hair, and nails. We start showing signs of thinning hair, brittle nails, and dry and wrinkly skin. You can blame time and other factors such as sun exposure, smoking, and sugar consumption for the decline of collagen in your body.
Hair is made up of the protein, keratin. Keratin is mostly composed of the amino acid Proline, and what’s rich in Proline? You guessed it; its collagen. Collagen consumption encourages the production of keratin and thus, the creation of hair. Collagen also makes up about 70% of your dermis, the layer of your skin which contains the roots of each individual hair. So, supplementing with collagen actually strengthens your dermis, protecting it from the thinning of the hair.
There have been numerous studies to test whether collagen actually improves the appearance of the skin. It has been shown that, after three months of consumption, collagen has improved hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density of the skin. By taking collagen orally, it reaches the deep layers of the skin where it is able increase the dermal matrix and improve its physiology and appearance.
If you suffer from broken and brittle nails, collagen consumption might be for you. Collagen can increase nail growth, improve brittle nails, and decrease the frequency of broken nails. Nails are also composed of keratin, so it’s no wonder why eating collagen-rich foods and supplements can help provide more keratin and improve nail health.
Since the amount of collagen in your body decreases as you get older, your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders, such as osteoarthritis, increases. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which occurs when the cartilage of your joints starts to break down. This may lead to pain and swelling.
How does collagen fit into this equation? Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. And, since collagen is a key structural component of the cartilage, maintaining sufficient levels is essential for keeping joints healthy. Collagen also help reduce inflammation, which is the root cause of many joint disorders. By reducing inflammation, your flexibility and mobility increases.
Whether your joint pain is a result of a health condition, sports related injury, or the normal wear and tear, additional collagen has been proven to reduce pain, decrease stiffness, and reduce loss of joint range of motion.
Remember that collagen is a protein that contains the amino acids needed to fortify and grow your muscles. This protein is necessary to keep your muscles strong and functioning properly. Research has shown that consuming collagen supplements increased muscle growth and strength in people with age-related muscle mass loss.
Collagen also contains arginine and glycine, two important amino acids for the creation of creatine. Studies have shown that creatine can improve muscle mass, build strength, and support athletic performance.
Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and helps keep them strong. But, as collagen in your body deteriorates as you age, bone mass does too. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and linked with a higher risk of bone fractures. Consuming collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of bone disorders and may help lower levels of proteins in the blood that stimulate bone breakdown.
Digestion and Gut Health
Collagen contains Glycine, Glutamine, and Proline, amino acids that help with gut and digestion. Glycine in particular is effective in repairing leaky gut and in fighting systematic inflammation. Although our bodies naturally produce glycine, this limited quantity is used for essential functions of our body. So, we must supplement with enough glycine to ensure that this anti-inflammatory regulator is present in our bodies. There are studies that show that individuals with inflammatory bowel disease have less collagen in the lining of their intestines, so it makes sense that adding collagen to the diet may improve the lining of the stomach. In addition, this combination of amino acids can help the stomach absorb nutrients, increase metabolism, and support digestive health.
As we age, we have less collagen to provide a flexible, elastic and healthy blood flow through our arteries. Decreased collagen weakens our arterial walls and makes way for substances to build plaque along our artery walls. Without enough collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile. Researchers have theorized that taking collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart-related conditions by providing structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
Recovery and Performance
Let’s repeat this again: collagen is a protein. Whether you’re recovering from surgery or from an intense workout, collagen can help speed up the recovery process by providing the necessary amino acids. The high amino acid content found in collagen makes it ideal for muscle repair and recovery. By improving recovery collagen indirectly improves performance. You’re less tired, less fatigued, less hurt; thus, you’re chances of improving your performance slightly increase.
Also important to note that, as mentioned above, collagen benefits our joints, bones, and muscles, all of which contribute to athletic performance. Less pain and more strength provide an essential combination for great performance.
Believe it or not, this doesn’t even scratch the surface on all the benefits collagen protein has to offer! The key is to be consistent and take your collagen daily. Trust us, your whole body will thank you.