What is Collagen and How does it Benefit you?

Collagen is common in beauty products such as serums and skin creams and is increasingly popular in joint-support supplements. In this blog, we will explore what collagen is, how it benefits you, and ways to add collagen to your daily diet.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is abundantly distributed in your body. It is a key component of skin, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The main function of collagen is to provide structure, strength, and elasticity to these tissues, making it essential for overall health and well-being.

There are many different types of collagen, but the most common are Types I, II, and III. Type I collagen is found in skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments, while Type II collagen is found in cartilage. Type III collagen is found in skin, muscles, and blood vessels.

Collagen production naturally decreases as we age, which can lead to wrinkles, joint pain, and other signs of aging.

How Collagen Benefits You 

1. Improves Skin Health: Collagen is a crucial component of our skin, and its production decreases as we age. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to improve skin elasticity, hydration, and overall appearance, reducing wrinkles and fine lines. A 2020 randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study collagen was found to improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles among participants after 12 weeks of supplementation . Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study  found that oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides improved skin elasticity, moisture, and reduced water loss from skin and roughness. The study was observed on women aged 35-55, supplemented with 2.5 - 5 grams of collagen hydrolysate for eight weeks.

2. Relieves Joint Pain: Collagen is an essential component of cartilage, which is the connective tissue that cushions joints. Your body loses collagen with increasing age and as a result, joints become more stiff leading to swollen joints and pain during movement. Studies show that supplementing with collagen helps reduce joint pain and improve joint function in people with osteoarthritis and other joint disorders. A double-blind placebo controlled; randomized study found that collagen in its hydrolyzed form was easily absorbed and acted as a therapeutic agent in managing osteoarthritis and joint-related disorders.

3. Promotes hair growth: Collagen is the fundamental building block of hair, nails and skin. A 2015  preliminary study on collagen supplementation indicated collagen VI a type of collagen present in the extracellular level, can promote hair growth in wound-induced hair damage. A further study that used a double-blind, placebo-controlled approach found that women in the adult stage who supplemented with collagen exhibited enhancements in their hair's overall volume, scalp coverage, and hair body thickness after a period of 90 days. Furthermore, there were additional improvements observed after 180 days, including enhanced hair shine, increased retention of skin moisture, and improved skin smoothness.

Other benefits of collagen

4. Builds Muscle Mass: Collagen is also found in muscle tissue, where it helps to maintain muscle strength and mass. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to increase muscle mass and improve muscle strength in older adults.

5. Promotes Heart Health: Collagen is a key component of blood vessels, and supplementing with collagen has been shown to improve heart health by reducing artery stiffness and increasing blood flow.

6. Supports Digestive Health: Collagen is also found in the lining of the digestive tract, where it helps to maintain the integrity of the gut lining. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut and improve gut health.

What causes you to lose collagen?

While aging is one of the primary reasons for the loss of collagen, other factors can accelerate collagen loss as well. A diet high in processed foods such as sugar, prolonged sun exposure, and smoking can deplete the body’s collagen reserves. Genetic defects such as the inability of the body to make enough collagen from dietary proteins can also be a factor for some people.

However, there are ways to support collagen production, such as diet, lifestyle choices, and supplements.

Which foods are high in collagen?
You can get collagen from a variety of animal sources and taking some plant sources also help boost collagen production in the body. Animal sources include bovine, chicken.

Bovine collagen: Bovine collagen refers to collagen that is derived from the skin, bones, or cartilage of cows. It is a common source of collagen used in dietary supplements and cosmetic products due to its abundance and effectiveness. Bovine collagen is rich in type I and type III collagen, which are the most abundant types found in the human body. Bovine collagen is typically hydrolyzed, meaning that it has been broken down into smaller molecules that are more easily absorbed by the body. This makes it a popular ingredient in many collagen supplements and functional foods. However, it's important to ensure that bovine collagen is sourced from reputable and sustainable sources to ensure the highest quality and safety.

Chicken collagen: This is type 2 collagen and best for building cartilage and it provides glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate two key ingredients in joint health.

Fish collagen: Fish collagen is a type of collagen derived from fish skin and scales. It is rich in type I collagen, which is the most abundant type in your body.

Egg shell collagen: Egg shell membrane collagen is a type of collagen that is derived from the membrane that lines the inside of eggshells. It is known to be rich in type I, V, and X collagens, which can help support joint health and reduce inflammation.

Why You Should Consider Collagen Supplements

While collagen is found naturally in many foods, such as bone broth, meat, and fish, it can be challenging to consume enough to support optimal collagen production. Additionally, cooking methods can destroy collagen, making it even more challenging to get enough through diet alone.

Collagen supplements offer an easy and convenient way to support collagen production, with many different types and forms available. Collagen supplements can be found in powder, capsule, and liquid form, making it easy to incorporate into your supplement routine.

When choosing a collagen supplement, it's essential to look for one that is high-quality, with no added fillers or artificial ingredients. Look for supplements that are made from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals and that are hydrolyzed, which means that the collagen has been broken down into smaller, more easily absorbed molecules.

Here are some recommendations for high-quality collagen supplements

Collagen Peptide Capsules by Vital Proteins: If you are looking for a convenient way to increase your collagen intake, Vital Proteins’ collagen peptide capsules are for you. The collagen peptides are derived from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine. A serving size of 6 capsules provides 3.3 grams of collagen peptide along with 3 grams of protein from bovine hide. The recommended dosage is to take 6 capsules two times a day.

Collagen Forte Caps by Douglas laboratories: One way to improve collagen intake is to supply the body with the right building blocks that naturally help with collagen production. Douglas Laboratories Collagen Forte Capsules are for those people who want to boost their body’s ability to make collagen naturally. Collagen Forte capsules supplies significant amounts of vitamin C, L-Lysine, and L-Proline all of which help support healthy collagen synthesis. The suggested dosage is to take 5 capsules daily with meals or as directed by the physician. A serving of five capsules provides 2000 mg vitamin C, 1000 mg of L-Lysine HCI, 200 mg of L-Proline, and 25 mg of L-Threonine. Along with vitamin C, these three amino acids help improve the body’s collagen production.

Collagen JS by Pure Encapsulations: Collagen JS is a gluten-free, non-GMO, hypoallergenic supplement that supports healthy joints and skin. The supplement is a multi-molecule collagen complex which is assimilated by the body. Multi-molecular collagen refers to a collagen supplement that contains various types of collagen molecules, typically types I, II, III, and sometimes additional types, such as V and X. Different types of collagens have unique molecular structures and functions. For example, type I collagen is the most abundant type in the body and is responsible for providing strength and structure to skin, bones, and tendons. Type II collagen, on the other hand, is found primarily in cartilage and is essential for maintaining its elasticity and shock-absorbing properties. By supplementing with multi-molecular collagen, individuals can benefit from the unique properties of each type of collagen molecule. This may include improved skin elasticity, joint health, and bone density. Collagen JS provides Biocell Collagen hydrolyzed collagen complex from chicken sternal cartilage which provides 60% hydrolyzed collagen. The recommended dosage is 2 capsules, 1-2 times daily with meals and enough water. 

There is no doubt that collagen is a crucial component of our bodies and plays a vital role in overall health and well-being. Supplementing with collagen can improve skin health, relieve joint pain, build muscle mass, promote heart health, and support digestive health.

If you are looking for an easy and convenient way to support collagen production, consider adding a collagen supplement to your supplement routine. Look for high-quality supplements made from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals and that are hydrolyzed for maximum absorption. With consistent use, you may start to notice the many benefits of collagen supplementation, from improved skin health to reduced joint pain and beyond. It is important to remember to note that while collagen supplements may provide some benefits, they should not be used as a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet.