Benefits of Collagen Supplements
As we age, our natural collagen decreases. However, collagen supplements are available in order to maintain an ongoing supply. There are some health improvements you can take advantage of to increase your collagen levels.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in almost all the structures of your body, like your bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, muscles and connective tissues. This protein has several functions such as skin elasticity, skin hydration, supporting strong joints and joint health, bone health, and more.
We create collagen naturally, but after the age of 25, our production of natural collagen slows down and we lose more collagen than we make. A reduced level of collagen means our skin starts to lose its elasticity, wrinkles start to form and other age-related health issues start to develop.
What are Collagen Supplements?
When your body produces less natural collagen, supplements are available to increase a person’s collagen intake. The supplements are made up of a hydrolyzed collagen protein, which means that the collagen has already been broken down into peptides. This makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb. Amino acids and peptides are absorbed by the small intestine and circulate into the bloodstream to distribute the collagen throughout the body.
Why Take Collagen Supplements?
People take these supplements to add more collagen to their diets for the health benefits. The supplements are available in many forms such as topical creams, tablets, capsules, powders, liquids and even snack bars. They can be purchased without a prescription in nutritional stores, some pharmacies, or online. Most collagen supplements are produced using bones and proteins of animals, so they are not vegetarian or vegan friendly. There are supplement options for those on a plant-based diet, but make sure to do your research before making a purchase.
Types of Collagen Supplements
Not all supplements are created equal. Make sure you choose the supplement that supports your reason for taking the collagen in the first place. If you are not sure, speak with an informed associate to purchase the collagen that is right for you. Most supplements contain several types of collagen, but here are the three main types:
- Type 1 is one of the most abundant natural types of collagen and supports healthy skin, muscles, bones, hair and nails.
- Type 2 is primarily present in cartilage and helps support joint health.
- Type 3 improves skin elasticity and aids in supporting healthy muscles, bones, hair and nails.
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Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Scientists have not fully studied all the benefits of collagen supplements. Based on some research, here are some of the potential health benefits.
Enhancing Skin Health
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your skin, making up 80% of your body’s largest organ. Collagen and the skin’s elastic tissue are found in the middle layer of your skin, which gives skin its firmness. When skin starts to show effects of aging, like wrinkles, dryness and sagging, some people take collagen supplements for its anti-aging properties to improve the overall look and health of their skin. Some studies say that collagen supplements help hydrate the skin to reduce the look of wrinkles and encourage skin elasticity and overall smoothness.
Supplements help your skin repair itself and encourages your body to start forming new collagen. Avoid the topical form of the supplement to treat your skin. It is not as effective in treating signs of aging since the collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by all skin layers.
Improving Joint Health
Those who have pain, stiffness, or inflammation in their joints may consider taking collagen supplements to ease discomfort. Cartilage, the lubricating cushion between joints, starts to wear away with old age or with conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Collagen supplements can promote joint health, improve flexibility, restore bone density and can help restore or prevent further deterioration of cartilage by creating better cushion for the joint. Improved joint health generally lends itself to better mobility which encourages people to move more. In turn, this means that people are being more active and are therefore become healthier overall.
Maintaining a Healthy Gut
If you have digestive issues, collagen may be able to ease some of your discomfort. Some health practitioners believe that collagen has anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial for treating digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut. There are indications that amino acids can treat, and possibly prevent, inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders by helping rebuild the lining of the intestine. More research is needed to determine how effective collagen supplements are with encouraging gut health.
Preventing Bone Loss
Like many parts of the body, bones can weaken over time as a person loses their natural collagen protein. Collagen makes up a large part of bone structure and helps bones stay strong and supported. Some research supports that collagen supplements may help prevent deterioration of bone density and strength. To aid in bone health, type 1 or type 3 collagen supplements are recommended.
Supporting Heart Health
Collagen supplements may also help support a healthy heart. More research is required to determine any direct effects of collagen supplements on the cardiovascular system, but there is speculation that supplements may reduce artery stiffness and bad cholesterol levels.
Other Potential Benefits:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing anxiety
- Increasing muscle mass
- Lessening skin conditions like acne
- Improving mood
- Promoting healthy nail and hair growth
- Improving liver health
- Diminishing the look of cellulite
- Improving the body’s ability to heal wounds
Collagen supplements may help you with a variety of health concerns that you may have. The research into the effectiveness of collagen supplements is ongoing, but many users confirm that these supplements have health benefits that work.