8 Vital Benefits of Collagen on Your Optimal Health
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It plays a significant role in human well-being as it improves the skin, arteries, joints, muscles, and other essential aspects of our organism.
As we age, our body naturally reduces the creation of collagen, which may have certain consequences – joint pain, skin dryness, muscle stiffness, and more. Apart from eating foods rich in protein, you are encouraged to take supplements that boost collagen levels and contribute to its production. They are generally free of side-effects, and their benefits are numerous.
Let’s learn more about the role of collagen and its benefits to people’s overall health.
Collagen is one of the most plentiful proteins in our organism. It is considered the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue throughout the body and has a vital role in the skin, bone, muscle, tendon, and ligament health.
When our body lacks collagen, we may start to feel certain inconveniences such as skin dryness, wrinkles, joint pain, and difficulties while performing athletic or everyday activities. Since our bodies cannot produce collagen quickly enough, we need something to boost it and maintain its optimal levels – collagen supplements, for example.
Types of Collagen
It is believed that our body consists of at least 16 types of collagen, but the four of them are considered the most important:
- Type 1: This type provides structure to bones, tendons, joints, cartilage, connective tissue, skin, and teeth.
- Type 2: This type is found in elastic cartilage, which cushions our joints.
- Type 3: It is vital for supporting the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
- Type 4: The fourth type helps with filtration and is located in the skin layers.
Collagen peptides are made of the same amino acids as collagen. They are found in supplements, and they are more easily absorbed by our bodies, which is crucial for obtaining the expected results.
Almost every form of collagen supplements – powder, capsules, and gummies – uses collagen peptides as the main ingredient. The reason for that lies in high solubility, easy absorption, and the abundance of amino acids and vitamins our body receives through collagen peptides.
Benefits of Collagen Powder
Although collagen supplements come in different forms, we will focus on collagen powder. It is the most commonly used supplement for many reasons, and since it is often rich in types 1 and 3, it is easy to absorb in the bloodstream.
One of the most significant benefits of powdered collagen lies in its versatility since you can easily add it to many different foods, beverages, and baked goods. Make sure you choose a flavorless and odorless powder in order not to spoil the original taste of your meals.
Health benefits of collagen are diverse, especially since it helps improve many different aspects of our health. Let’s see how it impacts each of them:
1. Collagen Benefits for Skin
Collagen is significantly beneficial for the skin, considering the fact that it makes up 75-80% of the entire organ. It promotes the skin glow, hydration, and youth, and it is quite essential for preventing the onset of wrinkles.
Prevents Wrinkles and Reduces Acne
The truth is that collagen supplements (or any anti-aging wrinkle cream) won’t reverse wrinkles or give you a smooth, baby skin overnight, they can help you improve your skin health and prevent its further damage. Collagen is also vital for skin elasticity since it is high in antioxidants that protect the skin’s texture from the external influences.
Recent studies also indicate the collagen benefits for acne reduction, which is essential for those who have skin problems on their faces.
2. Collagen Benefits for Hair
Apart from keeping your skin fresh and healthy, collagen is also beneficial for your hair. Our hair is made up of keratin – a vital protein that impacts your hair quality and growth. To build keratin, your body uses various amino acids and other proteins, some of which can be found in collagen.
Collagen powder can promote hair growth and improve many hair-related conditions provoked by collagen deficiency.
Prevents Damages to Hair Follicles
Collagen acts as an antioxidant and fights damage provoked by free radicals. These free radicals come as a result of stress, smoking, poor diet, pollution, alcohol, and other environmental influences, and they can harm hair follicles.
Prevents Hair Thinning
Collagen brings elasticity and strength to your dermis while preventing hair thinning. Since hair grows out of the skin, it is vital to reduce the effects of skin aging and, thus, promote better hair growth and decreased thinning. And the consumption of collagen powder can significantly help it.
Helps Slow Graying
By being incredibly rich in antioxidants, collagen is able to prevent cell damage and slow graying. Although the process of graying is primarily associated with aging, free radicals resulting from pollution and lousy lifestyle habits can also accelerate the death of the cells responsible for producing the melanin pigment that gives your hair its color.
3. Collagen Benefits for Joint Health
Joint pain can prevent us from performing many everyday demands or engaging in any physical activity. Collagen can help to combat joint stiffness while promoting the overall health of cartilage, bones, ligaments, and tendons.
Its most vital benefits for joint health include:
Stimulates Cartilage Growth
Cartilage, a firm, rubbery material that covers the end of bones in joints, tends to wear off due to aging and repeated movement. It can cause pain over time, which is why it is essential to nurture cartilage with collagen. That way, you will be able to maintain an active lifestyle and achieve your fitness goals more effortlessly.
Supports Weak Joints
Collagen promotes joint comfort, flexibility, and mobility, which is beneficial for those who experience discomfort and pain, are active athletes or suffer from arthritis.
4. Collagen Benefits for Bone Health
Collagen represents about 90% of the total bone mass. It plays a significant role in preventing the onset of osteoporosis, characterized by low bone density and associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. Collagen supplements can help inhibit bone breakdown by strengthening joints, cartilage, and other vital bone health parts.
Taken together with calcium supplement, collagen delivers much better outcomes to people experiencing particular bone conditions.
Improves Bone Mineral Density
Your collagen levels reduce as you age, as well as your bone mineral density (BMD). BMD reflects the bone strength, and it is used to test for conditions such as osteoarthritis, which causes your joints to become stiff and painful.
Regular powder collagen intake can help improve bone mineral density and prevent bone weakness that could lead to many severe conditions.
Collagen health benefits are particularly noticeable in postmenopausal women, whose bone mineral density reduces due to a decrease in estrogen.
5. Collagen Benefits for Muscles
About 1-10% of total muscle tissue consists of collagen, which plays a vital role in your muscle strength and function. Collagen supplements can help people with age-related muscle mass loss and the athletes who want to gain more muscle mass and boost their strength.
There are many benefits of taking collagen for muscles, especially for athletes. For instance:
Promotes Creatine Production
Taking collagen powder promotes the synthesis of creatine, an essential muscle protein that helps your muscles produce energy during intense workouts or heavy lifting. It enhances strength, encourages muscle gain, and improves exercise performance.
Apart from helping you gain muscle mass and boost your strength, collagen powder enhances recovery and muscle fiber regeneration due to injuries. Collagen intake can also speed the rest period and help you return to the gym sooner than expected.
Reduces Sports Injuries
Sports injuries vary from mild to severe ones, and they may cause pain and disrupt your exercise routine. Fortunately, you can lower the risk of getting injured while working out, and that includes taking collagen powder. Collagen is also exceptionally convenient for preventing ankle injuries.
6. Collagen Benefits for Heart Health
One of the most prominent collagen powder benefits lies in reducing the risk of many heart-related conditions. Essentially, collagen provides structure to the arteries and inhibits their weakening and fragility.
Other benefits of collagen peptides on heart health include:
Lowers the Risk of Arterial Stiffening
Arterial stiffening is one of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Regular collagen intake can prevent the narrowing of the arteries and make them more resistant, which leads to a lowered risk of developing atherosclerosis.
By reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, you are less prone to heart attack and stroke.
Increases the Levels of Good Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is a so-called “good cholesterol” since it helps remove other types of cholesterol from your bloodstream. The higher the HDL levels are, the lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Recent studies have shown that collagen intake helps increase the HDL levels by an average of 6%.
7. Collagen Benefits for Digestion
Collagen is incredibly beneficial for improving your gut health because it contains considerable amounts of amino acids, such as glycine, glutamine, and proline. These amino acids are vital for maintaining the health of the intestinal tract and stomach.
Here is why is collagen important for people with digestive issues:
Reduces the Signs of Leaky Gut
Leaky gut can provoke many health issues since it allows toxins, food particles, and infections to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation. Adding collagen supplements to your diet may reduce the leaky gut symptoms while supporting cellular health and tissue growth.
It is believed that glycine, which is found in collagen, has a vital role in reducing inflammation and encouraging better digestion.
8. Other Collagen Peptides Benefits
The collagen supplements benefits are different as they are encompassing almost every sphere of human health. Apart from being beneficial for hair, nails, skin, and some more complex concepts such as gut and heart, a regular collagen intake can also help you with:
Collagen has certain effects on the brain, and recent studies have concluded that it may prevent Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. This protein also contributes to the faster regeneration of the central nervous system, and it enhances the effectiveness of therapies for neurodegenerative conditions.
Some consumers have confirmed that an additional collagen intake through powders helps them reduce the signs of anxiety and stress.
Other collagen protein benefits refer to weight management. Since collagen powder is a clean protein with no additives or sweeteners, it can help keep you full while promoting satiety. That way, it can significantly help you lose weight and prevent obesity, which is a severe condition that may leave consequences on your general well-being.
Collagen also promotes oral health. It helps bind our teeth together and keep them placed in the gums. Besides, teeth loss is often associated with collagen deficiency.
Can You Take Too Much Collagen?
So far, there hasn’t been any evidence to prove adverse effects on taking too much collagen. However, you should always follow the instructions on the product label and stick with the recommended dosage. If you believe that you need more collagen than suggested, consult your doctor before taking it.
Although collagen supplement side effects are not that common, you shouldn’t take it if you are allergic to their ingredients or stick to the vegetarian or vegan diet.
Collagen supplements are generally safe because our bodies naturally produce this protein. However, there are cases when collagen is overproduced, which leads to its accumulation and the onset of a severe condition – scleroderma. The exact cause of this autoimmune disease is unknown, but you should avoid collagen supplements if you are at risk of developing it.