Everything You Need to Know About Collagen Supplements

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Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s found everywhere, bones, hair, tendons, and muscles. A lot of people want to give their bodies a boost of it and turn to supplements. They often add vegan collagen powder to their coffee or smoothie in the morning or take pills to strengthen their bones, hair and muscles. This is one of the most popular supplements recently and its industry is on the rise.

What’s Collagen?

Collagen is the foundation of our body, and it creates its structure. It’s a vital part of our connective tissue and is crucial in binding the cells of the body together. Plus, it makes our skin elastic and strong. As people get older their body produces less and less collagen and they decide to start using healthy collagen supplements. It’s mainly composed of 3 amino acids: proline, glycine and hydroxyproline and they make up the recognisable triple-helix structure of collagen.

woman drinking collagen
Source: self.com

Types of Collagens

Overall, there are 28 types of collagens in our body that have different structures. The majority of them are made of fibrils. These fibrils are thin and long structures that are very flexible and strong. The 4 most common ones are types 1-4. Type 1 is the most common one and is found in all connective tissues. It accounts for almost 90% of the total amount of collagen in our body.

You can find type 2 in the joints and the disks in the spine called intervertebral disks. Type 3 is responsible for your skin and blood vessels. It’s the main part of the reticular fibres. And finally, type 4 is found in the kidneys, eye lens and inner ear.

How Do Supplements Work?

Although collagen is present in significant amounts in our bodies, it has turned into a popular dietary supplement. It promises to enhance hair, skin, and nails, which are essential for us as humans. People like the idea of consuming a supplement without any side effects and slowing down their aging process. Since 2014, we have witnessed increased research for collagen all over the world.

The first products to contain collagen were skin creams and serums. Dermatologists have questioned their efficacy as a topical treatment because collagen is naturally present in the deeper layers of the skin and not on its surface. This is where supplements came into play. They come in many shapes and forms such as powders, pills and a lot of foods.

These supplements are filled with amino acids and will sometimes have additional nutrients. These are always nutrients that help in the repair of our skin, hair and bones, such as zinc, vitamin C or biotin. When you consume the supplements, they get absorbed into your body by the small intestine. After that, they travel all over your body and boost the body’s natural collagen production.

What Are the Benefits?

Improves Skin Health

Your skin contains a lot of collagen. It contributes to its suppleness, moisturizing, and strength. As you get older, you produce less collagen, and this causes wrinkles and dry skin. But many studies have found that collagen supplements might help in slowing down the ageing process by minimising wrinkles and dryness.

collagen improves skin health
Source: organixx.com

They stimulate the body’s production of collagen and other proteins that are good for your skin. The hydrolysed collagen inside the supplements is broken down into small pieces and it gets absorbed faster, leaving your skin moisturised, healthy and strong. The dosage may vary from one person to another, but 2.5-15g a day for 8 weeks is the overall accepted amount.

Relieves Joint Pain

The main tissue that protects your joints is called cartilage. It needs collagen to keep you healthy and protected. As you get older you may develop joint disorders because of a lack of collagen. By taking supplements you prevent this from happening. You can also relieve and improve any symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint stiffness.

Prevents Bone Loss

Collagen gives your bones structure and strength, and you may experience bone mass deterioration after a certain age. This leads to low bone density which means a higher risk of bone fractures. By consuming healthy collagen supplements you aid the bones in remaining stronger and healthier for a longer time.

Promotes Thick Hair and Healthy Nails

While more women experience hair thinning or loss as they age, more males tend to go bald. In one study, ladies with thinning hair who took daily collagen supplements noticed considerable improvements in its quantity, thickness, and coverage. Evidently, getting healthy, strong hair with natural products in a short period of time was a win.

Collagen will also help you if you have thin nails that break easily or don’t grow very fast. You’ll get stronger and healthier nails in just a few weeks.

Increases Muscle Mass

The combination of vegan collagen powder and strength training can help you increase your muscle mass and overall strength. This kind of supplementation is also very beneficial for people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass after a certain age. You’ll also promote the synthesis of creatine and get more muscle mass.

man working out his arms
Source: jackcityfitness.com

Other Benefits

There’s a theory that collagen supplements reduce the risk of heart disease because it gives structure to your arteries. It makes them flexible and elastic and prevents them from narrowing down. It can also improve gut health and treat leaky gut syndrome. There are suggestions it works on your brain health, improves your mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety.

Food Sources

The best food that contains a lot of collagens are meats full of connective tissues such as pot roast, chuck steak and briskets. You can also find it in every type of fish, especially their skin and bones. Many people are turning to bone broth. They make it by simmering the animal bones with a little vinegar for up to 24 hours. This process releases collagen and minerals from the bones.

Eating chicken with its skin on is also a good collagen source. Gummy candy is also an alternative. It may not be the healthiest source, but it’s made from gelatine which is actually made from hydrolysed collagen. You can also find it in every berry, broccoli, aloe vera juice, tropical fruit, citrus fruits, garlic, beans, cashews, tomatoes and much more.