Over the last few years, collagen has been a popular supplement choice. Simply walking into your local health store, supplement store, or even the beauty aisle can reveal a plethora of possibilities.
However, with so much publicity comes a lot of disinformation, as well as, ahem, less-than-ideal items and false claims. So we decided to take care of everything for you.
What is Collagen Supplement
Collagen is a protein family that makes up the majority of the proteins found in animals. In reality, scientists know of at least 28 different forms of collagen in vertebrates (including humans), although types I, II, and III are the most abundant in the human body.
Collagen has a simple and complicated purpose in the body (at the cellular level). It contributes to the formation of our skin, bone, cartilage, and muscle. It allows tissues to be more elastic and tolerate stretching (keeping skin appearing young and supple, for example).
Collagen is produced in our bodies by the fibroblasts in our cells (assuming they have the amino acids and other required nutritional building blocks they need). In reality, our bodies produce it throughout our lives; but, it diminishes with age, and environmental variables and stresses, including as UV damage and high-sugar diets, can reduce your natural amounts.
Kinds of Collagen
Collagen supplements can help with this: Collagen supplements are powdered forms of collagen (produced from cows, fish, and poultry) that have been broken down and digested. Hydrolyzed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptides, and gelatin are all terms used to describe this kind of collagen.
Collagen that has been hydrolyzed (broken down into collagen peptides or gelatin) is known as hydrolyzed collagen. To some extent, all collagen supplements have been hydrolyzed. Collagen hydrolysate is another name for this product.
Collagen peptides, also known as peptides, are collagen that has been completely broken down into digestible, short chains of amino acid chains.
Gelatin is a type of collagen supplement that hasn’t been completely hydrolyzed and hence “gels” in recipes.
The peptides in the different collagen powders are made up of amino acids. It is the building blocks of all proteins, as previously stated. Proteins are made up of 20 to 22 amino acids, including arginine, glutamic acid, lysine, proline, and tyrosine.
However, we must keep in mind that collagen is not a complete protein. It means it is deficient in or lacks all 9 essential amino acids (phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, histidine, leucine, and lysine). It typically contains some of each except tryptophan. And collagen can still help people achieve their daily protein requirements.
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What are the skin advantages of collagen supplements?
Collagen supplements are increasingly being shown to help the skin in a few important ways, according to studies.
1.It encourages the development of natural collagen and elastin in your skin.
The epidermis and dermis are the two major layers that make up the skin. The structure of the dermal layer must be maintained for the skin to function correctly and seem youthful. Yet as we age, the structure degrades because older fibroblasts generate less collagen. This causes obvious aging symptoms like drooping, fine wrinkles, and sallowness, particularly noticeable on the face.
Collagen supplements can assist in sustaining the body’s natural production when it slows. “It can assist with skin wrinkling,” says Taz Bhatia, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist and mbg Collective member. These collagen peptides are able to promote skin elasticity and dermal collagen density, according to studies. How? Collagen peptides that have been well hydrolyzed have been proven to aid in the body’s natural production of collagen and other skin-forming molecules like elastin and fibrillin.
For a long time, most of the discourse around collagen consumption focused on how the molecule was too big to be easily absorbed. This is why there is a widespread belief that collagen supplements’ skin benefits are all hype. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides, on the other hand, are more easily absorbed by your circulation and body than normal-sized collagen molecules, according to studies. “Hydrolyzed collagen is predigested, so it doesn’t travel through the first-pass digestion in the GI tract,” explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. “The collagen particles may be absorbed in their natural state and circulate throughout the body, exerting their effects.”
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2.Helps to keep the skin hydrated.
Collagen supplements and skin hydration have been shown in clinical tests to boost your skin’s moisture levels when used regularly.
For example, One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research experiment discovered that participants’ skin moisture levels were seven times greater than those who did not take collagen supplements.
3.It reduces the visibility of tiny lines.
Clinical study has indicated that collagen can support skin suppleness. It perhaps make fine lines look less, likely owing to a combination of the above causes.
A small sample of women who took a collagen supplement made with hyaluronic acid and a few additional actives had a considerably smoother wrinkle appearance in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study.
What are the advantages of using it on your hair and nails?
While the effects of collagen on hair have yet to be thoroughly researched. It may aid hair health in a few important ways:
1.It contains important hair-care components.
Keratin and structural lipids make up the majority of hair. “Amino acids are the building blocks for keratin, which is the substance that makes up hair,” adds Zeichner. Yes, the body requires many types of amino acids to create keratin, many of which are contained in collagen peptides. Proline, the primary amino acid in keratin, is widely available in collagen supplements. According to the hypothesis, ingesting certain amino acids can assist in sustaining your natural levels of these essential molecules. *
2.It might help with scalp health.
We frequently forget that your scalp is merely skin with other hair follicles. As a result, what is good for your skin—ahem, collagen—is also good for your hair. Hair problems such as thinning and brittleness are link to a damaged scalp, according to research.
3.It promotes nail health and helps to prevent brittleness.
In the same vein as skin and hair health, one research revealed that taking collagen daily for 24 weeks enhanced nail health, including faster development, less breakage, and a more attractive look.
What are the total-body advantages?
Collagen not only promotes healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. It also supports joint and bone health, as well as digestive health and the bacteria that live in the gut.
1.Supports the health of the stomach and digestion.
The possible gut health advantages of collagen supplements are one of the reasons they’ve grown so popular. While this is a recent area of research for collagen supplements, research has revealed that persons with digestive issues have lower amounts of specific forms of collagen. L-glutamate, one of the primary amino acids in collagen, has also been shown to assist the gut by neutralizing oxidative stress. It acts as a significant fuel source for the cells in the intestine. Proline and glycine, two other amino acids present in collagen, are also use for energy by the cells of our stomach lining.*
2.Promotes joint and bone health.
Type II collagen is a structural component of our joints. According to one randomized clinical research, people who took a type II collagen supplement for 180 days improved their physical performance. It helped enhance joint mobility and comfort. A recent study found that when athletes who had previously had joint problems consumed collagen on a daily basis, their general joint health improved.
In terms of bone health, it’s a more time-consuming effect to track—due to the length of the bone turnover timeline—but clinical research revealed that postmenopausal women had improved bone density after taking collagen peptides daily for a year.
3.Contributes to muscular development.
Although collagen isn’t exactly a complete protein, it does include enough of amino acids that can help you gain muscle mass. This is especially true when paired with appropriate exercise programs. According to a small clinical trial, men who took collagen daily while engaging in an exercise program grew greater muscle mass than those who just completed the exercise program.