Over the last couple of years, collagen has become an incredibly popular nutritional supplement in the health and beauty communities. You may have heard about collagen from your favorite influencer or your friends, but what exactly is collagen? What does it do? And, is it good for you? We are here to answer all of those questions.
What Is Collagen?
Collagens are the proteins that hold the body together because they are the main structural component of connective tissue- such as skin, cartilage, bones, and blood. Of all of the proteins in the human body, collagen is the most abundant, making up approximately 30% of the proteins found in the body. Our bodies naturally produce collagens by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids, responsible for building all of the proteins we need to survive. However, as we grow older, our body's capacity to produce collagen naturally decreases. This decrease in collagen production is, in part, what leads to thinner and saggier skin, the loss of elasticity in ligaments, stiff joints, and more.
What Does Collagen Do?
Collagen is, without a doubt, a crucial component of a healthy body. The word "collagen" comes from the Greek word "kólla," which means glue. Which is essentially what collagen is, the glue that holds our muscles, bones, skin, organs, and more, together. People have gone as far as to call it the fountain of youth, but what exactly does it do?
- Youthful skin: Collagens comprise about three-quarters of your skin. So it comes without saying that it plays a key role in keeping your skin healthy and young. Collagen gives our skin strength, elasticity, and hydration. Essentially, collagen is responsible for keeping our skin looking youthful, but after the age of 20, our skin begins producing less collagen each year, which is a natural aging process.
Strong bones: Collagen makes up for about 90% of your bone tissue! It is the protein that helps your bones stay strong and gives them structure. This means that the bones in the human body are much more robust at a younger age, and as the natural production of collagen decreases, so does bone mass. This natural decrease in collagen may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis and a higher risk of bone fractures.
Healthy joints: Cartilage is the tissue that helps keep mobility in our joints and protects our bones from impact. Collagen plays a role in keeping your joints healthy by maintaining the integrity of your cartilage.
Boost muscle mass: As mentioned above, collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. In turn, it also is a significant component of your muscles. Research suggests that collagen plays a vital role in synthesizing the proteins necessary for increasing muscle mass and strength.
Promotes heart health: Collagen plays a significant role in keeping the integrity of your arteries, which are the blood vessels responsible for carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The elasticity of your arteries is slowly lost as you age, which results in weaker blood vessels and a higher risk of heart failure.
Are Collagen Supplements Good For You?
As you can see, collagen plays a crucial role in keeping your body healthy and strong. Still, as you become older, you might be wondering whether you should compensate for the decrease in your natural collagen production by taking collagen supplements. So, what are the potential benefits of taking collagen supplements? We are here to answer that question.
- Keep your skin young: As mentioned before, our natural collagen is responsible for keeping our skin plump and youthful. Can collagen supplements do the same? A lot of the people who are considering taking collagen supplements do it to improve their skin. Collagen supplements may help slow down the skin's natural aging process by allowing it to regain elasticity and hydration. A small study published in the Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals showed that the women who took collagen supplements reported a reduction of the depth of wrinkles, an increase in skin elasticity, and hydration. However, it is important to keep in mind that there aren't enough studies on the benefits of collagen supplements on the skin to make these claims definitive.
Strong nails and shiny hair: The collagen produced by our bodies is the building block for having healthy hair and nails. Do collagen supplements play the same role? A 2014 8-week study of 54 women showed that collagen supplements and hyaluronic acid could improve nail brittleness, hair dryness, and hair dullness.
Joint and bone strength: Our collagen is responsible for maintaining the structure and strength of our bones, and many studies have been conducted to find out if collagen supplements could have the same effect. A 2018 study showed that collagen supplements could improve osteoarthritis symptoms and joint stiffness. However, future studies are needed to support these findings.
Increased performance and muscle mass: Collagen is a critical component of the muscles in the human body. It makes up for up to 10% of the muscle mass. So, it is no surprise that as collagen decreases with age, muscle mass does as well. In a 2015 controlled study, researchers found that older men who combined resistance training with collagen supplementation built more muscle mass and improved body composition than those who received a placebo. In addition, collagen has been argued to increase energy levels because it contains glycine, one of the primary amino acids in collagen.
How To Find The Right Collagen
Now, due to its booming popularity, there's a myriad of collagen supplements in the market. However, as with all supplements, they are not regulated by the FDA, which means you have to be careful when trying to buy the right collagen supplements for you. We have included a couple of things to look out for when purchasing collagen supplements.
1. Type and origin: Before buying collagen supplements, look at the kind of collagen and where it comes from. Say YES to natural collagen from ethical sources. Stay clear of collagen supplements that may have been sourced from animals raised under antibiotics, chemicals, and growth hormones. NO antibiotics, growth hormones, or chemicals.
2. How much collagen is it really?: To make their products more accessible, many companies include only a minimal amount of collagen in their products. So, before you buy them, look at the label and check the percentage of collagen contained in the supplements you are buying.
3. What else is in it?: Many collagen supplements are packed with unnatural chemicals. Stay away from products with unnecessary filler ingredients, such as artificial flavors or sweeteners.
4. Is it hydrolyzed?: When buying collagen products, make sure the collagen is hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into smaller and more easily absorbed compounds.
Collagen is a vital component of the human body, and while its production decreases with age, it will never entirely stop. There are many ways to increase the amount of collagen your body has. One of them is supplements, but a healthy diet and frequent exercise can also help.
We hope you enjoyed this blog and got some answers on collagen, why it is essential, and how collagen supplements could help you. If you are interested in buying ethically sourced, high-quality hydrolyzed collagen, go to Revive Naturals.