Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies- until we hit the ripe age of 25- and then those proteins conveniently start breaking down, causing those pesky crow’s feet and fine lines that we try so hard to prevent through our multi-step skincare routines.
In the beauty world, the word collagen is nothing new, but what exactly does it do? According to Healthline, there are 4 main types of collagen that our bodies produce out of at least 16 types.
- Type I: Accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibers. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
- Type II: Is made of more loosely packed fibers and is found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
- Type III: Supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
- Type IV: Helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.
Out of these 4 types of collagen, they all impact the overall structure of our bodies. As we age, the collagen that we produce slows down and has to be replenished from sources outside our body due to the quality and amount of collagen decreasing. This is where collagen supplements come in.
Taking supplements will help your body increase collagen production so that your skin and cartilage remain elastic and prevent deterioration. Due to collagen being the main factor in how one looks or feels, it is important to know the benefits of collagen and how it can work for you and your body.
1. Strengthen Hair And Nails
BeverlyhillsMD states that collagen makes up 70% of your dermis, which is key to the hair structure. It also helps keep nails from peeling and splitting due to collagen aiding in the production of keratin which makes up both hair and nails.
In a grocery store in the supplements aisle, you will see hundreds of skin and nail products like gummies, powders, and capsules containing some type of collagen and other ingredients. It can be hard to make the right choice based on what you are looking for, but pure collagen peptides will be easier to digest and take effect faster than most other collagen-based supplements.
Hunter and Gatherer Foods lists out the benefits of collagen for hair and nails:
Prevents hair loss and thinning
Promotes stronger, more luscious locks
Boosts hair growth rate
Increase elasticity to withstand damage
Creates nails that are stronger and less likely to snap
Boosts the natural growth rate of nails
Protects nails from infection and external damage
Improves their appearance
A natural collagen booster will help you protect against damage to your hair and nails and keep them strong without breakage. Collagen is the natural barrier for our body and protects our skin, nails, hair, and organs from being easily damaged or broken down.
2. Prevents Wrinkles
Collagen is the number one factor for skin elasticity and moisture. This is what keeps our skin plump and supple, but when collagen starts to diminish this is when the wrinkles start popping up.
According to Health Line, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity than those who did not take the supplement.
Taking collagen supplements can help your body kick start its natural collagen production even after the age of normal collagen breakdown. Also, collagen can aid in skin dryness and the reduction of wrinkles.
3. Reduces Joint Pain
Like in your skin, the fibers within collagen help keep the cartilage surrounding your joints and bones to stay elastic. This keeps your bones from grinding together or having joints that are tight and hard to manipulate.
Taking collagen supplements has become important to athletes and people with active lifestyles. This is because they want to prevent the deterioration caused by the lack of collagen in an aging body, which has been proven to aid joint inflammation and pain.
According to Further Food, In one trial, patients receiving 5-7 grams of collagen hydrolysate daily for 1-6 months demonstrated a 70% response rate for a significant or noticeable improvement in joint pain.
Collagen can also prevent injuries to joints by helping keep them lubricated and strong when physically active. High impact sports like running or HIIT exercises are hard on joints, ligaments, and tendons. Having more collagen protecting them will keep the recovery time and inflammation period shorter than if your body was running on limited collagen supplies.
4. Boosts Metabolism
Taking collagen or having a high level of collagen in your system can boost your metabolism by regulating your blood sugar levels. Collagen helps metabolize carbohydrates, so the breakdown of sugar is easily managed. Collagen can also clear blockages within the thyroid that can be precursors or causes of obesity.
Overall, collagen is like the mighty protective protein that covers almost every aspect of our bodies. Its pros definitely outweigh its cons, and if we had to live without it, our skin would be lackluster, our hair would be dull, and our bodies would ache all over.
The best advice to give to experience all of the benefits of collagen is to start taking collagen supplements daily to either stop the process of progressive aging or prevent the onset of collagen breakdown early.