Collagen supplements have become common in the last few years. Most are hydrolyzed, which means you have broken down the collagen, making it easier to absorb it.
To increase your collagen intake, there are also many foods that you can consume, including pork skin and bone broth.
Collagen intake can have several health benefits, from relieving joint pain to improving the skin’s health.
Collagen Supplements Benefits
Can improve skin health
A big part of the skin is collagen.
It plays a role in skin reinforcement, plus elasticity and hydration can benefit. Your body creates less collagen as you age, leading to dry skin and wrinkles forming.
However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or collagen-containing supplements can help delay your skin’s aging by reducing wrinkles and dryness.
In one study, relative to those who did not take the supplement, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks reported less skin dryness and a substantial skin elasticity improvement.
Another study found that, compared to a control group, women who drank a drink mixed with a collagen supplement daily for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant decrease in wrinkle depth.
The wrinkle-reducing benefits of collagen supplements have been due to the body’s ability to enhance collagen’s own development.
Also, taking collagen supplements can promote other proteins, including elastin and fibrillin, that help structure your skin.
Several anecdotal reports suggest that collagen supplements help avoid acne and other skin conditions, but clinical evidence does not confirm them.
It helps relieve joint pain.
Collagen helps preserve the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that secures your joints.
Your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders like osteoarthritis increases as the amount of collagen in your body decreases as you get older.
Some studies have shown that taking supplements with collagen can improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce pain in the joints.
In one study, 73 athletes who ingested 10 grams of collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a substantial decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with a group that did not take it.
Adults in another study took 2 grams of collagen daily for 70 days. Those who took collagen had a substantial decrease in joint pain and were more able to participate in physical exercise than those who did not take it.
Researchers have theorized that supplemental collagen can accumulate and stimulate the tissues to produce collagen in cartilage.
This may lead to lower inflammation, better support of your joints, and reduced pain, they have suggested.
Studies suggest you should start with a daily dosage of 8-12 grams if you want to try taking a collagen supplement for its potential pain-relieving effects.
Could prevent bone loss
Your bones are mostly collagen, which provides them with structure and keeps them strong.
Just as your body’s collagen deteriorates as you age, so does bone mass. This can lead to osteoporosis, characterized by low bone density and associated with a higher risk of bone fractures.
Studies have shown that there may be certain effects in taking collagen supplements that help inhibit the bone’s breakdown that leads to osteoporosis.
For 12 months, women were given either a calcium supplement combined with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium supplement and no daily collagen in one study.
The women taking the supplement of calcium and collagen had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown by the end of the study than those taking only calcium.
Similar results were found in another study of 66 women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months.
Women who took collagen showed an increase of up to 7 percent in their bone mineral density than women who did not consume collagen (BMD).
BMD is a measure of minerals’ density in your bones, such as calcium. Weak bones and the development of osteoporosis are associated with low BMD.
These results are promising, but more human studies are required before it is possible to confirm the role of collagen supplements in bone health.
Could boost muscle mass
Collagen comprises between 1-10 percent of muscle tissue. To keep your muscles strong and properly functioning, this protein is necessary. In individuals with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that occurs with age suggests that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass.
In one study, while participating in an exercise program daily for 12 weeks, 27 frail men took 15 grams of collagen. They obtained significantly more muscle mass and strength than males who exercised but did not take collagen.
Researches suggest that taking collagen can promote the synthesis of muscle proteins, such as creatine, and stimulate post-exercise muscle development.
More research is needed to investigate collagen’s potential to boost muscle mass.
Promotes heart health
Researchers have theorized that it may help reduce the risk of heart-related conditions by taking collagen supplements.
Collagen provides your arteries with structure, blood vessels that carry blood to the rest of your body from your heart. The arteries may become weak and fragile without enough collagen.
Atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the arteries’ narrowing, may result in this. There is the potential for atherosclerosis to lead to heart attack and stroke.
31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily for 6 months in one study. By the end, compared to before they started taking the supplement, they had experienced a significant reduction in measurements of artery stiffness.
“In addition, their HDL “good” cholesterol levels have increased by an average of 6 percent. HDL, including atherosclerosis, is an important factor in the risk of cardiac conditions.
Nonetheless, more studies are required on the role of collagen supplements in heart health.
Other health benefits
Collagen supplements may have other health advantages, but these have not been extensively investigated.
- Nails and hair. By avoiding brittleness, taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails. Also, your hair and nails may be stimulated to grow longer.
- The health of the gut. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, the use of collagen supplements to treat intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome is encouraged by some health practitioners.
- Health for the brain. No studies have investigated the role of collagen supplements in brain health.Some individuals, however, claim they improve mood and decrease anxiety symptoms.
- Loss of weight. Some believe that weight loss and faster metabolism can be promoted by taking collagen supplements. To support these claims, there have not been any studies.
Although these potential impacts are promising, more research is required before it is possible to make formal conclusions.
Foods that contain collagen
In the connective tissues of animals, collagen is found. Thus, collagen sources are chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish.
Also, foods containing gelatin, such as bone broth, provide collagen. After it has been cooked, gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen.
More research is required to determine whether eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen in your body. No human studies have been conducted on whether foods rich in collagen have the same advantages as supplements.
Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides.
However, collagen has already been broken down or hydrolyzed in supplements, so it is believed to be absorbed more effectively than collagen in foods.
Collagen Supplement Side Effects
At present, there are not many known risks associated with taking collagen supplements.
However, some supplements, like fish, shellfish, and eggs, are made from common food allergens. To prevent allergic reactions, people with allergies to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients.
Some individuals have also reported that collagen supplements leave their mouths with a lingering bad taste.
Additionally, collagen supplements, such as feelings of fullness and heartburn, can cause digestive side effects.
Regardless, for most individuals, these supplements appear to be safe.
Collagen consumption is associated with many health benefits and relatively few known risks.
First, by reducing wrinkles and dryness, supplements can improve skin health. They can also help boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, and relieve pain in the joints.
People have reported many other advantages of collagen supplements, but there has not been much research into these claims.
While some foods contain collagen, it is unknown if collagen in foods provides the same advantages as supplements.
In general, collagen supplements are safe, quite simple to use, and certainly worth trying for their potential benefits.