Collagen supplements are now a major player in the protein market and are gradually overtaking other supplements in terms of consumer demand. However, despite their growing popularity, there are still lots of unanswered questions regarding what collagen supplements really are.
The majority of the structural elements of human connective tissues, including ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and skin, are provided by a family of proteins called collagen. The function of collagen in the body is both straightforward and intricate- it contributes to the structure of our skin, bones, muscles, and cartilage to make those tissues more elastic and resilient to stretching!
Do Collagen Supplements Actually Work?
Taking a quality collagen protein supplement comes with many beauty and health benefits. Why? Because even while we can get the amino acids we need from other foods in our diet, consuming, for example, collagen protein powder seems to be a much more efficient way to replenish collagen than getting it from other sources.
Moreover, it instructs several skin cells to produce more collagen. This has been shown to work in humans when sufficiently large quantities of collagen supplements are consumed, around 15 grams.
Very often you hear someone taking a collagen protein supplement due to extreme hair loss, brittle nails or dry and rough skin. Since collagen is a protein, it behaves much like other proteins in the body in that it needs to be replaced frequently due to continual turnover. So, collagen supplementation could enhance the quality and appearance of skin, hair and nails because it stimulates the body’s production of collagen.
It can enhance skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkle reduction. Systematic reviews have also backed the use of collagen for many skin health issues. One study even discovered that taking collagen supplements helped increase the flexibility and moisture of the skin. The same review also discovered that taking more collagen aided in wound healing.
On the other hand, keratin and structural lipids make up the majority of hair’s composition. Amino acids are the components of keratin, the substance that makes up hair follicles. Yes, the body needs a variety of amino acids, many of which are present in collagen peptides to form keratin.
Proline, which is widely available in many collagen supplements, is the primary amino acid in keratin. According to the notion, consuming these amino acids which can be found in collagen protein powders can boost your body’s natural amounts of these crucial substances thus providing your hair with all the essential ingredients.
Along the same lines of skin and hair health, collagen supplements can also support nail health. Taking it regularly promotes better nail growth rates, reduced breakage, and improved appearance.
General Health Benefits
Besides the promotion of healthy hair, skin and nail growth, collagen comes with many health benefits as well. One of the most notable ones is boosting joint and bone health.
Collagen and elastin are the main proteins in the connective tissue surrounding our joints. Therefore, collagen deficiency can be one of the main causes of joint discomfort and osteoarthritis. As such, supplementation with collagen might be able to improve joint pain, prevent osteoarthritis and promote bone health.
Another significant health benefit is the support of digestion and gut health. It has been shown that people with a lower level of certain types of collagen are more likely to deal with digestive challenges.
Additionally, L-glutamate, one of the key amino acids in collagen, maintains the intestine by reducing oxidative stress and serves as a significant fuel source for intestinal cells. Proline and glycine, two other amino acids contained in collagen, are also used as fuel by the cells that line our stomach.
Although collagen is not a full protein it still delivers plenty of amino acids that contribute to muscle growth. This is especially effective when combined with the right fitness routine.
Sources of Collagen: Marine vs Bovine
Collagen supplements are made from animal sources like bovine, marine, poultry, chicken and eggshells. It’s crucial to note that although “vegan” collagen is available, these products just contain minerals and bioactive that support your body’s natural collagen production or maintenance.
Bovine and marine collagen are the two most popular varieties on the market. To reap the greatest health advantages, look for a grass-fed bovine collagen supplement that contains collagen types I and III, which are abundant in the human collagen network and, therefore, essential in supporting general health.
Fish like cod, pollock, haddock, or snapper, notably their skin and scales, is the source of a large portion of the marine collagen used in cosmetic products offered today. When shopping, look for clean, wild-caught supplies from a business with independent nutritional and quality testing.
Many collagen supplements contain only collagen. Others, however, use a more all-encompassing strategy, incorporating bio-actives and minerals that work in concert. For instance, vitamin C is a crucial component for the health of your skin and has a crucial function in the creation of collagen.
It is used in collagen supplements to provide additional intrinsic support for your body’s natural collagen production. On the other hand, a crucial fat-soluble vitamin required for healthy collagen cross-linking is vitamin E.
Another molecule that helps to keep the skin moisturized and firm is hyaluronic acid. Although the molecule is undoubtedly best known for its skin benefits, it also keeps joints and other tissues adequately lubricated. Unfortunately, as with collagen, your body stops producing it as you get older.
Another important component to look for in a collagen protein powder is biotin, especially if you utilize it for hair growth. Being an essential water-soluble B vitamin, specifically B7, biotin is involved in the production of keratin, the main component of hair, thus supporting hair health and growth.