What is collagen? What are it’s health benefits? As you may or may not know, collagen is incredibly important to your body.
HEALTH LINE describes it like this: “As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is available in your muscles, skin, blood, bones, cartilage, and ligaments”.
It’s everywhere in your body and works to make it function properly. And these days, it’s all the rage.
The hype around collagen is huge, maybe you’ve heard about it from beauty gurus, TV personalities or heck, maybe even your best friends. And for once, it might be warranted. By the end of this article, you might just want to inject a little collagen into your life…
whether it be literally or not. There are so many things that collagen does like promotes skin elasticity, holds together your bones and muscles, protects your organs, provides structure to joints and tendons and much more.
The good part about this stuff is that you produce it naturally. The bad part is that, with age, the production of this vital piece of your body slows down.
Lots of factors might contribute to this. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, sun exposure, and an unhealthy diet all take part in slowing down your body’s production of collagen.
Even some health conditions might do that as well. And once you start losing collagen, that’s when the symptoms start to show.
You might gain wrinkles, you might find your skin starts to sag and in extreme situations, you might even experience joint pain.
You could just chalk this up to getting older, but your age and lack of collagen are intertwined, so you’re probably right in that aspect.
So you need to add collagen into your life.However, introducing something new to your body can be scary at times.
So, today, we’re going to talk about some of the best reasons why you should be getting more of the stuff.
1. May Ease Joint Pain.
Remember that joint pain we mentioned mere paragraphs ago? Maybe you’re experiencing it and it’s become pretty annoying, if not unbearable.
Don’t worry, collagen might provide the answer to your woes. As we mentioned, collagen helps to provide structure to your joints and tendons.
After a while, these joints and tendons break down, and as your production of collagen slows, these same joints start to hurt.
Introduce more collagen, and the pain should ease. These claims are backed by science too.
In a 2009 study done by the DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy: “participants took a type II collagen supplement
made from chicken necks for 90 days.
Results showed that osteoarthritis symptoms decreased by 40 percent while the severity of symptoms dropped by an impressive 33 percent.” And that’s not the only study that has proven this fact.
An older study done in 1993 by the DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE at Beth Israel Hospital found that: “participants with severe rheumatoid arthritis saw a reduced number of swollen and tender joints — 4 out of 60 participants also experienced complete remission.
This supplement was undenatured, meaning that the amino acids weren’t broken down as a result of processing and exposure to high heat.”
All in all, if you’re looking to ease that awful joint pain, maybe you should consider adding some collagen to your life. Your joints will thank you.
2. May Reverse Skin Aging.
Arguably the worst part about getting older is the changes to your face. What was once beautiful and vibrant is now sagging, littered with wrinkles and sunk by the pressure of time itself.
It may seem impossible to regain this youth, save the interjection of a magical fountain or a biblical cup, but it turns out there actually might be something in real life that could help.
That’s right, it’s collagen. The skin altering effects of collagen are well documented. One study done by the DEPARTMENT OF DERMATOLOGY at the University of Kiel discovered that they randomly chose 46 of 69 women, ages 35 to 55 years old, to take a collagen hydrolysate supplement.
The rest of the group took a placebo. The women who took the collagen showed an improvement in skin elasticity within four weeks.”
This happens because the essential protein adds elasticity to the skin, making it look more vibrant, youthful, healthy and most importantly– beautiful.
If aging has got you and your skin down, then maybe it’s time to consider adding more collagen into your life.
3. It Helps Keep You Fit.
As if collagen wasn’t awesome enough, it’s now great for building muscle mass and losing weight as well.
Collagen is a big part of your muscle tissue, so it’s not surprising that it would be awesome for gaining muscle mass.
It also contains a concentrated amount of glycine, an amino acid involved in the synthesis of creatine.
Creatine, for those of you out there who aren’t gym rats, can increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance.
So, if you’re looking to get better performance during your workouts, collagen can help you out in so many different ways. Once again, we have the sources to back up these claims as well.
A 2015 study done by the INSTITUTE FOR SPORTS AND SPORTS SCIENCE at the University of Freiburg “looked at collagen supplements in 53 older males with sarcopenia, a condition where you lose muscle mass due to aging.
After 12 weeks, those who took supplements along with resistance training saw an increase in fat loss and muscle strength more than the placebo group.”
Are you not getting enough out of your workout? Maybe you’re just looking to gain some more muscle, maybe even look at little more toned and swole in your old age?
Well then definitely consider collagen, because it will most likely help you out.
4. May Reduce Cellulite.
Remember this before we jump into our section here– cellulite is completely natural. Everyone gains it as they grow older, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
HEALTH LINE even found that “cellulite is incredibly common — an estimated 80 to 90 percent of women have it.” So, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
However, cellulite does stink. It’s described by medical experts as “Cellulite is when the layer of fat under the skin pushes up against the connective tissue, creating a dimpled or lumpy appearance on the skin” So if you’ve ever wondered why your face looks older, wrinkled and lumpy, that’s probably because of cellulite. Ugh, great.
Well, luckily collagen can help you with that as well. Collagen, as we’ve previously mentioned, is great for making your skin look vibrant and beautiful.
This process might help improve, if not eliminate, the appearance of even the most stubborn of cellulite.
But don’t take our word for it, instead, listen to the literal collagen experts at the COLLAGEN RESEARCH INSTITUTE: “They randomly assigned 105 women, ages 24 to 50, to take collagen peptides for six months.
Those who did demonstrated a clear improvement in skin texture and waviness.” And so, if you’re really dying to get rid of all that stubborn as heck cellulite, well folks, collagen might just be the answer.
5. May Improve Digestion.
Do you have issues with your stomach? Well, this might be because you have a lack of collagen.
You see, the protein is very active in the stomach’s connective tissue. It strengthens and supports the protective lining of your digestive tract.
When you start to lose collagen, the connections start to weaken, and suddenly you’ve got yourself a problem.
These broken connections can lead to leaky gut syndrome, an affliction which causes particles to pass from your intestines into your blood stream.
After all that, you might find yourself with some inflammation, or possibly even something worse. This is where extra collagen comes in.
It just makes sense– more collagen means better connections in your lining of your digestive tract, which means less particles in your bloodstream, which means less inflammation.
As per usual, these facts are backed by evidence. A 2003 study done by the DEPARTMENT OF GASTROENTEROLOGY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL HERAKLION looked at “170 individuals with inflammatory bowel disease and found that they were more likely to have lower levels of serum collagen” Bottom line is this: more collagen, better gut.
It’s as simple as that. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind however before you start adding in collagen willy nilly.
For starters, HEALTH LINE reports that “Research appears to support collagen supplements for older people and people with conditions like arthritis, but an otherwise healthy person with a balanced diet may not see any benefits.”.
So if you’re already in pretty good shape, and relatively young, then maybe this protein isn’t for you.
Finally, HEALTH LINE also warns about having too much of a good thing. They say that “But you don’t want to eat too much protein, either.
Your body doesn’t tell the collagen where to go. Instead, it distributes the collagen like it would any other nutrient.
So taking collagen supplements works much like exercise — it’s difficult to target a specific need, but increasing your intake could still have benefits.”