Before you can decide whether or not collagen supplements are right for you, it is important to first know the function of collagen. Collagen is a protein in the body that can be found in the hair, skin, bones, muscles, and even blood vessels. It is an essential protein that makes up approximately 30 percent of the structural protein in the body. Collagen supplements can play a role in healing bone and joint damage, muscle repair, and maintaining healthy skin and hair.
Although the body produces collagen naturally and abundantly, production begins to slow down as early as your mid-twenties. Collagen production can decrease by an average of 1 percent each year. Other factors that can decrease the natural production of collagen are sun exposure, smoking, and poor diet.
Because collagen is a vital protein for healing the body and retaining the skin’s elasticity and youthfulness, introducing a collagen-enriched supplement is essential. Increasing your body’s collagen intake can help combat the negative effects associated with aging such as skin wrinkling, cellulite, slower muscle recovery, and even joint stiffness.
What Are Collagen Supplements?
Collagen supplements are a quick and easy way to increase the amount of collagen in your body. Most collagen supplements, or collagen peptides, are hydrolyzed. This means the collagen has been broken down so that it is more easily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Collagen is also found in foods such as chicken, fish, and other meats as well as dairy products, and various bone broths. Because the collagen in these foods are not hydrolyzed, they are not absorbed into your body as rapidly or easily as a collagen hydrolysate supplement. This is why it is imperative to eat a nutritional, well-balanced, and collagen-rich diet in combination with taking a supplement high in collagen.
There are many options for increasing collagen intake that are easy additions to daily routines, whether it be daily ingestible collagen peptides, or a topical collagen-filled product.
Consider the Types of Collagen Supplements
When a collagen hydrolysate supplement is consumed, the collagen is broken down into amino acids in the gastrointestinal tract before entering the bloodstream. These amino acids are distributed throughout the body—meaning it is difficult to target a specific need, but the amino acids are sent to the areas where they are needed most. Some of the most common ingestible collagen supplements are powders, liquid, tablets, gummies, tea, and even collagen bars.
Ingestible collagen peptides can be effortlessly added to your daily routine. Collagen powder or liquid supplements can be quickly added into your favorite coffee, smoothie, or any other beverage of your choice. Collagen tablets or gummies can be taken with any other daily vitamins or medicines you currently take. Breakfast or snack options can include collagen teas or bars.
Topical collagen supplements target and treat the specific area where they are applied. Examples of topical collagen supplements include shampoos, lotions, and serums that are high in collagen. Collagen shampoos thicken hair, support faster growth and increase shine. Lotions and serums that have higher concentrations of collagen aid with reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, cellulite, and give skin an overall firmer look and feel. Any topical collagen product can be added seamlessly into your current skincare routine.
To ensure that your entire body is getting the amount of collagen needed, a collagen peptide is recommended. If you still wish to target a specific goal such as hair growth or wrinkle reduction, a topical collagen treatment can be paired with a daily peptide.
Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements
Collagen is the main element of connective tissues in your body and these connective tissues make up a large number of body parts. Because of the importance of collagen in your body, there are many benefits to adding a collagen peptide supplement to your diet including:
- Slowing down the signs of aging
- Potential weight loss associated with digestion and metabolism
- Reduced joint inflammation
- Increase in muscle mass
- Reduced risk of bone disorders
10 Reasons to Try Collagen Supplements
1. Hair Growth and Fullness
Hair is made up primarily of proteins- 91 percent to be exact- ,which is why a collagen-enriched supplement would aid in growth and overall health of your hair. You will notice increased thickness, and longer and smoother hair. The essential amino acids in collagen will improve the hair's density and elasticity.
2. Skin Firmness And Elasticity
Collagen plays a vital role in skin elasticity and even hydration. Aging slows down the production of collagen, which can cause wrinkled and dry skin. Introducing a collagen supplement can slow down the effects of aging, help maintain a youthful glow, and improve your skin's firmness. Taking a collagen peptide daily can also increase the production of other proteins such as elastin and fibrillin that aid in the composition and appearance of your skin.
3. Reduction of Cellulite
Because collagen firms and hydrates your skin, it reduces the look and feel of cellulite. Connective collagen bonds that are found in the skin tend to break down with age, which causes cellulite to appear more noticeable. An increase in collagen intake can strengthen those connective collagen bonds for firmer looking skin and reduce the appearance of even the most stubborn cellulite.
4. Increase in Protein Intake
As previously mentioned, collagen is a protein. It can be difficult to get the right amount of protein each day. A well-balanced diet combined with taking a collagen-enriched supplement is a quick and easy way to increase your daily protein intake to make sure you are getting the proper nutrients and collagen.
5. Aids in Digestion/Faster Metabolism
Collagen is found in the connective tissue in your gut. Taking a collagen peptide can help with digestion issues such as intestinal permeability, better known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), by promoting the production of stomach acid. At the same time, the increased amount of collagen can help strengthen the protective lining of your digestive tract.
When the amount of stomach acid produced increases, food is able to be digested more quickly and efficiently. Collagen also aids in the regulation of your body’s metabolism by low-molecular weight pure protein. This pure protein is rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract, increasing your body’s metabolism. The combination of better digestion and an increased metabolism can be linked to weight loss.
6. Joint Pain and Arthritis Relief
As you age, your joints may become more stiff. Because collagen is found in joints, taking a collagen supplement can help to maintain cartilage strength and reduce inflammation, resulting in less stiffness in your joints. Supplements with high doses of collagen may also aid in symptom improvement for osteoarthritis and other joint disorders as well as general joint pain.
7. Increase in Muscle Mass
Collagen makes up between 1 to 10 percent of muscle tissue. It is a vital protein for muscle strength and functionality. Collagen also contains the amino acid glycine, which is involved in the synthesis of creatine. This process helps supply you with the energy you need during any physical activity. Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle mass. Research shows that the consumption of collagen supplements helps to support the increase of muscle growth as well as strength, combatting the effects of sarcopenia.
8. Aids in Heart Health
Research suggests that taking a collagen supplement might reduce the risk of heart-related conditions. Collagen strengthens and adds structure to all of your body's arteries. With the decrease in collagen production, your arteries may weaken and not function properly. The weakened arteries could cause heart attack or stroke. Collagen supplements sustain the necessary strength in your arteries for them to function properly.
9. Prevents Bone Loss
Bones are made up mostly of collagen. When collagen production slows down in your body, your bone mass begins to deteriorate. This deterioration causes low bone density and increases the risk of bone fractures. It is suggested that the consumption of collagen supplements helps impede the deterioration process.
10. Maintains Adequate Collagen Levels
Collagen production begins to decrease as you age, and the collagen in foods such as chicken, fish, and dairy products are not easily digested or absorbed into your bloodstream. Hydrolyzed collagen, found in a collagen supplement, is imperative to sustain the health benefits associated with collagen.
Is a Collagen Supplement Right For You?
Collagen peptides have an abundance of benefits when taken daily, and it is easy to see that everyone can benefit from adding a collagen supplement to their diet. Collagen is a vital protein necessary for maintaining healthy hair, skin, bones, muscles, and joints. Although collagen production decreases with age, and is not easily absorbed through the foods you eat, there are a variety of supplement options that can be easily integrated into your daily routine.
The addition of a collagen supplement will compensate for the natural collagen deficiency that is associated with aging. Since there are no harsh side effects correlated with any collagen peptide supplements, the only choice left is determining which supplement is right for you.