There’s a lot of excitement around collagen being a superfood for overall health and wellbeing, with its benefits for glowing, youthful skin, as a way to combat joint pain, and even as a way to help your gut issues. But is there anything actually backing up these claims? The answer is yes!
We wanted to help sort out the truth from the fiction, so we’ve done the research for you and collected some well backed studies on the benefits of supplementing with collagen.
First things first, what is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body. It can be thought of as the structure, or glue, that literally holds us together. This structure plays an essential role in our skin, connective tissues, joints, and cells. Though nearly 28 types of collagen have been identified in the human body, types I, II, and III account for 80-90 percent, making up skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels.
As we age, our collagen levels begin to decrease, beginning between 18 and 29 years of age. By the time a person is 80 years old, collagen production has slowed by 75% when compared to young people. This is a totally natural process but can we really combat the loss by supplementing with collagen? Let’s check out the science!
Can our bodies actually use Collagen Peptides?
Studies have shown that after supplementing with a daily dose of collagen, measurable levels do appear in the bloodstream. One study showed that after taking a daily dose of collagen for 4 weeks, food derived peptides increased in the blood within an hour of taking the supplement and remained in the blood for twenty four hours.
This shows that daily ingestion of collagen for an extended period does make it into our system to be used by the body. This fact suggests that long-term ingestion of collagen hydrolysate may promote beneficial effects. More and more research is showing that hydrolysed collagen peptides are indeed well-absorbed and bioavailable.
Collagen and skin health
So collagen reaches our bloodstream, but can it actually show up in our skin too? The research says yes! Several studies report on the connection between daily oral collagen peptides and skin health.
In a study of women aged 35 – 55, each was selected to either receive a daily dose of collagen, or a placebo. Their skin was objectively measured at the beginning and by the end of the study, the groups that were taking the collagen supplement had a measurable improvement in terms of elasticity.
In another study, oral collagen peptide supplementation significantly increased skin hydration after 8 weeks of intake. The collagen density in the dermis significantly increased, and the fragmentation of the dermal collagen network significantly decreased. Both effects persisted after 12 weeks.
Hydrolysed collagen is composed of low molecular weight small peptides, which are easily digestible, absorbed and distributed in the human body. This study refers to the fact that numerous clinical trials have now been performed showing the efficacy and benefits of collagen peptides on skin properties, such as hydration, elasticity and reduction of wrinkles. As a result, hydrolysed collagen can be considered an important weapon in the everyday fight against skin ageing.
However, the advantages of collagen peptides aren’t just limited to supporting skin health. Research into the effects of collagen supplements has also demonstrated improvements in the following areas:
Bones and joints
A number of studies have shown that supplementing with collagen peptides improves joint health and relieves joint pain. As we age, and our collagen levels decline, we also lose some of the collagen in our connective tissues. This means we lose some of the cushioning and regenerative abilities.
The science shows that collagen peptides and amino acids in hydrolysed collagen can accumulate in the cartilage of joints, maintaining joint health, reducing the risk of joint deterioration, and improving the pain associated with degenerative joint changes.
Further, collagen has been shown to increase bone density in women after menopause. This study shows that taking collagen peptides is associated with a favorable shift in bone markers, indicating increased bone formation and reduced bone degradation.
Muscle and body composition
Clinical trials have also demonstrated that collagen peptides can enhance muscle mass and strength. Researchers suggest that collagen may stimulate creatine synthesis and promote muscle growth after exercise. Up to 10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. Since amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue, it makes sense that supplementing with collagen peptides will benefit muscle repair.
The bacterial balance in our gut plays a key role in our well-being. From our weight to our immune system and even inflammation and chronic disease, the billions of bacteria, and the delicate balance between them, have a huge effect on our overall health.
Stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and food reactions can all work to cause an imbalance and dysfunction in the gut. Leaky gut develops as a result of an impermeability issue in the intestinal wall. When this happens, antigens, food particles and more, can enter the bloodstream. Supplementing with collagen is thought to help heal and ‘seal’ the gut lining. An intact gut lining has ‘tight junctions’, which is exactly the opposite of leaky gut.
This study supported in part by the USDA, shows that leaky gut can be improved through collagen supplementation by improving the “junctions” and reducing gut permeability.
Research studies and indicators show that collagen does indeed play a scientifically measurable role in terms of skin, joint and gut health.
So whether you’re dealing with skin issues, joint pain or gut problems check out our pure collagen Beauty Boost to help you make your way to great skin and a healthy body.