As we get older starting in our twenties our body produces less collagen at a declining rate of 1.5% per year. This leads to signs of aging such as wrinkles, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, weaker joints and muscles and digestive issues. Science shows that by ingesting collagen we can replenish collagen levels to combat the aging process and gain the benefits that may follow. Our bodies simply depend on collagen to do things like keep skin hydrated, plump hair and nails, keep joints healthy and robust, keep muscles strong, and keep the digestive system working properly – to name a few.
Collagen is a vital protein that makes up 30% of the total protein in our bodies 80% of our skin hair muscles joints and 90% of our bone mass. In other terms it’s pretty important.
Up until recently, mainstream usage of collagen has mainly been known as lotions, topicals and injections. This has misguidedly led people to perceive collagen as something to apply on the skin as opposed to something to ingest. Since collagen is created inside the body, products that contain collagen such as lotions and topicals don’t have the same effects as consuming it. That said when we consume collagen we can regenerate cells and tissue throughout the body for benefits in appearance health and well-being.
BENEFITS OF TAKING COLLAGEN
Collagen helps rejuvenate the skin and strengthen skin cells by replenishing connective tissue. As seen in the photo below this restoration of cells occurs in the dermis layer of skin. Our body uses collagen to help hold up our skin cells, which tightens and smooths out the outer layer of skin while improving elasticity. With this strengthening of cells our skin can lock in moisture better to keep it hydrated plump and looking youthful.
Collagen helps repair and replace damaged skin tissue by creating new cells. Science shows that when taken consistently collagen has positive benefits on the skin.
- Increases skin hydration and plumpness
- Diminishes appearance of wrinkles
- Improves skin texture and tone
- Brightens complexion
- Can diminish look of dark eye circles
- Helps with healing of scars and wounds
- Reduces appearance of cellulite and stretch marks
Much like skin our hair undergoes chronological aging. Hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin and our bodies use amino acids to build keratin – some of which are found in collagen such as arginine. We can increase hair follicle regeneration by consuming amino acids found in collagen, which increases protein intake to build more keratin for stronger healthier and more hydrated hair. Collagen makes up about 70% of the dermis layer of our skin which is the same layer where the root of each hair follicle is located. So when our bodies have abundant levels of collagen we can maintain a healthy dermis and combat hair thinning and hair loss while strengthening hair follicles.
- Strengthens hair follicles
- Combats hair thinning
- May stimulate thicker hair growth
Our nails also undergo changes as we age which include splitting, possible discoloration and weaker thinner nails. One of the most vital amino acids for nail growth, arginine, is found in collagen. Studies show that collagen helps increase nail growth and decrease the frequency of nails breaking. So taking collagen might just give you long strong healthy nails.
- Strengthens nails
- Stimulates nail growth
- Decreases frequency of nails breaking
JOINTS AND BONES
When it comes to joints and bones, collagen is crucial in keeping them strong and healthy. Studies have found that collagen helps reduce joint pain and the risk of joint deterioration. Think of ingesting collagen similarly to lubricating a creaky door hinge. Collagen helps our joints and bones to work properly and smoothly. It helps hold our bones together to make our joints move more easily.
- Decreases joint pain
- Reduces risk of joint deterioration
- Strengthens bones
- Regenerates bone tissue
DIGESTION & GUT HEALTH
Collagen helps heal the lining of our gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) aka our digestive system and gut. This is important because science shows that our gut health is linked to our overall health and well-being. Glutamine an amino acid found in collagen is known to restore bowel functioning. According to studies collagen is a hydrophilic molecule (has an attraction to water and acidic molecules) and ingesting it improves our digestion and can help food move through the GI tract more smoothly – helping to regulate bowel movements.
As we age we’re more prone to a leaky gut which is a condition where bacteria toxins and acids “leak” through our digestive tract. This may lead to bloating, low energy, brain fog, weight gain, headaches, joint pain, food sensitivities, low metabolism, digestive problems and skin issues such as acne eczema or rosacea – to name a few. Glutamine has been found to help prevent inflammation and help heal a leaky gut.
That said collagen helps support a healthy digestive system and lines our GI tract which in turn can help boost overall health.
- Improves digestion and gut health
- Reduces inflammation
- Balances bowel movements
IMMUNITY & OVERALL HEALTH
As previously mentioned our overall health has a lot to do with our gut. Since consuming collagen helps line our gastrointestinal tract this in turn can help boost our immune system. So having a healthy gut supports a healthy immune system.
APPETITE AND WEIGHT
One of the main reasons why we consume protein is to help keep our bodies full and nourished. Collagen does this since it is low in fat and high in protein which helps keep us full and satisfied. This in turn can help reduce cravings. Studies have found that taking collagen increases the satiety hormone which helps control hunger and curb cravings that contain ingredients such as salt sugar oil or fatty foods. Studies have also found that consuming collagen keeps you more full and satisfied than other protein powders such as whey or soy.
- Balances appetite
- Helps curb bad cravings
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
Collagen is known to improve overall sleep quality due to glycine an abundant amino acid found in collagen that has been linked to affecting neurotransmitters to promote better sleep quality.
SIDE EFFECTS OF TAKING COLLAGEN
According to studies there are zero to minimal side effects when taking collagen. Studies show that collagen may have the potential to cause digestive discomfort such as feelings of fullness. This is likely due to the body not being used to the way the amino acids in collagen are broken down in the stomach. When this does occur the stomach needs to get used to breaking down collagen – just as with other types of food.