8 Potential Health Benefits of Collagen and 1 Thing It Can’t Do

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Who’d have predicted a substance found in bones and skin would become a popular supplement? Collagen is the topic at hand.

“Collagen is a type of protein that is essential for the production and support of many tissues, from bones and cartilage to the skin, hair, eyes, and the digestive system,” says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a nutritionist in San Francisco.

When you take a collagen supplement or eat foods high in collagen, you are swallowing collagen obtained from an animal, according to Ryanne Lachman, RDN, a functional medicine nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Collagen peptides can be found in powdered or tablet form, and bone broth also includes collagen.

Any supplement has the potential to cause side effects.

While collagen is generally considered safe, you should always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement program. There’s also a chance you’ll experience the following adverse effects: According to ConsumerLab.com, collagen supplements might cause a rash or, in rare cases, liver problems.

Apart from that, one of the most prevalent disadvantages of collagen supplements is that they increase the cost of your shopping. A 10-ounce jar of Vital Proteins, a well-known collagen peptide brand, costs $25. A 30-day supply of hum collagen supplements for skin, hair, and nails costs $40.

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If you’re thinking about using collagen supplements, you should be aware of the numerous advantages they can provide. Continue reading to learn more.

Supplements help to replace what is lost naturally as a result of aging.

Collagen is the “glue” that ties your body together, according to Angelone. It makes up around one-third of the protein in your body, according to research.

According to her, the problem is that your body begins to produce less collagen in your thirties and forties. When added to your diet, collagen peptides may assist to repair what your body loses as you get older while also boosting your overall health.

Collagen Is a Protein That Is Easy to Digest

Your body works hard to absorb protein from sources like chicken or beef, according to Lachman, and some people may experience digestive symptoms such as burping or stomach soreness after a meal.

Collagen supplements, on the other hand, are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down to make it simpler to absorb. She claims that collagen supplements could be a more practical way to add protein into your diet.

After being hydrolyzed, collagen peptides can also dissolve in water, making them simple to use in everyday foods (like water or smoothies).

Collagen Improves Skin Elasticity and Smooths Wrinkles

The most well-researched benefit of collagen supplementation, according to Lachman, is skin health.

In a January 2019 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, researchers looked at 11 randomized, placebo-controlled studies including over 800 individuals who took up to 10 grams (g) of collagen per day with the goal of improving skin health. What were the results?

The supplements were discovered to improve skin suppleness, moisture retention, and collagen fiber density in the skin. “A tiny scoop of ten grams every day,” adds Lachman, “and it could be a small step toward staying young.”

Collagen may help to alleviate joint aches and pains.

Joint pain might make it difficult to exercise, preventing you from meeting your fitness goals. Using a collagen supplement to help you get back on track may be beneficial. “There is some evidence that collagen can be good for maintaining connective tissues and lowering joint pain after exercise,” according to Angelone.

A study published in January 2017 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that athletes with knee pain who took 5 g of collagen peptides daily for 12 weeks had less joint pain during activity than those who got a placebo. Oral collagen has been shown to help cartilage mend while also functioning as an anti-inflammatory.

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Oral Supplements May Promote Gut Health

Inflammatory digestive illnesses, such as irritable bowel disease, are thought to benefit from collagen (IBD).

According to some research, collagen levels are observed to be decreased in patients with certain illnesses. Collagen consumption can aid in the recovery of a deficiency, according to Lachman.

Collagen May Be Beneficial to Your Heart

Collagen May Buoy Your Heart Health

Coffee with collagen may also be good for your heart. In a small uncontrolled open-label trial published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis in May 2017, 32 people were given a collagen tripeptide twice a day.

After six months, indicators of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arterial walls), such as cholesterol and vascular stiffness, had improved. (Coronary artery disease, or CAD, occurs when atherosclerosis affects the arteries that lead to your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.)

According to studies, collagen may help to strengthen blood vessel walls, lessening the risk of artery disease.

Peptides Can Help You Keep Your Bones Healthy

Bone mineral density declines with age, especially after menopause, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 102 postmenopausal women, those who took collagen peptides for a year had higher bone mineral density than those in the control group.

Researchers speculated that this happened because collagen boosted bone synthesis while reduced bone loss, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients in January 2018.

Collagen May Be Beneficial For Joint Pain

There are numerous types of collagen, according to an article published in Molecules in November 2019. According to Lachman, type 1 (found in beef) is beneficial for your skin, while type 2 (found in chicken) may be better for arthritic joint stiffness. Joints are made up of cartilage, which is mainly collagen.

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Patients with knee osteoarthritis who took acetaminophen plus type 2 collagen had a greater quality of life than those who took the drug alone, according to a study published in the Eurasian Journal of Medicine in June 2016.

However, research is contradictory, and no definitive result has been reached. Lachman recommends buying a supplement that has multiple types of animal collagen for the most benefits.

Collagen Will Not Assist You In Losing Weight

Protein must be consumed in sufficient amounts in order to maintain a healthy diet.

The nutrient is needed to help your body develop muscle, which is a type of lean tissue that burns calories more efficiently than fat (meaning it leads to a faster metabolism, according to the Mayo Clinic).

When talking about collagen, it’s crucial to remember the following: It can’t be the only change you make to your diet and lifestyle. “Adding collagen powder to a high-sugar, refined-carbohydrate, calorie-dense diet will not help you lose weight,” Lachman continues.

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