Collagen is the most substantial protein you have in your body.
It permeates almost everything, including your bones, muscles, tendons, skin, and digestive system.
One of the key things that it does is keep your skin elastic.
Collagen is essentially the glue that holds you together. When it falls apart, you fall apart.
Your body’s collagen production begins to slow as you age and will eventually lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, and joint pain.
Lifestyle choices like excessive sunbathing, drinking, and smoking also plays a part in the degenerative process. But that process can be kick-started again by providing your system with collagen.
Tip: Consuming collagen, instead of applying it topically or injections, are a superior way to get it into your system.
What Science Says
Collagen contains concentrated amounts of the amino acids lysine, glycine, and proline, all of which are crucial for the repair of bones and connective tissues, healthy skin and hair, and more.
Two recent studies, published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, found that taking a collagen supplement daily improved skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles around the eyes by 20 percent after just eight weeks.
The first study, conducted in Germany, included 114 female participants between the ages of 45 and 65 – after the eight-week period, they showed a 20 percent average decrease in wrinkle volume around the eye, and some even experienced a reduction of nearly 50 percent.
The second study, out of London, involved 69 women, all over the age of 50. They drank collagen dissolved in water for 8 weeks, and following that period, experienced a significant improvement in hydration, skin elasticity and roughness.
There are many other studies that have been conducted involving collagen too, as you’ll soon find out.
Health Benefits of Collagen
1. Repairs and Strengthens Hair, Skin, and Nails
Hair loss and skin issues can be symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, as well as the normal aging process. As you age, you may have noticed that your skin has become looser and less elastic – and there may be wrinkles or creases where your skin was once more smooth and supple.
You might also experience brittle nails, peeling, splitting or breakage. Your hair may also begin to thin and become dry and brittle.
This is because collagen protein is essential to healthy hair, skin and nails, and as I mentioned, your natural production of it decreases as you age. Increasing collagen intake can go a long way to make your skin appear more firm and smooth by renewing and repairing cells.
Recent studies have also shown that supplemental collagen can actually reverse hair loss in some cases.
Many people don’t realize that by adding collagen to your diet can also help in reducing the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks. When skin loses its elasticity and becomes thin, cellulite becomes more obvious.
Collagen can help to increase moisture retention, improve elasticity, and helps smooth out that dimpled appearance, as well as those fine lines.
2. Prevents Joint Pain
Much like oil in a car, collagen allows your joints, tendons and ligaments to glide and move easily. With age, and as your collagen production depletes, your joints can become stiff, swollen and painful, even causing a lack of mobility.
Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which can aid in reducing joint pain and help to increase joint mobility because of their anti-inflammatory properties, similar to those of ibuprofen.
A recent study even found that taking collagen can be beneficial for pain associated with osteoarthritis.
3. Supports Weight Management
Collagen can even help you control your weight. Glycine, the amino acid I mentioned earlier, forms muscle by converting glucose into energy. Having more lean muscle tissue gives your metabolism a boost, because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Essentially, collagen helps to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, even when you’re at rest. There is some evidence to also suggest that supplemental collagen can help suppress your appetite.
One study cited a 20% reduction of food intake following breakfast when collagen proteins were ingested. The same study showed collagen proteins to be 40% more satiating than other protein powder supplements.
4. Improves Liver Function
The toxins we are exposed to everyday must be processed by your liver in order to be detoxed out of your body. Glycine, which is found in collagen, can help with detoxification and reduce the damage to your liver from these toxins.
Studies have even found that glycine can be used to help reduce alcohol-induced liver damage.
As if all this weren’t enough, glycine can be very calming and even improve the quality of sleep. It’s one of the reasons I love to drink collagen powder in my hot tea before bedtime.
5. Provides Heart Protection
Proline, which is found in collagen, may help to obliterate fat deposits in the arteries and repair tissue within the artery. Collagen has also been shown to help control blood pressure.
Because of this, collagen has been linked to the preventing arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
6. Supports Bone Growth and Repair
Calcium is not the only component for healthy bones. Your bones are ⅓ collagen, which gives them their flexibility. Your bone cells are constantly turning over, and adding collagen protein to your daily diet may make bones stronger by increasing bone mineral density.
Several studies have shown that osteoporosis can be prevented and even reversed by supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen because of its ability to stimulate bone-creating cells (osteoblasts).