What Is Collagen? Learn How it Can Benefit Your Body
Collagen has been increasingly popular over recent years, and of course, for good reasons. While boosting collagen levels in the body is highly effective in slowing down the ageing process and improving diverse bodily functions, depletion and breakdown may cause a wide range of health problems.
In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly collagen is and how it can benefit your body. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is collagen?
- Sources of collagen
- Benefits of collagen in the human body
- How to use collagen supplements
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most obvious protein in the body which is found as a building block of all connective tissues. This protein makes up around one-third of the total protein composition in the body and helps strengthen bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Collagen is essential for providing structure to most of the body and is also responsible for maintaining the strength and elasticity of the skin, making it one of the most popular anti-aging ingredients in the world.
Sources of collagen
Collagen is naturally synthesised in the body, called endogenous collagen. It is found across all connective tissues including the muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments, joints, and digestive system.
However, with ageing, collagen synthesis begins to slow down naturally. Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, an unhealthy diet habit, and excessive exposure to sunlight may also cause collagen levels to be affected.
To increase collagen levels in the body, collagen supplements, also called exogenous collagen, come into the picture. Collagen supplements are generally sourced from animal products including eggshell membrane, bovine bone broth, chicken skin, and fish. But plant sources are also available.
Collagen supplements help to replenish the amino acid levels that stimulate collagen production and help maintain healthy collagen levels in the body.
Benefits of collagen in the human body
Since collagen offers numerous health benefits, it’s necessarily not possible to mention them all. Some most common health benefits of collagen include, but are not limited to:
Supports healthy joints and bones
The amino acids found in collagen proteins play a key role in the production and maintenance of healthy connective tissues such as ligaments, cartilage, tendons, and even bones.
A large number of studies have found that collagen supplements can improve overall bone and joint functionality and associated conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Collagen supplements have been found to be effective as follows:
- Reduce pain and stiffness of joints
- Promote healthy cushion for joints and improve range of motion (ROM)
- Increase bone density and prevent bone loss, making it highly beneficial in osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become fragile
- Help recover normal wear and tear in the joints
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Improves gut health
Collagen proteins alone, or in combination with probiotics or vitamin C, show significant benefits in the formation and maintenance of the gut lining. A healthy gut lining is essential for absorbing nutrients, preventing toxins enter the bloodstream, and improving overall immune response.
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Helps prevent atherosclerosis and Improves heart health
Collagen proteins are responsible to form the structure of arteries, the blood vessels that transfer blood from the heart towards all body parts. The deficiency of collagen in the body may lead to a condition called atherosclerosis characterised by the narrowing of arteries. Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke.
Studies have found that collagen supplements can significantly reduce the stiffness of the arteries. Besides, studies have also found that collagen may increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) which is important for reducing the risk of heart conditions.
Promotes healthy skin, nails, and hair
When it comes to personal beauty and appearance, healthy skin, hair, and nails obviously matter a lot. By improving metabolism and overall bodily functions, collagen has been found to be effective in promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Collagen helps improve skin hydration and elasticity, and reduces skin wrinkles and sagging, promotes hair thickness and reduces hair breakage, and strengthens nails, making it one of the most sought-after dietary supplements in the natural beauty routine.
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Improves muscle recovery
Collagen is highly beneficial in sports or athlete performances. This protein makes up to 10 % of all muscle tissues in the body.
Studies have found that supplementing with collagen proteins is effective in increasing muscle mass and strength during resistance training and exercise. It improves muscle recovery and provides faster relief for performance-induced muscle and joint discomfort immediately following performance.
How to use collagen supplements
The actual serving size of collagen supplements depends on the underlying conditions and desired goals. Dosages can range from as low as 1 gram per day to as high as 30 grams per day depending on the desired results.
In general, a serving of 10 grams of collagen can be taken into two divided doses daily. For capsule forms, most healthcare providers suggest 1000 mg to 1500 mg of fermented collagen capsules per day.
Although collagen supplements alone work well, combined with vitamin C, manganese, or copper has been described to be more beneficial since these elements support collagen absorption in the body.
Collagen supplements can be taken by adding into foods like smoothies, muffins, coffee, or shakes. But it’s recommended to talk with your healthcare provider so that he or she can analyze the exact dose for you.
Precautions and side effects
Collagen supplements are considered generally safe and well-tolerated for most people. No side effects have been reported with recommended doses.
But, whenever you want to consider choosing collagen supplements, make sure the product doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, fillers, dairy, or antibiotics.
Collagen is an essential protein important for connective tissues and overall bodily functions. Supplementing with collagen regularly may help with many health conditions including bone and joint issues, heart diseases, and skin and hair-related problems that generally occurred with ageing.
But, choose collagen supplement that’s ethically sourced and doesn’t contain any harmful agents, and don’t forget to ask your doctor prior to using collagen supplement.
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Disclaimer – This article is created for educational purposes, hence, cannot be treated as medical advice.