Collagen is a protein that provides structure to much of your body, including bones, skin, tendons and ligaments and it is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity. It’s in your bones, muscles and blood, comprising three quarters of your skin and a third of the protein in your body.
As you age, your existing collagen breaks down, and it gets harder for your body to produce more. As a result, many people turn to collagen supplements. These supplements are usually powders, though there are also capsules and liquid supplements available.
Collagen is also produced naturally in the body by combining amino acids ( the building blocks of proteins found in foods) to produce collagen that your body needs. To produce collagen, your body puts the amino acids glycine and proline together with other amino acids including vitamin C, zinc, and copper. You can help your body produce more collagen by eating lots of glycine- and proline-rich foods like chicken, beef, fish, dairy, eggs, and beans. For vitamin C, zinc, and copper, you should also be sure to eat foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, shellfish, nuts, and whole grains.
Potential Health Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Because it makes up so many critical parts of our bodies, collagen is not only beneficial but essential to maintaining good health. However, the benefits of collagen supplements are still debated. While there is reasonable evidence that they help maintain hydrated skin and relieve osteoarthritis pain, more research is needed into less well-understood benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
As you age, your bones become less dense and more brittle, breaking more easily and taking longer to heal. Studies have shown that daily collagen supplements can help make your bones denser, slowing the aging process that makes them brittle and helping your body to produce new bone.
Skin Elasticity and Hydration
Oral collagen supplements have been shown to improve skin hydration and elasticity for older people. They might also help to lessen wrinkles. Women who took a supplement showed improvements in skin appearance and elasticity in a 2019 study. Collagen is also used in topical treatments to improve the appearance of skin by minimizing lines and wrinkles (Trusted Source, Trusted Source).
Thicker Hair and Healthier Nails
Men and women can experience hair loss or thinning as they age. In one study, a group of women with thinning hair saw significant increases in their hair’s quantity, scalp coverage, and thickness while taking daily collagen supplements.
Some people’s nails break more easily than others, and don’t grow as fast. One study in a group of women showed faster nail growth and fewer broken or chipped nails after only four weeks of daily collagen supplements.
Helps Relieve Joint Pain
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. As the amount of collagen in your body decreases as you get older, your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases.
Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall. In one study, 73 athletes who consumed 10 grams of collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a significant decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with a group that did not take it. In another study, adults took 2 grams of collagen daily for 70 days. Those who took collagen had a significant reduction in joint pain and were better able to engage in physical activity than those who did not take it.
Researchers have theorized that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen. They have suggested this may lead to lower inflammation, better support of your joints, and reduced pain.
If you want to try taking a collagen supplement for its potential pain-relieving effects, studies suggest you should start with a daily dosage of 8–12 grams (Trusted Source).
Increased Muscle Mass
A combination of collagen peptide supplements and strength training could potentially help increase muscle mass and strength. A 2019 study in recreationally active men showed that a combination of collagen peptide supplements and strength training increased muscle mass and strength more than a placebo (Trusted Source).
Some alternative medicine practitioners also advocate using collagen supplements to treat leaky gut syndrome.
Potential Risks of Collagen Supplements
Side effects of collagen supplements are rare. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to hold off on taking a collagen supplement for now, since there isn’t yet enough research to come to any conclusions about their safety.
The effects of collagen supplements continue to be researched and debated. Instead of buying these supplements, you can always help your body make more collagen naturally by ensuring your diet is packed with healthy foods.
Information Taken directly from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits#2.-Helps-relieve-joint-pain