Whenever we come across the term “collagen,” the very first thing that comes to our mind is flawless and smooth skin. Collagen – the most abundant protein in the body, mainly found in the skin and other connective tissues – is critical for skin health. However, its role and benefits are not just restricted to the skin, but extend to other body parts and organs, including ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones, heart and digestive tract.
This structural protein is responsible for providing elasticity to the skin as well as strength to the hair and connective tissues to hold the muscles and bones in place. As a matter of fact, our body is capable of naturally synthesizing collagen to keep the body in shape and to maintain its structure.
Unfortunately, the natural production of collagen in our body gradually decreases with age. Several other factors like stress, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle may further exacerbate the condition; leading to the loss of collagen even before time. And, it is a well known fact that lack of collagen is of the major reasons for the signs of aging to appear.
Considering the importance of collagen, people have now begun using collagen as a dietary supplement. It is easily available in the form of powder, bars and soups. Hydrolyzed collagen, a broken-down form of collagen – consisting of broken chains of amino acids – is easily digestible and helps stimulate collagen growth in the body.
Discussed below are 10 incredible benefits of collagen supplements that can help improve your overall health and consequently, quality of life:
1. Improves Skin Condition: Collagen is the most important constituent of your skin. It plays a vital role in providing strength to your skin along with moisture and elasticity. This helps overcome skin problems like premature aging, dry skin and wrinkles.
In a study, women participants, who took collagen supplements for eight weeks, experienced significant reduction in dryness of the skin, and aging problems when compared with the participants, who did not consume it. Collagen is also known to be helpful in the treatment of several skin conditions like acne.
2. Relieves Joint Pain: Collagen may help in maintaining the integrity of cartilage – a rubber-like tissue, which protects the joints. As you get older, the collagen content in your body keeps on decreasing. This decrease in collagen increases your susceptibility to degenerative joint disorders like osteoarthritis. Some studies have shown that joint pain can be relieved by taking collagen supplements. Collagen as a supplement may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate tissues to make collagen.
3. Prevents Bone Loss: A constant cycle of bone destruction and re-creation continue throughout the life. This is our body’s way of creating healthy structure. Bones are made up of collagen, which supports them and keeps them strong. The bone mass may reduce due to decline in collagen as one ages. This condition is known as osteoporosis.
Studies have revealed that taking certain collagen supplements might inhibit bone corrosion. Collagen supplement helps maintain your bone mass by stimulating the body to produce more collagen.
4. Increases Muscle Mass: Around 1-10% of muscle tissue is made up of collagen. This protein is required to keep your muscles strong and function properly. Studies suggest that collagen supplement help boost muscle mass in people suffering from sarcopenia – age-related loss of muscle mass.
In one of the studies, it was found that taking collagen supplements promote synthesis of creatine in muscles along with increased muscle growth stimulation after exercise.
5. Promotes Heart Health: Collagen is an important compound for maintaining heart health. Taking collagen supplement may reduce the risk of heart-related diseases. Collagen may provide structure to your arteries –blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to different body parts.
Lack of collagen may weaken heart muscles, ultimately making you susceptible to heart attack and stroke. According to a study, collagen also increases the level of HDL (“good” cholesterol) by approximately 6%. HDL is an important factor that reduces risk of heart diseases, including atherosclerosis.
6. Helps Repair Leaky Gut Syndrome: The number of leaky gut syndrome cases have greatly surged in the last few years. It is a condition in which toxins pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This is caused by weakening of intestinal walls. Taking collagen as a supplement can help repair intestinal wall and prevent the condition by rebuilding the collagen in the intestinal wall.
7. Reduces Cellulite and Prevents Stretch Marks: By strengthening the dermis layer of the skin, cellulose helps prevent acne and stretch marks. Cellulite is mainly caused by lack of collagen in the dermis. Too much of fat and little collagen is the main reason for cellulite in the body. Collagen as a supplement helps reduce cellulite. According to a 2015 study, collagen supplement helps improve general appearance and waviness of the skin.
8. Helps Relieve Anxiety: Today’s fast-paced life is stressful. People these days are more prone to getting into situations that trigger stress and anxiety. Collagen as a supplement can help reducing stress. Collagen can actually help you face various problems in your life with greater ease. The anti-anxiety property of collagen lies in its high concentration of glycine – an amino acid which many of us lack.
9. Helps Balancing Hormone Levels: Our hormones are responsible for so many mechanisms in our body that keep it functional and fit. Hence, hormones are required to be well functional and balanced if you want to live for long healthily. Collagen helps improve the levels of estrogen, insulin, cortisol and even human growth hormone. Each hormone has some important functions which regulates various bodily functions.
10. Other Potential Benefits: Collagen supplements may offer other health benefits, but these have not been studied in detail:
- Hair, Teeth and Nails: Taking collagen as a supplement can enhance the strength of your nails and hairs. Collagen is the main component that connects teeth with gums. Lowering of collagen with age may increase tooth sensitivity and decreased tooth strength.
- Digestion: Some Studies claim that collagen as a supplement help improve gut health by improving digestion.
- Weight Loss: Collagen can boost your metabolism and may reduce your appetite. Reduction in appetite may help you in weight loss.