Collagen, a protein that responsible for healthier joints and skin elasticity. It makes up to three quarters of our skin and a third of total body protein content giving it the title “The most abundant protein in the human body”. Present in skin, bone, tendons, muscles and other types of connective tissue. There are 28 types of human collagen has been identified so far, however 90% of it in the human body is identified as Type 1. Researchers believe that for many people, particularly elderly and for the women after the menopause, collagen production slows down or stops.
Although a normal human body begins to lose collagen when it turns 30. The effects become noticeable after several years. Even though this is a natural process, it’s possible to speed it up with UV exposure, Pollution, bad habits and poor diet choices. The body loses 1.5% of collagen every year. By the age of 40 we may loss more than 30% of our collagen. So, if your body can’t make this protein anymore, and that means that you have to take it.
Supplements for Collagen
Because it makes up so many critical parts of our bodies, it is not only beneficial but essential to maintaining good health. There is reasonable evidence from couple of research like that supplements help maintain hydrated skin and relieve osteoarthritis pain. The research conducted by Prof. Roland Moskowitz of Western University in America on a group of patients from US, UK and Germany showed that patients took collagen supplement showed significant reduction in joint pain and an improvement in joint mobility.
Other commonly cited benefits of supplements include;
Helps with healing after an injury
Collagen plays a key role in natural process of wound healing. The role of this protein in wound healing is to attract fibroblasts and encourage deposition of new collagen to the wound bed. Aspects that applications of collagen can help with include reduced inflammation, restoring skin elasticity, controlling bleeding and attracting cells that promote wound healing.
As you age, your bones become less dense and more brittle, breaking more easily and taking longer to heal. Studies have shown that daily supplements can help make your bones denser, slowing the aging process that makes them brittle and helping your body to produce new bone.
Increased Muscle mass
A combination of supplements and strength training could potentially help increase muscle mass and strength.
While more men go bald, many women also 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 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 supplements.
Fillers that combine collagen dermal fillers with hyaluronic acid may increase skin elasticity by boosting collagen production. This can help enlarge tissues, filling gaps such as wrinkles. Moreover, it also improves the contours of the skin and improving the appearance of scars.
Collagen and Osteoporosis
The inside of a healthy bone has small spaces, like a honeycomb. Osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces, causing the bone to lose strength and density or in other words, Osteoporosis is a health condition that causes bone fracture, making the bones so brittle and weak so that a fall or mild stresses such as bending over, coughing can cause a bone fracture.
Like we discussed earlier, Your bones are made primarily of collagen, so when it’s production decreases, your bones will start to become more weaken, making them more susceptible to fracture. The research by Prof. Moskowitz shows that taking collagen peptides may be helpful in treating and preventing osteoporosis.
Collagen and the Cartilage grow
Collagen seems able to stimulate the growth of new cartilage, which is borne out by medical studies, which shows that patients with arthritic joints showed improvements in mobility and also pain relief when taking collagen supplements. Studies shows that adding collagen into cartilage tissues will stimulate the growth of extra cells.
In a study that conducted by Dr. Steffen Oesser (University of Kiel, Germany), Dr. Simon Erger (University Of Freiburg, Germany) and the Collagen research institute of Germany proves that adding collagen to the cartilage tissue encourages the cartilage growth.
In their research, they selected 40 healthy male volunteers aged between 20-30. Divided the group into two, one group received the collagen supplement daily and others received a placebo (PLA) supplement. On the analysis it is found that the Volunteers received the collagen supplement had a significant greater increase in their tendon CSA and muscle thickness.
Risk of supplements
Although side effects of collagen supplements are extremely rare. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to hold off on taking a supplement. Or consult your doctor before taking supplements during that time.
What are the alternatives?
You can always help your body make more collagen naturally by ensuring your diet is packed with healthy foods.( unless you’re old or above 40). You can help your body produce more of this protein by eating lots of glycine- and proline-rich foods like chicken, beef, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, shellfish, nuts, and whole grains.