3 Benefits of Collagen Supplements

3 Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Collagen is a protein that makes up approximately one-third of your body’s protein composition. It acts as a kind of adhesive that holds together a large portion of your body. As the most abundant protein, collagen is a major player in the development, protection, and growth of a variety of systemic processes including:

  • Muscles
  • Bones
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Cartilage
  • Skin

Add in blood vessels and the cornea of your eyes and collagen is a big deal.

Collagen can be obtained from certain foods but supplemental use may be more beneficial. Recent research of collagen supplements shows good science for specific systemic applications that have adhered to an acceptable study protocol. This research is scarce with some results coming from rodent models but now that collagen supplements are available over the counter, favorable observational studies are also emerging. These 3 benefits of collagen supplements show that this supplement could be the beginning of another super alternative remedy.

Collagen Food Support

Obtaining collagen from food sources like bone broth may not be as beneficial as a supplement. However, foods that support collagen production include:

  • Vitamin C – Peppers, citrus, and berries
  • Glycine – beans, nuts, seeds, pork, chicken, gelatin
  • Proline – Egg whites, dairy, asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms, wheat germ.
  • Copper – Organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews, and lentils

Adding a collagen supplement has shown to have the potential to offer three health benefits. 

Skin Elasticity and Appearance 

The two types of collagen supplements are hydrolyzed (labeled as collagen hydrolysate) and gelatin (which is cooked collagen). Both, through processing, have reduced the large collagen protein into small peptides that can assimilate into the body more readily than consumed food sourced collagen. These peptides have shown beneficial results in topical as well as oral applications for improvement of skin elasticity and appearance.

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients it was concluded that,

“Objective dermatological measurements, such as cutometry and corneometry, have proven that oral collagen peptides together with other dermonutrients significantly improve skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density after three months of intake”

Another study from a 2021 International Journal of Dermatology stated,

“Based on results, ingestion of hydrolyzed collagen for 90 days is effective in reducing skin aging, as it reduces wrinkles and improves skin elasticity and hydration.”

Muscle Improvement

Collagen may help muscle mass. This cannot be done by simply taking a pill, you still need to incorporate some form of weight training. However, a study also published in the journal Nutrients, proved the beneficial effects of combining resistance exercises with collagen supplementation. It was reported that,

“In conclusion, after 12 weeks of hypertrophy resistance exercise training in combination with collagen supplementation compared with a placebo, we found significantly higher BM [body mass] and FFM [fat-free mass] and a slightly more pronounced increase in strength in COL [collagen peptides] compared with PLA [placebo]”

Joint Relief

Joint pain is one of the top complaints for older adults when visiting a doctor. In addition to a healthy diet and exercise program, specific supplementation like collagen may offer joint relief.

Research conducted at the University of Rochester describes the rise of collagen supplements and how combined study data continues to validate numerous systemic benefits:

“In the case of collagen-based nutraceuticals, numerous formulations have been developed which are marketed as dietary supplements or as additives or ingredients in the food industry. They are gaining popularity due to their documented positive effects on skin and bone…Results reported here suggest that daily consumption of hCol1 [type 1 out of 4 collagen types] protects against cartilage loss and stimulates the production of proteoglycan [core protein] by chondrocytes [cartilage building cells] in injured joints.” 

There are many joint formulas that include collagen with the most studied being glucosomine and chondroitin with MSM.

If you think these 3 benefits of collagen supplements may apply to you, collaborate with your physician or naturopathic doctor to determine if starting a collagen protocol may be a good choice. It is important to note that those with a fish, shellfish, or egg allergy should avoid collagen supplements as many of these are made from these ingredients.