You have probably heard of collagen in lotions and creams designed to help your skin stay healthy. You might even know it’s part of your body’s immune response that makes your skin plumper.
Well, that’s just the beginning: Did you know you can consume (eat) collagen to help your joints and bones?
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is a structural protein that plays a vital role in the health of your skin, ligaments, bones, and tendons.
Without collagen, we would literally fall apart.
The good news is that when our body needs a boost of collagen, we can take it as a supplement or even benefit from it absorbing through skin from a lotion.
Even more amazing, gram-for-gram, fibrous collagen is stronger than steel! (Superman must have a lot of collagen in him.)
How do our bodies use collagen?
Our bodies use collagen to replenish dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. As such, it can help our skin repair wounds due to skin punctures. It also works as a dermal filler in the cosmetics industry.
Collagen also helps people with osteoarthritis, a potentially debilitating condition that affects the movement of our joints. A 2006 study showed that collagen supplements can alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.1
Where can we get more collagen in our diets?
Some foods help our bodies produce more collagen. Egg whites, meats, cheese, and soy are all high in protein. Berries, fruits, and vegetables help our bodies by creating natural pathways for collagen to form. Getting more copper in our diets from shellfish, nuts, and red meats can also increase collagen production.
Sometimes, our bodies need a boost of collagen to keep our naturally healthy glow and to help us move around better. That is where collagen supplements, such as bone broth, come into play.
Collagen benefit our skin and hair: Here’s how…
Your body breaks down collagen into three different types of amino acids. One of them is proline, which is the main component of keratin. Keratin is the protein your hair is made of, giving your curly locks a better building block on which to grow.2,3
Collagen may have antioxidant effects that foster the health of hair follicles, which could help boost hair growth underneath the skin where all of your hair generates.
Did you know that collagen makes up 70% of the dermis of your skin? That’s the layer of your skin from which hair follicles grow. Giving your body more collagen to work with can help reduce the thinning of your hair due to age.
Copper, a trace mineral our bodies need, works to help keep our hair healthy. As we age, several factors increase the grey in our hair. Collagen’s antioxidant properties may keep away the gray as we age.
The beauty industry has been abuzz about collagen for decades. You can find it as a main ingredient in many lotions. But the better way to get more collagen is to take it as a supplement.
Collagen is made up of the protein building blocks, amino acids. These amino acids can help your skin look smooth, have an even complexion, and feel soft and supple.
Collagen is vital for skin repair and is part of your skin’s natural immune reaction, such as when you get a cut, scrape, burn, or acne. When your skin senses a problem due to a cut that causes bleeding, your body’s immune system takes action by producing more collagen to protect that area of the skin. Collagen supplements can accelerate the body’s natural healing process by promoting healthy tissue in order to reduce scars caused by acne, surgery, scrapes and cuts. It can also help reduce discoloration.
Collagen acts as a natural moisturizer for your skin, which dries with age and environmental factors like sunburn. When you add more collagen to your skin it helps the skin retain more moisture to give it a soft and supple feel while having a radiant appearance.
Why take collagen supplements? Creams and lotions try to help from the outside, but the real way to benefit from collagen is to help it work from the inside. Collagen firms the dermis, the inner layer, to keep the skintight and firm thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.4
How does collagen benefit my joints and muscles?
Type II collagen, found in chicken bones, can reduce joint pain in people over 50, according to a study from China in 2008.5 The test subjects took a collagen supplement every day for three months and the results showed that people had less pain and more mobility.
Athletes can also benefit from collagen supplementation. A small study in Australia examined 18 athletes with Achilles tendon injuries.6 All the study did exercises meant to strengthen the tendon, but some of them took collagen supplements for the first three months of healing. Some athletes took 2.5 grams of collagen twice per day, while others did not for 90 days. More of the athletes who took the collagen supplements were able to start running again after three months. Once the other athletes began to take collagen supplements instead of placebo, their healing accelerated markedly.
Scientists in Germany and Great Britain studied people in their 70s who worked out and got regular exercise.7 They found that these older people gained more strength and muscle mass when they took a collagen supplement. These effects could occur because we produce less collagen as we age. However, it is interesting to think about what might happen in younger people taking collagen to help with exercise.
How does collagen benefit my gut health?
When we think of gut health, our minds may migrate to prebiotics and probiotics. However, collagen plays a vital role in the formation , maintenance, and repair of the lining of the human stomach and intestines. It is depended upon to makes us better at absorbing and harnessing the nutrients in our food. Collagen supplements can reduce the problems we have in our gut lining when there is a problem with the body’s natural production of collagen.8
When collagen reaches our gut, aka small intestines, it can increase a class of amino acids called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Researchers note that SCFAs in the gut can produce anti-inflammatory effects that help regulate our immune system.9
When we reduce inflammation in our gut, it has a systemic effect on the entire body. Runaway inflammation, where our bodies maintain a constant state of red alert. Over time this weakens the overall immune system and can cause the damage behind many threats to your health. By helping your body maintain the right amount of gut bacteria, collagen protects your body’s overall health.
So you’re saying I should take more collagen
Collagen is a protein vital to the function of the human body. Without it, our wounds wouldn’t heal as fast, we wouldn’t be able to move as quickly, and our skin would get more wrinkles at a younger age.
Collagen helps us look and feel younger, especially since we naturally produce less collagen as we age.
Supplementing with collagen has numerous benefits, some of which are not yet understood. However, scientific evidence for getting more collagen into our diets continues to grow by year.
Bone broth is of particular note. It’s been gaining traction over the past five years as a healthy way to get more collagen. Bone broth comes from boiling the bones of cattle or chicken, reducing them to their main proteins, while also boiling vegetables with the bones for additional nutrients. Think of bone broth as juicing for protein. Whereas you juice fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals, you consume delicious bone broth for protein and amino acids.
Always do your research first
As with anything having to do with your health, do your research first. Consult with valid medical sources online. And always, always, always discuss your nutrient intake and diet with your doctor or care team. They will give you sound medical advice on taking a supplement with collagen.
The staff at KINETIQ Life encourages you to explore your options to improve your health in natural ways. We offer fantastic supplements that boost your body’s natural functions so that you can have a healthier life and improved well-being.
Contact us if you have any questions about our products or how we can help you achieve better health.
Bello A, Oesser S. 2006. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Current Medical Research & Opinion. 22(11):2221-2232.
Wang B, Yang w, McKittrick J, Meyers M-A. 2016. Keratin: Structure, mechanical properties, occurrence in biological organisms, and efforts at bioinspiration. Progress in Materials Science. 76:229-318.
Yang F-C, Zhang Y, Rheinstadter M. 2014. The Structure of People’s Hair. PeerJ Life & Environment 2:e619
Zaque V, de Freitas V, Da Costa Rosa M, De Castro G, Jaeger R, Machado-Santelli G. 2011. Collagen hydrolysate intake increases skin collagen expression and suppresses matrix metalloproteinase 2 activity. Journal of Medicinal Food. 14(6):618-624.
Xie Q, Shi R, Xu G, Cheng L, Shao L, Rao J. 2008. Effects of AR7 Joint Complex on arthralgia for patients with osteoarthritis: results of a three-month study in Shanghai, China. Nutritional Journal. 7:31
Praet S, Purdam C, Welvaert M, Vlahovich N, Lovell G, Burke L, Gaida J, Manzanero S, Hughes D, Waddington G. 2019. Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients. Nutrients. 11(1):76
Zdzieblik D, Oesser S, Baumstark M, Gollhofer A, Koniq D. 2015. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomized controlled trial. The British Journal of Nutrition. 114(8):1237-1245.
Chen Q, Chen O, Martins I, Hou H, Zhao X, Blumberg J. Li B. 2017. Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions. Food & Function. 8(3):1144-1151.
Mei F, Daun Z, Chen M, Lu J, Zhao M, Li L, Shen X, Xia G. Chen S. 2020. Effect of a high-collagen peptide diet on the gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acid metabolism. Journal of Functional Foods. 75:104278