Top 8 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements have been on my radar for quite some time now, largely due to their beautifying properties when it comes to glowing, supple skin and shiny hair. But, the more I learn about this essential protein, the more I believe it should be a staple in everyone’s natural medicine cabinet. For, it’s responsible for a lot more than just pretty skin, hair, and nails. Today, I’d like to explore the top 10 health benefits of taking a truly high-quality collagen supplement, so that we can all better understand why this powerful antioxidant is an essential part of any health enthusiast’s daily regimen.
What is collagen exactly?
First, let’s quickly explain what collagen is exactly. Collagen is an essential protein—one our bodies make on their own. As the body’s most abundant protein, it helps make our bones, joints, and skin. It makes up the structure of various parts of our bodies. However, as we get older, we tend to make less and less of it. This is why taking a collagen supplement on a daily basis makes very good sense. This essential protein, which supports the structure of the muscles, cartilage, bones, skin, and nails, has many many attributes. There’s so much collagen does for our bodies. So much more than you probably know. And, did you know that there are 16 different forms of collagen? It’s true! However, four primary types are known for the following functions:
- Type 1: This one is made from dense fibers, and makes up approximately 90% of the collagen found in your body. It’s responsible for all sorts of bodily functions, including the structural makeup of your skin, bones, joints, tendons, connective tissues, and even teeth.
- Type 2: This one is made of loose fibers that make up elastic cartilage which helps provide your joints with the cushioning it needs.
- Type 3: This form of collagen is integral to the structure of your arteries, organs, and muscles.
- Type 4: The last primary type of collagen resides within your skin’s layers. It’s necessary for filtrating toxins.
Top health benefits we get from taking collagen supplements
Ok, let’s get to the good stuff. We’re all interested in staying healthy, and even improving our health as we get older. How can a collagen supplement help us reach our health goals? Let’s find out!
Collagen for your gut health
If you suffer from any kind of digestive issue, as many people do these days, taking a collagen supplement can definitely help. When you take a really good collagen supplement, it releases beneficial amino acids into your gut. These amino acids work as antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress that builds up in the gut. Lately, inflammatory bowel disease has become a common concern. This study , published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, shows how collagen supplementation may very well be an effective natural remedy for IBS. It might also help with various gut conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Most of these gut issues have to do with inflammation, and it’s the anti-inflammatory properties of collagen supplementation that work so well to help heal these uncomfortable tummy maladies.
Collagen for supple, glowing skin
Collagen is known best for its role in skin health. Many people lather collagen creams on their skin in hopes of finding the fountain of youth. The lotions and creams are fun, for sure. But, it’s the supplement you take orally that’s going to be most effective when it comes to keeping skin youthful, glowing, and supple. A collagen cream you put on your skin only reaches the superficial skin layers. This can be helpful, for sure. But, the supplements you take orally are going to enter your bloodstream, and then reach the deepest layers of your skin, making it a more effective means of supplementation. Even various studies show how collagen supplementation helps to improve the elasticity of the skin. However, topical creams and lotions are fun and effective, too. This study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, explains further how the topical treatment of collagen minimizes wrinkles and fine lines. If you long to age with grace, some form of collagen supplementation should definitely be a part of your daily health regimen.
Collagen for strong nails
Want strong, beautiful nails? I know I do! As a nail biter since childhood, I’ve long wanted pretty nails. Lucky for us, collagen supplementation can help keep our nails healthy and strong—even for the nail biters among us. But, how exactly does collagen work to make nails pretty? Well, your nails are primarily composed of something called keratin. Keratin is a protein. When you take a high-quality collagen supplement, you boost the amount of keratin in the body, which is essential for the growth of your nails. More keratin also results in stronger nails, making them less vulnerable to splitting and even fungal infections. If you’re interested in improving the beauty and resilience of your nails, collagen supplementation is key. And if you need proof for further motivation, here’s a study that explains how supplementing with collagen improves nail growth while reducing brittleness.
Collagen for strong bones and healthy joints
Because collagen plays a major role in the structure of your bones, joints, and connective tissues, it’s an absolutely necessary supplement for the health of our bones and joints as we age. This most abundant protein of the body helps to stimulate cartilage growth. Cartilage is the firm and rubbery cover on the ends of bones. It protects our bones and joints, and is necessary for preventing bones from rubbing against one another, which often happens as we age. This friction can lead to pain and inflammation, and even conditions like osteoarthritis.
Lucky for us, we don’t have to allow this to happen so fast. We can eat the right foods, do the right forms of exercise, and supplement with high-quality collagen. Supplementing in this way has even been proven by multiple studies to work! Studies like this one, suggest the health benefits of collagen supplementation for the painful condition of osteoarthritis. This is hopeful, given the fact that the majority of women suffer from osteoarthritis to some degree as they get older.
Type II collagen, which resides mainly in the joints, is responsible for preventing the wear and tear of our joints, which typically happens as we age—especially if we don’t have enough collagen in those areas. For joint mobility and flexibility, a collagen supplement is essential the older we get, and the less we produce type II collagen.
Collagen for muscle strength and mass
If you’re someone who wants to maintain their muscle mass with age, collagen supplements may be something you want to consider incorporating into your daily routine. This is because collagen is part and parcel of your muscle’s makeup. It helps support muscle strength and mass. And scientific studies like this one explain how. This study focuses on the loss of muscle mass in men as they age. And as we all know, women also lose muscle mass with age. Both sexes need collagen for healthy muscles, especially as we get older, given the fact that our bodies don’t produce as much collagen, a natural part of the aging process.
Collagen for scalp issues and hair loss
For anyone dealing with hair and scalp issues, collagen may end up being your go-to supplement. If you have dandruff, or even hair loss, collagen can certainly help. Even studies prove the efficacy of collagen for hair loss. In this 2009 study, researchers explain how oxidative stress contributes to the aging of your hair. The cool thing about taking a collagen supplement is that it actually helps slow the oxidative process associated with aging hair. Also, if you’re losing your hair you probably need more keratin, the hair growth protein. When you supplement with collagen peptides you get the keratin you need to stop hair loss and promote hair growth.
Collagen for thick, beautiful, shiny hair
If you have good hair now, but want great hair, collagen is your answer. Our hair is prone to thinning as we age, but if we take a high-quality collagen supplement, we can prevent hair thinning, and potentially make our hair thicker. You may be wondering how this works. I know I did. Here’s how collagen supports the growth of thick, lustrous hair:
Your hair grows out from your skin. This means, we need our skin to be in the best shape possible to promote optimal hair growth. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the layer of skin (dermis) that’s responsible for hair growth, as it contains each root of hair. The dermis is the middle layer of skin. Seventy percent of it is made up of collagen. So, collagen is the primary reason the dermis layer of skin stays strong, supple, and generally healthy. The cells of the dermis need collagen. As you might guess, less collagen is produced in the dermis layer of skin as we get older. This is where the collagen supplements come in to maintain the health of the dermis, which in turn, sustains healthy hair growth. And, if we’re still realtively youthful, with good, healthy hair, taking collagen can further improve the vibrancy of the dermis layer of skin to promote better hair growth. Hair thickens, becomes more lustrous, and shines with good health!
It’s also important to note that chronic stress often results in hair loss, no matter how old you are. If you’ve been noticing your hair is falling out at a faster rate than normal due to a stress period in your life, take the proper steps to reducing stress. I meditate every morning. I inhale lavender every night. And I make sure I get plenty of exercise in between.
Collagen for heart health
Did you know that taking a high-quality collagen supplement actually helps prevent heart disease? This 2017 study published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis explains how collagen helps prevent the hardening of the arteries that often leads to serious heart issues. This is a timely piece of information, given that heart disease is the modern day killer in terms of numbers. Heart issues have gotten out of hand, given the unhealthy modern diet so many of us consume. But, rather than let these issues get out of hand, supplementing with collagen can help with heart disease prevention, when added to a healthy whole foods diet.
Lifestyle measures to support the efficacy of collagen supplementation:
You can also help expedite the efficacy of collagen supplementation by avoiding the following:
- Cut out processed sugars
Processed foods and processed sugars actually slow collagen production. Do your best to satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sweetness from raw fruits.
- Do your best to quit smoking
Smoking also impairs the production of collagen. If you can finally kick the habit, your skin (and the rest of your body) will love you for it!
- Too much sun
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can really decrease your body’s ability to make collagen and utilize the collagen you get via supplementation. Getting vitamin D through sun exposure is always a good thing. But, too much of it isn’t. Use your best judgment when it comes to catching those rays.
Eating a diet ripe with collagen
Yet another way to expedite the benefits of collagen supplementation has to do with the foods you eat. Certain foods actually have high amounts of collagen. Eating them is a great idea if you want to make this essential protein work for you. Here’s a list of the best collagen-rich foods.
- The skin of chicken and pork
- Bone broth
- Vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits and strawberries
- Foods containing proline like egg whites, mushrooms, dairy, and wheat germ
- Foods with copper such as lentils, cocoa powder, cashews, sesame seeds, and organ meats
Each time you cook a chicken, make sure you eat the skin. Collagen is most prevalent in the connective tissues of animal products like chicken and pork. So, don’t skimp when you eat. Every part of most every whole food is great for you!
As you can see, the benefits of collagen supplementation are vast! But, quality matters. At Applied Science Nutrition we offer a collagen supplement of the highest grade. Take advantage of this amazing product today to upgrade your health and quality of life, starting today!