Products containing collagen have long been highly sought out in the beauty aisle of stores. That’s for collagen’s ability to help maintain beautiful hair, enhance the appearance and elasticity of skin, and support strong, beautiful nails. But collagen’s powers when it comes to amplifying how good you look also extends to how you feel inside, and that covers a whole lot of territory inside your body as well as outside.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins inside your body, responsible for an assortment of biological functions, most notably giving structural support via connective tissue, muscle, and skin, per medicalnewstoday.com. Its best-known property as a protein is in bolstering the elasticity of your skin, which takes on added importance as you age. As your body gets older, it gradually loses collagen because of a slowdown in the production of this protein.
Another way to look at collagen and the roles it plays in terms of your health is thinking of it, as amymyersmd.com put it, as the ‘glue’ that hold your body together. Note that the Greek word from which ‘collagen’ is derived is ‘kolla,’ which translated means ‘glue.’ There are numerous types of collagen, most of which is ‘Type 1’ collagen that reportedly makes up 90 percent of the collagen found in your body and is believed to be stronger than steel, gram for gram.
As The New York Times has put it, “It’s no surprise that collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in the wellness and beauty communities.” This stuff gets around, and its adherents are always reaching out for more. Strength and beauty – a wholesome combination.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
Your body produces collagen naturally, although it can also be found in relative abundance in a number of foods to include bone broth, beef, chicken skin, and pork skin. Many people also take collagen supplements as a means for adding collagen to their bodies. Per medicalnewstoday.com, many manufacturers of collage supplements put them through a process known as hydrolyzation, which breaks collage down into peptides, boosting your body’s ability to absorb and use collagen.
Some of Collagen’s Possible Health Benefits
As always, discuss with your physician first before adding collagen supplements to your diet, checking for things such as possible interaction with any prescription drugs you are taking or even other nutritional supplements. Better safe than sorry:
- Skin health. It is believed that collagen can act as an anti-aging protein by boosting skin moisture, reducing wrinkles, and enhancing skin elasticity, per medicalnewstoday.com.
- Thwart bone loss. Collagen comprises a good portion of your bones, serving to provide structure to them while also keeping them strong, per healthline.com.
- Gut health. More supportive research is necessary, but, per healthline.com, some healthcare professionals have touted the use of collagen supplements to treat what’s known as leaky gut syndrome.
- Joint health. Per medicalnewstoday.com, some research has shown that collagen supplements can help restore cartilage in the joints, or at least prevent deterioration of such cartilage.
- Weight loss. Per amymyersmd.com, it is believed that collagen can not only help boost your body’s fat-burning process but also support a feeling of fullness after eating thanks to collagen supplementation.
- Heart health. A small study cited at medicalnewstoday.com showed that volunteers given 16 grams of collagen tripeptide for six months experienced a noticeable reduction in artery stiffness as well as a decrease in “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, per medicalnewstoday.com.
- Bolster muscle mass. Up to about 10 percent of your muscle tissue is comprised of collagen, which works to strengthen your muscles while maintaining proper functionality in them, per healthline.com. One study cited showed how 27 frail men took 16 grams of collagen daily while also taking part in an exercise program, and by the end of 12 weeks they showed a significant gain of muscle mass and strength compared to those men who exercised but didn’t take the collagen.
- Detoxification/liver function. Glycine, an amino acid found in collagen and a building block for protein has been shown to support your liver during your body’s detoxification process, per amymyersmd.com. Its also known to help induce a calming, restful sleep.