New to Collagen? Here’s What You Need to Know
Collagen has been taking social media by storm for the last few years. You can hardly scroll on TikTok or Instagram without seeing an influencer touting a new collagen powder to keep them looking fresh and young.
If you have yet to jump on the collagen bandwagon, consider adding this supplement to your diet because it does much more than just give your skin a youthful glow.
What is Collagen?
Collagen makes up most of the protein within your body and is the primary building block of your skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and more. There are 28 different types of collagen in the human body, with Types I, II, and III being the most common.
Type I makes up skin, bones, teeth, and connective tissue. Type II is found in the eyes, and Type III has a role in early embryonic life and adds elasticity to skin and blood vessels.
Doesn’t My Body Already Produce Collagen?
Of course! Our body uses the proteins from the plants, fish, and animals we eat to synthesize collagen. However, as we age, the quality and quantity of the collagen our bodies produce diminishes. Production of collagen can drop even faster due to other factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or sun exposure.
How Can I Get More Collagen?
Just like in humans, collagen is found in the skin and connective tissues of the animals we eat, including beef, chicken, and pork. You can drink bone broth or eat gelatin to get more collagen. However, once in your digestive system, your stomach breaks this down into individual peptides, which may or may not be fully absorbed by the body.
Collagen powders and capsules are already hydrolyzed (broken down), which makes them more likely to be absorbed by your body and used by your cells.
What are the Benefits of Taking Collagen?
1. Improve Skin and Fight Signs of Aging
Collagen is what gives skin its youthful, elastic appearance. As our bodies make less collagen, signs of aging like wrinkles and dryer skin may appear. Supplementing your diet with collagen powder could help extend your skin’s dewy appearance and prevent wrinkles from forming by keeping your skin tight and firm.
2. Alleviate Joint Pain
The joints in your body are protected by cartilage, a rubbery-like tissue that prevents bones from rubbing together. Collagen helps your body maintain enough cartilage to keep joints supported. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that athletes who supplemented their diet with collagen had less risk of joint deterioration and pain than those who did not.
3. Support Heart Health
Collagen gives structure to the arteries and blood vessels in your heart and cardiovascular system. Similar to how collagen makes the skin more elastic, collagen promotes healthy and flexible arteries. Keeping your cardiovascular system healthy can help prevent heart attacks or strokes.
4. Inhibit Bone Loss
Collagen is what gives bones their structure and strength. Supplementing with collagen could benefit those with a family history of osteoporosis. Adding collagen powder to your morning coffee could prevent the loss of bone density that could cause fractures or other complications.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Collagen Supplement?
Remember, there are no requirements that dietary supplements are proven safe before they are sold. Be sure to research and ask your healthcare provider if they have recommendations for collagen powders or capsules they trust.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
Since collagen is a necessary part of a healthy human body, there are no inherent risks to taking collagen supplements.
Be aware that some collagen powders and capsules are made with fish and animal products. Check the source of collagen products, especially if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies.
How Often Should I Take Collagen?
The amount of collagen you should take depends on the results you desire. If you are raking collagen primarily to reduce signs of aging and support skin and hair health, you should see results in 8-10 weeks by taking 2.5-10 grams of collagen daily.
Those seeking relief from joint pain or arthritis should take 10 grams, in either one or two doses, daily for five months. If the collagen supplement helps, they can continue using it, but if no difference is noted, they should discuss alternative treatments with their healthcare provider.
Adding collagen powder to your diet can help you improve the quality of your skin, hair, nails, and joints. As long as you choose a trusted collagen supplement, you don’t have anything to lose.