The benefits of collagen – should we be taking collagen supplements?
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COLLAGEN
Maybe you have tried a collagen latte or super-collagen facial? Perhaps you’ve been tempted by collagen supplements, with the promises of better skin and glow? Collagen isn’t such a new kid on the block, it is actually already a part of all of us! But with the exponential rise of celebrity and influencer endorsements, collagen has become a health trend in the wellness world.
So getting to the crux of it – should we take collagen? What are the benefits? Are all collagen supplements created equal? Read on below to learn about everything you need to know.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a hard, insoluble and fibrous protein, making up one-third of the protein found in the human body! It is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
It is often referred to as the “glue” that holds these parts together, giving the skin strength and elasticity. The word actually comes from the Greek word “Kólla” which means glue!
What does collagen do in the body?
There are at least 16 types of collagen in the body, with the main types being 1, 2, 3 and 4.
- Type 1: Accounts for 90% of the body’s collagen, providing structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue and teeth.
- Type 2: Made of more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
- Type 3: Sports – the structure of muscles, organs and arteries
- Type 4: Helps with filtration and is found in the layers on the skin
As you age, your body produces less and lower quality. One of the most visible signs of this is that your skin becomes less firm and supple, with cartilage also weakening as we age. What fun!
The Benefits of Collagen
For bone health:
Collagen and calcium are two substances found in our bones that help to keep them strong and flexible. We all grew up hearing how important calcium is for healthy bones- but you actually need collagen here too!
Collagen is a major component of our connective tissue, which helps us to move more easily.
From the age of 20, collagen in the body starts to decrease by 1% each year, and this percentage reduction increases over the age of 40.
Research has shown that collagen supplements may help to discourage bone breakdown, which if left untreated, may lead to osteoporosis. Menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis, and it is thought that by using a calcium-collagen supplement we may be able to help prevent bone loss and improve bone mineral density. (2)
For Skin health:
Collagen is the main component on our skin, helping to strengthen it, support elasticity and boost hydration. Several studies have demonstrated that collagen peptides and supplements may help slow the ageing process of the skin by reducing dryness and wrinkles. (2) The wrinkle-reducing effects of collagen supplements have been shown to help stimulate the production of collagen by the body itself (3) and promote the production of proteins such as elastin and fibrillin to help with skin structure.
For Gut health:
Collagen plays a key role in building and maintaining healthy connective tissues throughout the digestive tract. This is thanks to the number of amino acids such as glycine, glutamine and proline found in collagen, that can be beneficial to the intestinal tract and the stomach.
Maintaining a strong digestive tract and stomach lining is key for the prevention of gut health concerns such as leaky gut. Leaky Gut can occur when there are damages in the barrier lining your intestine, allowing food and waste particles to pass into the bloodstream.
How to add collagen into your diet:
- Bone broth- made by simmering bones to enhance the beneficial nutrients of the bone marrow. This is a great source of collagen, and so easy to add into the diet through soups, stews, or sip it throughout the day like a tea. To ensure the quality of your bone broth is top-notch, try making your own with bones from your reputable local butcher.
- Supplements – Collagen peptides are a simple way to get in more of this important amino acid. If you’re eating a healthy diet and feeding your body all the nutrients it needs you may not need a supplement, but there’s no harm in taking one. If you are on any medication, breastfeeding or pregnant, check in with your doctor or health advisor before taking.
- Powdered collagen peptide or Hydrolyzed collagen usually has no flavour and dissolves easily in hot drinks, smoothies, soups and sauces.
- For improved digestibility and optimal absorption, taking a collagen powder formulated with Hydrolysis Technology works best. (4)
What damages collagen in the body?
- Having a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates interferes with collagen’s ability to repair itself.
- Having too much sun exposure, as ultraviolet radiation can reduce production in the body (5). Avoid excessive sun exposure and always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Your priority should be to protect the collagen you already have, instead of trying to make up for bad sun protection habits later on.
- Smoking reduces the production in the body, impairing wound healing and leading to wrinkles (6). Smoking allows free radicals to attack collagen fibrils, resulting in them being weak and of poor quality.
- A number of autoimmune disorders can damage collagen in the body, such as Lupus.
- A low protein diet will alter your body’s stores. Protein-rich foods supply the amino acids the body requires to produce collagen. To maximise production in the body, eat a varied, balanced diet filled with whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Supplements Clarissa recommends:
-Bare Biology Marine Collagen powder available here
Use code CLARISSA10 for 10% off
-Vital Proteins Coconut Collagen creamer available here
-Planet Paleo pure collagen peptide powder available here
-Beauty Pie Hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides with Tremella Fuciformis, Biotin and Vitamin C available here
If you’re keen to try collagen supplements, keep in mind that some collagen products have been recalled due to their inaccurate claims.
As everyone is unique and individual, I recommend always going through a Registered Nutritionist or Nutritional Therapist to help source the best quality supplements, specific to your needs.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to book in for a free discovery call to see how I can help.