In past years the beauty-focused part of the internet has been obsessed with collagen supplements. Collagen is marketed as the “fountain of youth” and has recently captured an even younger audience than ever before.
Therefore what is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.
It’s the main component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.
Your body creates its own collagen by combining amino acids. The process also uses vitamin C, zinc and copper, so you can promote natural collagen production by eating a well-balanced diet.
As we get older, our bodies start to naturally produce less collagen. While wrinkles and aches are a part of the aging process, you may be wondering if low collagen is to blame for your ailments.
When your body produces collagen, it uses amino acids, vitamin C, zinc, and copper. To get the necessary amino acids you can eat eggs, bone broth, beans, and meat. For vitamin C, go for citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers. Eat meat, shellfish, nuts, whole grains and beans for zinc and copper.
Although you can certainly try to produce more collagen naturally at this point you’re probably wondering if those trendy collagen supplements and skin treatments actually work. The answer is, yes they do.
Health benefits of collagen supplements:
- May improve skin health – Collagen is a major component of your skin. It plays a role in strengthening skin, as well as in elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. Several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.
These supplements may work by stimulating your body to produce collagen on its own. Additionally, collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.
- May relieve joint pain – Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.
As the amount of collagen in your body decreases with age, your risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases. Collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain
- May prevent bone loss – Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and strength.
Just as the collagen in your body deteriorates with age, so does bone mass. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and a higher risk of bone fractures.
Studies have shown that collagen supplements may help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis
- May boost muscle mass – Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age.
- May promote heart health – Researchers have theorized that collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart conditions.
Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become less flexible and elastic.