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.
Collagen has many important functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your bones.
These are the four most common types of collagen:
- Type l: the most common type, found in all connective tissue
- Type ll: found in joints and intervertebral discs ( the cushions that serve as your spine's shock absorbers)
- Type lll: the main component of reticular fibers, which are found in your skin and blood vessels
- Type lV: a component of your kidneys, inner ear, and eye lens
Marine Collagen has been shown to boost types l and ll collagen and is rich in amino acids lysine, proline, glycine and hydroxyproline that help promote healthy skin and cartilage. Studies suggest that it carries a lower risk of transmitting diseases, such as mad cow disease and has fewer inflammatory effects. Additionally, marine collagen boasts a higher absorption rate than bovine collagen due to the smaller molecular mass. marine collagen is a more sustainable form of collagen as it utilizes excess collagen rich parts such as bones, scales and skin. By helping to use all of the fish, marine collagen peptides can be produced sustainably while also reducing waste.
Bovine collagen contains both type l and lll collagen, providing support not only skin benefits but also collagen support throughout the body. Bovine collagen is an excellent choice for those who are sensitive to fish. Bovine collagen is cheaper than marine collagen and is much more widely available.
Collagen supplementation provides a variety of health benefits as listed below:
Improve Skin Health
Skin is the largest organ in the body and 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 wrinkly skin.
However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.
One review of 11 studies focusing mostly on women found that taking 3-10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 69 days led to improvements in skin elasticity and hydration.
Collagen 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 Prevent Bone Loss
Your bones mostly made of collagen, which gives them structure and strength.
Just as the collagen in your body deteriorates with age, so does bone mass and density. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and a higher risk of bone fractures.
Studies show that collagen supplements may help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis.
May Relieve Join Pain
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.
As you age the collagen in your body deteriorates, so your risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases.
Some studies suggest that collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain.
Boost Muscle Mass
As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is an important component of skeletal muscle.
Researchers have suggested that supplemental collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise.
However, collagen protein isn't more effective than pea protein for building muscle or strength. That's because unlike pea protein, collagen is low in essential amino acids – especially leucine – which play a key role in muscle building. That's why supplementing with both proteins types can achieve optimal results.
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.
This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the narrowing of your arteries. This condition may lead to heart attack and stroke.
However, more studies on collagen supplements and heart health are needed.
Other Potential Health Benefits
Collagen supplements may have other health benefits, but these haven't been studied extensively.
- Hair and nails. Taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may help your hair and nails grow longer. There are numerous anecdotal accounts of this being the case.
- Gut health. Although no scientific evidence supports this claim, some heath practitioners assert that collagen supplements can treat leaky gut syndrome, also called intestinal permeability.
- Brain health. No studies have examined the role of collagen supplements in brain health, but some people claim that they improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.
- Weight loss. Proponents believe that collagen supplements may promote weight loss and faster metabolism. However, no studies support these claims.
Taking straight collagen is one way to boost your body's ability to form collagen naturally. However, there are other nutrients that can help your body produce more collagen such as:
- Vitamin C, Vitamin C acts as a co-factor for the proline and lysine hydroxylases that stabilise the collagen molecule tertiary structure, and it also promotes collagen gene expression.
- Copper, Studies show that copper is a co-factor for an enzyme (lysyl oxidase) that is responsible for connective tissue production.
- Zinc, Zinc serves as a co-factor for collagen production, which means that it activates proteins essential for collagen synthesis. It also activates a protein called collagenase that allows your cells to remodel collagen during wound healing
- Vitamin E, Vitamin E stimulates blood flow to the skin and hair, increasing the collagen production, and causes the skin to glow. Though topical application helps to counter dull and dry complexion, for best results it is recommended to be taken orally. Vitamin E also helps stop collagen cross linking which leads to aged wrinkled skin.
So when choosing a collagen supplement it is important to also select a supplement that includes these other nutrients for maximum results.