Nowadays many people take collagen pills daily or add collagen powder to their morning drink for the health of their skin, joints and hair.
Although consumption of collagen supplements and other collagen-based products is increasing, most people do not understand what collagen is or what it does in the body.
This article will help you understand everything you need to know about collagen, what it does in the body, and whether it’s worth taking collagen supplements.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein. In fact, it is the most common structural protein found in animals.
A structural protein is one that forms the framework or structure of cells and tissues. There are 28 recognized types of collagen; 90% of the collagen in the human body is Type I collagen.
The amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline make up most types of collagen. These amino acids form three strands that form the characteristic triple helix structure of collagen.
Connective tissue, skin, tendons, bones and cartilage contain collagen. It plays crucial functions in cellular activities including:
- tissue repair
- immunological response
- cellular communication and migration, an essential mechanism for tissue maintenance
Fibroblasts, which are connective tissue cells, make and maintain collagen. As people age, their collagen fragments; Fibroblast function decreases and collagen formation slows down.
Together, these changes, including the loss of elastin — an important structural protein — lead to signs of aging such as sagging skin and wrinkles.
Benefits of Collagen
For the skin
One of the most common uses of collagen supplements is to promote healthy skin. Research suggests that consuming collagen supplements can improve skin health and appearance.
In a meta-analysis of 19 studies involving 1,125 people (95 percent women) aged 20 to 70 years, hydrolyzed collagen was found to improve skin hydration, suppleness and wrinkling compared to placebo treatments.
Several studies have shown that collagen supplements can improve skin hydration and flexibility and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
A study examined the effects of collagen supplementation in 102 postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density (BMD).
Those who took five grams of collagen peptides per day for a year showed greater increases in bone mineral density (BMD) in their spine and femur (a bone in the lower leg) than those who took a placebo.
A follow-up study involving 31 of these women found that taking five grams of collagen daily for four years was associated with increases in BMD. During the follow-up period, subjects’ BMD increased by 5.79-8.16% in the spine and 1.23-4.21% in the femur.
Long-term collagen supplementation may increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Food sources for collagen
Collagen is present in all mammals and is most concentrated in the skin and joints.
Here are some examples of foods rich in collagen: animal bones, skin, and ribbons, such as chicken skin and pork knuckle, seafood, such as fish skin, and jellyfish products made from animal bones and ribbons, including bone broth.
Because the body makes collagen from amino acids, you can increase collagen formation by consuming the right amounts of protein from foods like poultry, fish, beans, and eggs.
In addition to amino acids, various nutritional components are required for collagen synthesis and maintenance.
For example, vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis, so low or insufficient levels of vitamin C can impair collagen production. Therefore, consuming an abundance of foods high in vitamin C can support collagen formation. For example, try citrus fruits, peppers, vegetables and berries.
A diet rich in healthy plant chemicals can also promote skin health by lowering inflammation and preventing collagen breakdown.
Health authorities have not issued any formal recommendations on the daily dosage of collagen. Therefore, the amount of collagen you should consume depends on the type and purpose of your consumption.
Hydrolyzed collagen is one of the most commonly used types of supplements because it absorbs faster than other types. In powder form, it can be added to hot and cold drinks, soups, and even baked goods and other dishes.
A 2019 analysis of clinical research found that consuming 2.5–15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides daily may be safe and beneficial.
Joint problems, skin health and hydration can be supported with a reduced daily dose of 2.5 grams. Increasing to five grams per day can increase bone density.
Larger daily doses of 15 grams of these peptides can be used primarily to improve muscle mass and body composition.
Collagen in its native form
Several human studies have shown that daily doses of 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen can improve joint health (34, 35).
Gelatin is rarely sold as a dietary supplement. Instead, this form of heated collagen is usually found in jelly-like treats. It can also be added to sauces, soups, and smoothies for an extra boost of collagen proteins, although there is little evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for this use.
Before using any dietary supplement, it is best to read the serving size listed on the packaging.
Manufacturer’s recommended dosage
A recommended daily dose is listed on the packaging of most collagen supplements. Packaging for powdered supplements often recommends 1-2 scoops (or tablespoons) daily, while packaging for capsules or chewable supplements may recommend 1-2.
Depending on the supplement, the collagen content of these servings can vary widely; Therefore, check the nutritional information label for specific dosage information.
Collagen is produced naturally by the body, but you can also get it through supplements and certain meals, which can improve the health of your skin, bones, and other tissues.
A balanced diet rich in protein, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc offers a healthy and affordable alternative to supplements. By combining this with regular exercise, you can reduce age-related collagen and bone loss.
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