Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements

Health + Wellness
Yulia Lisitsa / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.

It is the major 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.

In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for you to absorb.

There are also several foods you can eat to increase your collagen intake, including pork skin and bone broth.

Consuming collagen may have a variety of health benefits, from relieving joint pain to improving skin health.

This article will discuss 6 science-backed health benefits of taking collagen.

1. Can Improve Skin Health

Collagen is a major component of your skin.

It plays a role in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles.

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.

In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity compared with those who did not take the supplement.

Another study found that women who drank a beverage mixed with a collagen supplement daily for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared with a control group.

The wrinkle-reducing effects of collagen supplements have been attributed to their ability to stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own.

Additionally, taking collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.

There are also many anecdotal claims that collagen supplements help prevent acne and other skin conditions, but these are not supported by scientific evidence.

You can buy collagen supplements online.

Summary

Taking supplements that contain collagen may help slow the aging of your skin. However, stronger evidence is needed from studies examining the effects of collagen on its own.

2. Helps Relieve Joint Pain

Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.

As the amount of collagen in your body decreases as you get older, your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases.

Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall.

In one study, 73 athletes who consumed 10 grams of collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a significant decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with a group that did not take it.

In another study, adults took 2 grams of collagen daily for 70 days. Those who took collagen had a significant reduction in joint pain and were better able to engage in physical activity than those who did not take it.

Researchers have theorized that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen.

They have suggested this may lead to lower inflammation, better support of your joints, and reduced pain.

If you want to try taking a collagen supplement for its potential pain-relieving effects, studies suggest you should start with a daily dosage of 8–12 grams.

Summary

Taking collagen supplements has been shown to reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen synthesis in the body. This may help promote pain relief among people with joint disorders like osteoarthritis.

3. Could Prevent Bone Loss

Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and helps keep them strong.

Just as the collagen in your body deteriorates as you age, so does bone mass. This may lead to conditions like osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and linked to a higher risk of bone fractures.

Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may have certain effects in the body that help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis.

In one study, women took either a calcium supplement combined with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium supplement and no collagen daily for 12 months.

By the end of the study, the women taking the calcium and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those taking only the calcium.

Another study found similar results in 66 women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months.

The women who took the collagen showed an increase of up to 7% in their bone mineral density (BMD), compared with women who did not consume collagen.

BMD is a measure of the density of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. Low BMD is associated with weak bones and the development of osteoporosis.

These results are promising, but more human studies are needed before the role of collagen supplements in bone health can be confirmed.

Summary

Consuming collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis. They have the potential to help increase BMD and lower levels of proteins in the blood that stimulate bone breakdown.

4. Could Boost Muscle Mass

Between 1–10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. This protein is necessary to keep your muscles strong and functioning properly.

Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age.

In one study, 27 frail men took 15 grams of collagen while participating in an exercise program daily for 12 weeks. Compared with men who exercised but did not take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength.

Researchers have suggested that taking collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins like creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise.

More research is necessary to investigate collagen's potential to boost muscle mass.

Summary

Research has shown that consuming collagen supplements increased muscle growth and strength in people with age-related muscle mass loss.

5. Promotes Heart Health

Researchers have theorized that taking collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart-related conditions.

Collagen provides structure to your arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile.

This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis has the potential to lead to heart attack and stroke.

In one study, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily for 6 months. By the end, they had experienced a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness, compared with before they started taking the supplement.

Additionally, they increased their levels of HDL "good" cholesterol by an average of 6%. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis.

Nevertheless, more studies on the role of collagen supplements in heart health are needed.

Summary

Taking collagen supplements may help reduce the risk factors associated with heart conditions such as atherosclerosis.

6. Other Health Benefits

Collagen supplements may have other health benefits, but these have not been studied extensively.

  • Hair and nails. Taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may stimulate your hair and nails to grow longer.
  • Gut health. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, some health practitioners promote the use of collagen supplements to treat intestinal permeability, or leaky gut syndrome.
  • Brain health. No studies have examined the role of collagen supplements in brain health. However, some people claim they improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Weight loss. Some believe that taking collagen supplements may promote weight loss and a faster metabolism. There have not been any studies to support these claims.

Although these potential effects are promising, more research is needed before formal conclusions can be made.

Summary

Collagen supplements have been claimed to promote brain, heart, and gut health, as well as help control weight and keep hair and nails healthy. However, there's scant evidence to support these effects.

Foods That Contain Collagen

Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals. Thus, foods like chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish are sources of collagen.

Foods that contain gelatin, such as bone broth, also provide collagen. Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen after it has been cooked.

More research is needed to determine whether eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen in your body. There have not been any human studies on whether collagen-rich foods have the same benefits as supplements.

Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides.

However, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it's thought to be absorbed more efficiently than the collagen in foods.

Summary

Several foods contain collagen, including animal foods and bone broth. However, its absorption is not as efficient as that of hydrolyzed collagen.

Collagen Side Effects

Currently, there are not many known risks associated with taking collagen supplements.

However, some supplements are made from common food allergens, such as fish, shellfish, and eggs. People with allergies to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients to prevent allergic reactions.

Some people have also reported that collagen supplements leave a lingering bad taste in their mouth.

Additionally, collagen supplements have the potential to cause digestive side effects, such as feelings of fullness and heartburn.

Regardless, these supplements appear to be safe for most people.

Summary

Collagen supplements may lead to side effects, such as a bad taste in the mouth, heartburn, and fullness. If you have allergies, make sure to purchase supplements that aren't made from collagen sources you're allergic to.

The Bottom Line

Taking collagen is associated with a number of health benefits and very few known risks.

To start, supplements may improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness. They may also help increase muscle mass, prevent bone loss, and relieve joint pain.

People have reported many other benefits of collagen supplements, but these claims haven't been studied much.

Although several foods contain collagen, it's unknown whether the collagen in food offers the same benefits as supplements.

Collagen supplements are generally safe, quite easy to use, and definitely worth trying for their potential benefits.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 29 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Just over a month after proclaiming that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. would soon "be down to close to zero," President Donald Trump said during a press briefing on the White House lawn Sunday that limiting U.S. deaths from the pandemic to between 100,000 and 200,000 people would mean his administration and the country as a whole did "a very good job."

Read More Show Less
Dicamba is having a devastating impact in Arkansas and neighboring states. A farmer in Mississippi County, Arkansas looks at rows of soybean plants affected by dicamba. The Washington Post / Getty Images

Documents unearthed in a lawsuit brought by a Missouri farmer who claimed that Monsanto and German chemical maker BASF's dicamba herbicide ruined his peach orchard revealed that the two companies knew their new agricultural seed and chemical system would likely damage many U.S. farms, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and other leaders speak to the press on March 28, 2020 in Seattle. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Washington State has seen a slowdown in the infection rate of the novel coronavirus, for now, suggesting that early containment strategies have been effective, according to the Seattle NBC News affiliate.

Read More Show Less
A bushfire burns outside the Perth Cricket Stadium in Perth, Australia on Dec. 13, 2019. PETER PARKS / AFP via Getty Images

By Albert Van Dijk, Luigi Renzullo, Marta Yebra and Shoshana Rapley

2019 was the year Australians confronted the fact that a healthy environment is more than just a pretty waterfall in a national park; a nice extra we can do without. We do not survive without air to breathe, water to drink, soil to grow food and weather we can cope with.

Read More Show Less

By Fino Menezes

Everyone adores dolphins. Intelligent, inquisitive and playful, these special creatures have captivated humans since the dawn of time. But dolphins didn't get to where they are by accident — they needed to develop some pretty amazing superpowers to cope with their environment.

Read More Show Less