What is Collagen?

January 11, 2019

Collagen is present everywhere. It is present in food, cosmetic creams, powders, and even supplement. It is in the lips of most everyone and perhaps you have heard that it is essential to your health. Perhaps it does.

So, what is collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein in the human body. And knowing that proteins are building blocks, so is collagen. It involves the many parts of the human body including the bones, skin, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and blood. But adding of collagen will improve your skin elasticity, guard your organ, hold firm your bones and muscles together, and delivers structure to tendons and joints.

It is produced by our body in a fast speed. However, speed production deteriorates as we age. Moreover, certain factors like lifestyle habits can reduce its production. It includes an unhealthy diet, smoking, and sun exposure. But certain health issue may add up to this reduction.

So with the collagen deteriorated, you will notice your skin sagging and wrinkling, or your joint experiencing pain.

The Benefits of Collagen

In this article, we’ll focus on the benefits of collagen to the body as well as the studies backing up the said benefits.

Joint Pain Comfort

As you age, your cartilage fails. This causes your joints to be stiffed and achy. But adding collagen to the body may help you with these problems.

Participants of a 2009 study, consume a type II collagen supplement. These collagen supplements are made from the chicken necks. After 90 days, the symptoms of osteoarthritis among the participants reduce by 40% whereas the symptoms severity significantly dropped by 33%.

Meanwhile, on a 1993 study, participants were given the same type of undenatured supplements. In other words, during the process of the supplement, the amino acid it contains was not destroyed. It was not even exposed to strong heat. Significantly, those who have severe rheumatoid arthritis improve their condition. In fact, four out of sixty participants were reported to be completely healed.

Maintain Youthful Skin

The number one property of collagen that makes it famous is its ability to provide a vibrant, glowing skin. But as we’ve mentioned before, collagen deteriorates as we age and so it is important to add more collagen in the body by taking up some supplements.

In a 2014 published study, 69 women participated. Forty-six of them, with the age from 35 to 55, were randomly chosen to take the collagen supplement. The rest of the 69 women undergo a placebo. Significantly, the participants who took the supplement have a big improvement with the elasticity of their skin.

Moreover, the same supplement manufacturer conducts a study in the same year. After 8 weeks the researcher gathers the results of decreased wrinkles among their participants.

Muscle Builders and Fat Burners

Being part of the essential proteins of the body, collagen, aside from its use with skin care also help build muscle mass, providing muscle fuel as well as you work out.

Is collagen additional and work out a good combination?

There is no many studies regarding the combination of workout and taking a supplement. However, research conducted in 2015 took 53 old males with sarcopenia condition as their participants. Sarcopenia is an issue in the muscle that resulted from old age. Taking the supplement after 12 weeks, and partnering it with resistance training lead to a more muscle mass and fat loss than the placebo group.

Cellulite Reduction

Perhaps you are aware of the layer of fats under the skin which is mostly located at the legs. These ugly, bumpy fats are called cellulite. Fortunately, collagen has the ability to eliminate cellulite.

So a study was conducted in 2015 to observe what a type I collagen can do against cellulite. The researchers took 105 participants: women with age ranges from 24 to 50. In six month, the participants were given collagen peptides and their skin shows improvements.

But more study about the improvement of cellulite through collagen use is still required to prove the promise it seems has.

In a 2015 review, a therapy, excluding the collagen, shows a significant result against cellulite.

Improvement of Gut Health

Did you know that collagen is located in the gut’s connective tissue? Because of that, it has the capacity to make the protective lining in the stomach stronger. This is vital information as the barrier in the intestine are important to stop particles in passing into the bloodstream. Otherwise, it will lead to inflammation. The modification in the intestine’s barrier function is called leaky gut syndrome.

Based on a 2003 study, a hundred and seventy participants, having inflammatory bowel diseases, was reported to have serum collagen at a lower level.

So, hypothetically, increasing your collagen intake will also strengthen your gastrointestinal tract lining. Thus, it improves your digestive health. But studies about the relation of collagen to the gut health are still limited and requires more research.

Adding Collagen to Your Diet

There are ways to add collagen intake through your diet. The following are some suggestions that you may consider.

  • Bone Broth: The bone broth is made by boiling bones in the water and extracting its flavor out through the process. The broth is nutritious and delicious, and it can be easily partnered with any meal. You can make stews and soups out of it.
  • Powdered Gelatin: Basically, powdered gelatin is the gourmet form of collagen. It is also considered the best and fastest way to increase your collagen. It can be combined with a most liquid meal including stews, broth, and soups. Additionally, you can come up with sweet treats like Jell-O and other fruit snacks.
  • Collagen Peptides Supplements: Another easy option to enhance this essential protein is the intake of collagen peptides supplements. There is powdered collagen that you may pour into smoothies or hot beverages as well as baked products.