Collagens are fast becoming popular and you may even have noticed body lotions or protein supplements that have featured them. Now you want to incorporate it into your life.
But wait! What is collagen really?
What are collagen supplements?
As important as it is, collagen is produced by our bodies and is found in plenty in our bones, muscles and skin. You can also remember that proteins are the building blocks of our bodies.
So, that explains the abundance of collagen.
Not so many people are aware of the fact that there are more than 16 forms of collagen present in our body namely; type 1, 2, 3, 5 and so on. And types 1, 2 and 3 account for about 90 percent of the body’s collagen. Mostly when you purchase supplements, they contain collagen extracted from animals and fish in hydrolyzed form. Meaning that the protein has been broken down into smaller units that can easily dissolve into the body. It is easier to take the supplements since they can be added to anything, be it drink, soup or smoothies. If this protein form is surprisingly abundant in our body, why do we need it anyway?
Why you need collagen supplements
You guessed that sometimes the level of collagen drops.
Yeah, you’re right!
Age is the main contributing factor. After hitting 40, the body naturally boosts collagen production as a measure of reducing the aging of the skin. Environmental and nutritional factors also significantly affect the rate at which collagen is produced, which brings about the need for improving collagen levels in the body.
There are other risk factors that you need to avoid so as not to deplete collagen levels within the body. One of them is consuming very high levels of sugar. Diets with high sugar speed up the rate at which sugar molecules attach to protein (in a process called glycation), thereby weakening proteins like collagen. Apart from high-sugar consumption, smoking tobacco and overexposure to sunlight’s UV rays damage collagen fibers and reduce its elasticity. Therefore, what are the health benefits associated with taking collagen?
- Reduced joint pain – A recent study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, shows that 75 percent of arthritis patient who took the type-II collagen experienced less pain and it reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The research further established that this type of collagen reduced swelling in tender joints, thereby enhancing the patients’ daily activities like walking upstairs. Since collagen has a smooth, gel-like structure which holds bones together, it can allow joints to move and glide easily. Other benefits one stands to gain from collagen supplements are reduced inflammation and joint pain.
- Strengthened hair, teeth and nails – Have you ever wondered what causes nails to peel and split? It could be lack of collagen. Well, as we mentioned earlier, collagen protein is the building block of our body. Therefore, incorporating collagen into your diet regimen can help restore the strength of your nails, hair and even teeth.
- Improved skin health – As a Journal of Investigative Dermatology’s study established, “…collagen could be a potential therapeutic target for […] skin-related diseases.” When the level of collagen is increased in our bodies, skin cells renew and repair normally, and as a result the skin becomes firm and smooth.
The importance of collagen supplements cannot be overemphasized. Reduced joint pain, strengthened hair, teeth and nails, improved skin health and so on. The list is long. What I mentioned here is just what I felt you should know. There is definitely more. For more information, read 6 Things You Need To Know Before Taking A Collagen Supplement, 4 Things That Happen When You Eat Collagen Every Day and 7 Tips for Buying the Best Collagen Supplement. Have you used collagen supplements? Please share your experience in the comments.