10 Health Benefits of Collagen

- How collagen can help

As we age we all expect to notice some signs in the way we look and feel. If you’ve ever jumped up to demonstrate ‘the perfect cartwheel’ you know exactly what we’re talking about. The simple fact is that once we enter our late twenties, our body is just not quite as nimble as it used to be. And while the odd reminder is par for the course, health issues like chronic joint problems, digestive troubles and even low mood can actually hinder our quality of life. Enter collagen.

 

Collagen Can Help

Collagen is a key ingredient for the health and maintenance of our skin, joints and gut. But it goes deeper than that: collagen has also been shown to help with energy levels, mood and appetite. When collagen is abundant, our system is working seamlessly to rejuvenate our skin, tissues and joints and we experience a truly restorative sleep. When it’s not, we quickly notice the effects in the way we look and in particular the way we feel.

 

So what exactly is collagen?

Collagen is a protein made up of long chains of linked amino acids. It’s actually the most abundant[1] source of protein in our entire body. Which means it’s essential to the function of skin, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and the digestive system. You can think of collagen as the foundation, or the glue that holds everything together: providing strength and structure for our connective tissues.

 

It’s all about your collagen levels

Our body produces all of our collagen naturally – until our early twenties, when it begins to slowly wane, by about 1.5% per year1. So the creaking, popping joints, aging skin and digestive issues aren’t necessarily simply a factor of age, they’re actually all symptoms of diminished collagen levels.

Happily, the science is showing that it doesn’t have to be this way. By supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen we can boost the body’s natural production and experience all of the positive effects.

Collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids, along with free amino acids, are the building blocks needed to make new collagen. When we take a daily collagen supplement, we are restoring collagen levels in the body. Resulting in the ultimate health boost.

How does this health boost show up in our daily lives? Primarily by improving the way we feel, although there are some serious perks for our appearance too (and we’re not complaining).

  1. Smooth, Vibrant Skin – Collagen enhances skin’s elasticity. By replenishing the connective tissues, skin maintains its ability to stretch structurally without remaining slack. Our body uses collagen to rejuvenate this structure, giving our skin the ability to ‘bounce back’. You can feel it when you touch your skin. With the right amount of collagen, your skin looks and feels firm[2]. This firmness, or plumpness, contributes to the visible reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. Reduction in the Appearance of Cellulite and Stretch Marks – Although genetics play a role in the onset of cellulite and stretch marks, collagen levels also affect their appearance on our skin. As collagen levels drop, skin becomes thinner. This causes the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks to become more dramatic. Skin with a healthy amount of collagen has a firm structure and is less prone to collapsing into cellulite.
  3. Keep Inflammation at Bay – This is an important one: chronic inflammation is thought to be the main culprit in a long list of health issues. Happily, studies have shown that glycine, one of the key amino acids in collagen supplements, works to reduce inflammation[3].
  4. Contribute to a Solid Sleep – Sleep is a key factor in everything from metabolic function to healing and mental health. The good news is that glycine can help. Studies have shown that glycine improves the overall quality of sleep[4] and even significantly improves fatigue and daytime sleepiness in people who experience insomnia[5].
  5. Ease Your Anxiety – Who doesn’t experience some anxiety from time to time? But if stress and anxiety become chronic, it can seriously affect our daily lives. Guess what? Glycine is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means that it’s a natural way to calm the brain and create balance.
  6. Keep You Moving – While we can’t promise that you’ll be doing an effortless cartwheel series across the lawn, we can tell you that collagen has been shown to reduce the risk of joint deterioration, regenerate cartilage[6] and improve joint pain.[7] Which is key to keep you moving the way you used to. 
  1. Balances Appetite – Many people report feeling full for longer after taking collagen in the morning. That’s not entirely surprising as collagen is actually a protein.
  2. Say it With Us: Heal and Seal – By now you’ve probably heard of the term ‘leaky gut’. This is a situation where certain lifestyle choices begin to catch up to us. A leaky gut has been linked to a whole host of physical and mental health issues, from nutritional deficiencies to anxiety. Collagen can help to ‘heal and seal’ the gut lining, which results in a wide range of benefits, like improved digestion, nutrient absorption and even a lighter, brighter mood.
  3. Kickstart Your Energy Levels – Glycine is also thought to boost metabolism and energy levels, so you just might be hopping, and not crawling, out of bed.
  4. Improves Mood – This might go without saying, but when you feel better, you are better.  Collagen has been scientifically linked to a wide range of granular benefits, the overall result of which is a boost in quality of life. 

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2852846/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1258919

[4] https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jphs/118/2/118_11R04FM/_pdf

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328957/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22500661