by Matt Weik
Known as one of the most abundant proteins, collagen makes up one-third of the total body protein. Collagen is found throughout the body, specifically in the skin, bones, tendons, and connective tissues. From improving skin health to strengthening the bones, it helps in various bodily functions.
There are a total of 28 types of collagen, but here are the four most common ones that you should be familiar with:
- Type 1: Found in connective tissues. This accounts for around 90% of your body’s collagen.
- Type 2: Found in joints and intervertebral discs.
- Type 3: Supports the structure of muscles and organs.
- Type 4: Helps in filtration and is found in the various layers of skin.
This article will take a deeper dive into the topic of collagen and the various benefits to help you understand if it’s something you should look to supplement.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. The information found within this article is not medical advice and should not supersede a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan should you have a health condition. The use of collagen supplements should never be a replacement for any medication that your doctor puts you on.
Food Sources That Contain Collagen
One of the best sources of collagen comes from bone broth, which is made by boiling or simmering the bones and connective tissues of chicken and other animals.
Also, collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals like pork, beef, chicken, etc. For the proper synthesis of collagen, vitamin C is essential. Therefore, it’s also important that you add foods that are rich in vitamin C to your diet.
The Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Below, you will find the many benefits you can experience when using collagen supplements.
1. Improve Skin Health
Collagen is extremely popular for maintaining skin health. As per a study, collagen helps to strengthen the skin, improves elasticity, and provides hydration. And as you age, the production of collagen in the body decreases, which can lead to wrinkles and even dry skin.
When looking at a review, women taking 3-10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 69 days had shown an improvement in skin elasticity and hydration. Apart from stimulating the production of collagen, the supplements help in preventing acne and other skin conditions.
It should also be noted that you can experience hair and nail benefits through the use of collagen supplements.
2. Relieve Joint Pain
Collagen supplements are known to help improve joint health. Whether you’re getting up in age or you’re banged up from your workouts, collagen supplements may be of use to you.
With an increase in age, the body decreases collagen production, which increases the risk of osteoarthritis.
As per a study, collagen supplements help reduce joint pain and improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A review of people with osteoarthritis found that consuming 10 grams of collagen daily for an average of 24 weeks showed an improvement in joint pain.
Also, researchers say that supplementing from collagen may also lead to a decrease in inflammation and overall better joint health.
3. Prevent Bone Loss and Improve Muscle Mass
Collagen helps to give structure and support to your bones. Just like collagen production, bone mass also decreases with age. This leads to low bone density, which increases the chance of bone fractures and breaks.
As per a study, women who took 5 grams of collagen for 12 months showed a 7% increase in bone mineral density. Low bone mineral density can increase the risk of osteoarthritis and weaken the bones.
Also, collagen supplements help to boost muscle mass, which is essential since muscle also attaches to the bone. Research shows that supplementing with collagen promotes the synthesis of muscle protein like creatine that improves muscle growth after the exercise.
When Will You Start Seeing the Results?
It’s a slow process! If you are consuming collagen supplements, you need to wait for at least eight weeks until you start to see some noticeable results — it doesn’t happen overnight.
Studies show that to assess collagen effects on joint health and skin health, you need to use it for at least eight weeks.
When is the Best Time to Take Collagen Supplements?
In case you have digestive issues, it is recommended to take collagen supplements with meals.
If you are taking collagen supplements for joint pain, try to take them around one hour before you work out.
Next, if you are consuming collagen supplements to improve sleep, take them around 30 minutes before bed.
And to control blood sugar levels, take your collagen supplements before meals.
Factors Affecting Collagen Production
Of course, age remains one of the most significant factors that can lead to a decrease in collagen production. People tend to produce 1% less collagen each year after turning 20.
In addition to age, there are various other factors that lead to the decrease in the production of collagen, such as smoking, poor diet, improper sleep, UV rays, stress, and various health conditions.
Potential Side Effects of Collagen Supplements
Collagen is generally safe and well-tolerated, but there may be a few side effects like nausea, bloating, digestive side effects, etc.
Also, there are a few items that contain collagen, like shellfish and eggs. So, people who are allergic to these food items should avoid collagen supplements containing these specific ingredients.