We've all heard about the huge hype around collagen products!
Collagen is your body’s main structural protein. Comprised of essential amino acids, it is the glue that holds your tendons, muscles, bones, ligaments, hair, skin, nails, and entire skeleton together.
Did you know that the word “collagen” even comes from the Greek word for ‘glue’?
Collagen helps your entire inner structure maintain its strength and shape as we inevitably begin to lose collagen with age, especially after 30.
As our collagen levels continually lower, we begin to notice visible signs of skin aging and decreased elasticity, as well as less lustrous hair and weaker nails.
This is why supplementing with collagen peptides is now being hailed as potentially the simplest way to naturally boost aging skin, hair, and nails by reintroducing essential collagen back into the body.
Collagen supplements are most often derived from animal cartilage, bones, or skin (especially bovine or marine sources) and preliminary research has shown some promising results so far. Whereas collagen supplements were largely first introduced into beauty-oriented supplements, recent results have led to collagen being looked at more seriously for its potential wellness-supporting abilities.
Boosting your body’s collagen levels may help hydrate skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase skin elasticity, and reveal a clearer, more supple complexion.
With collagen first taking a front seat in the beauty and cosmetics industry, it’s easy to overlook some of collagen’s other very important benefits.
A perfect multi-functioning foundation for overall well-being and healthy aging, collagen is a powerhouse supplement that can do so much more than just enhance hair, nail, and skin quality. This is because the same benefits that enhance hair, skin, and nails also strengthen other collagen-based body parts, including ligaments, joints, and more!
So much of our health and how we feel each day stems from the quality of our gut microbiota. In a nutshell, collagen can help improve digestive health and heal a leaky gut by reducing inflammation in the gut lining.
Glycine, the most prominent amino acid in collagen, is often called the “gut’s savior” and is commonly used in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis.
This is because glycine creates the protective barrier tissues that line your intestinal tract, gut, and colon, and protect the mucosal barrier of your gut (which is often damaged in sufferers of leaky gut syndrome).
By helping to heal the gut lining and improve overall gut health, the glycine and glutamine in collagen may help ease symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.
Collagen loss can result in achy, painful joints, mobility issues, and an increased risk of degenerative joint disorders (such as osteoporosis).
Collagen increases the proteoglycan content around your joint cartilage, which has been shown to help decrease inflammation and joint pain from rheumatic conditions like arthritis.
One 2008 study found that athletes suffered from less activity-related joint pain after supplementing with a hydrolyzed collagen supplement for six months.
Promising studies like this one make collagen a worthy health investment option if you’re looking to preserve healthy bone mass and joint mobility.
Although more research is needed, some studies are finding a correlation between collagen supplements and a lowered risk of heart disease.
This may be due to the fact that collagen is an essential component of your arteries, providing structure to the blood vessels that move blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
Without enough collagen in the body, arteries can grow fragile, weak, and susceptible to heart-related illnesses such asatherosclerosis.
One specific study of 31 healthy adults found that supplementing with 16g of collagen each day for six months resulted in noticeable decreases in measures of artery stiffness.
Because collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, it’s absolutely necessary for reaching peak athletic performance and helps keep your muscles strong and healthy.
One study of 94 collegiate athletes over a 24-week period found that collagen hydrolysate (type II collagen) was highly effective in supporting improved joint performance both while working and at rest.
By strengthening the connective tissues in your body, collagen can lower the risk of athletic injury by improving the health of the muscular support system, as well as help muscles recover faster.
Collagen may offer great benefits for athletes and those with active lifestyles looking to prevent injury or strain, as well as potentially help boost muscle mass after exercise.
Glycine, the most abundant amino acid in most collagen, has been shown in some studies to help lessen anxiety, while improving mood, inducing feelings of calmness, and enhancing overall sleep quality.
Studies show that glycine has a calming effect on the brain that helps improve insomnia, daytime tiredness, and mental clarity.
It also helps lower core body temperature to help you fall asleep faster and may also inhibit muscle activity during REM sleep to help you stay asleep longer.
More research is needed, but there has even been some preliminary evidence that collagen-rich foods may play a role in supporting brain health and preservation as we age.
Although preliminary studies and real-world results show collagen peptides to be a benefit-packed multifunctional supplement, there is still much to discover about its potential benefits on our overall wellness.
As always is the case with any supplement, collagen is not meant to replace healthy lifestyle habits, and looking after key areas of your health with sleep, hydration, and nutrition is always the best method for supporting any supplement routine.
In other words, although collagen may have many potential health benefits, it’s not a magic cure and still requires a holistic overall approach that looks at all aspects of positive health.
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