What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions collagen supplements?
If you immediately thought of healthier hair, skin and nails, you’re definitely not alone!
Collagen supplements have become a hugely popular way of promoting younger-looking looking skin, shinier hair, and stronger nails.
These supplements aim to hydrate skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, increase skin elasticity, and reveal a clearer, more supple complexion.
But did you also know that collagen actually plays an essential role in preserving bone and joint health? Aside from their plentiful skin-enhancing benefits, collagen supplements may be equally as effective when it comes to decreasing joint pain and preventing bone density loss as we age.
Collagen is the primary protein in your body. Made up of amino acids, collagen is the main building block for approximately 70-90% of all the cartilage in your joints.
Collagen provides support to connective tissue (cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments) and is intuitively broken down and delivered to whichever part of the body needs it most.
In our 30’s, our bodies steadily begin losing the ability to generate and replace collagen.This means that your ability to exercise and move around comfortably will diminish as collagen continues to decrease with time.
Although this is a natural part of life, there are many actions we can take in order to maintain healthy mobility as we age, such as adding a quality collagen supplement to our health regimen.
Cartilage is the rubber-like connective tissue that protects our joints. As we naturally begin to lose cartilage with age, it leaves our joints especially prone to wear and tear and degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis.
Adding an extra boost of collagen can help delay the onset of such disorders by supporting the repair and growth of new cartilage tissue.
Many clinical studies are now finding that collagen supplements may help relieve joint pain, inflammation, and arthritis. One 2017 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that participants taking collagen supplements experienced pronounced relief from joint pain. Another study of 250 people taking collagen peptides over a 6 month period found similar benefits when it came to improving joint comfort.
Since our bones are mostly comprised of collagen, we need abundant amounts in order to keep our bones strong and healthy. As we age, collagen levels and bone density both begin to decrease, leaving us at a much higher risk for bone fractures. Some studies have shown that collagen supplements may help prevent the bone mass deterioration that later leads to osteoporosis.
Because collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, it’s absolutely necessary for reaching peak athletic performance. 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.
Low molecular weight hydrolyzed collagen peptides are generally considered to be the most effective choice, since these supplements are most easily absorbed by the body.
If you are still not sure whether or not a collagen supplement may be the right choice for your lifestyle, it's always best to consult with your primary care physician or a registered dietician.
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