What Is Collagen? Benefits, Food Sources and If It’s Worth It

Collagen has been well-marketed in recent times as a miracle employee. From stronger bones to fewer wrinkles to glowing pores and skin, collagen appears to be the reply to rising outdated. However no matter all of the hype, can boosting your collagen actually accomplish these items?

Because it seems, the reply is sure. A number of research have discovered that including collagen-rich meals or dietary supplements to your weight loss program presents an a variety of benefits and actually does assist enhance the well being of your pores and skin, joints, hair and bones.

Nevertheless, there are some things it’s best to find out about collagen earlier than incorporating it into your day by day wellness routine. 

Under, you may discover an in-depth clarification about collagen, together with what it’s, the place to seek out it and the way you would possibly profit from it — plus the drawbacks you ought to be conscious of. As well as, make sure to try the most effective meals sources for each vitamin and mineral you want and 10 ideas for budget-friendly meal prepping that is nonetheless wholesome.


What is collagen?

Earlier than discussing its advantages, what’s collagen? Briefly, collagen is probably the most plentiful protein within the human physique and accounts for one-third of all protein. It serves as a connective constructing block that holds collectively your muscle mass, tendons, ligaments, bones and pores and skin.

There are nearly 30 known types of collagen, however kind I is probably the most prevalent (it exists in all connective tissue and makes up 90% of all collagen within the physique). Sorts II, III and IV are additionally frequent and present in varied components of the physique together with your joints, kidneys, ears and blood vessels.

All of this leads us to a different pertinent query: What is collagen good for? Your physique naturally makes collagen by combining a number of amino acids (like proline and glycine) with zinc, vitamin C and copper. Nevertheless, as you become old, production slows and the present collagen in your physique begins to interrupt down at a quicker fee.

When that occurs, chances are you’ll discover your pores and skin getting wrinklier, your tendons and ligaments turning into much less versatile and shrinking muscle mass. To forestall or delay these results, some folks devour collagen (both through meals or dietary supplements) to make up for what their physique has misplaced.

Including collagen to your weight loss program

Salmon on white background
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If you are trying to amp up your collagen manufacturing, it’s best to be certain that your weight loss program consists of meals with these important components: 

Bone broth
Fish and shellfish
Pork pores and skin
Bell peppers

Consuming a well-balanced mixture of those meals is one of the simplest ways to spice up your collagen ranges. Nevertheless, it’s also possible to take into account taking dietary supplements (usually in powder or capsule kind) if you do not get sufficient collagen from weight loss program alone. 

For greatest outcomes, consultants advise taking a collagen complement one hour earlier than understanding, however at all times examine the label and converse together with your physician earlier than beginning any new wellness routine.

Advantages of collagen

Now that we have lined the basics, let’s discover a few of the advantages of collagen.

Builds stronger bones

Bones are stuffed with collagen, however as you become old, the protein begins to deteriorate. In flip, this may result in a lower in bone power and density. Nevertheless, by incorporating collagen dietary supplements into your weight loss program, you could possibly prevent some bone loss and cut back your danger of bone-related issues, together with osteoporosis and fractures.

Decreases joint ache

Collagen additionally works along with cartilage to maintain your joints correctly functioning. Over time, because it wears down, it could possibly result in stiff and achy joints and put you at a better danger for osteoarthritis. The excellent news is that taking collagen has been found to cut back joint ache in bodily energetic folks. It might also function a pain reliever for folks with current joint issues.


Improves pores and skin

Your pores and skin additionally incorporates collagen, which provides it elasticity and hydration while you’re younger. However as you mature, your pores and skin turns into saggier and extra wrinkly resulting from depleting collagen ranges. Apparently, studies have shown that including extra collagen to your weight loss program can increase pores and skin firmness and hydration, visibly decreasing the consequences of ageing.

Promotes wholesome hair

Collagen is created with a few of the similar amino acids which can be used to construct keratin, the protein that makes up your hair. Due to this connection, there’s some evidence that consuming extra collagen could assist together with your hair well being by selling progress, decreasing thinning and slowing graying.

Provides muscle mass

Muscle tissue consists of as much as 10% collagen. When the collagen in your physique begins to interrupt down, you possibly can lose muscle mass and probably develop a situation known as sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss). Happily, studies have shown that collagen dietary supplements, together with elevated protein consumption and routine resistance train, could assist folks with sarcopenia construct again muscle power.

Drawbacks to collagen dietary supplements

Regardless of these advantages, there are additionally a handful of drawbacks to collagen dietary supplements that it’s best to keep in mind earlier than incorporating them into your routine.

They comprise animal merchandise (and generally, allergens)

Conventional collagen dietary supplements, and all dietary dietary supplements typically, are comprised of animal merchandise, so they don’t seem to be appropriate should you observe a plant-based weight loss program. Whereas there are some vegan collagen choices in the marketplace, it is unclear how they examine to those comprised of animal merchandise. Equally, if in case you have any meals allergy symptoms, ensure to learn the label in your collagen dietary supplements completely. In some circumstances, they could comprise frequent allergens like fish or eggs.

Regulation is a grey space

Collagen dietary supplements are regulated as meals (not medication) by the US Food and Drug Administration, that means their components and manufacturing aren’t monitored by an official governing physique. These merchandise aren’t topic to the identical rules and stringent approval course of as prescribed drugs, so it may be tough to seek out out in regards to the high quality, purity and security of the components.

Effectiveness research are restricted

Though there have been research in regards to the effectiveness of collagen (lots of which we have cited above), extra analysis must be completed. Additionally, a few of the current research have been funded by companies that produce collagen dietary supplements, which can raise ethical questions about bias.

Comparable dietary supplements to collagen

Capsules close-up on a hard-light mirror
Olga Shumytskaya/Getty Pictures

It’s troublesome to seek out different dietary supplements that replicate the consequences of collagen as a result of its amino acid make-up is totally different from different proteins. Nevertheless, you possibly can strive boosting your consumption of glycine and proline, the important thing amino acids which can be concerned in creating collagen. They’re most frequently present in protein-rich meals like meat and poultry, however they’re additionally out there in complement kind.

If you are most enthusiastic about how collagen may also help enhance your hair, nails and pores and skin, you possibly can take into account keratin or biotin, which usually come within the type of shampoos and salon therapies however are additionally bought as dietary dietary supplements. Biotin can be present in sure meals, together with legumes, egg yolks, nuts and avocados.

For extra recommendation on dietary supplements, listed here are 5 health dietary supplements which can be confirmed to work. Plus, try these three options to melatonin for higher sleep with out drowsiness the following day. 

The knowledge contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and just isn’t supposed as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you might have a couple of medical situation or well being targets.

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