Are there are benefits of using collagen supplements? In short, yes! Supplementation with collagen is linked to a multitude of positive health benefits in all areas of your body.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It serves as structural support for your skin, gives flexibility to your joints, protects your organs, and helps maintain the integrity of your muscles and bones. It both cushions and supports, allowing for flexibility with movement.
The Role of Collagen Supplements
Collagen has many benefits for use in dermatology. Collagen is part of the underlying structure of your skin, giving it elasticity and support. Collagen levels in the dermis (under the outer part of your skin, the epidermis) decline with age and in response to other stressors like UV radiation or smoking. The reduction in collagen weakens your skin’s structure, giving rise to the formation of wrinkles or a hollow look around the eyes and cheeks.
Tendons (connect muscle to bone) and ligaments (connect bone to bone) are made of approximately 80% collagen, supporting the joints’ structural integrity. These connective tissues keep everything in place. Collagen allows these connective tissues to flex and move without compromising the joint and causing injury.
Cartilage is made of 60% collagen. Cartilage cushions surfaces in the joint, reducing the impact force and resultant pain between the ends of your bones.
Collagen degrades with age, which makes moving your joints more painful and prone to injury. Degradation proceeds much faster after menopause in women and after 60 in men. Supplementing with collagen can help increase collagen production as well as maintain it, allowing for pain-free, smooth movement of your joints.
Collagen may help with inflammation, suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines (a messenger molecule) and activating inflammatory pathways. This can be useful for people with rheumatoid arthritis, skin inflammation, gut inflammation, and more.
Muscles and Bones
Muscles and bones both have significant collagen content. Supplementing with collagen can help repair muscles, especially after physical activity, and helps decrease the age-related loss of bone mass.
Other Applications for Collagen
Collagen is also useful for wound healing, nail strength, hair health, digestion, cardiovascular health, and may improve skin hydration.
Sources of Collagen
Collagen can be found in the connective tissues of animals. When you consume the connective tissues, your body breaks them down into amino acids for use in other parts of your body. This consumption method of whole collagen incites less structural remodeling of your tissues than a collagen supplement would. Food sources of collagen are also less concentrated than a supplement.
There are 29 identified types of collagen, but you will most often see types 1-5.
- Type 1 collagen makes up 90% of the collagen in your body. It is used in the more durable elements in the body, like bones, tendons, and ligaments. This collagen type is also found in the deep matrix of the skin.
- Type 2 collagen is found in your flexible, soft connective tissue. This can be located in between bones or as part of your elastic cartilage.
- Type 3 collagen is a structural element that supports your muscles, organs, and blood vessels
- Type 4 collagen is found in all layers of your skin, deep and superficial
- Type 5 collagen is found in tissues that protect from the outside world, like the outermost layer of your skin and the cornea of your eyes
Tips When Choosing a Collagen Supplement
Choosing a collagen product depends on what benefits you’re looking for, but something we always want to see is the word “peptides.” Collagen is a huge molecule, and it can be difficult for your digestive system to fully break it down, for use in the body. Collagen peptides, often called hydrolyzed collagen, are partially broken down already, making it easier for your body to utilize the collagen in its active form.
If you’re looking for help with your joints, type 1 and 2 are your best bet, whereas if you’re looking for benefits for your organs or blood vessels, you’d be better off going for type 3. Luckily, many collagen supplements contain multiple types of collagen. This enables widespread benefits in collagen content across organ systems and structural elements.
For the skin, typical collagen supplements don’t provide very much benefit. The skin has a unique barrier that only allows small molecules through. Collagen, even collagen peptides, are too large to pass through this barrier. Collagen tripeptides are emerging as the standard for use in the skin. This type of collagen is comprised of only three peptides, making it small enough to pass through the skin’s protective barrier and induce actual remodeling of the skin’s scaffold. It has not yet been researched if this type of collagen is usable for other applications like your joints or bones.
If you’re considering adding a collagen supplement to your routine, you might want to explore the products available at Supermood. Supermood offers high-quality collagen supplements that prioritize purity and efficacy. Their products are backed by research and are formulated to provide optimal benefits for skin, joint, and overall health.