Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons.

Collagen is a type of protein that is essential for the strength and structure of the body. It is a key component of connective tissue and helps to keep the body’s cells together. Collagen also makes the skin strong and elastic.

Endogenous collagen is collagen that the bodyproduces naturally. Exogenous collagen is collagen that comes from an outside source.

Endogenous collagen is a type of protein that has several important functions. Its breakdown and depletion are linked to various health problems, such as scurvy.

People use exogenous collagen for a variety of purposes, such as improving skin elasticity or aiding in wound healing.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.

Fibrous proteins are the main component of connective tissues. Connective tissues make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.

*Collagen is important for many reasons, one being that it gives skin its structure. It also strengthens bones.*

There are 28 types of collagen, but here are the four most common:

  • Type I: the most common type, found in all connective tissue
  • Type ll: found in joints and intervertebral discs (the cushions that serve as your spine’s shock absorbers)
  • Type lll: the main component of reticular fibers, which are found in your skin and blood vessels
  • Type lV: a component of your kidneys, inner ear, and eye lens

Collagen supplements that have been hydrolyzed are becoming increasingly popular. This means that the collagen has been broken down to make it easier for the body to absorb.

There are many types of collagen supplements available on the market. Most of these supplements come in powder form, but some are also available in capsules. The different types of collagen that these supplements contain vary. Some supplements only contain one or two types of collagen while others can contain up to five.

A few diet choices can up your collagen levels, like eating pork skin or sipping bone broth.

What Does Collagen Do?

It is found in tendons, ligaments, and skin. It is also found in connective tissue and cartilage. Collagen is a molecule that is a tough, insoluble, fibrous protein. It is found in tendons, ligaments, and skin. It is also found in connective tissue and cartilage.

It plays a major role in many structures, such as:

  • skin
  • tendons
  • blood vessels
  • cartilage
  • bone
  • connective tissue, which anchors cells to each other

Collagen is an important part of the extracellular matrix, which is a group of molecules that keep the body’s tissues together.

Healthy collagen levels contribute to:

  • joint health
  • protection of the kidneys and other organs
  • skin elasticity
  • a healthy cardiovascular system

According to some research that is older, a third of the protein in the human body and three quarters of the dry weight of skin is made up of collagen.

There are around 28 types of collagen, each with a different structure. Most are made of fibrils, which are long, thin, strong, and flexible structures.

Collagen is found in the skin and provides strength and elasticity. As people age, their collagen levels fall and the fibers become thinner and weaker. Some experts believe this contributes to skin aging and many skin care products contain forms of collagen.

Medical and Cosmetic Uses

Collagen that is resorbable can be broken down and converted into something that can be absorbed back into the body. This type of collagen can also be used to create structures outside of the body for various medical purposes.

Collagen-boosting products may come from humans or other animals.

Skin Fillers

Fillers that contain both collagen and hyaluronic acid may improve skin elasticity by stimulating collagen production.

This can help expand tissues, filling gaps — such as wrinkles — in the skin.

People use them to:

  • reduce wrinkles
  • improve the contours of the skin
  • fill out depressions
  • improve the appearance of scars

Some manufacturers use cells from humans and other species to make their products. For example, one type of filler uses cells from salmon and other fish. If you are concerned about the origin of the products you use, you should check the label and test for any allergic reactions before using the product.

Wound Dressing

Collagen plays a key role in wound healing.

Aspects that applications of collagen can help with include:

  • controlling bleeding
  • reducing inflammation
  • managing blood vessel health and function
  • boosting the strength of scar tissue
  • restoring skin elasticity
  • attracting cells that promote wound healing
  • providing a platform for new tissue growth

Collagen wound dressings aim to boost healing by containing collagen and other substances.

They can take the form of:

  • dressings, for example, of sponge or fleece
  • gels
  • powders
  • Guided tissue regeneration

Doctors sometimes use collagen-based scaffolds to provide temporary support while the body produces new cells during the healing process.

Membranes, plugs, or pads containing collagen can help with:

  • bone regeneration
  • wound healing
  • managing extraction sockets after dental surgery
  • promoting blood clotting

Collagen barriers can prevent fast-growing cells from migrating to a wound, which preserves a space for the cells to regenerate.

This means that once the healing process is finished, the surgeon does not need to go back in and remove the membranes manually.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Collagen is essential for healthy cartilage and bones.

Some people say that taking supplements containing collagen hydrolysate can help increase collagen levels and reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

In 2018, scientists published the results of a trial involving 120 people. Half of the participants took oral supplements containing collagen and other substances for 90 days, while the others took a placebo. The results showed that those who took collagen experienced a 43% reduction in joint pain and a 39% improvement in joint mobility.

More research is needed to find out whether taking collagen pills can help improve joint health.

Find out if diet can help manage osteoarthritis.

Skin Revitalization

One way to maintain youthful skin is to keep collagen production high, or to prevent its decline.

Possible ways of doing this include:

  • surgical treatments, such as injecting fillers
  • applying creams and other products
  • oral supplements containing hydrolyzed bioactive collagen peptides, vitamins, and antioxidants
  • dietary choices that provide nutrients and antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress

This means that eating hydrolyzed collagen or taking supplements containing collagen or other nutrients might help the body create more collagen or slow down the loss of this important protein.

Although topical cosmetics that contain collagen claim to improve the skin by increasing collagen levels in the body, studies have not shown that the skin can absorb the necessary ingredients to make a significant difference.

What Causes Collagen Loss?

Factors that may contribute to lead to collagen loss or low collagen levels include:

  • hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, health conditions, and so on
  • oxidative stress, which results from metabolic processes and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and diet
  • the natural process of aging
  • too much sun exposure, as ultraviolet rays can cause collagen to break down in the skin
  • low levels of ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, can lead to scurvy

Certain genetic disorders may interfere with collagen production. For instance, osteogenesis imperfecta often results in weak bones. Additionally, individuals with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome may experience a number of disparate symptoms, depending on the particular type of EDS they have. In severe cases, both of these disorders can be fatal.

Preventing Collagen Loss

Here are some strategies that may help prevent collagen loss:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as they contain vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Avoid smoking and processed foods, which increase the risk of oxidative stress.
  • Protect the skin from sun exposure.
  • Ask a dermatologist about supplements and other products.

Foods That Contain Collagen

Gelatin has been used to help with joint and gut health. The following text is about the benefits of gelatin-containing foods such as bone broth. Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen, which is found in these foods. Gelatin has been shown to be beneficial for joint and gut health.

Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals, so foods like chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish are all sources of collagen.

Although not synthesized by the human body, Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen. Include Vitamin C-rich foods in your diet, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, etc.

While it is not yet clear if eating foods rich in collagen will have the same benefits as taking supplements, more research is needed to determine if there are any benefits to increasing collagen levels in the body through diet.

The enzymes that aid in digestion break down collagen in food into its amino acids and peptides. However, because collagen supplements have already gone through the process of hydrolyzation, they are thought to be absorbed more efficiently.

Health Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplementation provides a variety of health benefits.

May Improve Skin Health

Collagen is a major component of your skin.

Collagen is a protein that helps to keep skin looking young and fresh. Without enough collagen, skin can become dry and wrinkled.

Although it hasn’t been proven, some research suggests that taking collagen peptides or using products with collagen in them might help to reduce the signs of aging on your skin, like wrinkles and dryness.

This review found that taking collagen led to improvements in skin elasticity and hydration.

The purpose of these supplements is to stimulate your body’s natural production of collagen, as well as promoting the production of other proteins that contribute to the structure of your skin, like elastin and fibrillin.

People have said that collagen supplements help with acne and other skin conditions, but there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

May Relieve Joint Pain

Collagen plays an important role in keeping your cartilage healthy, which is a rubber-like substance that cushions your joints.

As you age, there is less collagen in your body, which increases your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis.

According to some studies, taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain.

Five studies that included over 500 people with osteoarthritis were reviewed and it was found that taking approximately 10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 24 weeks resulted in significant improvements in joint stiffness and self-reported joint pain.

Although more research is needed to confirm these effects, researchers believe that collagen supplements may help reduce inflammation, improve joint support, and relieve pain.

The recommended amount of collagen to take for pain relief is 10 grams per day.

May Prevent Bone Loss

The primary component of your bones is collagen, which provides both rigidity and support.

As we age, the collagen in our bodies breaks down, just as our bone mass does. This can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is marked by low bone density and a greater risk of bone fractures.

Some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements may help to prevent bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis.

A 12-month study was conducted in which women took either a calcium supplement with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium supplement with no collagen daily.

The study found that those who took a calcium and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those who took only calcium.

Another study found that 66 women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months increased their bone mineral density (BMD) by up to 7% compared with those who didn’t take collagen.

The density of minerals in your bones, such as calcium, is a measure of BMD. Low BMD is associated with weak bones and osteoporosis risk.

Additional human studies are needed to confirm these promising results.

May Boost Muscle Mass

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and plays an important role in skeletal muscle.

Some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements may help to increase muscle mass in people who have sarcopenia, a condition that causes loss of muscle mass as we age.

In a 12-week study, 27 men with [osteoarthritis] took 15 grams of collagen while participating in a daily exercise program. Compared to men who exercised but didn’t take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength.

Researchers have suggested that supplemental collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise. This means that taking collagen may help you build muscle mass and become stronger.

According to the text, collagen protein is not as effective as whey protein for building muscle or strength because it is low in essential amino acids, especially leucine.

Additional research is needed to explore collagen’s potential to increase muscle mass.

The Bottom Line

There are several health benefits associated with taking collagen supplements, with very few risks known.

Supplements may improve your health in various ways, including increasing muscle mass, preventing bone loss, relieving joint pain, and improving skin health.

There is little to no evidence supporting the majority of claims made about the benefits of intermittent fasting, such as weight loss, gut health, and brain health.

The collagen found in some foods is unknown whether it has the same benefits as supplements.

Collagen supplements are safe to use and can help you achieve your health goals.

 

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Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

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