Collagen forms up to one-fourth of the body’s protein content and is found in cartilage, bones, tendon, ligaments, and skin. Humans are capable of producing our own collagen, but the production decreases in quantity as one ages. That is when the external supply of collagen through food or supplements will be of help.
If you read about collagen supplements online, you may come across many articles proclaiming it to be the panacea for all your ailments. However, until quite recently, those claims were not backed by scientific studies. Here are some of the benefits of collagen that have been observed in various studies.
Benefits of collagen intake:
Your heart and arteries are made of several cartilaginous parts. The heart valves, septa, and muscles depend on collagen to give them the required strength and flexibility to perform efficiently. In a study conducted on males aged over 40, a 6-month course of collagen tripeptide supplements reduced stiffness in the artery and lowered bad cholesterol.
Studies have confirmed the benefits of the external supply of collagen on the skin in women aged 35 to 55. A set of women were administered collagen supplements for a course of 8 weeks. Older women displayed a significant reduction in the depth of their wrinkles. Younger women’s skin showed higher levels of moisture and skin elasticity.
Hair is primarily made of keratin which, in turn, is built using amino acids. Some of these amino acids, such as proline, are provided by collagen supplements. External sources of collagen help in the rapid generation of keratin and thus aid in hair growth.
Additionally, collagen prevents hair damage. Hair is damaged due to exposure to free radicals – which can be due to stress, environmental conditions or age-related factors. Antioxidants are the best way to tackle the damage caused by free radicals. Several lab studies have shown that marine collagen is a potent antioxidant.
Bone and Muscle Health:
Collagen has a positive impact on joint health because it assists in the repair of cartilage. Studies have shown that collagen can restore bone density among women suffering from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Research has shown that collagen can prevent bone loss as well. In a study, people in the treatment group were given collagen along with calcium, whereas the control group only ingested calcium. The group that took collagen showed significant suppression of the proteins responsible for bone deterioration. It is also shown to play an important role in increasing muscle mass.
Collagen for restricted diets
For all its benefits, collagen does have the drawback of not being easily available to people following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Some collagen is not appropriate for halal or kosher considerations. That is where collagen supplements can be of help. Hydrolysed collagen (that is, collagen, which has been broken down to its pure protein form) is available in multiple options. Do search for all the variations of collagen supplements online while making a purchase.
A tasty alternative
As collagen powder itself is tasteless, you can mix it with your cocoa or tea and reap its benefits. However, suppliers also offer collagen in various fun flavours, such as Kakadu plum and blueberry. These can be stirred into refreshing summer drinks.
The external supply of collagen is associated with quite a few benefits and not many known risks. It might be time to start consciously incorporating collagen into your diet. Whether you choose collagen-rich food or collagen supplements, give it a try and beam over the results yourself.