All You Need To Know About Collagen
Table of Contents
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein which constitutes around a third of the protein in the body, hence it is the most plentiful protein in the body. This answers the question: what is collagen? In recent years enterprising companies have started adding it to shampoos and body lotions. However, consumption of collagen is more beneficial than using it topically. Collagen is one of the building blocks of skin, bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments. It is also found in other organs like blood vessels, teeth and corneas. In fact collagen is like glue that holds everything together.
Benefits of collagen
Better health of skin – According to studies collagen reduces fine lines and wrinkles and keeps the skin supple and smooth. It improves the elasticity of the skin which makes it look youthful. Collagen also improves the hydration of the skin.
Improved health of joints – As your age increases the joints begin to break down, particularly the cartilage gets affected. Collagen can support the restoring or prevention of the deterioration of the joints. This fact is supported by studies in which the participants were given hydrolyzed collagen supplements which help the health of the joints and restore some of the bone density in people suffering from osteoporosis. It also helps reduce pain in the joints.
Increases muscle mass – A small study of 53 men showed the positive effect of taking collagen when working out. The exercise was continued for 12 weeks and those who took collagen showed an increased muscle mass compared to those who were taking placebos. The theory behind this is that collagen helps to stimulate the production of proteins responsible for muscle growth. This is the reason that you should consume foods high in collagen.
Prevents bone loss – collagen makes up a major part of the bone structure and helps keep the bones strong. When you start aging then the collagen production slows down and bones can become weak as there is a loss of collagen to keep the bones strong.
There are many other collagen benefits and you can conduct a research online to understand how important this protein is for the body including the skin and hair.
Foods high in collagen
We have seen the benefits of collagen and of course there are collagen supplements but it is also important to manage your diet in such a way that you consume maximum collagen rich foods. These foods are plentiful and let us look at collagen’s importance in diet.
Chicken – chicken is very high in collagen and many collagen supplements are derived from chicken. Chicken is a popular white meat which contains a lot of collagen. If you have ever cut up a whole chicken you may have noticed how many connective tissues there are and these tissues are a rich source of collagen.
Fish and shellfish – Just like other animals the bones and ligaments of fish are made of collagen. Some researchers say that marine collagen is the easiest for the body to absorb. Here you need to understand that the meat of the fish is lower in collagen compared to other parts which are rather undesirable. You can make a broth of fish bones and other parts to ensure that you are getting enough collagen.
Garlic – this ingredient that is used to enhance the flavor of many dishes is high in sulfur which supports the production of collagen. It also prevents the breakdown of collagen. Hence it is a good idea to include garlic in your regular diet.
Beans – beans are high in protein and usually contain amino acids needed for the synthesis of collagen. At the same time many of them are rich in copper, which is also a mineral needed for collagen production.
Benefits of collagen supplements
Collagen that we eat in foods is digested quickly and broken down. This is the reason that you need to eat a lot of collagen containing foods for the collagen to have a beneficial effect. Researchers realized this problem and came up with hydrolyzed collagen. In hydrolyzed collagen the molecular bonds between the individual strands of collagen are broken down into 19 amino acids. This type of collagen is absorbed up to 85% in the bloodstream. This means that you will get more collagen if you take hydrolyzed collagen instead of eating a piece of meat.
According to research in a randomized controlled trial, women in the age group of 35-55 were given 5 grams of collagen or a placebo every day for 8 weeks. At the end of the study the participants who received the collagen supplement showed better skin elasticity than the women who took the placebo.
In another study 114 women aged 45 – 65 years were given collagen supplement or a placebo once a day for 8 weeks. When the study was complete the women who took collagen supplement showed a major reduction in eye wrinkles. Few other studies showed that taking collagen supplement reduces the appearance of signs of aging. Apart from the collagen benefits for skin this protein also has benefits for the other parts and organs of the body. We have already discussed these benefits above. Hence apart from taking foods containing collagen it is also important to take hydrolyzed collagen supplements.
Here you need to bear in mind that collagen supplementation is safe and effective in improving the health of skin, joints and other parts of the body. However you need to be careful with your choice of supplements, you should take supplements of known brands like Chicnutrix. This is because there are many unscrupulous elements who sell inferior quality which can cause harm to you.
Myths about collagen and reality
Myth 1 – Collagen is only good for the skin
There are many myths about collagen and here we are debunking collagen myths. Some people think that collagen is only meant for skin health, but this is a myth because collagen works on the different parts and organs of the body and makes them healthier. This protein does not work just skin deep but as mentioned above it is good for the joints. However, while 5 grams of collagen is sufficient to keep the skin youthful and supple, it takes around 10 grams for joint pain or to improve muscle recovery. It is best to munch on collagen rich foods mentioned above to gain the full benefit along with taking supplements.
Myth 2 – Collagen creams can penetrate the skin layer and provide benefits.
Collagen molecules are very large and when the creams with these molecules are applied on the skin, the skin cannot absorb them. Hence if you want to avail the benefits of collagen it is better to consume foods and supplements that contain collagen. However, if the creams contain smaller molecules like those of collagen peptides then there is a possibility that they will be effectively absorbed in the skin.
Myth 3 – Natural collagen is better than collagen peptides
First of all let us differentiate natural collagen and collagen peptides. You can find natural collagen in bone broth, gelatin, and animal products like beef, poultry, eggs and fish. The collagen from gelatin is extracted and dried into a powder and the collagen in bone broth is released into the liquid after boiling which makes a tasty drink. On the other hand collagen peptides are the smaller pieces of the large collagen structure which are broken into smaller segments so that they become easy to digest. Hence we can say that collagen peptides are better because of their smaller structure which makes it easier for the digestive system to absorb it so that the body gets more collagen.
Myth 4 – Collagen is meant for older people
Benefits of taking collagen are not just meant for older people. If the body has the right amount of specific amino acids, the body makes collagen on its own. However, when you reach the age of 25 years the body’s production of collagen starts reducing. Hence whatever your age may be, it is always beneficial to take collagen in foods or as a supplement. This benefit is not just for the skin as mentioned above but in a study college athletes experienced less joint pain when they consumed collagen peptides daily. Apart from athletes, people who are active and indulge in jogging, hiking or biking can also benefit from taking collagen peptides.
Myth 5 – The benefits of collagen are immediate
Collagen is not a quick fix solution which means that if you take collagen immediately after a tough workout it will not make the pain less. In fact even skin hydration action of collagen is not immediate. According to most studies you need to take collagen for 4 to 8 weeks regularly to experience its benefits. The body continuously breaks down and makes new collagen. If you consume collagen peptides regularly then the body will have better access to collagen and will be able to maintain collagen in the body easily. This in turn will show the benefits over a period of time.
These are the facts about the most important protein in the body and your guide to use it for your benefit.