Collagen has been all the rage recently. All over social media, influencers are adding it to their shakes and desserts in the form of powder, or popping it in gummies. It is widely available in dietary or natural supplements. Today we will explore what is collagen and whether or not consuming it promotes healthy living.
Collagen makes up about 75% of the dry weight of your skin. it provides volume and keeps skin looking plump. Rich in amino acids proline and glycine, which you need to repair and maintain tendons, bones, and joints. As we age, we break it down faster than we can create it. Naturally, in an attempt to slow down the aging process people have turned to consuming collagen. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20191212/collagen-supplements-what-the-research-shows
Let’s go over some of the benefits of taking collagen. Firstly, some studies have shown that consuming collagen can slow the aging of your skin. In one study, women who consumed 2.5-5g of collagen for 8 weeks experienced significant skin elasticity and reduced dryness compared to the control group. http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand.
It has also been noted that collagen can help relieve joint pain. Studies on athletes have shown that those that consumed collagen daily, experienced a significant decrease in joint pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885 Collagen can decrease joint pain by maintaining the vitality of your cartilage, a rubber like tissue that protects your joints.
Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can inhibit bone break down. So yes, you understood correctly, collagen can even prevent bone loss! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25314004 Besides helping out our bones, some studies have shown that it could potentially boost muscle mass, but more research needs to be done on this topic. Research also needs to be done on the theory that collagen can promote heart health. The link theorized by scientists is that collagen provides structure to your arteries. without said collagen the arteries can become weak and fragile. More research needs to be done on all of the aforementioned claims.
Lastly, what about the link between collagen and our immune systems? Well, collagen has been shown to support gut health by keeping the gastrointestinal tract strong. A happy gut is a happy immune system! For more on this topic, see one of our previous posts here: https://www.thevitalplant.com/post/the-importance-of-probiotics-for-healthy-immune-function.
It seems as though collagen has a lot of benefits and is quite the miracle supplement. What’s the catch? Is it all a hoax? Well, a lot of these studies are on small sample sizes and over short periods of time. Not everyone is sold on this trend. The main concern on everyone’s minds is safety. Collagen is literally ground up fish, chicken, pig and cow parts which tend to act as sponges for contaminants and heavy metals. In a recent test on 14 of the most popular collagen supplements, one of them contained very high levels of a toxic heavy metal called cadmium. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20191212/collagen-supplements-what-the-research-shows.
Most doctors agree that if taken in small doses there is likely no harm in consuming collagen, but it is important not to over do it. In extreme cases taking too much collagen can actually have negative effects on your skin and potentially damage your internal organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. So be smart and do your own research before following the latest trends on instagram!