Collagen is a building block protein found abundantly in the connective tissues of the body. It constitutes about one-third of the total body's protein.
Supplementing the collagen your body produces on its own can help maintain your skin health and prevent premature aging.
The important function of collagen is to provide structural support and strength to skin and bones. It also promotes healing and blood clot formation after injury. Here are other benefits of collagen to our bodies:
Helps strengthen skin, maintains its elasticity, and ensures that it stays hydrated.
Promotes bone and cartilage health. Collagen supplements have been shown to reduce joint pain, increase Bone Mineral Density (BMD), and prevent osteoporosis and degenerative joint disorders like osteoarthritis.
Helps in muscle growth and strength.
Gives structural support to arteries without which they become weak and fragile, which causes atherosclerosis. It also helps reduce risk factors associated with heart diseases
Promotes growth and strength of hair and nails
Promotes gut health
Improves mood and relieves anxiety
Helps in weight reduction
What happens if you have low collagen?
Normally, our dietary protein breaks down as we digest food and turns into amino acids and peptides for easier absorption. These amino acids find their way into the bloodstream, where they transform into proteins that can be used by the body. Collagen is one such protein.
The problem is that collagen production decreases with age. After 20 years, the body loses one percent of its collagen every year. This makes our skin less elastic and vulnerable to damage.
Without collagen, your skin will also age faster. To boost your skin health and to slow the aging process, your body will need to produce more collagen.
But, as we have said, collagen production decreases with age. UV ray exposure also harms the body’s ability to produce collagen on its own.
Do Collagen supplements help you look younger?
Collagen can be found in chicken skin, bone broth, beef, and fish. But more research is required to know if consumption of collagen-rich foods can help our bodies produce more collagen.
Studies have found that collagen supplements can help in maintaining skin hydration, elasticity, and density. This helps prevent premature aging.
As a result of the encouraging research results, we have seen collagen supplements that claim to promote hair growth, reduce joint pains, and strengthen bones.
How do you take collagen supplements?
Collagen supplements are synthesized into hydrolyzed form for easy absorption and quick action. For decades, injectable collagen has been used to achieve plump lips and to reduce wrinkles. They are now available in the form of powder and pills that can also be added to your food.
Although some research studies show that it helps in promoting skin hydration and elasticity, we do not know if these effects are long-lasting. We also need further studies to establish if collagen supplements have any side effects.
Always discuss with your dermatologist before using collagen supplements. Collagen-rich foods you can add to your diet include red meat, fish, chicken, nuts, and grains.
As for premature aging, the best advice is to use a sunscreen, follow a well-balanced diet, drink enough water, and to avoid smoking.