Updated: Apr 14, 2019
Today there are many supplements available that make promises that they will help make you look and feel younger. The latest supplement to add to this list of desirable supplements is collagen. This up and coming star is now being added to everything from protein bars to teas. Unlike most supplements on the market, this supplement actually has some promising initial research available that shows it may help improve joint pain, reduce wrinkles, promote the growth of muscle, and may aid in weight loss. With this being said, the studies indicating this are still in their infancy stages so the results should still be taken with a grain of salt.
Before getting too much further into the benefits of collagen…what is collagen exactly?
Collagen is a protein that more or less holds the body together by making up connective tissues and is what provides the skin’s elasticity and strength. As collagen ages, it breaks down and forms what we know as the dreaded skin wrinkle. Skin is not the only organ collagen affects. Another example is collagen that makes up the connective tissue in the joints. As the collagen ages, it weakens and results in joint pain over time.
Nineteen amino acids are found in collagen, but it lacks one of the nine essential amino acids, tryptophan. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein. Most collagen supplements you will find in the store are broken down to help increase its ability to be absorbed. This broken down collagen is also known as collagen peptides. Collagen peptides are able to help build up collagen in the body and help stimulate collagen production. The collagen we consume naturally through foods is broken down and utilized the same way that collagen that is already broken down in supplement form. Collagen peptides may also act as antioxidants by protecting the existing collagen from oxidative stress. One thing to note about taking collagen supplements is that your body is going to use it where it is needed most in the body. If you are taking it to help improve joint pain and you have a wound that needs healing, your body is going to prioritize the tasks and use the collagen to heal the wound.
Collagen can be taken as a supplement and it can be found naturally in food. Foods high in collagen include:
I have not experimented with collagen yet…mostly because I was a little unsure on what it was or if it was something I really needed to add to my diet. After doing a little bit of research I may try out a few recipes in the future to help out my body’s collagen production!