If you are particular about your skin care regimen, and use creams, serums and lotions as part of your daily beauty regimen, chances are you must have come cross the very popular protein called collagen. This is not surprising seeing as it’s in almost all skin care treatment products.
In fact, your body actually produces collagen in substantial amounts when you’re younger. That’s why you hardly ever see young adults needing it. But as you age and grow older, the rate of production slows down, resulting in things like wrinkles, joint pains, dull skin and so much more.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’d like to actually know what collagen is, what it actually does, collagen benefits and how you can get as much of it as possible into your system so you can reap the very many benefits. In this guide to collagen, we’ll show you everything there is to know about collagen by exploring the following:
- Quick Introduction to Collagen –what collagen is and why it’s used in most beauty products
- Collagen Benefits and What it Does
- Types of Collagen
- Collagen Benefits for Skin
- Collagen Benefits for Hair
- What’s the Best Form to Take Collagen
- Collagen Side Effects
What Is Collagen?
Simply put, it is a key protein that’s commonly found in your body and on the skin. It is most abundant on your skin and takes about 30 percent of the proteins in your body.
This protein largely comprises of about one thousand amino acids, most of which are in the hydroxyproline, glycine and proline groups. It is commonly found in the connective tissues of both man and animals.
You’ll typically find it in abundance in skins and bones, ligaments, and tendons. They’re also present in sizable quantities in cartilage too. Bottom line, as long as there’s a connective tissue, you’ll most likely find collagen in sizable quantities there.
What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?
While it’s true that you can get some collagen through your body cream and lotion, chances are that they wouldn’t be as effective as they should owing to their somewhat limited ability to be absorbed by the skin.
The best way to get your collagen is by getting more of it into your body. That way, it can go on to work on your body from the inside out, delivering incredible benefits. Collagen isn’t a new groundbreaking, skin care ingredient. It’s been around for years and years.
So, unlike many other new skin care ingredients, this has been tested through multiple studies, clinical trials, and research. So, the benefits are not just guesswork.
All benefits are proven. That said, let’s jump right in to why you should use collagen based skin care products and ingest them in the form of supplements or food.
Benefits Of Collagen
1 – Improves Skin And Reduces Wrinkles
Fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. But they should not get so bad that your skin becomes unsightly. Collagen is known for its skin cell regeneration qualities as well as its ability to improve skin elasticity.
Therefore, not only do you get to replace the dead skin cells, your skin also maintains or starts gaining back its smoothness. Now, if you’re older, you probably wouldn’t have the same skin suppleness as a young 20-something male or female with a taut body.
But, you will most surely have a skin that’s better, healthier and appealing than your age mates.
One study showed that women who took collagen based supplements or in the form of food every day for eight weeks experienced 20 percent less crow’s feet than those who didn’t. This is probably due to its regenerative properties as well as active protection of the skin from UV rays.
2 – Aids Joint Tissue Healing And May Relieve Joint Pains
Growing old is a blessing and a beautiful thing. But most young people dread that transformation largely because of the attendant health issues associated with that stage of life.
Of particular interest are the bone related issues. Take a look at the average senior citizen and how slowly they move. You’ll notice that when they walk, or even move around, it looks like they’re in pain, even when they aren’t.
The lack of collagen has been linked to this condition which is often as a result of the deterioration of muscles, weakened bones and joint inflammation. Elderly individuals who take a heathy supplementation of collagen over the course of two weeks often exhibit considerable difference in their walk and gait.
One might even say that they move and walk like they’re younger courtesy of their often evident sprightly walk. Collagen is great for reducing these age related joint, muscle, cartilage, ligament and bone issues.
3 – Could Help Lower The Risk Of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is often caused by a combination of age, mineral deficiency (calcium in particular), inability to produce cells that create the bone, and poor nutrition.
Research however has shown that it is possible to prevent or even lower the severity of osteoporosis. This is possible because of the role it plays in stimulating the production of bone cells.
Women who take more collagen supplements typically record lower or less severe instances of osteoporosis compared to those who don’t. The same goes for bone loss too.
Collagen is great for this condition because unlike the medications used in the treatment of osteoporosis, it doesn’t interfere with the bone cells destruction and regeneration process. If anything, it stimulates the production of bone cells, thus ensuring that your bones stay stronger.
4 – May Combat Stretch Marks And Cellulite
Older women and sometimes, men, experience this skin condition. It’s often more common among women particularly around the hip, belly, waist and upper arms. In small amounts, cellulite can be tolerated.
But when it gets progressively worse, they tend to become very unsightly. Now, there are so many serums, creams and lotions specifically designed to combat cellulite. Most of these work superficially by trying to tighten the skin and fade off the stretch marks.
Caught early, working out, exercising and getting in shape can help tighten some of the skin. But even then, you’ll still need some help to make it less obvious. However, this often doesn’t address the real issue.
Studies have shown that collagen deficiency is often responsible for the saggy and weak skin that’s often commonly seen in people who have stretch marks. When present in significant amounts, collagen helps keep the fat in check.
It’s kind of the glue that keeps that fat together and in one solid mass. Taking collagen supplements and applying collagen based serums to the affected areas can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and restore balance in the way your skin looks.
5 – Boosts Metabolism
Okay, most people who take and use collagen don’t usually do so with the intention of weight loss. However, collagen has been shown to increase your metabolism, resulting in weight loss in moderate amounts.
It also doubles as an appetite suppressant. So, combine appetite suppression with an accelerated metabolism and you have the perfect recipe for losing some weight. Foods rich in collagen tend to fill you up more and faster, while improving blood sugar uptake to cells that need it.
6 – Effective For Liver Detoxification
Your liver takes a beating every day, and deserves the occasional cleansing seeing as it’s the organ responsible for eliminating crap, and toxins from your body. Collagen helps this courtesy of the amino acid, glycine which is effective at minimizing damage to your liver and keeping your liver cells in tip-top shape.
7 – Improves Hormonal Balance
This is particularly important for men and women in their middle ages who tend to suffer from hormonal imbalance. As we age, the levels of these hormones tend to become less stable, dropping and rising at will.
Having adequate amounts of collagen in your body can help keep the balance between hormones like cortisol, insulin, testosterone, estrogen and DHEA, so that you’ll have fewer episodes of the dreaded menopausal symptoms.
Women who are in the perimenopausal and menopausal years will find this particularly helpful in minimizing the side effects of menopause.
Collagen has also been linked to the improvement of leaky gut issues, sound sleep, healthy hair growth, healthy nail growth, oral health, anxiety relief anxiety, and may contribute to the prevention of arteriosclerosis.
Types Of Collagen
While there are many types of collagen, the most important ones you need to take note of are the types I, II, and III. These make up about 80-90 percent of the collagen in our bodies.
Type I Collagen is the most abundant of the three. It’s largely concentrated in the tendons connecting bones to muscles. It plays a big role in ligaments, muscle and bone injury recovery, and is often the strongest because of it is high tensile strength which makes it very elastic.
If you are looking to bolster their bone formation and increase their bone density will benefit from the type I collagen. You’ll find it in huge quantities in any beef bone broth.
Type II collagen is primarily found in cartilages. Its unique advantage lies in its ability to aid your immune system as well as improve digestive health. This is the main collagen responsible for ameliorating leaky gut syndrome (a condition where toxins from the stomach and intestines leak into the blood).
People suffering from chronic rheumatoid arthritis will most likely benefit from this because of its ability to help reduce joint inflammation. You’ll find this in abundance in chicken bone broth.
Type III collagen is provides support to the lungs, intestine, uterus and skin. Its key role is in the support of skin health, where it provides supple, radiant skin. It also plays a key role in the formation of cardiovascular tissues and blood vessels. A rich natural source of this is the beef bone broth.
What are the Various Ways to Get a Healthy Dose of Collagen into Your Body?
Apart from the broths mentioned in the previous section, other sources of collage include
- Collagen supplements
- Topical vitamin A which stimulates collagen production on the skin
- Muscle meats
- Collagen powder
All these are great sources of collagen and provide a variety of options for you to choose from when you need your collagen fix.
Difference Between Collagen And Gelatin
People often use both terms interchangeably. However, just because they do doesn’t mean they are correct. In simple terms, gelatin is a boiled, broken down version of collagen. While collagen powder can be mixed with drinks and water, gelatin cannot. It’s the reason it’s often used in marshmallows and jellos in place of collagen.