Top 5 reasons to take a collagen complex
Collagen supplements are seemingly everywhere these days. We see them on TV, in supermarkets, in pharmacies and even in the diet section of the grocery store.
Originally used as a joint protection for athletes, collagen has since taken off as an anti-aging solution with a wide range of benefits. In this article, we’ll briefly take a look at what collagen is and how it works in the body, then discuss five different ways supplementing with a collagen complex can improve function.
Why is collagen essential for our body?
Collagen is an abundant protein that is produced naturally in the body and is found in many of the foods we eat.
Collagen makes up one third of the proteins found in the body and supports the structure of bones, ligaments, cartilage and skin.
Collagen production begins to decrease as we age, leading to skin deterioration in the form of fine lines and wrinkles, brittle and yellowing nails, hair loss, and pain in the joints.
Collagen supplements can come from animal skins and bones, but a more popular (and greener) choice is marine collagen, which comes from sustainably harvested fish.
Since the 1990s, supplements with a collagen complex have been used by athletes to improve joint health and increase performance.
As we age, cartilage (the tissue that cushions the joints) thins and wears down. Because our body does not continue production as efficiently, it can lead to osteoarthritis or simply cracking and pain in the joints.
Studies have shown a significant reduction in pain in participants who take a collagen supplement. Researchers theorize that extra collagen can build up in joints and stimulate tissues to release collagen. This leads to better joint support, reduced inflammation and decreased joint pain in general.
In recent years, studies have been conducted to examine the effectiveness of collagen for other anti-aging effects, including improving skin elasticity, nail health, and hair growth.
A systematic review conducted in 2019 found that the use of a collagen supplement showed “promise for the short- and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and aging skin. Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and skin density of collagen.
As a result, an explosion of supplements containing a collagen complex has flooded the market, touting results that include plump, youthful skin.
Be aware that quality matters. You want to be sure that you have a source of quality marine collagen that is easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Healthy, shiny hair and nails
Your body needs antioxidants to support healthy hair because free radicals can damage hair follicles.
There have been several test-tube studies that have shown that marine collagen can fight four different free radicals and that it may be more potent than the antioxidants found in tea.
Also, because collagen improves the elasticity of the skin, it can decrease thinning and hair growth which is a common part of the aging process.
Nails too, in a preliminary study showed improvement in strength with collagen supplementation. 12% of participants noticed increased growth, while 64% saw clinical improvement in brittle nails and 80% agreed that they saw improvement in the appearance of nails. Although more studies are needed, the initial results and anecdotal evidence are indeed very promising.
Possible benefits for bones, muscles and heart
Some initial studies have shown that collagen supplementation has a positive impact on our bones, muscles, and heart.
In the bones, collagen was observed to help inhibit bone deterioration that can lead to osteoporosis, while participants saw an increase in bone density.
For muscle, studies have shown that collagen promotes muscle synthesis and increases muscle mass in people with age-related muscle loss.
Collagen is also what structures blood vessels. As collagen production declines with age, the walls of the arteries can stiffen and become brittle. A study performed showed a significant reduction in arterial stiffness in the test group, in addition to a 6% increase in (good) HDL cholesterol.
Further studies are needed in these areas, but the forecasts are good.
Anecdotal evidence shows that many people who take collagen supplements feel less hungry throughout the day. As a protein, collagen can help keep you feeling full and less tempted to overeat.
Where to buy good quality collagen supplements
Collagen supplements are available for purchase online and on the high street. To buy the best quality, make sure the supplements do not contain any additional fillers or additives. Additionally, only buy from a brand that is transparent about their sourcing and processes, for example, Hey Nutrition.
Hey Nutrition has a high quality collagen complex that can offer a wide range of health benefits. They use sustainably sourced marine collagen to create a synergistic blend that gives skin radiance and elasticity, improves nail and hair health, and includes other quality active ingredients to improve skin health and immunity in general.
Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Dec; 16 (4): 520-526. doi: 10.1111 / jocd.12393. Published online August 8, 2017. PMID: 28786550.
Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral collagen supplementation: a systematic review of dermatological applications. J Drugs Dermatol. January 1, 2019; 18 (1): 9-16. PMID: 30681787.
Heather Lavine is a mother of three and an avid blogger. Based in the UK, she enjoys going out and being active with her children in her spare time.