Collagen supplementation has become the rage in the last couple of years, and with good reason.
Evidence suggests that supplemental collagen can help with some complications (wrinkly skin, weaker bones, tendons).
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So what’s the deal?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It makes up between 25 and 30% of our total protein content. (1)
It is the major component of connective tissues like the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin. (1)
Although produced by the body, collagen production reduces as we age.
One way to help fight this decline is by eating foods high in protein, such as meat and dairy, or with supplementation such as vitamins A and C. (1)
Click here to learn the many benefits of a high protein diet.
A 2019 study showed that drinking 2.5 grams of collagen per day for 12 weeks improves skin hydration and elasticity, roughness, and density in women 35 years old or older.
As you already know, collagen production decreases as we age. That decrease in collagen production is one of the reasons why we lose muscle mass as we get older. That loss of muscle mass is known as Sarcopenia.
It turns out collagen supplementation might help reverse some of that loss.
A study by Zdzieblik et al. found that older men who performed resistance training and supplemented with 15 grams of collagen peptides built more muscle and lost more body fat than the placebo.
In a 12-week study on younger men, researchers found that those who performed a full-body workout and supplemented with collagen peptides increased fat-free mass significantly more than those on a placebo.
Researchers found that taking 2.5 grams of collagen peptides once a day for 24-weeks might increase the strength and growth of your nails. In addition, 80% of participants found that the supplement had improved their nails’ appearance.
A 2018 study on 66 postmenopausal women found that drinking 5g of collagen peptides per day for a year significantly increased bone mineral density compared to a control group.
Low bone mineral density is associated with weak bones, increased fractures, and Osteoporosis. (1)
Joint pain can be, well, a pain.
One of the causes of joint pain is overuse. Like when lifting heavy in the gym, aka yours truly.
In a 24-week study on the effects of collagen supplementation on joint pain, researchers split 147 athletes into two groups: a collagen group and a placebo group.
The collagen group was given 10 grams of the “good stuff.” In contrast, the placebo was given 25 ml of a liquid containing xantham.
The researchers found that those who supplemented with collagen experienced less pain while resting, walking, standing, and lifting.
Tired of being sore? Check out our article on the best supplements to prevent soreness.
Do you need to supplement with collagen?
No. Increasing your protein intake can help you achieve these health benefits without the need for supplements.
But suppose you are interested in supplementing with it.
In that case, you might get a little confused about the different types of collagen supplements. But no worries, I got you.
Most collagen supplements will be labeled as either peptides or hydrolysate.
- Peptides– means that the proteins have been broken down into smaller pieces, which helps with digestion and absorption.
- Hydrolysate– This process hydrolyzes the collagen into peptides. It is the same thing as peptides.
Side Effects of Collagen
A few minor side effects of collagen supplementation:
Some people have experienced a lingering bad taste in their mouths. Others have experienced digestive side effects like an uncomfortable feeling of fullness or heartburn. (1)
Like with any supplement, always ask a doctor to see if it’s safe for you.
All in all, Collagen might offer some benefits from working out and overall health and beauty. But you don’t need it if you already eat a protein-rich diet.
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