Five Health Benefits of Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body.  It makes up the connective tissues found in tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin.  In fact, it makes up one third the protein in the body.

The major function of collagen is to make up the structural and support components that hold us together – essentially it is the glue.  It also plays roles in the formation of teeth, hair and nails, blood vessels and even blood clotting. 

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about collagen!

 

The Different Types of Collagen:

There are about 16 types of collagen in the body, but of those there are four major types including:

Type I: this collagen is by far the most abundant and accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen which is densely packed fibres.  This is the one you’ll find in cartilage, connective tissue, tendons, bones, teeth, nails and skin.

Type II: Unlike type I, type II is made up of loosely packed fibres called elastic cartilage, used for cushioning of the joints.

Type III: this type supports the structures of arteries, organs, and muscles.

Type IV: this type helps with filtration and is found in the layers of the skin.

 

 

How to Get Collagen in Your Diet

As we age, collagen starts to break down, it also becomes harder for the body to produce it.   In addition, collagen can be destroyed by environmental exposures such as too much sun or UV exposure, bad habits such as smoking, and even eating too much sugar!

Supplementing with collagen can help provide the body with more of the materials it needs to build and maintain collagen.  In addition, increasing the intake of the nutrients or building blocks that are used in the body to produce collagen is also beneficial. 

These include the amino acids proline – found in egg whites, dairy and asparagus and glycine – found in pork and chicken skin, and gelatin; as well as vitamin C – found in citrus fruits, zinc – found in nuts, seeds and meats and lastly copper – found in organ meats and lentils. 

Collagen supplements are mostly made from hydrolyzed collagen from either marine or bovine sources. Hydrolyzed collagen means that the collagen has been broken down into easily digestible peptides – smaller pieces of collagen.  There are also collagen boosting products, aimed mostly at vegans and vegetarians that will provide the above-mentioned nutrients and vitamins to help support collagen production. 

 

The Benefits of Collagen Supplementation:

  1. Skin Health

Collagen is a major component of the skin, supplementation has been shown to improve skin texture, hydration and skin elasticity.  Improving skin hydration helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

In a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, women 30 to 55 years of age who received 2.5 g of collagen hydrolysate daily for 4-weeks experienced improvements in facial hydration, elasticity and roughness.    

 

  1. Hair and Nail Strength

Collagen supplementation has been shown to help improve hair and nail growth.  In one study, supplementation with collagen, and other nutrients was shown to improve hair quantity, scalp coverage and thickness.  Supplementation was also found to result in faster nail growth, fewer broken and chipped nails after 4-weeks in s separate study. 

 

  1. Joint & Bone Health

Studies have shown that collagen can help improve bone density by slowing down the aging process and improving the body’s ability to produce new osteoblasts – bone cells.  It’s also been shown to help improve joint function by providing pain relief.  

In one study, completed on people with rheumatoid arthritis, it was shown that after 180 days of treatment with type II collagen, the group experienced a reduction in joint pain, stiffness, and improved function, versus those who received the placebo and even over those who received a chondroitin sulfate supplement. 

 

  1. Muscle Mass Support

In one study, men supplementing with 15 g of a trademarked collagen peptide performing strength training experienced positive outcomes versus placebo.  The results found that the collagen protein upregulated protein metabolism of contractile fibers. The study showed that the combination of collagen peptide with a strength training program resulted in an overall increase in fat free mass, lean body mass and muscle strength versus just training alone.    

In another double blind, controlled trial, completed on elderly men following a 12-week resistance training intervention in combination with 15 g of collagen, also found similar results.  Those who were using the supplement had significantly higher gains in fat free mass and muscle strength.

 

  1. Heart Health

Supplementing with collagen has been shown to help with the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis in healthy humans.  One study showed that intake of 16 g of collagen tripeptide resulted in reductions in bad cholesterol LDL and increases in good cholesterol – HDL.  This study also showed reductions in TAGE – toxic advanced glycation end-products. 

 

How to Supplement:

Depending on your need, collagen can be supplemented anywhere between 5 to 15 g per day via a collagen powder.  N8KED’s Collagen Creamer is formulated with a patented trade-marked collagen providing 11 g of collagen protein per serving.  Add it to your morning coffee to start your day off right!  All N8KED products are third party tested, do not contain fillers, allergens, or additives.  Get your Collagen Creamer here

 

References:

  1. Sugihara F, et al.  Clinical effects of ingesting collagen hydrolysate on facial skin properties – a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial.  Jpn Pharmacol Ther. 2015. 43(1): 67-70.
  2. Glynis A, et al.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy of an oral supplement in women with self-perceived thinning hair.  J Clin Aesthet Dermatol.  2012.  5(11): 28-34.    
  3. Lugo JP, et al.  Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study.  Nutr J. 2016. 15: 14. 
  4. Oertzen-Hagemann V, et al.  Effects of 12-weeks of hypertrophy resistance exercise training combined with collagen peptide supplementation on the skeletal muscle proteome in recreationally active men.  Nutrients. 2019.  11(5): 1072. 
  5. Zdzieblik D, et al.  Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomized controlled trial.  Br J Nutr.  2015.  114(8): 1237-45. 
  6. Tomosugi N, et al.  Effect of collagen tripeptide on atherosclerosis in healthy humans.  J Atheroscler Thromb. 2017.  24(5): 530-8.