With collagen supplementation on the rise and beginning to catch the attention of the mainstream, we decided it was time to look a little deeper at its benefits and how it could help you.
To understand the benefits, we first need to know exactly what collagen is.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein [1], an important one, that forms connective tissue through your body. Which means it creates and maintains your skin, bones, muscle, tendons and ligaments [2, 3].
Now you might be thinking, “if collagen is so prevalent in the body why do we need to supplement?” and it’s a good question.
The simple answer is because as you age your body naturally reduces the amount of collagen it produces. This has a knock-on effect that increases the signs of ageing, joint pain, bone loss and muscle wasting. [4]
By supplementing with collagen, you can help to slow down these effects and decrease their impact. In this article, we’ll look at the science behind the benefits of regular collagen consumption.
1 – It Reduces the Signs of Aging
Collagen plays a big role in maintaining skin hydration and elasticity.
However, because the amount your body produces decreases as you age your skin will naturally become drier and wrinkles will form. [5]
Regular collagen supplementation can help slow down the ageing process by strengthening your skin and increase elasticity which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. [6, 7, 8, 9]
This has been backed by studies which have shown that those who supplement with collagen see an increase in skin elasticity and a reduction in dryness compared to those who did not take the supplement.
It’s believed this is because collagen supplements encourage your body to, both produce other proteins like elastin and fibrillin which support your skin and continue producing collagen on its own. [5, 6]
2 – It Reduces Joint Pain
As we saw earlier, collagen is involved in many processes in the body, one of which is maintaining the cartilage around your joints.
With studies [10, 11] showing that regular supplementation can decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain.
It’s believed this is because the collagen consumed in supplement form gathers in the cartilage of your body and stimulates the surrounding tissues to continue creating its collagen.
This, in turn, can lead to less inflammation and pain in your joints. [10]
3 – May Increase Muscle Mass
As you age you naturally lose muscle mass through a process called sarcopenia.
However, there is some research [12] that shows taking a regular dose of collagen combined with a strength training exercise program can increase muscle and strength gained when compared to those who exercised without taking collagen.
This means that whilst studies are limited there are positive initial results that show for those suffering from the natural degradation of muscle mass associated with ageing collagen could play an important role in the preservation and growth of muscle and strength.
4 – Could Prevent Bone Loss
As you age you not only see the natural breakdown of muscle mass and a reduce in the amount of collagen your body produces but it’s also normal to see a reduction in bone mass.
This can cause conditions such as osteoporosis, which is the natural deterioration of bone density as you age and is linked to an increased risk of injury, particularly bone fractures. [13, 14]
Regular collagen supplementation has shown to have certain positive effects when it comes to preventing bone mass reduction and the formation of conditions like osteoporosis. [11, 15]

Summing Up

There are numerous benefits to be gained from regular collagen supplementation, including reducing the effects of ageing and the preservation of bone density and muscle mass.
There are also various additional benefits which are yet to be fully confirmed by the science which means collagen may also help to improve gut health, brain health and assist with weight loss.
In short, collagen can help you look and feel your best.
[1] Annu Rev Biochem. 2009; Collagen Structure and Stability, Matthew D. Shoulders, Ronald T. Raines
[2] The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 2015, An Overview of the Beneficial Effects of Hydrolysed Collagen as a Nutraceutical on Skin Properties: Scientific Background and Clinical Studies Sara Sibilla, Martin Godfrey, Sarah Brewer, Anil Budh-Raja and Licia Genovese
[3] Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000.
[4] Am J Pathol. 2006 Jun; Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin Roles of Age-Dependent Alteration in Fibroblast Function and Defective Mechanical Stimulation James Varani, Michael K. Dame, Laure Rittie, Suzanne E.G. Fligiel, Sewon Kang, Gary J. Fisher, and John J. Voorhees
[5] Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1; Skin anti-ageing strategies, Ruta Ganceviciene, Aikaterini I. Liakou, Athanasios Theodoridis, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis
[6] Proksch, E & Schunck, Michael & Zague, V & Segger, Dörte & Degwert, Joachim & Oesser, S. (2013). Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis. Skin pharmacology and physiology. 27. 113-119. 10.1159/000355523.
[7] Jr Med Nut & Nutra. 2015; Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Maryam Borumand, Sara Sibilla
[8] Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014; Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. E Proksch D Segger, J Degwert, M Schunck, V Zague, S Oesser
[9] Clin Interv Aging. 2014; Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of ageing. Maryam Borumand and Sara Sibilla
[10] Curr Med Res Opin. 2006 Nov; Collagen Hydrolysate for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis and Other Joint Disorders: A Review of the Literature Alfonso E Bello, Steffen Oesser
[11] Rev. bras. geriatr. gerontol. vol.19 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Jan./Feb. 2016; Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Elisângela Porfírio1 Gustavo Bernardes Fanaro1
[12] Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 28; Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. Denise Zdzieblik, Steffen Oesser, Manfred W. Baumstark, Albert Gollhofer, and Daniel König
[13] Osteoporos Int. 2006; The Role of Collagen in Bone Strength. S Viguet-Carrin, P Garnero, P D Delmas
[14] Clin Ther. 2015 Aug; The Pathophysiology and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Matthew T Drake, Bart L Clarke, E Michael Lewiecki
[15] Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct; Role of Collagen Hydrolysate in Bone and Joint Disease. R W Moskowitz

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