The health benefits of collagen
Article and photo by Lisa Nicklanovich
Is there a supplement that may improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness … one that may help increase muscle mass, prevent bone loss and relieve joint pain? It’s no wonder collagen supplements fill many shelves in health food stores. Associated with a number of health benefits and very few known risks, collagen supplements are poured into coffee, water and smoothies daily by both men and women.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It is the main component of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and teeth. It strengthens blood vessels and plays a role in tissue development. Along with soft keratin, it is responsible for skin strength and elasticity. As people age, their bodies produce less collagen, which leads to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles as well as increasing the risk of degenerative joint disorders, such as osteoarthritis.
Another reason collagen is flying off the shelves is that collagen in supplements has been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it is thought to be absorbed more efficiently in the body than through eating collagen-rich foods.
According to healthline.com, studies have found that those who took collagen supplements showed significant improvement in skin elasticity and skin hydration. Another study found improvements in symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain overall.
Preliminary results of other studies look promising for collagen’s role in preventing bone loss and reducing the risk of heart-related conditions. Collagen is also being studied as a potentially powerful wound healer.
Resident Colleen Jurin puts collagen in her smoothies every day. She read about it potentially helping with premenopausal symptoms. Jurin said, “When I spend money on a product, I want to know I’m getting the benefit of the product, and I will tell you I see a benefit from taking collagen. My joints feel better, my skin is more hydrated and my hair is growing much faster.”
Jurin added, “I wanted to try a more natural solution before getting into prescription medication, and collagen really has helped.”
Those who have allergies should read the label to make sure to purchase supplements that aren’t made from collagen sources they may be allergic to. For those who do not want to consume animal products, try vegan collagen. While it is not real collagen, the vegan ingredients are designed to help boost the body’s own collagen production.