Health Benefits of Collagen: Pros, Cons, and More

As a wrestler in high school, I constantly used a whey protein boil down to promote muscle recovery and growth after workouts. debauched forward to college — I quit wrestling and took up bodybuilding but silent stuck with a whey protein centralize after my workouts.

It wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate until my sophomore year in college that I first learned about a different human body of protein called collagen while conducting research for a class. At the meter — hopefully this doesn ’ triiodothyronine age me ! — the inquiry on collagen and its purport benefits was minimal or of poor quality. But today, enough of high quality research supports collagen ’ s benefits. here are 6 science-backed health benefits of taking collagen .Woman looking in the mirror share on PinterestLechatnoir/Getty Images

What is collagen?

collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It ’ s the main part of connective tissues that make up respective body parts, including tendons, ligaments, hide, and muscles ( 1 ). Collagen has many authoritative functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your bones ( 2 ). There are 28 types of collagen, but here are the four most common ( 2 ) :

  • Type I: the most common type, found in all connective tissue
  • Type ll: found in joints and intervertebral discs (the cushions that serve as your spine’s shock absorbers)
  • Type lll: the main component of reticular fibers, which are found in your skin and blood vessels
  • Type lV: a component of your kidneys, inner ear, and eye lens

In holocene years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down to make it easier to absorb. These supplements come primarily in powderize shape but are besides available in capsules. The types of collagen found in supplements vary — some contain one or two types, while others contain up to five. several foods may naturally increase your collagen intake, including pork barrel skin and bone broth .

Foods that contain collagen

Foods that contain gelatin, such as bone broth, provide collagen. Gelatin is a protein means derived from collagen after it ’ randomness cooked ( 3 ). collagen is found in the connection tissues of animals. therefore, foods such as wimp peel, pork skin, gripe, and fish are sources of collagen ( 3 ). Vitamin C is crucial for collagen deduction, so you should besides be sure to eat foods fat in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers ( 2, 4 ). More research is needed to determine whether eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen levels in your body, as they may not have the like benefits as supplements. digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides. however, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it ’ second thought to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from foods .

Summary collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. You can increase your intake of collagen by taking supplements or eating animal foods and bone broth. however, preoccupation from food may not be arsenic effective as from supplements .

Health benefits of collagen supplements

Collagen supplement provides a kind of health benefits .

1. May improve skin health

collagen is a major component of your peel. It plays a role in strengthening skin, adenine well as in elasticity and hydration. As you long time, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry peel and the formation of wrinkles ( 5 ). however, respective studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dispassion. One review of 11 studies focusing largely on women found that taking 3–10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 69 days led to improvements in skin elasticity and hydration ( 6 ). These supplements may work by stimulating your body to produce collagen on its own. additionally, collagen supplements may promote the output of other proteins that help structure your hide, including elastin and fibrillin ( 6 ). There are besides many anecdotal claims that collagen supplements help prevent acne and early clamber conditions, but these aren ’ triiodothyronine supported by scientific tell .

Interested in collagen supplements for skin health?

Check out our roundup of the best collagen supplements .

2. May relieve joint pain

Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. As the amount of collagen in your body decreases with long time, your risk of degenerative roast disorders such as osteoarthritis increases ( 7 ). Some studies suggest that collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain ( 8 ). A review of five studies in more than 500 people with osteoarthritis found that taking about 10 grams of collagen casual for an average of 24 weeks led to significant improvements in articulation severity and self-reported joint pain ( 9 ). Researchers have theorized that auxiliary collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen. In turn, this may lead to lower inflammation, better joint corroborate, and reduced pain. If you want to try collagen supplements for potential pain-relieving effects, most research suggests that you ’ ll see an effect with 10 grams per day ( 9 ) .

3. May prevent bone loss

Your bones are made by and large of collagen, which gives them structure and force ( 10 ). precisely as the collagen in your body deteriorates with long time, therefore does bone bulk. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by gloomy bone density and a higher risk of bone fractures ( 11 ). Studies note that collagen supplements may help inhibit the cram breakdown that leads to osteoporosis ( 8 ). In a 12-month survey, women took either a calcium append with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium supplement and no collagen daily. At the study ’ second end, those taking the calcium and collagen accessory had importantly lower lineage levels of proteins that promote cram breakdown than those who took lone the calcium ( 12 ). Another study found similar results in 66 women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months. Those who took the collagen exhibited an increase of up to 7 % in their bone mineral density ( BMD ) compared with those who didn ’ t take collagen ( 13 ). BMD is a measuring stick of the concentration of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. broken BMD is associated with weak bones and osteoporosis risk ( 13 ). Although these results are promising, more human studies are needed .

4. May boost muscle mass

As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is an crucial component of bony muscle ( 2 ).

Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age. In a 12-week study, 27 men with this condition took 15 grams of collagen while participating in a casual exercise platform. Compared to men who exercised but didn ’ t take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle multitude and potency ( 14 ). Researchers have suggested that supplementary collagen may promote the deduction of muscle proteins such as creatine, arsenic well as stimulate brawn increase after exercise ( 14 ). however, collagen protein international relations and security network ’ t more effective than whey protein for building muscle or strength. That ’ second because, unlike whey protein, collagen is low in essential amino acids — specially leucine — which play a keystone character in muscle build ( 15, 16 ). More inquiry is necessary to investigate collagen ’ s potential to boost brawn mass .

5. May promote heart health

Researchers have theorized that collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart conditions. Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry lineage from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become less flexible and rubber band ( 1 ). This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the tapered of your arteries. This condition may lead to kernel attack and stroke ( 17 ). In a 6-month study, 31 goodly adults took 16 grams of collagen daily. They had experienced a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness from the report ’ s beginning to its end ( 17 ). additionally, their levels of HDL ( good ) cholesterol rose by an average of 6 %. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis ( 17 ). however, more studies on collagen supplements and affection health are needed .

6. Other health benefits

Collagen supplements may have other health benefits, but these haven ’ t been studied extensively .

  • Hair and nails. Taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may help your hair and nails grow longer (18).
  • Gut health. Although no scientific evidence supports this claim, some health practitioners assert that collagen supplements can treat leaky gut syndrome, also called intestinal permeability.
  • Brain health. No studies have examined the role of collagen supplements in brain health, but some people claim that they improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Weight loss. Proponents believe that collagen supplements may promote weight loss and faster metabolism. However, no studies support these claims.

Although these likely effects are promising, more research is needed before dinner dress conclusions can be made .

Summary collagen supplements have several benefits related to skin, joint, bone, brawn, and center health. There ’ mho light evidence to support collagen ’ second purported effects on weight unit loss or intestine or brain health .

Downsides and side effects of collagen supplements

collagen supplements are generally well tolerated, with few report side effects. however, some supplements are made from coarse food allergens, such as pisces, shellfish, and eggs. People with allergies to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients. Some people have besides reported nausea and bloat when taking collagen supplements, but these effects weren ’ t directly related to the supplements ( 6 ). additionally, collagen supplements may cause digestive english effects, such as heartburn and feelings of fullness ( 19 ). careless, these supplements appear to be safe for most people .

Summary Collagen supplements may lead to mild side effects such as bloat, heartburn, and feelings of fullness. If you have food allergies, make surely to purchase supplements that don ’ triiodothyronine contain your allergens .

How long does it take to see results?

Collagen turnover is a behind procedure. As such, no matter your goal for using collagen, it will take at least 8 weeks to experience noticeable results ( 6 ). Most studies use a minimum of 8 weeks to assess collagen ’ sulfur effects on clamber health and joint pain relief, but other studies use longer periods, such as 12 months, for bone health ( 9, 13, 20 ). therefore, you should be patient and not expect results for a while .

Summary Allow at least 8 weeks of supplementing with collagen daily before assessing whether collagen is working for you .

Alternatives to collagen

Because collagen ’ sulfur amino acid writing differs from those of other proteins, the possible alternatives are limited. presently, no vegan collagen supplements are available. however, you can buy supplements that contain the primary amino acids involved in collagen synthesis — glycine, lycine, and proline. Some supplements obtain these amino acids from vegan sources. They may besides contain vitamin C and hyaluronic acidic, which helps your tissues retain water, keeping them lubricated and damp. Keratin — the morphologic protein in hair, nails, and peel — has been suggested as an option to collagen, but there ’ mho limited research to support keratin products for anything early than topical application on skin and hair’s-breadth ( 21 ). Keratin is besides not vegan, as it ’ south derived from the feathers, wool, and horns of diverse animals .

Summary Collagen ’ s makeup of amino acids is different from those of other proteins, meaning the alternatives are limited .

The bottom line

collagen supplements are associated with respective health benefits and very few known risks. Supplements may increase muscleman aggregate, prevent bone personnel casualty, relieve roast pain, and improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness. While early benefits may exist, most claims about weight loss, gut health, and genius health aren ’ triiodothyronine backed by research. Although several foods contain collagen, it ’ south obscure whether these foods offer the same benefits as supplements. collagen supplements are generally safe, easy to use, and worth trying based on your health goals.

Just one thing

Try this nowadays : Although collagen supplements differ in ingredients and collagen type, a product that contains types I and lll collagen fibers will cover most of your bases, no matter what your goal for supplementing. Read this article in spanish .

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