Quick Summary Points
- Collagen is an abundant protein that forms connective tissue throughout your body
- Benefits of using collagen include improved skin, hair, weight loss, joints etc
- Collagen supplements are versatile & can be taken at any time during the day
- Easy to digest, use & mix
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that forms connective tissue throughout your body. It is essential for a variety of functions in the body including, skin, muscles, bones, tendons and much more. Collagen consists of 18 different amino acids and amongst the 18 amino acids there are 2 amino acids that are particularly important which are proline and glycine.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
Collagen can be easily found in a variety of food sources like bovine chicken, beef, fish and eggs. It is also derived from the bones, skins and cartilage animals. However, collagen supplements often utilise hydrolysed collagen, which helps form new collagen. The word 'Hydrolysed' refers to a process where the long chain triple helix protein that forms collagen is broken down into shorter pieces. This results in short individual chains of amino acids called peptides which are easier for the body to digest and utilise the amino acids.
Why is it Important?
Collagen is a structural protein that is a major component in the body especially in skin, muscles and tendons. Factors like age, diet and environment can deplete your bodies collagen levels leading to the degeneration of collagen rich areas of the body like your skin. This degradation of collagen rich areas of the body like your skin. This degradation can cause changes in the body associated with aging, like wrinkles and aching joints. Supplementing with collagen can help slow this depletion and minimise the negative effects associated.
Collagen Benefits & Pros
Recent studies suggest that there has been a sharp rise in collagen supplements.1 This can be due to a number of reasons. As mentioned briefly above, protein collagen is a rich source of amino acids like glycine, proline and lysine. These amino acids play an integral role in the body building connective tissue and regulating cell growth. This benefits skin, muscle, hair, cartilage, ligaments and even blood cell growth. While the amino acid glutamine has also been associated with preventing inflammation of the gut wall and contributing to overall gut health. For athletes, collagen is a great source to enhance muscle growth and recovery. Since collagen consists of almost 90% protein incorporating it in your daily diet can improve athletic performance, support muscle growth and repair. Collagen protein is deal for post workout nutrition due to its high amino acid content that helps to support the body’s needs especially after a workout.
Collagen Side Effects & Safety
For those who are concerned with side effects, collagen protein is uncommon. Some potential side effects may include heart burn or feelings of fullness. Although it is uncommon for those side effects to occur, it is best to stick with the recommended guidelines and not exceed the recommended dosages. Effects can vary for each individual and in the case, you experience any negative effects, discontinue use.
Collagen Protein Supplements
Consuming a diet rich in the collagen building blocks is a must, but the way you go about it is up to you. The most straightforward way to naturally boost your collagen is to consume foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables and leafy greens. Another dietary approach is to make your own homemade bone broth — it’s generally inexpensive while providing a good source of collagen. Finally, supplemental collagen is always an option. That said, powdered collagen supplements can be easily added to smoothies or soups to potentially give you an extra boost. When searching for collagen supplements, organic and grass-fed animals are recommended.
Generally, collagen is taken as a standalone supplement, but collagen supplements can also be stacked with most supplements as they are often unflavoured and easy to incorporate with other powders like whey or casein. Some popular collagen supplements include Giant Sports Collagen Peptides.
1Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. - PubMed – NCBI, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208>.
224-Week Study on the Use of Collagen Hydrolysate as a Dietary Supplement in Athletes with Activity-related Joint Pain.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885>.
3Clark, KL. 24-Week Study on the Use of Collagen Hydrolysate as a Dietary Supplement in Athletes with Activity-related Joint Pain. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885>.