Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and it plays a crucial role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of our skin, joints, and connective tissues. Our bodies produce less collagen as we age, reducing the skin firmness, causing joint pain, and other signs of aging.
However, supplementing with collagen can help replenish our body's natural stores and provide many health benefits. In this article, we'll explore the top 5 benefits of collagen, how it can positively impact your overall well-being, and what to look for in a collagen supplement.
1. Skin Health
One of the most well-known benefits of collagen is its ability to improve skin health. Collagen helps maintain the skin's elasticity and firmness, reducing wrinkles, and fine lines. Research has shown that supplementing with collagen can increase skin hydration and elasticity, leading to a more youthful and radiant complexion. In fact, a meta-analysis review published in Dermatology Practical & Conceptual found that participants who took an oral collagen supplement saw improvements in skin moisture, elasticity, and hydration. The studies reviewed also showed that collagen reduces the wrinkling and roughness of the skin without any reported side effects.
2. Joint Health
Collagen is a key component of our joints and connective tissues, and supplementing with collagen can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Studies have shown that collagen supplements can improve joint function and reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. A 24-week clinical trial out of Penn State University revealed positive outcomes for athletes using collagen hydrolysate, marking a significant advancement in joint pain management. The study suggests potential benefits in supporting joint health and minimizing the risk of joint deterioration.
3. Gut Health
Collagen plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of our digestive system, and supplementing with collagen can help improve gut health. Collagen helps to strengthen the intestinal lining and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, leading to improved digestion and a reduced risk of digestive disorders. Research has shown that collagen supplementation can help alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. A study published in JMIR found that collagen supplementation improved symptoms of digestive disorders and promoted gut healing for an impressive 93% of participants who took a collagen supplement for six weeks.
4. Muscle Mass
Collagen is essential for maintaining muscle mass and strength, and supplementing with collagen can help support muscle growth and repair. Research has shown that collagen supplementation can help increase muscle mass and improve muscle strength, especially in older adults. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that older men who took a collagen supplement experienced a significant increase in muscle mass and strength compared to those who took a placebo.
5. Bone Health
Collagen is a key component of our bones, and supplementing with collagen can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation can help increase bone mineral density and improve bone strength. In a 12-month study published in the Nutrients, postmenopausal women who took a collagen supplement experienced a significant increase in bone mineral density and a reduction in bone turnover markers.
Collagen is a vital protein crucial in maintaining the health and vitality of our skin, joints, gut, muscles, and bones. Supplementing with collagen can provide a wide range of health benefits, from improving skin elasticity and reducing joint pain to promoting gut health and supporting muscle growth.
In Canada, oral collagen supplements come in various forms, including collagen peptides, powders, capsules, and liquid collagen. When choosing a collagen supplement, it's essential to look for products that are sourced from high-quality, grass-fed, or wild-caught animals to ensure purity and efficacy.
Additionally, consider the type of collagen present in the supplement—such as Type I, II, or III—as each type serves different purposes in the body. Look for hydrolyzed supplements, as this form is more easily absorbed. And finally, check for additional ingredients like vitamin C or hyaluronic acid, which can enhance collagen absorption and synthesis.
Here are 5 high-quality collagen supplement brands to consider:
Vital Proteins: Known for its collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
NeoCell: Offers a variety of collagen supplements, including options derived from bovine, fish, and chicken sources.
Great Lakes Gelatin: Recognized for its collagen hydrolysate sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle.
Sports Research: Provides a range of collagen supplements, including collagen peptides from grass-fed bovine.
Organika Health Products: Offers collagen supplements sourced from bovine, chicken, and marine (fish) collagen.
About the Author
Alicia is a journalist and editor in digital and print media specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and wellness. She was previously the Editorial Director of Clean Eating and Vegetarian Times. Her work has also appeared in Hone Health The Edge, Yoga Journal, Women’s Running, and Oxygen, among others. In addition to being a content creator, she's an ISSA-certified nutritionist, certified personal trainer, and fitness studio owner in Toronto. Alicia loves spreading the word about helpful, science-backed health information, and she can be contacted via her website at aliciamtyler.com.