Benefits of Collagen
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is one of the most popular health trends right now and rightly so. Collagen is found abundantly in the body and makes up many body parts including ligaments, tendons, muscles, and skin. Infact, collagen makes up 75% of your skin(1)! There is a lot of scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of collagen supplementation. Let’s take a look at the benefits.
Collagen makes up the rubbery tissues in the joint, which enables movement and acts as protection. The amount of collagen in the joint capsule decreases as you get older, which leads to increased joint pain and higher risk of diseases such as osteoporosis.
Some clinical trials have shown a benefit in joint pain. One trial examined the effects of collagen on 147 people. Subjects were given either 10g of collagen or a placebo for 24 weeks. The group given collagen had significantly less joint pain when resting. The collagen group also had less joint pain with walking, standing, and running in a straight line(2).
As you age, skin naturally decreases in collagen and elastin. These compounds maintain the youthful look of skin and is the reason why skin starts to become saggy and wrinkled as you age.
Many clinical trials have showed improvements in skin health with collagen supplementation. One trial examined marine collagen for skin health in 214 females aged 25-45. Subjects took 2.5g, 5g or 10g of marine collagen per day. After 4 weeks of supplementation, skin hydration was increased in the 5g and 10g compared to taking no collagen(3).
Another trial showed women who took 2.5 – 5g of collagen over 8 weeks had increased skin elasticity and hydration compared to those who did not take collagen(4).
Both marine and bovine collagen have shown some improvements in skin health.
Collagen makes up a large part of your bones and is used to keep bones strong and maintain bone mass. Low bone mass is associated with conditions such as Osteoporosis.
Studies show that collagen supplements can help to inhibit bone loss and may protect against risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone mass(5).
One study examined the effects of collagen supplementation in menopausal women for bone health. 102 women took part in the study and were given 5g of collagen per day or a placebo for 12 months. Women then had DXA scans on the neck and spine, before and after the trial, to show changes in bone mass. Women who supplemented with collagen had increased bone mineral density in both spine and neck. The women who did not take collagen experienced bone loss in both locations (6).
Collagen supplements may have other benefits which do not have as much research behind them just yet. For example, people taking collagen often discuss:
- Higher quality hair and nails
- Weight loss
- Improved gut health
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved heart health
Where do I get collagen?
Collagen is found in animal products, particularly connective tissues like skin and bones. This means there is no vegan form of collagen. Bone broth is a fantastic way of adding more collagen into your diet. Gelatine is a degraded form of collagen and shares some of the same health benefits. Adding gelatine to your diet (and making gelatine gummies!) can offer health benefits too.
Collagen can be taken in a powdered form as a supplement and is best added to a drink, such as juice or smoothies. As a supplement, collagen has been hydrolysed, which makes it easier absorbed and used in your body.
Written by: Mandy Astrop, Naturopath
- Choi, F. D., Sung, C. T., Juhasz, M. L., & Mesinkovsk, N. A. (2019). Oral collagen supplementation: a systematic review of dermatological applications. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 18(1), 9-16.
- Clark, K. L., Sebastianelli, W., Flechsenhar, K. R., Aukermann, D. F., Meza, F., Millard, R. L., Deitch, J. R., Sherbondy, P. S., & Albert, A. (2008). 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Current medical research and opinion, 24(5), 1485–1496. https://doi.org/10.1185/030079908×291967
- Ohara, H., Ito, K., Iida, H., & Matsumoto, H. (2009). Improvement in the moisture content of the stratum corneum following 4 weeks of collagen hydrolysate ingestion. Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogaku Kaishi, Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology, 56(3), 137-145.
- Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V., & Oesser, S. (2014). Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin pharmacology and physiology, 27(1), 47–55. https://doi.org/10.1159/000351376
- Porfírio, E., & Fanaro, G. B. (2016). Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia, 19(1), 153-164.
- König, D., Oesser, S., Scharla, S., Zdzieblik, D., & Gollhofer, A. (2018). Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women-A Randomized Controlled Study. Nutrients, 10(1), 97. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10010097