Boosting collagen intake is one of the better ways of increasing protein intake. 10-35% of your daily calories must come from proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Not only that, but proteins are also good for metabolic health, building muscles, and preventing metabolic health disorders. And the most abundant protein in the body is in the form of collagen.
Of course, one can consume just any kind of protein, and the body can produce collagen using amino acids. However, consuming collagen will provide protein with a better amino acid profile. Hence, supplementing collagen proteins may have some unique health benefits.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that is the main structural component of connective tissues in the body, such as skin, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Collagen fibers provide strength and support to these tissues and play a role in wound healing.
It is the most abundant protein in the human body and makes up about 30% of the total protein content. It is found in many different forms and is present in various tissues throughout the body. It is known for its benefits for skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints. However, it also has many other health benefits.
As we age, collagen production decreases, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging. In addition, its deficiency may increase the risk of various chronic health disorders. Hence, supplementing collagen may have benefits beyond skin & hair.
Science knows more than 20 collagen types, but the most common types found in the human body are Type I, II, and III.1
- Type I collagen is the most abundant and is found in the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bone. It provides strength and support to these tissues.
- Type II collagen is found primarily in cartilage and gives it its elasticity and resilience.
- Type III collagen is found in skin, muscle, and blood vessels and is important for the structure and function of these tissues.
There are other types of collagens found in different parts of the body, such as Type IV, which is found in the basement membrane of blood vessels and organs, and Type V, which is found in the placenta, hair, and cornea of the eye. Hence, it is vital not to limit our understanding of the health benefits of collagen to merely skin and hair.
Health benefits of collagen
Collagen protein is especially good for skin and hair. However, it also has many other health benefits.
Collagen for Skin, Hair & Nails
For the skin, collagen provides structure and support, helping to keep the skin firm and elastic. As we age, collagen production decreases, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging. Some people take collagen supplements to try to promote collagen production and improve the appearance of their skin. Collagen supplements are also thought to help hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.2
For hair and nails, collagen is important for their strength and durability. Collagen supplements may help to strengthen hair and nails, making them less prone to breakage. It may also help in hair growth and nail growth.
Collagen for Joint & Bone Health
Type II collagen, which is found primarily in cartilage, is important for the elasticity and resilience of joints. As we age, or due to injury or disease, the cartilage in joints can break down, leading to pain and inflammation. Some studies have suggested that taking collagen supplements may help improve the symptoms of conditions such as osteoarthritis, as it may help slow down cartilage breakdown and improve joint function.3
It is also found in bones and is thought to play a role in bone health. Type I collagen, which is the most abundant type, is the main structural component of bone. Collagen supplements may help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Further, collagen supplements may also be beneficial for injury recovery, especially for tendons and ligaments.
Collagen for weight loss
It can also be good for weight loss and boost your weight loss effort in multiple ways. It can help by increasing muscle mass, boosting metabolism, reducing appetite, and promoting the feeling of fullness. Additionally, it may also help reduce inflammation in the body.4
Collagen for heart health
It is an important structural component of blood vessels, and it may play a role in maintaining the integrity of these vessels. In addition, some studies suggest that collagen may help to improve the elasticity of blood vessels, which can help to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.5
Further, collagen supplements may also help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Inflammation is linked to the development of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to a blockage and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
How much collagen should I take?
Recommended dietary allowances are for proteins. One should consume about 1 gm of protein for each kilogram of body weight. Though there are no recommendations specifically for collagen, but few grams of collagen a day would be enough to experience its health benefits. Thus, for example, five to ten grams of collagen a day would be sufficient.
Ways to replenish collagen
Generally, collagen content is higher in animal foods like meat and poultry, and bone broth is an excellent source of collagen. However, one may also get collagen from nuts, seeds, certain fruits, and vegetables.
However, supplementing collagen for those living with chronic health issues and middle-aged and older adults is also good. It is even better to take supplements with multiple components like Zenkgo Joint Support for greater benefits.
- Ricard-Blum S. The Collagen Family. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2011;3(1):a004978. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a004978
- Rodríguez MIA, Barroso LGR, Sánchez ML. Collagen: A review on its sources and potential cosmetic applications. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2018;17(1):20-26. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12450
- García-Coronado JM, Martínez-Olvera L, Elizondo-Omaña RE, et al. Effect of collagen supplementation on osteoarthritis symptoms: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Int Orthop. 2019;43(3):531-538. doi:10.1007/s00264-018-4211-5
- Moon J, Koh G. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020;29(3):166-173. doi:10.7570/jomes20028
- Jalili Z, Jalili F, Moradi S, et al. Effects of collagen peptide supplementation on cardiovascular markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised, placebo-controlled trials. Br J Nutr. Published online June 6, 2022:1-16. doi:10.1017/S0007114522001301