The Health Benefits of Collagen

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski December 09, 2022

You’ve probably read and heard a lot about all the benefits of collagen lately. Most commercials and advertisements are raving about the potential to boost your skin and make you look more youthful.

While healthy skin is something we all want to obtain, collagen is responsible for much more than how we look. In this article, we’ll go over the health benefits of collagen and give you a better understanding of why it's so important for optimal wellness. You may be surprised by some of the benefits collagen provides.

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It is found in your muscles, bones, skin, and tendons. Collagen forms a protective layer that provides structure within the body. It’s also an essential part of connective tissue that plays a critical role in holding your body’s cells together.

The fibrous protein is present in many bodily structures. It is a crucial part of the extracellular network of molecules that hold your body’s tissues together. Collagen is like the glue that binds everything.(1)

What does collagen do?

The primary role of collagen is to provide strength and structure throughout your body. The vast benefits of collagen may surprise you. Some of the specific abilities of collagen include:

  1. Healthier skin - Increasing evidence shows collagen may help fight wrinkles and damages skin
  2. Less joint pain - Since cartilage, the tissues that protects our joints is made up of collagen, having less as we age causes more joint pain
  3. Stronger bones - Your bones are made up primarily of collagen. That collagen strengthens bones and gives them structure.
  4. Improved digestion - Collagen contains glycine, which is an amino acid that may promote healthy digestion
  5. Increased gut health - clinical research shows that collagen peptides may inhibit the breakdown of the intestinal lining. In addition, it can promote anti-inflammatory responses in the gut.
  6. Healthier heart - Studies show that collagen contributes to and even maintains the structure of your arteries, which may reduce heart disease and vessel issues.
  7. Weight loss - Since collagen potentially speeds up your metabolism, it could help reduce body fat.
  8. Decrease recovery time - collagen helps fortify your connective tissue that supports muscle actions. If you get injured, collagen may reduce that time it takes you to recover.
  9. Healthier hair and nails - In studies, collagen proved to be significantly beneficial for hair and nails. Participants in the studies showed improvements in nail and hair issues.
  10. More muscle mass - collagen may improve muscle strength and mass. Since 1 to 10% of your muscle tissue is made of collagen, having adequate amounts of it could increase muscle mass.

Why do collagen levels decline?

As you age, your body doesn’t produce as much collagen. That begins in your twenties, and you can start to feel the effects within a few years. Many women notice collagen loss increases during and after menopause. Although losing collagen is a normal part of aging, there are ways we can speed up the process. We will discuss some of the factors that reduce collagen levels.

Smoking

You know smoking is terrible for you for a host of reasons. Adding to those is the decrease in collagen and premature aging. Have you ever seen smokers that look much older than they are? Part of the reason is that smoking negatively affects your collagen levels. It’s one of the biggest collagen disruptors. When you smoke, you decrease the oxygen delivered to your tissues. Since the tissue cannot regenerate, it is likely to die. (2)

Inflammatory diets

Inflammation is your enemy. When it comes to health, we want to eat a diet that’s not inflammatory. When you consume foods with lots of sugar and simple carbs, your immune system gets triggered and promotes inflammation. These diets can harden and damage collagen. (3)

Stress

Studies have shown that stress can also be inflammatory. When your body is inflamed, it lowers your ability to produce collagen. Stress can be a critical problem because it increases the cortisol hormone. Cortisol decreases your production of collagen. You can think of stress like a double-edged sword.

Genetics

Unfortunately, genetics can affect how much collagen your body produces and breaks down. That means if your parents had great skin, the odds are in your favor to have good skin, too. Your genetics is the part of the puzzle you can’t control. (4)

Signs of collagen loss

There are signs that your collagen levels are decreasing. You’ll notice a difference in how you look and feel. Some signs of decreased collagen to watch for include:

  • Joint pain - when you lose collagen, your joints become weaker. You may notice pain with everyday activities.
  • Skin becomes less elastic - you’ll notice your cheeks are flatter, and you have hollow areas under your eyes.
  • Weight gain - losing collagen can slow down your metabolism. You may have weight gain even without changing your eating habits.
  • Weakened blood vessels - since collagen strengthens blood vessel walls, you may experience headaches, skin rashes, breathing problems, and dry eyes. All these could indicate weakened blood vessels.
  • Dental issues - loss of collagen could cause premature tooth decay and pain.

Increasing collagen

If you’ve noticed the effects of collagen loss, there are things you can do that will help replenish your levels. Since you can’t measure your collagen levels, paying attention to the signs of collagen loss is crucial. When you feel these changes taking place, it’s time to take action.

Eat a proper diet

Your body needs nutrients to make collagen. Many people are eating unhealthy foods that will automatically decrease their levels. To produce collagen, your body requires amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. (5)

Eating protein-rich foods can boost your collagen production. Include foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and plain yogurt. You always want to eat veggies like broccoli, greens, tomatoes, and fruits with vitamin C.

Avoid processed foods and refined sugars. These are inflammatory and will increase collagen loss.

Take quality supplements

There are a ton of supplements available, and many of them are garbage. If you read the ingredients, you’ll find things you can’t pronounce and don’t need. A quality collagen supplement will support the amino acid chains your body requires to maintain proper collagen levels.Taking a supplement can help offset the decline of collagen due to aging.

Beware of miracle creams and lotions

Although many people are looking for an edge when it comes to getting older, you should use caution when buying special lotions and creams that promise miracle results. There are products that are healthy for your skin, but there are also products loaded with toxins that won’t work for collagen repair.

Your collagen molecules are large and difficult for your skin to absorb. That means that many of the products you see costing hundreds of dollars won’t help at all. Many hopeful people spend lots of money each year on skincare.(6)

Drink more water

Water is essential for the production of collagen. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to be sure your body produces adequate collagen levels. When you replenish the water in your body, you infuse your cells with the hydration they need to function.

Drinking water throughout the day is a great way to take care of your collagen levels. If you don’t enjoy drinking water, consider adding fruit to it for a flavor boost. You can get water infusions also, but be sure to watch the sugar content.

Simple concepts that work

As you know, we’ve often mentioned that marketing companies try to sell you a magic potion or pill that promises to fix all your health issues. Unfortunately, getting healthy takes some work on your part. There is no magic formula. Common sense actions contribute more to the success of your wellness than anything else.

Focus on ways you can prevent collagen loss and increase your collagen production. Your body will thank you because you will look and feel incredible. Since collagen is vital for many bodily processes, you want to be sure you’re doing everything in your power to keep your levels consistent. It’s our pleasure to help you obtain better health. Contact us today with any questions on how we can help you reach your wellness goals.

References :

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/23089-collagen

https://www.reidhealth.org/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-collagen

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262881#fa-qs

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-reasons-collagen-declines-how-to-support-it-naturally

https://vibrancemedspa.com/what-happens-to-collagen-as-we-age/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11966688/#:~:text=Conclusions%3A%20Smoking%20decreases%20the%20synthesis,extracellular%20matrix%20turnover%20in%20skin.

https://eminenceorganics.com/us/blog/2016/01/14/5-signs-sugar-aging-your-face

https://www.xcode.life/genes-and-skin/how-genes-affect-the-development-of-wrinkles-and-collagen-degradation/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/

https://www.seafloraskincare.com/are-collagen-creams-effective-how-to-increase-your-collagen-naturally/#:~:text=While%20it's%20essential%20to%20preserve,be%20absorbed%20through%20the%20skin.

https://blog.citybeauty.com/benefits-of-drinking-water-for-skin/

Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski



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