Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in our skin, bones, connective tissues, internal organs and more. The body naturally replenishes its own collagen stores, however, that ability starts to decline from our mid 20s. Other factors, such as exposure to UV light, environmental pollution and dietary deficiencies also impair collagen production.
So should you get more collagen in your diet to counteract this? Absolutely! Here’s some very good reasons why:
1. It’s great for your skin
Collagen strengthens our skin and gives it body and bounce. And when the collagen levels in our body drop, the skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity. Fortunately, taking a collagen supplement has been shown to help skin health. This study found that taking collagen reduced wrinkling around the eyes, and this study showed “a statistically significant improvement” in skin elasticity.
Although it can seem that skin appearance is a superficial benefit of taking collagen, consider that how old your face looks may actually be a good indicator of your overall health. The health of your skin is a window to the quality of the internal collagen in your joints, fascia, arteries and other tissues.
Find out more: The ultimate guide to ingestible beauty
2. It’s good for your bones and joints
Collagen adds the flexibility to our bones that enables them to absorb normal wear and tear without breaking. Plus, because collagen provides the structure that bone mineralisation is built upon, supplementing collagen has the potential to boost bone strength. This 12-month clinical study done in 2017, found that taking collagen can significantly increase bone mineral density in post-menopausal women.
Collagen aids joint movement because it covers the bones in a jelly-like substance, helping joints to move easily. If you work out a lot, or are recovering from joint damage, supplementary collagen may improve your resilience. A study from 2008 found that giving collagen supplements to athletes complaining of joint pain reduced their pain levels.
The ligaments and tendons in and around the joints are largely made of collagen. So, just as taking collagen can improve your skin, taking collagen can improve these connective tissues—especially if they have been injured.
3. It can improve the quality of your sleep
Taking collagen has been proven to have a positive impact on sleep. This is because collagen is packed with the amino acid glycine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that calms the central nervous system and helps us to relax and fall asleep.
Glycine also helps with the creation of serotonin, which is required for making the sleep hormone melatonin, which lets your body know when it's time to go to sleep and then wake up. If serotonin levels in the body become depleted, the ‘internal clock’ of the brain (known as circadian rhythm) is disrupted and sleep–wake cycles can become irregular.
Taking glycine can also help to improve sleep quality and next day performance. A study carried out in 2007 found that when people who usually slept badly were given glycine before bed, they fell asleep faster, and had less drowsiness during the day. And in this study, people said that they felt more energetic in the morning after taking glycine.
4. It’s good for your heart
Taking a collagen supplement may help to reduce the risk of heart-related conditions. This is because collagen provides strength to the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile, leading to narrowing of the arteries (also known as atherosclerosis) which has the potential to lead to heart attacks and strokes.
In this 6-month study done in Japan, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily. By the end of the study, they had experienced a sizeable reduction in measures of artery stiffness, compared with before they started taking collagen. Plus, their levels of (good) HDL cholesterol increased by an average of 6%. High HDL levels reduce the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis.
5. It improves wound healing
Our collagen requirements increase when the body is repairing wounds to the skin. A study of patients with pressure ulcers found that those who took collagen supplements 3 times daily for 8 weeks saw their wounds heal twice as fast. And this study showed that taking collagen improved healing for 30 patients receiving medical treatments for burns.
If you want to live healthier, and look and move better, get more collagen in your diet. Taking a supplement is an easy and effective way to make this happen, and many of them taste great too! Check out our amazing range of options below:
- Qt Internal Cosmetics
- Antiox Beauty Collagen
- Marine Collagen + C
- Collagen Pantry
- Be Beautiful
- Skin, Nails & Hair
- Junior Collagen