Collagen, the main component of connective tissue tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone and blood vessels, comprises approximately 30% of all protein content in the human body. Studies continue to indicate that supplementation of this most vital protein may function as an anti-ager in helping keep wrinkles at bay, reducing the appearance of cellulite, and also strengthening joints and bones.
The word collagen comes from the Greek word “kola,” which means glue. There are several different types of collagen. Type II collagen is the most abundant in our body, and makes up 30 percent of total body protein and up to 70 percent of the proteins in our connective tissues.
Collagen and Aging Skin:
Collagen is responsible for giving the skin its elasticity, and also plays a role in the replacement of dead skin cells. It’s the substance that make the skin appear supple, smooth and taut. But as youth begins to fade, so does collagen production. In fact, collagen production begins to decline at a rate of about one percent a year in our mid-twenties. When we reach our forties and fifties collagen production begins to decline quickly. Within a few years after menopause, most women experience a 30 percent drop in collagen. Dry skin, sagginess, dullness, and loss of plumpness are all results of loss of collagen.
But studies involving collagen indicate that you may indeed be able to regain some of your skin’s youthful radiance by ingesting collagen orally. In an independent, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2013 in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology that involved 100 women between the ages of 45 and 65, those who took 2.5 grams of a hydrolyzed collagen peptide once a day for eight weeks exhibited a 20 percent reduction in wrinkle depth around their eyes. Additionally, the subjects' levels of pro-collagen I—the precursor to collagen—were up 65 percent. What’s more, the participant’s skin still demonstrated elevated moisture levels and elasticity four weeks after they stopped taking the supplements.
In addition to taking collagen supplements for beautiful skin, you can reduce damage to collagen production by:
- Avoiding too much sun and wearing a good sunscreen with an SPV or 30
- Limiting sugar intake
- Quitting smoking
Collagen and Cellulite Reduction
Cellulite is the fat that collects in pockets just below the surface of the skin. It typically forms around the hips, thighs, and buttocks. Cellulite deposits cause the skin to look dimpled and is often compared to the look or orange peel or cottage cheese. According to surveys, cellulite affects approximately 80 percent of women and 10 percent of men, mostly in industrial nations.
Fighting cellulite is often seen as a losing battle as it seems to defy diet and exercise. But here’s some more good collagen-related news. It appears that collagen supplements may also aid in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests collagen peptide improved the skin appearance of women suffering from moderate cellulite.
In this double-blind study, a daily oral dose of 2.5 g of the collagen peptide or a placebo was given to 105 women between the ages of 24 and 50. After three months, cellulite score was reduced in the collagen group. At the end of the six-month study, a 9% mean reduction over placebo was found in women with a normal body mass index (BMI). A 4% mean reduction was also recorded in participants with a BMI higher than 25.
Researchers also observed, on average, a reduction of 8% in terms of skin waviness after six months of supplementation. Those in the normal BMI study group had an even more pronounced decrease of 11.1%. After treatment, the borderline length between dermis and the subcutis was noticeably shorter and a strengthening of the connective tissues, indicated the skin tissues became more compact.
Collagen, Joint and Bone Health
As we grow older, natural collagen production also decreases in our joints which may lead to osteoarthritis and the ligaments and tendons may also weaken. In addition, about 30 to 40 percent of bone is made up of collagen. Decreased collagen in bone is a major factor in osteoporosis and low bone density.
But research published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture has shown that that taking collagen supplements can help in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee were given collagen peptides from either pork skin or bovine bone or a placebo. After 13 weeks, patients who took the collagen supplements had experienced a significant improvement when compared with the placebo group.
Collagen supplementation has also been shown to help maintain healthy nails and hair, as well as aid digestion, athletic performance and sleep. No wonder it has become a popular supplement that’s popular in both drinkable powder and capsule form.