Collagen is a protein that plays a vital role in various tissues and organs, such as the cartilage, ligaments, and bones. It also helps strengthen and maintain the structures of our bodies.
Complex proteins like collagen are made up of amino acids such as glutamine, proline, arginine, and glycine, but getting enough of these from outside sources can be challenging.
As we get older, our bodies start to produce less collagen, which can affect our joints. Collagen loss will primarily affect the joint’s mobility and create more stiffness than usual. This is why we see a variety of collagen supplements on the market today, including my very own multi collagen plus supplements that have recently won “Best of the Best” and “Best Value” rankings from the Best View Reviews.
I will further explain some of the functions of collagen with main points that include:
- Functions of collagen
- Main benefits of collagen
- Collagen supplements
- Collagen supplement dosage
- Collagen side effects
- Collagen rich foods
What does Collagen Do?
Collagen works within our bodies to provide structure, strength, and support. Specific roles related to collagen can include:
- Help new cells grow by getting fibroblasts to form in your dermis.
- Replace dead skin cells.
- Cover and protect organs.
- Provide structure, strength, and elasticity to the skin.
How Can Collagen Get Damaged?
Even though collagen will naturally decrease within our bodies as we age, there are lifestyle habits that can contribute to more collagen damage than usual. Some of these habits you should avoid include:
- Smoking: The damage caused by smoking can cancel out the production of collagen and elastin, which can lead to wrinkles and slower wound healing. It also prevents the body from receiving nutrients and oxygen.
- Sugar: Refined carbs and sugar can also damage the body's collagen production. The sugar can attach to proteins to form end products, which can cause collagen to become brittle and weak.
- Ultraviolet light: Too much exposure to ultraviolet light can reduce the production of collagen and cause it to break down more quickly. To prevent wrinkles, you should limit your exposure to ultraviolet light and wear sunscreen.
Benefits of Collagen for the Joints
In order to understand how collagen can protect the joints and why it is important to keep it in our bodies, check out some of its top benefits.
Promote Joint Health
The benefits of collagen are numerous, as it can help promote joint health and flexibility. Some of the collagens can also help reduce soreness and improve post-exercise recovery.
If you experience knee discomfort, collagen can help improve the function of your knee after 30 days. It can also reduce the discomfort and stiffness associated with range-of-motion activities.
Cartilage is a type of tissue that cushions the ends of bones. It also helps to support the movement of joints and absorb shock, while forming other body parts such as the nose, ears, the rib cage, and bronchial tubes. Collagen can help give cartilage strength and elasticity.
Collagen makes up about half of all the protein in cartilage. On the other hand, about 85% to 90% of the collagen is made up of articular cartilage.
When it comes to maintaining tissues' tip-top shape, collagen's amino acids are crucial. They stimulate the development of new cartilage and help maintain the healthy cartilage turnover. In addition, taking collagen supplements can help prevent cartilage degradation.
Promote Exercise Performance and Recovery
Aside from supporting daily movements, certain collagens can also help improve recovery and performance. They can help reduce knee stiffness and soreness after just a week of use. In addition, it can relieve joint pain and inflammation in just a few days.
Among the amino acids found in collagen is glycine, which can help create a substance known as creatine that supports the growth of muscle mass and improves one's energy levels.
Promote Bone Health
In addition to supporting strong bones, collagen can also help decrease the pressure and stress on our joints, which is beneficial to our health overall.
Other Benefits of Collagen
While collagen can provide a host of benefits for the joints, check out some other areas of our bodies where collagen could make an impact!
Promote Gut Health
In May of 2017, a study revealed that people with IBD have an imbalanced level of collagen fibers. This could be connected to their inflammation. In previous studies, we’ve seen that patients with this condition have decreased levels of this type of collagen.
The level of collagen that's in your GI tract and colon can help support the healing process. It can also be increased through a diet and supplement. Although it's not yet clear how this concept works, it's possible that increasing collagen intake could benefit those with IBD.
Promote Heart Health
Collagen may help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. In 2017, a study revealed that taking a collagen tripeptide twice daily may help improve the markers of atherosclerosis. After six months, the participants' blood pressure, cholesterol, and arterial stiffness improved.
Atherosclerosis is a type of heart disease that affects the walls of the blood vessels, which collagen can help strengthen.
Promote Healthy Hair
The amino acids found in collagen are used to build the protein keratin, which is a vital component that makes up our hair. It plays an important role in the health of hair follicles and the scalp.
The primary component of the human dermis is collagen. It plays a role in repairing the skin and the hair follicles on the scalp, and can also affect the growth of hair.
Promote Healthy Skin
According to research, taking collagen supplements can help improve the health of the skin by increasing its hydration and elasticity. Although it can't prevent aging, it can still help with the effects of aging. A review of the research studies revealed that taking supplements of collagen can help with the healing of wounds and skin aging.
High levels of collagen can make the skin look soft and firm. It helps the skin repair and renew itself, and the quality of collagen can also affect the appearance of the skin.
Promote Healthy Nails
When your body can't produce enough collagen, it can lead to brittle nails. Getting enough collagen can help prevent this from happening. It also helps nourish the nail beds and promote healthy nails.
Finding the Right Collagen Supplement
Although collagen type 2 is less common in the human body compared to collagen type 1, it is the type that helps build cartilage and connective tissues.
High levels of collagen type 2 are found in chicken cartilage, which is also known as chicken collagen. This type of collagen can be used as a supplement or in chicken bone broth.
In addition to being beneficial for joint health, type 2 collagen also contains compounds that can help strengthen the cartilage. Multi collagen, which also includes other types of collagen, supports the health of various organs and tissues, as well as as the skin, nails, and hair.
One of the easiest ways to get more collagen is by taking multi collagen protein powder or collagen peptides. These are both made from real food sources, such as chicken, fish, egg shell membranes, and bovines. They contain multiple types of collagen and support a variety of body functions.
What are Collagen Peptides?
Small collagen peptides are the main components of animal collagen that can't be fully absorbed into the body until it’s broken down into smaller amino acids/peptides. Oral supplements for collagen contain either two or three amino acid pills, which are known as collagen peptides or collagen hydrolyzed. They are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Emil’s Multi Collagen Plus
My very own multi collagen plus supplements are designed to work on a cellular level to help support healthy bones, joints, and digestion, while also giving the hair, nails, and skin a more youthful look. These supplements are made with premium sources which include 100 % grass-fed bovine, along with BioPerine for fast absorption.
The recommended daily amount of collagen for supporting your joints is around 10 to 30 grams. When it comes to other forms of collagen like powder, adults should take around one to three scoops of collagen protein per day.
Collagen protein powders can come in a variety of flavors like vanilla and chocolate.
You can easily add collagen powder to beverages, such as coffee, juices, and smoothie recipes. You can also blend it into recipes.
You should always make sure to read the label directions before taking any supplements or dietary products, and consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new lifestyle or diet.
Collagen Side Effects
Overall, there have been few reported side effects from collagen supplements. Some collagen supplements are made from certain food allergens, such as eggs, fish, and shellfish. For individuals with food allergies, these supplements should not be taken.
Some people who use collagen supplements report experiencing bloating and nausea. However, there has been no consistent evidence supporting these side effects.
Collagen Rich Foods
Collagen is different from other proteins because it can’t be absorbed into the body in its whole form. The collagen proteins we consume are broken down into amino acids, which means that eating foods rich in collagen won’t necessarily mean that you will actually get higher collagen levels.
However, the foods that support collagen production can still easily be incorporated in a healthy diet. Foods that contain the amino acids proline and glycine, along with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, zinc, and copper are all considered to be collagen rich. Check out some of these options:
- Vitamin C: Found in oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and potatoes.
- Glycine: Found in red meats, turkey, chicken and pork skin, peanuts, and granola.
- Copper: Found in liver, lobster, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, tofu, and dark chocolate.
- Zinc: Found in oysters, red meat, poultry, pork, beans, chickpeas, nuts, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and milk products.
- Proline: Found in mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus, peanuts, wheat, fish, egg whites, and meat.
Start your Collagen Supplements Today
If you have been dealing with joint pain and haven’t been able to find a solution, collagen may just be what works for you! With a wide variety of health benefits and minimal side effects, what is there to lose?