Collagen is big business. You probably know of collagen from cosmetics and skin care products and with collagen’s promise to make you more youthful and glowing, people are hoping to get its skin benefits by taking collagen supplements.
While the skin enhancement benefit from collagen is true, you need to know that collagen has other surprising benefits for your body! Some even deemed it a miracle protein that aids in solving various kinds of problems in the body.
Collagen’s longevity benefits
You may be surprised that collagen can actually help you live longer. Your regular diet may contain a variety of different kinds of meats, but did you know that mean can actually be harmful to you because of an amino acid called methionine. Eating meat means consuming methionine, which, in high levels, can be toxic to your body. In a study of methionine in animals, the researchers concluded that animals high in methionine apparently died sooner than those who consumed it less.
Methionine is found in muscle meats like steak, lamb and beef. An adequate level of methionine is not bad; in fact, it helps your liver detoxify drugs and make some key molecules, including one you’ll be familiar with – the hormone adrenaline. So, what should you do to regulate methionine? Do not eat meat? Not necessarily, because your body still needs methionine. This is where glycine from collagen steps in.
Having enough glycine – an amino acid that makes one-third of collagen – can counteract the effects of methionine. Your liver needs glycine to remove some of your excess methionine. Glycine is considered one of the essentials in regulating any inflammation in your body. Hence, taking collagen can help lengthen your lifespan.
Improves sleep and mood
If you have difficulty in sleeping or are not in a good mood most of the time, collagen can help you deal with these! Collagen can surprisingly be your mood relaxer, sleep promotor and productivity booster – three-in-one benefits to help you have an everyday quality life.
But how? Through collagen’s amino acid, glycine. This multipurpose amino acid decreases your core body temperature, which can inhibit muscle activity during REM sleep. Naturally, your body temperature drops when you sleep and continues to do so as you fall deeply asleep.
In terms of mood-boosting benefits, glycine is also responsible for this one. Studies show that glycine can be an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and it also increases your serotonin levels without increasing dopamine levels. In short, it can aid in keeping your circadian rhythms healthy, alleviate the symptoms of sleep deprivation and normalise sleep in your body .
Collagen may boost brain health
Have you ever thought that your simple take of collagen intended for anti-aging could be for a greater purpose in your body? Because it is!
Studies found positive impacts of glycine on patients with schizophrenia who used it in the form of supplements in their regimen. It is said that glycine may help treat the negative symptoms of this mental disorder, primarily depression and loss of mental fluency. Patients with schizophrenia cannot function accordingly in the real world; hence, glycine is one of the substances that may help .
Not just that, glycine can be used to improve some other psychiatric and mood disorders. Glycine can aid in depression and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. It can also protect against neurological damage when you have a stroke. In more casual situations, taking glycine from collagen can benefit your brain health by increasing your visual and verbal memory and improving your attention.
Gives healthy antioxidants and protects you from asthma
Generally, antioxidants are good for your body as it prevents oxidation that can lead to cell damage. As your body produces enough oxidants, it can fight off viruses and microbes; however, too much can lead to cancer and heart disease.
Glutathione is a significant predictor of longevity, and the production of this relies heavily on glycine. The more glycine you have in your body, the more you have glutathione in your cells. This is because glycine supplementation can directly increase glutathione levels. Whenever you lack in any of these two, your body can be exposed to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress increases the risk of developing some cancers, joint issues and musculoskeletal injuries, including asthma. Having glutathione in your body also affects the fluidity of your mucus, and when your mucus is not fluid enough, you may have some respiratory issues, like asthma . Hence, enough glutathione can be used to protect you against asthma and some other lung problems.
Stabilises blood sugar and improves heart health
Aside from the brain and respiratory contributions of collagen, it can still extend to your heart. Research suggests that consuming collagen can control insulin and blood sugar through its amino acid, glycine – yes, this one again!
Glycine can stabilise your blood sugar and regulate your weight, preventing you from becoming obese. It also suggests that glycine helps your body to be more efficient with glucose by releasing gut hormones, helping you to digest glucose efficiently.
Prevents and repairs leaky gut and IBS
Two primary benefits of collagen to your gut health are supporting your gut wall integrity and repairing your gut lining. Whenever there is damage in your gut, new muscle cells are made. Your collagen production is in action to help generate new muscle cells to heal and repair the damages.
The leaky gut syndrome is a digestive problem where your small intestine’s lining is damaged, resulting in leaks of consumed and undigested food particles, waste products and even bacteria leaking through your intestines into the bloodstream. Some of the evident symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome are chronic diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, headaches, confusion, difficulty concentrating, acne, eczema, joint pain and widespread inflammation.
Moreover, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS refers to a chronic digestive problem where you may feel constant stomach cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. IBS is considered a lifelong condition for the majority of its sufferers; however, its symptoms may change over the years. It can also be managed with the right practices and medications.
As collagen contains healthy amino acids, it can significantly help heal and improve your leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These are two major gut problems that collagen can help you deal with .
Helps prevent tumour growth and cancer
Oxidative stress brought by age can lead to the development of cancer. Hence, any interventions that can delay aging and age-related diseases can also help with possible inflammation in your body.
Hydrolysed collagen, as a potent anti-inflammatory, can function for antitumor activity in your body. Research found that hydrolysed collagen intake can prevent spontaneous tumour occurrence and can help lengthen the lifespan of 30 percent of cancer patients . Another study backed this one up and concluded that taking collagen, including hydrolysed collagen, as a healthcare supplement may help combat cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Helps improve joint health
Have you thought about what sports athletes could be drinking to make their muscles and joints stronger? It is collagen. Research found that people who take collagen have lesser joint pain when they work out compared to those who do not. No wonder why some athletes take collagen regularly.
Collagen basically supports the connective tissue in your joints. It is even beneficial to people with osteoarthritis and cartilage issues. Collagen peptides can also improve the elasticity and thickness of the cartilage between joints. Moreover, as you age, your collagen production reduces, so your bones weaken because their composition is mainly collagen. Research suggests that taking collagen peptides may help treat and prevent osteoporosis. With 102 post-menopausal women, the researchers found that those who took collagen peptides for over a year acquired better bone mineral density than those who did not.
Adding collagen to your daily diet or regimen can give you surprising health benefits for your overall well-being. It is worth the shot for those who want to be healthy or experiencing some medical conditions that collagen is said to help with. Collagen is indeed promising!