8 collagen health benefits that you didn’t know about

Collagen is big business. You probably know of collagen from cosmetics and skin care products. 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. 

What are the benefits of taking collagen?

From rejuvenating your skin and easing joint pain to promoting better sleep and aiding in weight management, collagen’s potential is far-reaching. Let’s explore 8 of its amazing benefits below!

1. Helps in longevity

You may be surprised that collagen can actually help you live longer [1]. In your regular meals, you may be eating different kinds of meats, and most of these meats can be harmful to you because of methionine.

Eating meat means consuming more methionine that when in high levels, can be toxic to your body.

In a study of methionine in animals, the researchers concluded that animals high in methionine died sooner than those who consumed it less. Methionine is an amino acid that is found in muscle meats like steak, lamb, and beef.

An adequate level of methionine is not bad. It helps your liver detoxify drugs and make some key molecules, including the most common one–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 [2]. 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.

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2. Improves sleep and mood

If you have difficulty sleeping or are not in the 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. 

Glycine is also responsible for mood-boosting benefits. 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 normalize sleep in your body [3].

improves sleep and mood

3. 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 [4]. 

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.

May boost brain health
Photograph: Axel_Kock/Shutterstock

4. Gives healthy antioxidants and protects you from asthma

Generally, antioxidants are good for your body as they prevent oxidation, which 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 [5]. Hence, enough glutathione can be used to protect you against asthma and some other lung problems. 

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5. Stabilizes 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 stabilize 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. 

6. 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 [6], 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 leaky gut syndrome are chronic diarrhea, 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 diarrhea.

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 [7].

7. Helps prevent tumor 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. 

Hydrolyzed collagen, as a potent anti-inflammatory, can function for antitumor activity in your body.

Research found that hydrolyzed collagen intake can prevent spontaneous tumor occurrence and can help lengthen the lifespan of 30 percent of cancer patients [8].

Another study backed this one up and concluded that taking collagen, including hydrolyzed collagen, as a healthcare supplement may help combat cancer and cardiovascular diseases. 

8. 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. 

Collagen helps improve joint health

Should I take collagen every day?

Now that you’re aware of the incredible health benefits of collagen, you might be wondering whether it’s necessary to include it in your daily routine.

The answer depends on your individual goals and needs, but here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to take collagen supplements regularly:

  • Specific health goals: If you’re primarily interested in achieving and maintaining radiant skin, reducing joint discomfort, or supporting muscle recovery, daily collagen supplementation may be beneficial.
  • Age and lifestyle: As we age, our body’s natural collagen production declines. Daily collagen intake can help replenish lost collagen, especially for individuals over 30 or those who engage in demanding physical activities.
  • Dietary habits: If your diet lacks collagen-rich foods like bone broth, chicken skin, or fish with skin, daily supplementation becomes more important to ensure you get an adequate amount of this essential protein.
  • Consistency: To reap the full benefits, it’s important to be consistent. Taking collagen regularly, whether in the form of supplements or collagen-rich foods, can lead to more noticeable improvements over time.

Before starting any new supplement regimen, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your health status and specific needs.

Remember that collagen supplements come in various forms, including powders, capsules, and liquids. Choose the one that suits your preferences and lifestyle best.

Bottomline

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 are experiencing some medical conditions that collagen is said to help with. Collagen is indeed promising!

FAQs

What are the benefits of taking collagen?

Collagen supplementation can improve skin elasticity, reduce joint pain, support hair and nail growth, aid digestion, assist in muscle recovery, potentially enhance sleep quality, and help with weight management.

Should I take collagen every day?

The decision to take collagen daily depends on your individual goals, age, dietary habits, and consultation with a healthcare professional. Daily intake can offer consistent benefits, but it’s important to consider your specific needs.

Is collagen safe for liver and kidney?

Collagen is generally considered safe for the liver and kidneys when consumed within recommended dosages. 

Does collagen have side effects?

Collagen supplements typically have minimal side effects, such as mild digestive symptoms like bloating or diarrhea in some individuals.

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[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/09/style/self-care/collagen-benefits.html 
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5350494/ 
[3] https://bluebirdprovisions.co/blogs/news/benefits-collagen 
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4792085/ 
[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20228417/ 
[6] https://time.com/6156394/leaky-gut-syndrome-explained/ 
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9198822/ 
[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20553190/

Photograph: Bravekanyawee/Shutterstock
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