Top 6 Benefits of Eating Collagen
Collagen is the most common protein in the human body. Up to 35% of the protein in your body is collagen. Other animals have even more collagen- it is plentiful in the hooves, hair, and skin of horses and goats. That’s what we make gelatin out of!
Collagen comes in dozens of different types. Most of the collagen in your body is type I, which makes up skin, tendons, blood vessels, and bone. But you also have type II collagen in your cartilage and type V in your hair.
In your body, collagen basically acts as a kind of glue. It holds the tissues in your body together. As you get older, your body makes less and less collagen. This makes your body literally fall apart as the glue disappears.
Eating collagen, then, helps keep your body together. That’s why it can help as an anti-aging substance. In your body, collagen:
- Promotes heart health
- Improves skin health.
- Boosts muscle mass
- Relieves joint pain.
- Prevents bone loss.
- Strengthens hair and nails.
Promotes heart health
Collagen gives structure and support to your arteries. With less collagen, arteries lose flexibility. This can lead to atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries. Long-term atherosclerosis can even cause heart attacks and strokes.
Medical research supports the conclusion that eating collagen helps improve artery flexibility. In one six month study, participants ate 16 grams of collagen a day. By the end, their arteries were less stiff and their good cholesterol had risen.
Improves skin health
There’s a reason why collagen is in so many skincare products. It naturally helps strengthen and hydrate skin. One of the reasons why people develop wrinkles as they age is due to a lack of collagen in their bodies.
Eating collagen doesn’t simply give your skin more collagen. It also stimulates your body to produce more collagen for your skin. This means that you get out more than you put in.
Medical research supports the conclusion that eating collagen helps improve skin health. One study found that women consuming 3-10 grams of collagen a day for up to 10 weeks had notably improved skin hydration and fewer wrinkles.
Boosts muscle mass
Since collagen is the most common protein the body, it’s no surprise that it helps build muscle. You literally can’t build muscle without it. As people get older, their bodies produce less collagen, leading to diminished muscle mass. Eating collagen helps to stop and even reverse this trend in some cases.
Medical research supports the conclusion that eating collagen helps to boost muscle mass. In a 2015 study, collagen supplements were shown to help improve muscle mass for elderly men whose muscles were shrinking.
Collagen alone won’t make you get big, however. A consistent weight routine is necessary. Additionally, collagen does not contain all the amino acids necessary for muscle growth.
Relieves joint pain
The stuff in between the joints in your hips, knees, and elbows is called cartilage. Cartilage is made up of collagen, and one reason why people have trouble with their joints as they get older is because of a lack of collagen. Decreasing collagen levels in old age can also cause osteoarthritis.
Medical research supports the conclusion that eating collagen helps to boost muscle mass. A 2018 meta-analysis suggests that a few grams a day can help ward off the effects of osteoarthritis.
Prevents bone loss
Bones are mostly collagen. Their strength and structure derives from collagen. Lower collagen levels late in life can cause osteoporosis, the low bone-density disease which makes bone fractures common.
Medical research supports the conclusion that eating collagen helps to prevent bone loss. One 12-month study showed that 5 gram collagen supplements helped to increase bone mineral density in post-menopausal women.
Strengthens hair and nails
Hair and nails are made from both keratin and collagen, proteins which bind together to create strong tissues. As we age, however, our hair thins and our nails begin to crack. Part of this is a result of decreases collagen levels. Without the glue holding our hair and nails together, they begin to crack.
Medical research supports the conclusion that eating collagen can help to strengthen hair and nails. One 2017 study found that as little as 2.5 grams of collagen per day were enough to produce noticeable effects on hair and nails.
Collagen is the protein glue that holds your body together. Without it, you begin to fall apart. Arteries stiffen, skin wrinkles, muscles shrink, joints creak, bones splinter, hair thins, and nails crack. All these things begin to happen as we age and as our collagen levels go down.
Eating collagen, however, is a safe, proven remedy for all of these issues. In some cases, supplemental collagen not only replaces missing collagen- it also stimulates the production of new collagen. It is not a perfect solution, as nothing can take your body back to exactly the state it was in 20 years ago. But collagen consumption provides many medically proven benefits nonetheless.