What is Collagen?
Collagen is a naturally occurring structural protein found in the connective tissues of animals like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin. Structural proteins help the body move and flex around, supporting the shape and movement of cells. Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the human body, accounting for almost one third of the body’s whole proteins (1). As people age, the collagen production in their body slows down, leading to a deficit that can possibly cause joint pain, osteoporosis, bone degradation, and fine lines and wrinkles in the skin. Taking extra collagen to supplement this deficit has been shown in studies to potentially support not only the amount of collagen in the body, but also encourage the manufacture of other vital proteins.
What are the top benefits of adding Collagen to your diet?
Hair, Skin, and Nails Health
The human skin is naturally abundant with collagen, but as the aging process occurs the production of collagen within the bodies cells slowly decreases. This leads to skin loosing its elasticity and developing fine lines and wrinkles. It also means the skin, which is the bodies number one protective barrier, becomes weaker and more prone to breakage. Taking collagen as a supplemental treatment to replace the collagen that your body is no longer producing has been shown in studies to potentially strengthen the skins elasticity and lend to more cosmetically pleasing skin by slowing aging signs (1).
Bone and Joint Health
Similar to skin, tendons and ligaments naturally have a high percentage of collagen to help them stretch and flex as the body moves. As a body endures the aging process along with exercise and normal life related movement, the joints and bones can become worn down and produce less collagen, resulting in joint pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Various studies on the effects of collagen supplementation have shown that collagen intake can potentially help prevent bone degradation like osteoporosis along with improving both the pain and movement restrictions associated with joint issues (2).
Alternatively, while there have been many studies regarding collagen supplement effects on skin, bones, and joints, there has not been a lot of official research on the effect of collagen on overall gut health. There is, however, evidence of a strong correlation between the percentage of collagen in a body and their chances of developing intestinal issues like ‘leaky gut syndrome’. One study shows that there is a direct relationship between the activity of collagen degrading bacteria in the intestines and the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, as the collagen levels decreased in the study, the probability of intestinal issues increased; thus indicating there is a strong possibility that sufferers of leaky gut syndrome can improve their symptoms or prevent further complications with a collagen supplement!
Please find linked below The Mustard Seed’s Staff’s favorite collagen supplements!
*The claims in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA and all individuals should consult their physicians before adding supplements to their diet*
(1) Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/
(2) Praet, Stephan F E, et al. “Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Combined with Calf-Strengthening Exercises Enhances Function and Reduces Pain in Achilles Tendinopathy Patients.” Nutrients, MDPI, 2 Jan. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356409/.
(3) Shogan, Benjamin D, et al. “Collagen Degradation and MMP9 Activation by Enterococcus Faecalis Contribute to Intestinal Anastomotic Leak.” Science Translational Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 6 May 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027898/.