Collagen seems to be an ever-increasing trend in the health and wellness industry, but is it worth all the hype?
In this blog, we will cover the basics of what collagen does, what to look for in a collagen product & whether or not collagen products have been proven to work to increase collagen levels in the body.
WHAT DOES COLLAGEN DO?Collagen is a type of protein. It is actually one of the most abundant proteins in the human body. Consider collagen to be the glue that binds everything together.
Collagen is a protein that is found in your skin, hair, nails, and other connective tissues. Collagen contributes to the structure of your skin. It also aids in bone strength.
Collagen protein has been shown to keep people's skin smooth and their hair shiny when they are young. Collagen is also known as the protein that keeps us looking young and healthy.
As we get older, our collagen stores deplete faster than we can replace them. This is when wrinkles show up and the nails and hair require additional support.
Because our collagen stores begin to deplete as we age, many people hope to reverse this process by taking collagen supplements of some kind.
Injections were once the most common type of collagen treatment. They were used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and soothe the skin.
Fortunately and probably for the better collagen creams & injections, have been surpassed in popularity by collagen supplements.
People who use creams hope that the collagen will absorb into their skin, whereas you are likely to get better results taking a collagen product orally, allowing the collagen to be digested and sent wherever it is needed within the body.
That being said, the most important question we should all be asking is not "What collagen supplements are available?" but "Do collagen supplements work?"
DO COLLAGEN PRODUCTS WORK?
Some studies show that taking collagen supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity, (i.e., wrinkles and roughness) as well as signs of aging. Others have shown that consuming collagen can increase density in bones weakened with age and can improve joint, back and knee pain.
Collagen is broken down by your body into various amino acids.
Those amino acids will be reused by the body wherever they are most needed, and if your nutrition is lacking in the necessary nutrients, your body will not send those proteins and amino acids to your hair, skin, and nails.
More specifically, you should ensure that you consume an adequate amount of total protein on a daily basis. Your results will be less than ideal if you do not consume enough protein throughout the day aside from taking a collagen supplement.
It is important to understand that supplements like this help and aid you in the right direction and that they will and can never fully fix a problem.
As a result, in order for the specific amino acids packed into your collagen supplements to be used where and how they were intended, you must consume enough protein.
So, make sure you get enough protein, rest, and water on a regular basis so your body can start using those aminos for what they are intended for.
With all that said if you are staying healthy and providing your body with the proper nutrition and fuel, it needs a supplement like collagen can be a great addition to your routine!
WHAT CAUSES COLLAGEN LOSS?
Factors that may contribute to lead to collagen loss or low collagen levels include:
- hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, health conditions, and so on
- oxidative stress, which results from metabolic processes and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and diet
- the natural process of aging
- Too much sun exposure, as ultraviolet rays can cause collagen to break down in the skin
- low levels of ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, can lead to scurvy.
PREVENTING COLLAGEN LOSS
Here are some strategies that may help prevent collagen loss:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as they contain vitamins and antioxidants.
- Make sure you are eating nutritiously diverse foods.
- Add a great source of collagen to your daily diet.
- Avoid smoking and processed foods, which increase the risk of oxidative stress.
- Protect the skin from sun exposure.
- Ask a dermatologist about supplements and other products.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT?
Obviously when it comes down to it the quality and integrity of the supplements you put into your body matters.
YOUR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT SHOULD BE DIVERSE
Protein can and should be obtained from a variety of sources. Different foods contain different types of amino acids, and you need as many of them as possible to consistently be at your healthiest.
To maximize the diversity of the amino acid profile, the ideal collagen supplement will be derived from at least four or five different sources. which is why SPN Collagen Protein is a great source consisting of collagen types I through VI.
YOUR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT SHOULD BE PHYTONUTRIENT-RICH
Phytonutrients are extremely beneficial to your body.
Phytonutrients function as antioxidants, which means they can help manage free radicals inside the body, reducing cell damage and inflammation.
They're also thought to help boost immunity, which means you'll be less likely to get sick if you consume enough of them.
Besides that, phytonutrients aid in the production of elastin in the body. Elastin maintains your skin's elasticity and firmness, preventing wrinkles and sagging.
The other benefits are fantastic, but the increase in elastin is the main reason you should make sure your collagen supplement contains phytonutrients. One way to know if a collagen product contains phytonutrients is to look at the sources of collagen, if any source of collagen is grass-fed or pasture-raised they will contain elements of phytonutrients.