Collagen: To Supplement or Not To Supplement

By Monica van de Weerd

Collagen: To Supplement or Not To Supplement

Author -  Good Health

In an ideal world, our bodies produce collagen every day but as we age, this process reduces, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and stiff joints. Stirring collagen supplements into your morning coffee is the newest health fad, and users swear by the effects it has on the body. But what are the real benefits of taking a collagen supplement?

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Why take collagen?

Renowned for its effects on hair, skin and nails, collagen also helps to support muscle and joint health and largely reduces the aging process. Collagen is involved in multiple functions, forming the connective tissues for almost all structures in the body. Collagen production begins to decline as we hit our mid-twenties, and it is this decline that may be implicated in many age-associated health diseases. Collagen levels can be impacted by oxidative stress which can speed up the normal aging process. Oxidative stress is believed to contribute to every health condition, to some degree, including joint and connective tissue health conditions, these also are dependent on healthy collagen levels.

Natural sources of collagen

Collagen is found in animal foods including organ meats, chicken skin, and a variety of bones. Collagen is broken down by digestive enzymes into amino acids and peptides which are then utilised throughout the body. Consuming bone broth is a great way to increase your collagen intake, however if you are not consuming broth daily, you may want to consider supplementing your diet. Collagen supplements are already broken down into smaller particles, so they don’t require as much digestive power in order to be absorbed. Marine collagen is highly bioavailable due to its smaller particle size. Because of this, research suggests that a collagen supplement provides a more beneficial source of collagen than diet alone.

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How do collagen supplements work?

Fibroblasts are cells in the body that produce collagen. They need amino acids, namely glycine, proline and hydroxyproline in order to do so. A collagen supplement reduces inflammation and provides fibroblasts with the necessary amino acids so that they can produce more collagen. Marine collagen is often a smaller lighter collagen form that is easier for the body to digest and absorb. Marine collagen is also highly bioavailable due to its smaller particle size, making it a more beneficial choice in optimal skin health. 

Marine collagen

There are many different types of collagen. Marine collagen is collagen derived from fish scales and is a popular supplement option as it is generally hydrolysed, allowing for better digestion and absorption. New Zealand marine collagen is locally and sustainably sourced in the pristine waters of New Zealand, providing a high-quality supplement which can help support overall health and wellbeing. 

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How can a collagen supplement help you?

1.Strengthen bones and joints

Since the early 1990s, studies have suggested that collagen supplementation may reduce symptoms of arthritis. This may be due to an increase in the body’s cartilage supply, or through a reduction of inflammation. Studies on athletes found collagen can reduce joint pain and improve flexibility, leaving those taking collagen supplements, better able to engage in physical activity. 

2.Supports bone health

Collagen helps to form new bones, and supplementation has been found to improve bone mineral density, increasing strength and reducing bone breakages commonly associated with an increased age. When compared to calcium supplements alone, collagen supplementation was associated with stronger bones, as research found collagen led to lower blood levels of the protein that promotes bone breakdown.

3.Support for heart health

Research has found that supplementation with collagen can decrease arterial stiffness when compared to not taking a supplement. This means that collagen supplementation can reduce heart related conditions and promote the health of the heart, as collagen directly promotes muscle strength, and is essential to keep muscles functioning properly. 

4.Reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Collagen supplements have been thoroughly researched for their effect on fine lines and wrinkles. Supplementing has been found to promote smooth, plump skin and help the skin to repair itself after damage. Research has found supplementing with collagen can reduce skin dryness and increase elasticity, noticeably reducing the appearance of wrinkles and promoting a youthful complexion. 

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Collagen is essential for health and wellbeing. A building block of our cells, loss of collagen is one of the main contributors to the aging process, affecting us from the skin down to the bone. No matter what your age, research suggests that taking a collagen supplement can help you to look and feel younger. Collagen supplementation may be just what you need to help support your cells, and give your body a renewed sense of youthfulness.

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