After hearing it from your friends or people at the beauty parlor, you probably think that “collagen protein”— or simply “collagen”— has become quite a fad for health and beauty buffs. Believe it or not, this hype is actually supported by science.
This new buzzword that has gotten people talking over the years can be found in many beauty and health products today. From facial creams to collagen protein supplements, this product has become quite popular among people who want to stay fit and young.
Read on to learn more about what makes this wonder protein so special and how it works its wonders on the human body.
What is Collagen Protein?
Collagen serves as a glue that keeps the human body in one piece. It is a protein that acts as a building block for connective tissues in the tendons, ligaments, cartilages, and practically almost every part of your body, including the skin.
It supports joint flexibility and strength, prevents bone damage, and promotes hydration and elasticity of the skin — which means it also plays a role in how young you look, regardless of age.
Considering everything that it does, it is important that the body has a steady supply of collagen.
How Does It Work?
The human body is comprised of different types of cells that work together to keep you in tip-top shape. One type of cell, called fibroblast, is responsible for producing collagen from amino acids that you get from the food you eat.
Collagen, which is considered the most abundant type of protein in the human body, is made from three kinds of amino acids: proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. Once these amino acids are processed by the fibroblasts, your teeth, tendons, cartilages, ligaments, skin, bones, and muscles are ensured a steady supply of this important building block.
There are about 28 variations of this protein, but only three are most dominant. Types 1, 2, and 3 collagens have different responsibilities, as follows:
- Type 1
As the most prevalent type of collagen in the human body, this variant of the protein is responsible for keeping the main structure of the skin, bones, organs, and tendons healthy.
- Type 2
Unlike the well-rounded type 1 collagen, this building block is more specialized to the keeping your cartilage healthy. This means that it is the type of collagen that can help keep your joints strong and flexible.
- Type 3
Type 3 collagen mostly serves as a support for type 1 and is often found in the bone marrow and other parts of the body composed of reticular fibers.
An Introduction to Collagen Protein Supplements
After understanding what collagen is and how it works, you might be asking yourself if there is still a need to take supplements. After all, collagen protein is already produced by the human body.
While this query sounds reasonable, what you need to think about is that, like other nutrients, it can be difficult to derive enough of this building block from your average Go-Grow-Glow food groups diet to supply your body’s needs (unless your daily meals include loads of organ meat and bone broth, that is).
You see, the collagen production process slows down over time. This is why, as you age, fine lines and wrinkles appear. The reduced production of collagen even worsens if you have an unhealthy lifestyle with smoking and poor eating habits. Too much exposure to the sun can also deplete your collagen supply and leave you experiencing symptoms linked to old age, like joint pain and sagging skin.
If you consider all these, it would be better (and easier) to take collagen protein supplements. These products come in different forms which are manufactured in a way that best supports optimal consumption and absorption.
Collagen protein powder supplement, for example, can be easily added to various types of foods and beverages like cookies, smoothies, and baked goodies. These products provide the amino acids necessary to produce collagen because they are manufactured through a process called hydrolysis.
Also called “collagen peptides,” hydrolyzed collagen comes in a light and smooth powder form that can easily be broken down for quicker and easier digestion and nutrient absorption. This also means that the protein can be made bioavailable, which basically translates to “can be used by your body.”
Collagen’s 5 Most Promising Benefits
There are five major health benefits that an ample supply of collagen can offer the human body:
- A healthier digestive tract
Collagen can strengthen the connective tissues along the digestive tract. An ample supply of this protein can help prevent leaky gut syndrome, a condition wherein particles are passed into the bloodstream and results in inflammation.
- Joint pain relief
Joint pain, while typically attributed to age, can be prevented through supplementing your collagen supply. Since it is responsible for keeping connecting tissues like cartilages in good shape, it can help you remain flexible while avoiding excruciating (and often debilitating) joint pain.
- Skin aging prevention and reversal
Signs of human skin aging include sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles, all of which can be avoided if you have a sufficient supply of collagen protein. This is because the skin, particularly the middle layer that provides the skin its plump and full appearance called the “dermis,” is composed of about 75 to 80 percent collagen, according to dermatologist and “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist” author Dr. Debra Jaliman.
- Fat-burning and muscle-building action
Collagen protein supplements are also popular among bodybuilders because of its fat-burning action and support for muscle-building. This is a fact supported by a 2015 study involving older men with sarcopenia, a condition involving loss of muscle mass as the patient grows older.
Glycine, one of the amino acids that produce collagen, plays an important part in the production of creatine which provides energy and power during workouts.
- Cellulite reduction
Cellulite is a layer of fat that appear like lumps under the skin and is something that can be improved with the help of collagen. Based on another 2015 study, women who took collagen peptides (Type 1) reported better skin texture and reduced cellulite appearance.
Even so, it is important to note that the appearance of cellulites, especially among women, is quite normal and cannot be considered a major cause of concern.
For a Healthier, More Youthful You
Your health is very important, so make sure to consider all available options that can help you maintain it. While it may seem like a mere fad at first, taking collagen protein supplements may just be your best bet in keeping yourself young inside and out.
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.