In addition to giving the skin toughness, elasticity and waterproofing functions, collagen is also an important component in ligaments, tendons and joints, and if it is lacking or undermanufactured, it will cause various functional degradation.
The body’s ability to produce collagen is affected by age and lifestyle, and when you get older or have poor lifestyle habits, the body’s collagen will gradually be lost, resulting in various external and internal changes.
What are the benefits of collagen in empirical medicine? Are there any side effects of collagen? See the latest analysis in the text for details.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in animals (formed from a variety of amino acids, and the word Collagen is derived from the Greek kólla, meaning glue). In humans, collagen accounts for one-third of the total protein content and three-quarters of the skin structure, and is the most important substance in the extracellular matrix and connective tissue (such as cartilage, hard bone, blood vessels, cornea).
There are about 16 different types of collagen in the body (but 80-90% are composed of types I, II and III) and form different structures, but all have the same purpose, which is to maintain tissue strength and withstand external stretching.Note 10
Is oral collagen really effective?
Is oral collagen really effective? It is an old topic that has been debated for decades, mainly because collagen, like meat food, is broken down into amino acids after entering the human body and then synthesized into proteins after being absorbed.
But don’t forget that despite the rapid development of technology, there are still many phenomena that cannot be fully explained by science, such as a news story that young children develop precocious puberty after eating excessive amounts of chicken testicles, chicken skin and other foods with doubtful hormonal residues. Note 1
It stands to reason that the hormones in these foods are also a kind of protein, and after entering the human body, they will also be metabolized into amino acids and then reconstituted into proteins, because there will be no hormonal effect, but in fact they have obvious effects.
Therefore, edible collagen products should still have a certain effectiveness, but consumers should choose products carefully before purchasing, and do not be overly fanatical, balanced nutrition, more exercise, eat less sweets, junk food and have a healthy mind is the only way to maintain youth.
What are the recommended proven benefits of collagen?
1. Slow down skin aging
The skin is the organ with the largest contact area between the human body and the external environment, and it is a barrier between the human body and the external environment. It protects the body from damage from the external environment and prevents the loss of body water.
Due to genes, cell metabolism, hormones, metabolism, light exposure, pollution, chemical toxins, ionizing radiation and other factors, the skin gradually shows signs of aging.
With the development of science and technology and the improvement of human living standards, people are paying more and more attention to skin aging and trying to better understand it.
A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (19 randomized, double-blind, and controlled trials of 1,125 participants aged 20 to 70 years) noted that hydrolyzed collagen supplementation helped improve skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkle status compared with placebo. Note 1
*Conclusion: Supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen may have a positive effect on slowing down skin aging, but due to the heterogeneity between samples, more studies are needed to further validate
2. Beneficial for burn wound healing
Burns remain one of the most common injuries in the world, with more than 100 million patients each year in the United States alone.
Burns occur when the skin is damaged by heat, radiation, electricity or chemicals. Serious complications of deep or extensive burns include sepsis due to bacterial infection, shock due to hypovolemia, or scar tissue constriction after improper wound healing.
Therefore, it is crucial that in addition to providing intravenous fluids and nutrients to counteract dehydration and replenish lost proteins, timely and appropriate methods are employed to prevent burns and save patients’ lives.
A randomized, double-blind trial (4-week, 31 men aged 18 to 60 years, 20% to 30% of patients with surface burns) noted that oral hydrolyzed collagen-based supplementation helped improve serum prealbumin, rate of wound healing, and length of hospital stay compared with placebo. Note 1
*Conclusion: For patients with 20% to 30% of burn areas, hydrolyzed collagen supplementation may help improve wound healing and reduce clinical hospital stay, but limited by small sample sizes, more studies are needed to support this
3. Good for osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a major health threat to the elderly, affecting tens of millions of people in the United States alone, spending more than tens of billions of dollars on related medical care, and by 2020, more than half of people over the age of 50 will be at risk of fractures.
Bone is an active and dynamic connective tissue composed mainly of organic matter proteins: type 1 collagen, fibronectin, bone adhesionin, osteocalin) and inorganic minerals (calcium and phosphorus).
Among them, type I collagen is an important extracellular interstitial structural protein in the process of bone formation, and also plays an important role in osteoblast differentiation.Note 3
In animal studies, it has been found that moderate intake of hydrolyzed collagen peptides can help increase bone mass and further enhance bone growth after exercise.Note 4
4. Improves cellulite
Cellulite is a local skin problem that fears women who love beauty, and 20% of women over the age of 85 have this problem, and it is common in the thighs, buttocks and abdomen.Note 5Mainly due to excessive adipose tissue swelling into the dermis, blood and lymph, which in turn interferes with or changes the extracellular matrix of the dermis, resulting in uneven skin like orange or cheese.
Cellulite often involves a variety of factors, including genetics, sex differences, age, ethnicity, diet, sedentary lifestyle, and pregnancy.
A double-blind controlled study (6 months, 105 women with moderate cellulite) found that in addition to reducing the severity of cellulite, collagen peptide intake also improved corrugated thigh skin, dermal density, and subcutaneous margin to varying degrees (compared to placebo).Note 6
Sarcopenia is a natural loss of skeletal muscle strength and strength associated with aging, which begins to occur as early as the age of 40, and after the age of 80, the whole body loses more than 50% of skeletal muscle.
Since muscles are important metabolic tissues throughout the body (50% of body mass), any significant change can have serious health effects, increasing insulin resistance, fatigue, falls and mortality.Note 8
A double-blind controlled study (12 weeks, 53 elderly men with sarcopenia) showed that taking collagen peptides in combination with resistance training further improved body composition, including increased muscle strength, fat-free mass, and reduced fat mass content (compared to training with placebo).Note 7
6. Good for osteoarthritis
Chronic osteoarthritis is a common disease in middle-aged and elderly people, the affected areas are the knees and buttocks are the most common, the occurrence of pain usually occurs after the weight bearing of the limbs (including walking and standing), and other symptoms include the affected part is stiff in the morning or difficult to start after a period of inactivity (commonly known as gelling).
It is estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States are affected by osteoarthritis, accounting for 25% of all primary care physician visits, and the total cost of medical care is $60 million.
A double-blind controlled study (13 weeks, 30 patients with knee osteoarthritis) found that collagen peptides (whether derived from pig skin or bovine bone) helped improve overall osteoarthritis symptoms and quality of life.Note 9
The mechanism behind it is thought to be related to collagen peptides regulating chondrocytes differentiation and stimulating proteoglycan synthesis, thereby activating cartilage tissue repair.
7. Diffuse Cutaneous Systemic Sclerosis
Systemic scleroderma is a relatively rare autoimmune disease with the main clinical symptoms including persistent microvascular constriction, finger swelling, skin tightness, finger twitching, polyarticular pain, and dysphagia.
According to the degree of skin fibrosis, it can be divided into limited type and diffuse type, diffuse skin thickening will appear in the upper arms, chest, abdomen or thighs, and internal organ damage is also more serious.
A double-blind controlled study found that oral administration of type 1 collagen did not significantly improve the assessment of skin aggression (MRSS) or other clinical measures compared with placebo.Note 9
However, in supplementary analysis, it was found that for patients with advanced diffuse cutaneous sclerosis, the MRSS score of the collagen group still decreased significantly, but more empirical confirmation is needed.
Are there any side effects of collagen?
In most cases, collagen products are well tolerated with no significant side effects. However, a small number of adverse effects have been reported, including mild diarrhea, rash, stomach heaviness, heartburn, tiredness, etc. (side effects may be related to the main component or other subsidiary components)
Precautions (2 contraindications to use)
- Do not use by pregnant women, lactating women, liver and kidney dysfunction (because the relevant safety is still unknown)
- Do not use if you have been allergic to eggs, meat and seafood (may induce allergic reactions)
When is the best time to take collagen?
The best time to take oral collagen is on an empty stomach, 1 to 2 hours after meals or before going to bed, in this state, the digestive system can specifically break down the proteins or amino acids in it, and the absorption rate will be higher.
However, for groups with weak or sensitive gastrointestinal function, drinking on an empty stomach may cause discomfort, so it can only be taken with meals to reduce the sense of irritation, so as not to cause symptoms such as excessive stomach acid or indigestion.
Generally, to experience the effect of supplementation, it is usually necessary to use it continuously for 2 to 4 months, and if there is no good change after eating for a period of time, it can be stopped.
What are the essential nutrients to help produce collagen?
Proline, Glycine, Glutamine, Arginine and Vitamin C are important precursors to the formation of collagen eggs, which can maintain the strength, elasticity and stability of the triple helix structure. Note 2
Therefore, it is best to pay attention to whether these ingredients are contained before buying related products, do not blindly follow exaggerated advertising words, but understand the effective ingredients to be guaranteed.
Foods rich in these nutrients include poultry meat, seafood, dairy products, beans, tofu, vegetables and fruits
Where can I buy the highest quality Collagen that is recommended by most people?
NeoCell, Super Collagen + C, Collagen Type 1 & 3, 360 Tablets
(Direct shipping from the United States / Worldwide delivery)
NeoCell is currently the world's largest manufacturer of hydrolyzed collagen, and its products have long been the top sales in the United States and Canada
Using exclusive hydrolysis technology (enzymatically hydrolyzed), collagen is further broken down into easily absorbed small molecule collagen peptides, and additional vitamin C is added to improve the efficiency of synthesis, which is an essential health supplement for everyone to use, and long-term use does not hurt the wallet