Those of us who are conscious about our health and overall wellbeing have indulged in a number of medical supplements to keep our body healthy and maintained. These supplements can either be a compound mix of different essential vitamins and protein or they could entirely be a single substance that is essential to promote good health. One of such substances is Collagen which is a highly beneficial and popularly consumed supplement in the market.
There are speculations as to whether these supplements are as effective as the manufacturers and health specialists claim they are or is it all just a hoax? To develop a better understanding of the subject, we will first have a look at what we are dealing with here, i.e. Collagen.
What Exactly is Collagen
Collagen is one of the main and most abundant proteins in the human body. It is an essential building component of skin, nails, ligaments, tendons, and other types of connective tissues. Collagen is also found in bones and is responsible for keeping them healthy and strong. There are have been able to identify almost 28 types of collagen in the human body, out of which type 1, 2, and 3 are found in most abundance (almost 80-90% of total collagen in the human body).
Each of these types serves a vital function in the maintenance of different parts of the body. Type 1 and 3 are responsible for healthy skin and strong bones. Type 2 is mainly found in the joints and helps in keeping them healthy and prevents them from getting stiff.
Functions of Collagen:
Collagen is produced by our body naturally but the use of Collagen supplements adds up to the performance. Natural collagen accompanied by supplements serves a variety of purposes which include:
· Maintains healthy skin and prevents it from ageing or showing signs of ageing.
· Improves the elasticity of the skin.
· Keeps the joints healthy and prevents them from turning stiff.
· Collagen supplements are used by bodybuilders to gain muscle mass.
· Collagen supplements are used to burn fat and help in weight loss.
Does it Work?
Main sources for obtaining collagen for supplements include fishes, cows, and pigs. Depending upon the type of supplement, it may contain either of types 1, 2, 3 collagen or a mixture of any/all in any ratio.
Hydrolyzed Collagen is absorbed most rapidly by the body. But the process for the absorption by the body is the same for each type. It is broken down by the digestive system into amino acids and absorbed afterwards for the type of function body needs.
Studies have suggested that the use of collagen supplements can result in the reduction of ageing process and joint pain. Another study claimed that use of collagen supplements which majorly constitute of types 1 and 3 can provide strength and integrity to skin and muscles. Multiple studieshave shown that regular intake of collagen supplements (types 1 and 3) can help in reduction of wrinkles while increasing skin elasticity and helping it stay hydrated for longer.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that shows up with age and causes problems in the cushioning present in between the joints. Main constituent of this cushioning is type 2 collagen, thus consumption of collagen supplements rich in type 2 collagen can help in the reduction of inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the joints of hands, hips and knees. Studies have indicated that intake of supplements rich in type 2 collagen can help in alleviating symptoms of Osteoarthritis.
Since bones are mainly made of type 1 collagen, regular intake can help in keeping them stronger for a long time and prevent them from getting brittle or fracturing. Studies have shown that regular intake of type 1 collagen supplements can increase bone density and help in keeping the bones strong for long.
Studies have been conducted to see whether consumption of type 1 collagen combined with physical workout can help in increase in the muscle mass. The results indicate that the above-mentioned combination in fact resulted in increase of muscle mass of subjects involved in the study.
Along with having proven benefits for hair, nails, weight loss, and production of cellulite, collagen supplements are supported by a variety of scientific and medical studies that testify for the benefits of collagen for human body and how regular consumption can aid in maintaining good health for a longer duration of time.