Looking for a supplement to support your muscles while working out, to support healthy aging, and help prevent joint pain? Collagen may just be the answer! Collagen is the most abundant protein in humans. There are twenty-eight types of collagen, but type I makes up over 90% of the collagen in the body. This remarkable protein provides the structure for your bones, arteries, heart, and other organs. Collagen can be produced from animal, plant, or even yeast and bacteria sources.
Collagen has been linked to improving skin health and reducing skin aging. Studies have shown it can help improve skin hydration, roughness, elasticity, and density; though, many of these studies combine collagen with vitamin C, vitamin E, or other skin-enriching plants. It also is promising to help improve bone health in people with osteoporosis and muscle wasting. Research has also studied collagen application in dentistry to help heal after tooth extractions and to help heal wounds on the skin. It may also be useful for arthritis though research is ongoing.
Collagen can be taken internally as a supplement or applied externally through various creams. Food sources include tough meats full of connective tissue like pot roast, brisket, or chuck roast, bone broths, and gelatin products. Having adequate amino acids in your diet as well as zinc and vitamin C can support your own body’s production of collagen.
Collagen is generally well-tolerated depending on the source. If you have a shellfish allergy, be sure to contact the collagen manufacturer directly to make sure there is no shellfish in their supplement. Additionally, those with vaccine sensitivities due to collagen ingredients or allergies to collagen should consult with their doctor before adding collagen to their health regimen. Additionally, bovine and porcine sources of collagen may contain diseases, so caution should be exercised. Be sure to buy your collagen from reputable supplement companies to avoid accidental exposure. Consulting with your natural health professional can help you decide if collagen supplementation is a good option for you.
Bolke, Liane et al. 2019. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study.” Nutrients; 11(10): 2494. doi:10.3390/nu11102494
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