Susie Bond, Special to FLORIDA TODAY Published 6:15 a.m. ET June 1, 2021 | Updated 9:30 a.m. ET June 1, 2021
Collagen is rapidly becoming one of the most popular supplements on the market today.
This is due to the many benefits associated with it, such as improvement in skin, hair, nails, joints and bones.
There are claims that it may help build muscle mass, facilitate wound healing, strengthen the immune system, support the heartand improve gut health.
That seems like a lot of hype for just one supplement. But theres a reason why this may be true.
Susie Bond(Photo: FLORIDA TODAY FILE)
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It provides structure to cartilage, tendons, skin, boneand muscle.
Our body produces its own collagen, but around the age of 30 that begins to decrease.
Supplementation can help boost the collagen in our body and improve many age-related symptoms such as joint pain, muscle weakness, thinning hair and aging skin.
Numerous studies have examined these claims. Some look very promising, while others are ahead of the science.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It provides structure to cartilage, tendons, skin, boneand muscle. Our body produces its own collagen, but around the age of 30 that begins to decrease.(Photo: Ridofranz / Getty Images)
As we age our skin begins to lose elasticity, fine lines developand we start to develop signs of aging.
Studies are promising for the use of oral collagen supplements in improving skin elasticity, hydration and wound healing. Additionally, it has been shown to increase nail and hair strength, resulting in better growth.
Collagen is integral to the structure of cartilage and bones.
As we age and the collagen in our cartilage decreases, we are at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Some studies have shown that collagen supplements can significantly reduce joint pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Collagen also has been found to increase bone mineral density in studies comparing collagen to a placebo.
Studies have shown that collagen can promote the synthesis of muscle proteins in those with age-related loss of muscle.
Greater muscle mass and strength were seen in elderly men who took collagen supplements compared to placebo.
Collagen supplements are touted for possible benefits to the immune system, heart health, gut function, brain health and weight loss.
The jury is still out on these claims. These have not been studied enough to know whether collagen supplements are truly beneficial.
More: Nutrition for Today: Eggs are back on the 'good' list
More: Nutrition for Today: The good (and bad) of caffeine
More: Nutrition for Today: Love pasta but want alternatives? Plenty exist
Supplements are available in tablets, capsules and powder in the form of hydrolyzed protein.
Hydrolysis is a process that breaks down the protein into individual amino acids so theyre easier for your body to absorb.
Most research indicates hydrolyzed protein powder is more readily absorbed and more effective than that in tablets and capsules.
The powder dissolves easily into liquids, and mixes well with coffee, tea or smoothies. Most collagen is tasteless and odorless.
The most potent and effective type is bovine collagen. Some supplements are derived from marine animals, but these are not as easy for the body to absorb.
There are nine essential amino acids the human body requires. Therefore youll want to look for a supplement that contains all nine essential amino acids in its profile and is made up of at least 90% protein.
This information is included on the product label.
Most research indicates a daily dosage of 10 grams is effective.
Skin typically shows improvement in 8-12 weeks of use.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis usually decrease after three months of regular usage.
Bone broth is a natural food source of collagen.
Amounts vary, but 8 ounces typically contain 6 to 8 grams of collagen.
Some people who take collagen supplements may develop diarrhea, a feeling of heaviness in the stomachor skin rashes.
These side effects are rare and very mild; therefore, supplements are considered generally safe for most people.
Susie Bond is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in private practice. Contact her at NutritionistOnCall@gmail.com