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Health & Nutrition
Dimitar Marinov
Senior Product Researcher MD, PhD, Assistant Professor

Top Health Benefits Of Collagen

Collagen is a crucial protein that supports skin, hair, joints, and bone health, but its production decreases with age. This decline can result in symptoms such as wrinkles, brittle nails, thinning hair, creaky joints, and weak bones. Consuming collagen directly from food sources can be challenging, hence the potential benefit of supplements. Collagen supplements, particularly hydrolyzed collagen peptides, can provide the body with the necessary building blocks for collagen synthesis.



As you age, the ability of your body to produce collagen declines. This collagen loss can result in wrinkles, thinning hair, creaky joints, brittle nails, and weak bones. 

That’s why it is important to supply your body with more of this vital protein, especially if you are past your 40s or 50s.

But here is one problem - getting enough collagen from your food would require you to eat a ton of animal skin, cartilage, and tendons.

I don’t know about you, but for me, just the thought of it makes me gag. Yuck!

Thankfully I have a solution for you - collagen complex supplementation! Adding a collagen supplement to your diet will not only make it easier to supply your body with the building blocks it needs, but you will also absorb them better in the form of hydrolyzed collagen peptides.

Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about the fantastic benefits of this anti-aging supplement.




Why do our bodies need collagen?


Collagen is the main protein that makes up your connective tissues. As you can guess from the name, those are the tissues that connect everything in your body, such as your joints, ligaments, and the submucosal lining of all your organs.

Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that hold your joints together and keep them in position. 

The submucosa is the layer between the mucosal membranes and muscles in your organs, such as the stomach and intestines. Its primary function is to support the structure of your gastrointestinal tract as well as other organs.

Connective tissue is also the building block for the structure of your skin, muscles, blood vessels, and bones. 

Like other proteins, collagen is made up of amino acids. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human organism, and your body needs it to build most of its structures. 

That’s why your body can produce collagen on its own as long as you are consuming enough protein and essential amino acids in your diet.

Yet, consuming collagen in addition to essential amino acids from other proteins carries extra health benefits. 

That’s because your body breaks down collagen into smaller chains of amino acids. Each chain is called a peptide, and together, they can be easily used to produce new collagen.

The process of breaking down collagen into peptides is called hydrolyzation. For example, you can break down collagen by boiling it, which leads to the production of collagen hydrolysate called gelatin.

However, consuming gelatin is not a reliable way to get your collagen peptides. There is no guarantee on the type of collagen used for its production. 

Besides, gelatin may contain peptides with various amino acid structures and sizes, making them less absorbable.




Not all collagen is created equal!


There are at least 28 different types of collagen found in animal life on earth (1). Scientists distinguish them by their amino-acid structure and name them using Roman numerals such as I, II, V, X, etc.

80-90% of all collagen in the human body is made of types I, II, and III. Usually, different connective tissues are made of different kinds of collagen rather than one type.

Type I and type III collagen are found in almost all connective tissues in the human body. Together they play a crucial role in the structure of your skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and the submucosa of your gastrointestinal tract.

Type I collagen is also the most researched type of connective tissue, as many medical conditions affect its formation and function. For example, problems in its structure can lead to overly flexible joints and stretchy skin.

On the other hand, type II collagen can be found inside the joints, as it is the main structural component of cartilage. Conditions affecting the integrity of this type of collagen can lead to joint pain and problems such as osteoarthritis.

Other types of collagen are also found throughout your body, including in the brain, eyes, kidneys, and even the placenta of pregnant women.



Which types of collagen can be used as dietary supplements?


If you eat fish or meat, then it’s likely that you have already consumed most types of collagen with your diet. Therefore, taking supplements containing collagen won’t be something new to your body.

Yet, supplementation will allow you to consume sufficient amounts of collagen much more easily. Since your body is mainly made of the first 3 types of collagen, that’s why most supplements contain either type I, type II, type III, or a combination of them.

Type I and type III collagen is usually extracted from beef and therefore labeled as “bovine-derived.” Type II collagen in supplements is generally chicken-derived.

Type I is also abundant in fish and other seafood, making it an excellent source for dietary supplements.  Yet, make sure to avoid “marine collagen” if you have seafood allergies.

In addition, there are two main types of collagen supplements depending on whether the product contains undenatured or hydrolyzed collagen.

Hydrolyzed collagen is also known as collagen peptides. In collagen hydrolysate, the large protein molecule is broken down into smaller amino acid chains called peptides. 

When taken with the food, your body can use them as building blocks for collagen structures. On the other hand, undenatured collagen means that you are consuming the whole molecule. Both forms are available as oral collagen capsules.




Do collagen supplements actually work?


Studies show that both collagen peptides and undenatured collagen can be effective as supplements for several conditions.

For example, type 2 collagen hydrolysate (peptides) has been shown to help patients with osteoarthritis. The study included 250 patients who took 10 grams of collagen peptides once daily or a placebo (2). 

In 6 months, the participants experienced significant pain reduction and improved comfort compared to the placebo group.

When taken in doses of around 10g a day, collagen peptides can also benefit skin health by increasing type I, type III collagen, and hyaluronic acid synthesis.

Boosting collagen and hyaluronic acid production is shown to increase skin hydration and elasticity (3).

Furthermore, undenatured collagen improves joint health, especially in patients with an autoimmune component to their arthritis. 

For example, daily doses as low as 40 mg of undenatured type 2 collagen were sufficient to improve knee joint pain, function, and comfort in 28 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (4).

Previous studies also confirm that at least 3 months of supplementation can significantly reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (5).

Yet, scientists warn that it is essential to continue your standard medical therapy alongside any supplement you may be taking to minimize the risk for disease progression. 




Can collagen slow the effects of aging?


Collagen supplements are not a miracle that reverses aging, but supplementation may help slow down or even reverse some of the adverse effects aging has on your skin and joints.

That’s because collagen is vital for your skin elasticity and texture. However, aging reduces collagen production speed, which leads to visible signs of aging such as drier skin, reduced elasticity, and wrinkles.

Supplementation with type I collagen, the most abundant type of collagen in your skin, may help slow down the process and reduce wrinkles.

According to one study in 64 women receiving either collagen peptides or a placebo, the supplement significantly improved their skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkling after 12 weeks of daily use (6).

Another randomized controlled trial reports similar results in females after 8 weeks of supplementation with 2.5 grams of collagen peptides daily (7). 

The scientists also reveal that the supplement increased collagen and elastin formation in the dermal matrix, which is likely the underlying cause of the benefits.

To build collagen on its own, your body also needs vitamin C, which is the primary antioxidant in your skin. Without vitamin C, collagen cannot form properly, and this leads to a condition known as scurvy.

Besides, smoking and UV light exposure depletes the levels of vitamin C in the skin, damages collagen, and speeds up skin aging.




Top Benefits of Taking a Collagen Supplement


The top benefits of taking collagen capsules include improved skin and joint health. 

Besides, scientists have also investigated the effects of collagen benefits on immunity, intestinal health, and even brain function, and the results seem promising.



Collagen Improves Skin Elasticity, Integrity, Hydration, and Healing


Collagen peptides can stimulate the production of hyaluronic acids in the skin and thus increase its hydration. What is more, scientists have revealed that supplementation can stimulate the production of stronger collagen fibers (8). 

The combination of these two factors increases the strength of your skin and supports its function as a protective barrier.

Furthermore, the peptides can stimulate the growth and migration of fibroblasts (9). Those are progenitor cells that play a crucial role in skin healing and repair after any damage.

Thus, collagen peptide supplementation offers several benefits to improve skin health, including anti-aging, improved resistance, and better skin healing.



Healthier Joints and Bones


Animal studies have shown that the primary mechanism via which type II collagen can improve function and reduce joint pain is by attenuating cartilage breakdown (10).

In addition, scientists also report that collagen peptides can stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid inside the joint (11). It is a part of the fluid that reduces friction and helps lubricate and cushion your joints.

As you age, bone health can begin to deteriorate since your bones also lose some of their collagen content which is part of a process known as osteoporosis. One of the hallmarks of the condition is low bone mineral density.

According to clinical research, supplementation with collagen peptides may slow down or even reverse the process of bone loss and lead to a 7% increase in bone mineral density (12).



Reduced Autoimmune Joint Inflammation


Currently, the available scientific evidence is compelling that undenatured type II collagen may help reduce inflammation and improve joint function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Although your body may still break it down and use the peptides as building blocks, the immune cells in your intestines (called dendritic cells) will be directly exposed to the collagen molecules (13).

This helps induce immunological tolerance towards the protein structure of collagen and reduces the body’s immune response against its cartilage structures (14).



Possible Benefits for Intestinal Inflammation


Although collagen type I and type III are abundant in the gastrointestinal system, especially in the intestines, and many practitioners may recommend taking collagen supplements to support leaky gut, their effect on digestive health hasn’t been extensively researched.

New preliminary research suggests that fish-derived collagen peptides could modulate and reduce the autoinflammatory response in an animal model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (15).

IBD is a group of debilitating autoimmune conditions in humans, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.



Possible Benefits for Neurogenesis


Collagen peptides given to mice increased the formation rate of new neurons in their brains compared to placebo (16). This led to changes in the mental functioning of the tested animals, such as reduced anxiety-related behavior.

These benefits for brain function and neurogenesis may occur due to the ability of certain collagen peptides to mimic the role of the neurotrophic factors in the brain, which are responsible for nerve cell survival (17).




Which are the Best Collagen Peptides on the Market?


Since all collagen supplements (collagen powders or capsules) are made from animal products, it’s important to always select options derived from sustainable sources.

Collagen that is sourced from grass-fed, free-living animals significantly reduces the negative impact on the environment. 

The animals are not confined to small spaces and inhumane living conditions, so there is a much lower risk of infections. This means healthier animals and reduced use of antibiotics.

One of the best collagen products on the market, produced in the US from grass-fed, free-living animals, is Renew Multi Collagen Complex by Nutririse.

The product is manufactured in a cGMP-certified facility in the US which guarantees the quality of the product. The supplement has no binders, fillers, preservatives, or sugar!

What is more, every batch undergoes 4 stages of testing, and the last stage is performed by a licensed and independent third-party organization which ensures the purity of the product.

Our Renew capsules feature multi collagen peptides including types I, II, III, V, and X forms of collagen, to ensure you get to reach your wellness goals and experience all the incredible effects of collagen. Feel free to take collagen peptides capsules any time throughout your day, but they work best when taken with a meal.



Note: This article is for informational purposes only, and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your health care provider before taking collagen supplements or starting any other dietary supplement.



Dimitar Marinov
Senior Product Researcher MD, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dr. Marinov is a licenced physician and scientist with years of experience in clinical and preventive medicine, medical research, nutrition and dietetics. His research is focused primarily on nutrition and physical activity as preventive measures to improve and preserve human health. He is passionate about creating evidence-based content about various medical topics and takes great care in referencing every statement with high-quality evidence.
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