Collagen & Hair Growth: Is There A Connection?
Collagen, collagen and more collagen! Everywhere you turn in the health and beauty industry you are sure to find collagen. This is because collagen plays a huge role in both health and beauty and is considered the best anti-aging defense available. Although combating aging is indeed a role collagen plays very well, it is so much more than that! For example: does collagen help hair grow? You bet it does!
Read on to discover the many benefits of collagen when it comes to hair so you can keep your hair always looking its best.
What is Collagen & Why is it Important?
To understand the answer to the question “does collagen help your hair grow?” one first needs to know what collagen is and its importance.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen, an essential protein that’s found in our connective tissues, skin, tendons, ligaments, joints, muscles, organs and even our blood. Collagen plays a vital role in the body’s functionality as well as its overall health.
We need collagen for structural support, elasticity, strength, flexibility and hydration. We simply can’t live without it. As we age, collagen synthesis begins to decline. When the signs of this become visible, wrinkles, dry skin or joint stiffness, people turn to collagen supplementation to help keep their collagen levels where they need to be for optimum health.
Most people understand that collagen is good for the skin but how does collagen help hair grow? Is there a connection between collagen and hair growth? Let’s explore what the experts have to say.
Provides Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and they play a vital role in many biological processes. For example, they help to form new tissues, repair damaged cells, and support immune function.
Collagen is a type of protein that contains a high concentration of amino acids, and it is a major component of the skin and connective tissues. When it comes to hair growth, amino acids, provided by collagen are essential for maintaining healthy hair follicles.
The cells that make up the follicles rely on amino acids for cell growth and regeneration. Amino acids help to keep the scalp hydrated and nourished, which is important for preventing hair loss.
Fights Damage to Hair Follicles
The hair follicle is partially made up of collagen, which helps to give hair its strength and elasticity. Without adequate collagen, hair follicles can become damaged, leading to thinning hair and eventual hair loss.
Collagen helps fight off free radicals that tend to damage hair follicles. On top of this, it helps to keep the hair follicles hydrated which is important. Dry follicles are more susceptible to damage.
May Prevent Hair Thinning
Does collagen prevent hair thinning? Although it is probably more indirect than directly, collagen does prevent hair thinning. Collagen is needed for healthy hair. Healthy hair is less susceptible to dryness and breaking and is on the whole much more full of elasticity and strength.
These factors along with the fact that collagen and its amino acids stimulate new hair growth means that your healthy locks should be fuller and not thinning.
May Help Slow Graying
Does collagen help slow down the process of graying hair? As we age, our hair loses its natural pigmentation. Our overall health impacts this process.
Collagen affects our health so it stands to reason that keeping our collagen levels elevated keeps us healthier and our hair healthier which ultimately results in slowing down the graying.
When Does Collagen Production Begin to Slow?
There is no definite answer as to when our collagen production begins to decline. Studies show that it can be as early as our 20’s and into our 30’s.
Why such differing ages? Many things factor into the slowing down of collagen synthesis such as:
- general health
- sleep patterns
- environmental stressors
We need collagen to be healthy but we need to be healthy to produce collagen.
Can You Increase Collagen Production Naturally?
A question you may be asking: “Is it possible to increase collagen production naturally?” It sure is. Things like getting enough sleep, plenty of exercise, making lifestyle changes if necessary and of course what you eat, all play a part in our bodies functioning at their best including collagen production.
A healthy diet is a major component of natural collagen production. That brings us to the question: “Are there specific foods that can increase collagen naturally?” Yes, there is such a thing as collagen-enhancing foods.
When it comes to foods being labeled as collagen-enhancing or collagen-rich, it’s all about the nutrients: collagen, protein, vitamins and minerals. All known to promote collagen production, such as vitamin C, amino acids, copper, and zinc. Foods that are high in these nutrients are often touted as being ‘collagen-enhancing.’ Here are some examples of collagen-generating foods to consider adding to your diet.
Although it contains many nutrients and minerals, bone broth is known for its key ingredient, collagen. The collagen found in bone broth is full of amino acids which are essential for collagen production.
Interestingly enough, there are two types of collagen supplements: Bovine and Marine. All fish contain collagen making it an excellent dietary source for boosting our collagen levels.
It’s worth noting that oily fish tend to be the best source of collagen, since they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential for the formation of new collagen fibers.
Being rich in vitamins A & C which help to boost collagen synthesis, leafy greens are considered to be on the list of collagen-enhancing foods.
These greens contain phytochemicals that help to protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Keeping the damage of free radicals under control is found to actually stimulate collagen production.
Everyone knows citrus fruits are full of vitamin C which our bodies need for making collagen but this is not the only reason citrus fruits are classified as collagen-enhancing foods.
Full of antioxidants, bioflavonoids to be more specific which protect us from free radicals is another reason to label citrus fruits as collagen-enhancing but it doesn’t stop there.
Pectin, yes that is correct. The pectin found in citrus fruits helps to build the collagen fibers that our bodies need for structure and elasticity. There are so many health benefits to adding citrus fruits to your diet.
Is diet alone enough for boosting our collagen levels? In an ideal lifestyle perhaps but honestly, how many of us actually live an ideal healthy lifestyle complete with a balanced diet?
Don’t despair. There are many excellent collagen supplements available that will ensure that your collagen supplementation will provide all that your body needs to keep your collagen levels topped up.
Collagen supplements come in three forms: powders, capsules and liquid.
Definitely the most popular form of collagen supplement is powder. Powder is easy to adjust the dosage, allowing for lower dosage to start and gradual increase, giving your body time to adjust.
Collagen powder is made from hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are easily absorbed by the body. Just mix the powder into your favorite drink, smoothie, soup or yogurt and you’ll be getting a healthy dose of this important protein. An easy and convenient way to support your joints, skin health, and give your hair and nails a boost.
Capsules are an easy and convenient way to take collagen. They are easily absorbed by the body and may be less likely to cause gastrointestinal issues than other forms of collagen supplementation.
Capsules do tend to be a much higher concentration of collagen so experts believe that taking collagen in capsule form may result in quicker results.
Liquid collagen supplements can help to offset the natural decline by providing the body with easily absorbed collagen peptides.
Unlike powder and capsule forms which are flavorless, liquid collagen is available in a variety of flavors, so you can easily find one that you enjoy taking. Because they’re easy to take with you on the go, they’re a convenient way to make sure you’re getting the collagen you need to stay healthy and strong.
Do Collagen Supplements Really Work?
Although results of collagen supplementation vary from one individual to another, experts believe that every person who takes collagen supplements regardless of the form will indeed see health benefits.
Healthier people may see results faster than those who have compromised health for obvious reasons.
Are you taking supplements to combat skin aging or are you taking them to deal with joint issues? We ask this because the reason you have decided to add collagen supplements to your daily routine may have bearing on the desired effect and how long before results would be noticed.
Collagen supplements do work but you may need to be patient and even increase the dosage to see the results that you are looking for.
Potential Side Effects of Collagen Supplements
One of the first questions that is usually asked when considering taking anything is: “Are there potential side effects?”
Generally speaking, collagen supplements are quite safe for everyone. That being said, should you be allergic to fish or shellfish, you may want to avoid any Marine based supplements.
Experts recommend beginning with a lower dose of collagen and gradually increasing if needed. This is because too much collagen could cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas or even diarrhea.
More Health Benefits of Collagen Supplementation
Now that you know a little bit more about collagen, that there is a connection between collagen and hair growth and overall having healthy hair, perhaps you find yourself wondering if there are more health benefits of collagen supplementation?
Our bodies need collagen, that has been established. So, adding collagen supplements as our collagen synthesis declines must have health benefits. Want to find out what some of the other health benefits to collagen supplementation are? Let’s continue.
Collagen supplementation has been shown to improve skin elasticity. Elastin and collagen are two major proteins in the skin that give it its structure. They work together to keep the skin looking firm and plump.
As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen, which can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin. Taking a collagen supplement helps to increase the amount of collagen in the skin, resulting in firmer, smoother skin reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
By adding collagen supplements to your wellness routine, you can help to keep your skin looking younger and more elastic.
Preventing Brittle Nails
Much like our hair our nails require collagen and its accompanying amino acids to remain hydrated, strong and healthy.
Collagen supplements can help to prevent brittle nails by providing the body with the building blocks it needs to produce more collagen. More collagen equals improved nail health by providing necessary nutrients and moisture.
Strong Muscles & Joints
Numerous studies have shown that collagen supplementation can lead to significant improvements in muscle mass and joint function.
In one study, elderly participants who took a daily collagen supplement for 12 weeks experienced a marked increase in their muscle strength and joint flexibility.
Other studies have shown similar results, indicating that collagen supplementation is an effective way to keep your muscles and joints strong as you age. The reason for this is that collagen is a structural protein giving strength and elasticity to muscles and joints.
Improved Gut Health
Collagen plays a huge role in the health of our gut. By supplementing with collagen, you can help improve gut barrier function, reduce inflammation, and promote the growth of healthy bacteria.
The gut microbiome plays a major role in everything from immunity to mental health so, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to collagen supplements to improve their gut health.
The Bottom Line
So, now you know there is a definite connection between collagen & hair growth and a whole lot more about collagen and its many health benefits. We couldn’t possibly cover everything there is to know about collagen in this one article so be sure to check out our Health BLOG and collagen product page where you will find everything you need to look and feel your best no matter what your age!