Is Collagen Good For Bones? What The Pros Have To Say!
Collagen is a popular supplement. It can make people look younger and enable us to run farther. So, is collagen good for bones?
Well, collagen can hydrate your skin, lubricate your joints, and relieve arthritis pain. You can supplement with powders, capsules, gummies, and liquids.
Collagen powders can be added to beverages or taken orally. It’s one of the most effortless supplements to take, with a whole host of benefits.
But do the reports live up to their hype? Is collagen the proverbial fountain of youth? And is collagen good for bones, among the many other benefits it seems to boast?
It helps to understand how collagen is formed in the body and what functions it supports. Then you can decide whether changing your diet or adding supplements is right for you.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It is the building block of your cells and tissues.
Collagen makes up one-third of your body’s protein and nearly three-quarters of your skin composition. Your joints, connective tissue, skin, hair, nails, gut lining, and arterial walls are all made of collagen.
Collagen is made up of amino acids called proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. It is produced naturally in your body by combining these three amino acids.
For your body to produce collagen, it needs building blocks. These can come from the foods you eat. For example:
- Proline comes from egg whites, dairy, cabbage, mushrooms, and asparagus.
- Glycine is found in protein-rich foods such as pork or chicken skin and gelatin.
- Hydroxyproline is found in meats, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, alfalfa sprouts, and carob seeds.
These foods help the body synthesize these amino acids:
- Vitamin C comes from citrus fruits and bell peppers.
- Zinc comes from beef, lamb, pork, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, beans, cheese, nuts, and seeds.
- Copper comes from organ meats, cocoa powder, cashews, sesame seeds, and lentils.
A lack of any of these nutrients impedes the production of collagen. Choose organic, locally sourced items whenever possible. Grass-fed and wild-raised fish have countless other health benefits besides excellent collagen.
Collagen is produced naturally in your body, but as we grow older, production slows. Fibroblasts are connective tissue cells that produce and maintain collagen. Aging causes collagen to become fragmented, and fibroblast production becomes impaired.
Collagen supplementation has become popular for its many effects. It’s added to cosmetics for moisturizing the skin and treating wrinkles. It’s used to treat wounds, burns, and diabetic ulcers.
Furthermore, it’s used as a supplement to your diet for joint pain. It helps with communication between your cells, tissue repair, and a faster immune response.
These supplements are available in powder, capsule, gummy, and liquid forms. Supplements can be added to beverages, yogurt, energy balls, or pretty much anything!
What Causes Collagen Loss?
Collagen in our body diminishes as we age. Not only does our collagen break down, but our production also decreases. This leads to the classic signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin, and a reduction in bone strength.
Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, too much exposure to the sun, and poor diet can accelerate this process. Smoking degrades collagen. Drinking reduces collagen production.
Diets high in sugar and processed foods can block collagen’s interaction with cells and proteins. Excess sun exposure degrades collagen production.
Are There Benefits to Taking Collagen Supplements?
It would be great if we could get all of our nutrients from the foods we eat, but the fact is that even with the best diets, we are probably going to miss something.
Taking collagen supplements has many benefits. It can improve your hair, nails, gut, and brain health and contribute to weight loss.
Here are some specific conditions that are helped with collagen supplements. This is not an exhaustive list, as each of the benefits can lead to others in our bodies:
Improve Skin Health
Collagen supplements can improve skin hydration and elasticity. This is why many wrinkle creams have it on their ingredients list.
Companies use a special process called hydrolysis during manufacturing. It breaks its own protein into pieces that the body can absorb.
Collagen treatments for wrinkles take at least eight weeks to produce potential results. Collagen can also increase your hair’s thickness and result in healthier nails.
Prevent Bone Loss
As we age and natural collagen production decreases, it can be helpful to supplement with collagen.
Studies show that long-term use can raise bone mineral density (BMD). These same doses can also reduce stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.
There are also potential benefits for those trying to improve body composition. It’s important to note that this is combined with resistance training. This can lead to a reduction in bone fractures and an increase in good bone health.
Boost Muscle Mass
Skeletal muscles rely on collagen to keep their viability. Without it, muscle mass begins to deteriorate as you age.
Combined with an exercise program, collagen increases the synthesis of creatine, which increases muscle mass and strength.
Ease Joint Pain
As we age, we run the risk of degenerative joint disorders.
Adding collagen can increase the integrity of your cartilage, reducing joint pain and relieving osteoarthritis symptoms. It is thought that the collagen accumulates in the cartilage, thereby causing relief.
Types Of Collagen and Collagen Supplements
While there are 29 types of collagen in your body, and they can be broken down into five main categories. Each of these serves different functions:
- Type I strengthens your skin, bones, ligaments, and tendons. 90% of the collagen in your body is Type I.
- Type II supports your joints and makes cartilage flexible, found in your joints and spine’s shock absorbers.
- Type III is found in internal organs, blood vessels, and muscles.
- Type IV is found in the layers of your skin and blood vessels.
- Type V is found in the kidneys, inner ear, cornea, skin, and hair.
Types I, II, and III are the most abundant collagens in your body.
As a result, these are the focus of most collagen supplements. They are made from the tissues of animals or fish. Vegan collagen powders are made from bacteria and yeast.
In either case, collagen powder is formulated into hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides, which are more easily digested by the body.
Collagen supplements come in powders that you can add to foods or beverages, capsules, liquids, and gummies. It becomes a matter of preference in terms of which one you choose, as they have the same essential ingredients.
One thing to note is that collagen is composed of calories and protein. If you are counting calories, you may be concerned about calories and other nutrients.
A 14-gram serving of collagen peptide powder has 50 calories, 12 grams of protein, 29 milligrams of calcium, 44.9 milligrams of sodium, and .98 milligrams of potassium.
As long as your collagen comes from a reputable source, you can’t really take too much. However, after a while, your kidneys might suffer some adverse effects.
When taking collagen powders or any other supplement, it’s essential to talk to your healthcare practitioner.
Collagen Supplements VS Protein
A balanced diet is the safest way to produce and maintain collagen levels.
High-quality protein, calcium, zinc, and vitamins C and D provide your body with sufficient collagen building blocks. This is all your body needs, along with resistance training and weight-bearing exercises.
However, most people’s diets lack perfection, so many choose supplements.
Foods That Contain Collagen
While supplements are easy to obtain, collagen is best when consumed via whole foods whenever possible.
Whole foods are more manageable for our bodies to absorb, and the source is easier to determine.
A well-balanced diet that includes items from this list will help with your body’s collagen production.
Create a stock from fish bones, heads, scales, or eyeballs—the stuff you normally toss.
Collagen derived from fish stock is one of the most easily absorbed sources. Tuna and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for skin structure.
Cooking and eating a whole chicken is a common source of collagen. Also, the chicken neck and cartilage boiled into stock are great sources of collagen to treat arthritis.
Proline is an amino acid found in egg whites. It is a building block of collagen production.
Vitamin D is one of the main building blocks of collagen production in your body. Two primary sources of this are full-fat milk and sunshine.
Copper is another nutrient that is necessary for collagen synthesis. Beans contain copper plus other amino acids that promote collagen absorption.
Soy contains genistein, a plant hormone that promotes collagen production and blocks enzymes. Soy milk and tofu both provide the antioxidant.
The Final Word on Collagen and Bones
Be aware that when choosing collagen supplements, they are not regulated by the FDA. There are no guarantees as to the amount of collagen or whether the collagen is made from pure ingredients.
We are a trusted resource that uses safe, top-rated ingredients. We are here to provide information so you can make informed decisions.