What is collagen protein, and why does it matter?
Collagen is a protein that our bodies naturally create from amino acids. However, by the age of 25, our collagen production decreases dramatically. This is why we start to notice changes in our bones, joints, and skin in our mid-twenties to early thirties. Collagen is important because it provides structure to our skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints, but it also plays a role in our body’s natural detoxification process and aids in the absorption of important nutrients that slow down the aging process.
This important protein is responsible for giving the body’s tissues their strength and elasticity. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, which can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, and joint pain. Some research has shown that taking collagen supplements can help to reduce these signs of aging and improve overall health.
Collagen is made up of a number of amino acids, including glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. It’s typically derived from animal sources, such as cows or pigs. However, there are also some plant-based sources of collagen, such as rice bran and soybeans.
When taken as a supplement, collagen typically comes in powder form. It can be added to liquids such as water, juice, or smoothies. It’s also available in pill and capsule form. Collagen supplements are generally considered safe, but it’s always best to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
These days, many women are turning to collagen supplements in order to fight those pesky signs of aging. But what exactly are the benefits of collagen in women? Let’s take a deeper dive into that question!
What Are the Proven Benefits of Collagen?
Collagen is made naturally in our bodies from protein and nutrients in the meals we consume. There are many forms of collagen, each with its own function. Type I collagen, for example, is well-known for maintaining skin suppleness, whereas type II collagen aids in joint protection.
Overall, the collagen supplement research is sparse, and many of the published studies appear to be from collagen product manufacturers, so it’s hard to say what the proven benefits are. A handful of studies have, however, shown how collagen has typically affected the skin, bones, joints, and muscles of those who have taken the supplement regularly.
It’s also important to note that collagen supplements are not as strictly regulated by the FDA in the United States as pharmaceuticals.
That being said, there’s been plenty of unofficial studies and surveys that have shown how collagen supplements have affected those taking the protein. And the feedback has shown to be very beneficial!
Here are a few benefits that collagen supplements can have on women:
1. Collagen may aid in the development of lean muscle.
As you age, it’s likely that your muscle-building capabilities will begin to deteriorate. You may even start to lose muscle mass and find it more difficult to get in shape as a result of this. Collagen is a major component of lean muscle tissue as it provides the structure and support that muscles need to function properly. When collagen levels are low, muscles can become weak and frail.
Collagen supplements are thought to help build lean muscle mass and improve athletic performance. This is likely due to the fact that collagen is a major component of tendons and ligaments, which are essential for movement. Furthermore, several studies have shown that collagen supplementation can help reduce inflammation and joint pain.
2. Collagen may aid in weight loss and maintenance.
Even if you’re perfectly comfortable with your present weight and don’t intend to lose any pounds, collagen can assist you keep your current weight stable. Collagen helps women lose and/or maintain weight in a few different ways!
Collagen helps by increasing our metabolic rate, which means we burn more calories digesting food. When we supplement our regular diet with collagen, the body is able to more easily break down and use the protein for energy instead of storing it as fat.
Collagen may also help suppress the appetite. One study showed that gelatin (which is derived from collagen) helped reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness. This is likely because gelatin slows down the emptying of the stomach, which in turn makes us feel fuller for longer periods of time.
Studies have also shown the correlation between collagen and weight loss and the potential to increase the satiety hormone in our bodies after consuming collagen. The full feeling we get after eating collagen or taking collagen supplements is due to the satiety hormones. The satiety hormones essentially communicate to our brain telling it that we aren’t hungry anymore. This makes it far easier for us to maintain a healthy diet and a sustainable lifestyle.
It can be difficult to use collagen to assist you lose weight, and it’s critical to keep track of your intake. There are restrictions to any dietary change, just as with any other diet. You may actually gain weight by eating too much protein if you eat more than enough calories.
If you have any questions or concerns about using collagen supplementation to aid your weight loss journey, be sure to consult your doctor or a nutritionist in order to best incorporate collagen into your daily routine.
3. Collagen may counter low estrogen production
Women’s hormones shift and change with all the different life events and stages a women has like pregnancy, birth, and menopause. When it comes to women’s health, estrogen is often the most discussed hormone. That’s because estrogen aids in anxiety management, mood regulation, and sleep cycle balance. It’s also your major reproductive hormone.
However, as you may know, estrogen levels decline with time, particularly after menopause. These changes might introduce a slew of daily mood and health changes and issues.
Women around the age of 50 or older tend to have completed or are nearing the end of menopause. After menopause your body is no longer making as much estrogen and this can cause changes in skin and bone health, along with many other health issues.
Estrogen levels drop as women get older and this is connected with a reduction in collagen synthesis, or the natural production of collagen. As our skin gets thinner, our bones become more brittle, and our other organs struggle to maintain high amounts of tissue, it becomes clear that collagen plays a significant role in how we age.
A lack of collagen production as we age is likely a result of the drop in estrogen levels. In other words, a decrease in collagen may be one indication that our estrogen levels have dropped too low.
Bone health becomes more and more important as we age since bones can become brittle and more prone to fracture. Collagen may help counteract some of the bone density loss that can happen after menopause.
In a study on post-menopausal women, those who supplemented with collagen over the course of 12 weeks had increased bone mineral density in their hips. This was likely due to the collagen’s ability to improve gut health and reduce inflammation, which in turn allows the body to better absorb calcium and other minerals needed for bone health.
If estrogen and collagen levels are linked, then it makes sense for women to greatly benefit from extra collagen intake in order to maintain their health inside and out.
4. Postmenopausal bone support is provided by collagen.
As we age, our bodies begin to produce less collagen, leading to a decrease in bone density and an increased risk of fractures. For postmenopausal women, this can be a particularly serious issue, as they are already at greater risk for osteoporosis. However, collagen supplementation has been shown to help maintain bone density and improve bone strength.
Collagen makes up the majority of bones, whether you’re a man or woman. As a result, as our estrogen and collagen production decreases with age, our bone mass declines as well and can lead to a number of issues down the road.
Low blood mineral density in the bones is linked to brittle or weak bones. Blood mineral density is the measurement of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. Women over the age of 50 may benefit from the aid of supplements like collagen and calcium in order to maintain or even improve their blood mineral bone density.
Additionally, collagen has also been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness, making it an ideal supplement for postmenopausal women who want to maintain their bone health and quality of life.
5. Gut Health
Although gut health collagen is a new field of study, research has established a connection between low collagen levels and digestive health. Collagen helps to form a barrier between the gut and the bloodstream. This is important because it helps to protect us from food-borne bacteria and other foreign invaders that can cause infection.
In addition, collagen production helps to keep our intestinal lining healthy. A damaged intestinal lining can allow bacteria and toxins to leak into the bloodstream, leading to all sorts of problems like inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Collagen supplements may also help to improve gut health by increasing the production of digestive enzymes and promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. This protein offers two extremely beneficial and specific amino acids: glutamine and glycine. Glutamine has been shown to reduce inflammatory processes in the intestinal wall and improve intestinal permeability.
Glycine is a nutrient that helps the body to make glutamine, and is essential for the detoxification of harmful substances in the gut keeping the gut balanced and happy. As a result, collagen supplements may help with conditions such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Collagen peptides are also low allergenic and do not contain any gluten.
6. Joint Health
The most-up-to-date collagen research focuses on joint health at the moment. Collagen supplementation has been linked to reduced arthritis symptoms since at least the early 1990s. According to a 2009 research in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, four out of five people with osteoarthritis who took a daily 40 mg dose of undenatured type-II collagen experienced an average 26 percent decrease in pain.Type-I collagen is created from the protein in cow bones, and it does not contain any hidden or fish scales. (Type-II collagen is produced from chicken cartilage rather than cow bones and hides or fish scales.)
In one study of postmenopausal women , those who took a daily collagen supplement showed improvements in their bone mineral density a year later, especially when they took it in combination with Vitamin D and calcium. The researchers aren’t exactly sure why collagen seems to strengthen our skeleton, but they think it might trigger certain anabolic processes that promote the growth of bones.
The Bottom Line
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s responsible for our skin’s elasticity, hair’s shine, and bone’s strength. As we age, our collagen production declines, leading to a number of health issues.
Fortunately, you can supplement your body’s diminishing collagen supply by taking collagen peptides. Collagen supplements have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved joint health, gut health, skin health and more.
If you’re interested in trying a collagen supplement, make sure to choose one that is high quality and sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals. You should also look for a product that has undergone hydrolysis, as this process makes it easier for the body to absorb the collagen.
As a woman, there are plenty of advantages to adding a daily dose of collagen into your diet. And with so many ways to take it, there’s really no excuse not to try it! Browse through our selection of clean-sourced collagen products or have a look at some other health-related articles to answer any other collagen questions you may have.