Collagen forms up to 33% of the body protein content and is found abundantly in cartilage, bones, tendon, ligaments and skin. As the body produces decreasing amounts of collagen over time, external sources of collagen become essential for skin, muscle and bone health.
Collagen is typically sourced from pigs and cows and is subjected to hydrolysation – i.e., it is broken down into amino acids so that the body can easily absorb it. The end product is collagen protein powder or hydrolysed collagen peptide. There are a growing number of scientific studies to support the benefits of collagen peptides on hair, skin, bones, and muscles. Here are some of the ways your body can benefit from it:
Healthy skin, hair, and nails:
Collagen forms about 70% of the dermis – the middle layer of skin. The external supply of collagen can help in increasing skin hydration, elasticity and, thus, reduce the appearance of wrinkles. In a randomised, placebo-controlled study on 72 women aged over 35, they found that oral intake of collagen peptide helped reverse the effects of age-related decline in skin collagen.
Collagen can also help in improving the health of your hair. A recent study has shown that hydrolysed collagen provides the much-needed amino acids for building healthy hair. Both keratin – the protein abundant in hair, and collagen are high in the amino acids Proline and Arginine, so collagen intake can help you get lush, shiny hair.
Studies have demonstrated that ingesting collagen peptides after resistance training increases fat-free mass and strength in healthy young men. The control group only exercised, while the treatment group exercised and followed it with a collagen peptide shake. After 12 weeks, the participants who took collagen protein after training experienced a higher body mass than those who only exercised.
Collagen has a positive impact on joint health because it assists in the repair of cartilage. Studies have shown that collagen can restore bone density among women suffering from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Research has also shown that collagen can prevent bone loss if taken along with calcium.
Studies have proven that protein is a significant contributor in promoting weight loss. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, leading you to feel satiated for longer. Specifically, when your body breaks down protein, phenylalanine is released, which triggers leptin- a hunger suppressant. So consuming collagen peptides in any form can help you keep your appetite down while simultaneously not depriving your body of nourishment.
Collagen for restricted diets:
Health practitioners agree that collagen protein powder is suitable for post-surgery high protein diets, such as after the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. Restricted diets may need you to consume minimal carbohydrates and fats – in which case, collagen peptides are ideal, as they contain 92% protein and less than one per cent of carbohydrates and fats each. Your post-surgery diet may also be restricted to liquids only, in which case collagen protein shakes are the best way to provide your body with all the recovery protein you need.
While collagen protein is flavourless, top suppliers offer it in exciting flavours. You can choose from regular flavours like banana, chocolate, vanilla or combo flavours such as honey chocolate or salt caramel. They are ideal for shakes or for making delicious snacks and desserts.
Collagen peptides are arguably the easiest way to notch up your body collagen, build better muscles, improve bone health, and get healthy hair and nails. Several studies conducted on subjects worldwide have not shown evidence for significant side-effects, other than an occasional upset stomach. If you are beginning your collagen protein journey, consult your health practitioner to get personalised advice on its usage and dosage.