The human body naturally produces collagen. This protein promotes healthy joints and skin elasticity and is found in the bones, blood, muscles, and skin. In fact, collagen accounts for 75 percent of the skin and 33 percent of the protein present in the body. 

Collagen breaks down as a person ages, and the body doesn’t produce it as readily. Many people choose to use collagen supplements to replace what’s lost. They may also choose to get collagen through the foods they eat. 

The body produces this collagen by combining amino acids. To do so, it needs proline, glycine, vitamin C, zinc, and copper. However, knowing the exact combination of foods needed to help this process confuses many people. As a result, they turn to collagen supplements. 

It is important to know what the side effects are when you are taking a collagen supplement. What health benefits might a person see when using collagen supplements? 

Strong Bones

Bones lose density and become increasingly brittle as a person ages. They break easily and require more time to heal. Daily collagen supplements increase bone density, slowing the aging process and allowing the bones to remain strong. In addition, collagen helps the body produce new bone. 

Bones consist mostly of collagen, and protein provides them with structure and strength. When the bone breaks down, a person becomes more at risk of osteoporosis and other problems. Collagen supplements help slow this bone breakdown

Thick Hair and Healthy Nails

Male baldness is common. In fact, many men anticipate going bald. However, countless women deal with hair loss or thinning on a daily basis. Women with thinning hair often see an increase in the quantity of hair and scalp coverage when taking collagen supplements every day. They also see an increase in the rate of nail growth, and their nails chip and break less often when taking daily collagen supplements. 

Heart Health

Researchers are studying whether collagen supplements can decrease the risk of certain heart conditions. Collagen provides arteries in the body with structure. If the arteries don’t have enough collagen, they may lose flexibility and elasticity. 

This loss of flexibility and elasticity could bring about atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries narrow. This puts a person more at risk of stroke and heart attack. Daily collagen supplements appear to lead to a reduction in artery stiffness while increasing the user’s HDL levels. 

Skin Health

As collagen makes up the majority of a person’s skin, collagen supplements help make the skin stronger while improving its hydration and elasticity. The use of these supplements may reduce wrinkles and dryness. 

The supplements stimulate the body to produce collagen. In addition, they may stimulate the production of other proteins, such as elastin, which benefit the structure of the skin. 

Joint Pain

Individuals suffering from joint pain may find collagen supplements provide pain relief while improving joint function. However, the person must use the supplements for several months before seeing improvement in these areas.

Collagen works by maintaining the integrity of cartilage in the joints. This cartilage is similar to rubber and is responsible for protecting the joints. Individuals with osteoarthritis who take collagen say they experience less joint stiffness and see a decrease in their osteoarthritis symptoms. 

Researchers believe this is due to an increase in collagen in the cartilage. In addition, they believe the supplements encourage the tissues to produce collagen. This leads to less inflammation and pain, along with better joint support. 

Improved Muscle Mass

Muscle mass and strength may improve when a person takes daily collagen supplements. Collagen, as previously mentioned, is the most abundant protein present in the human body. Individuals suffering from sarcopenia, the natural loss of muscle mass as part of the aging process, benefit from collagen supplementation. 

In a study of older men, collagen supplementation combined with an exercise program led to a larger increase in muscle mass and strength. Researchers believe that collagen supplementation promotes the synthesis of muscle proteins while stimulating muscle growth following exercise. 

Additional Benefits

Researchers are studying whether collagen supplements can be of help to people suffering from intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut syndrome. They are also looking at whether collagen supplements help improve a person’s mood while decreasing anxiety symptoms. Finally, they are studying whether collagen can be of help with weight loss and boost a person’s metabolism. 

Risks of Collagen Supplementation

People need to know if there are risks associated with collagen supplementation. At this time, side effects remain rare. Nevertheless, a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding should not take collagen supplements until more is known about their safety. 

People must take care when using collagen supplements. Certain products are made using common food allergens. The use of these supplements could lead to an allergic reaction. 

In addition, some people find they become bloated or nauseous when they take these supplements. Other people report they experience heartburn and feelings of fullness. Nevertheless, most people have no problems using collagen supplements. 

When Results Will Be Seen

A person cannot expect to see results overnight when they begin taking collagen supplements. In fact, it will take a minimum of eight weeks before any results are seen, as collagen turnover takes time. In addition, significantly longer may be needed to see results. 

For example, a person taking collagen supplements for bone health will need to wait 12 months to see results. Speak with a doctor to see how long the supplements might take to work and discuss whether other measures are needed until they do. 

Collagen remains the most abundant protein in the human body. Supplements are an excellent way to increase the presence of this protein, particularly when a person is not getting enough collagen from their diet. 

These supplements include many health benefits and few risks. However, a person must know what to expect when taking one of these supplements. There is research to support the use of collagen supplements to improve muscle mass and bone health, for example.

There is less research to back up claims that collagen supplements promote weight loss and improve brain health. Talk with medical professionals to see if supplementation with collagen will be of benefit, as this varies by individual and the health goals they are trying to achieve. 

By Manali