Collagen is a structural protein that is naturally produced in the body’s connective tissues. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies, making up between 25% and 35%. Collagen is essential for your health and is especially helpful in keeping us healthy and youthful looking. A lot of people take collagen supplements to strengthen the bones, hair, nails and improve the appearance of the skin. These supplements are found in form of creams, injections and pills. While they promise to provide restorative effects, it is important that you understand the effects of before you go out and get yourself collagen supplements.
Types of Collagen
There are 3 types of collagen and these are:
Type I Collagen. This collagen type comprises 90% hair, skin, nails, bone, ligaments and organs. It’s said to be the best for the skin and has anti-aging purposes.
Type II Collagen. This type applies to cartilage which is the soft, connective tissue that is found in our joints and bones.
Type III Collagen. Type III collagen applies to the fibrous protein in our bones, tendons, cartilage and other connective tissues in the body.
How to Get Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements are used to help reverse the loss of this natural protein and they are available in various forms. You can take the supplements orally as pills or in liquid form to build muscles. They also help in weight loss and reverse the effects of arthritis and wrinkles. Collagen creams are also available and these are helpful in skin care as they reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brighten up the face. You can also get collagen capsules which are mostly used to relieve bone pain and other arthritis symptoms.
Other types of collagen supplements
|Collagen injections||Also known as ‘fillers’, these injections are often used for cosmetic purposes to reduce aging signs. They also help to stimulate collagen production.|
|Hydrolyzed collagen||Hydrolyzed collagen is also popularly used in beauty products. This substance is produced from animal bone and connective tissues.|
|Collagen creams||Not much scientific evidence is available in regards to the anti-aging effects promised by collagen creams. However, some preliminary studies imply that DHEA could promote collagen production and reduce aging signs.|
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Improve bone density
Collagen supplements may be effective in improving bone density. When prescribed with calcium and other drugs, it could help relieve the symptoms of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Collagen and calcium are often used together to bind calcium and consequently strengthen the bones.
Aid cardiovascular and heart system
Low levels of collagen may lead to heart malfunctions. As such, collagen supplements could help improve your cardiovascular health. Scientists are still investigating the role of collagen in boosting the heart’s health.
These supplements can strengthen weak nails when taken orally or applied directly to the nails. This is no miracle cure and it will take time to fully restore your nail health. The treatment should be taken regularly for best results.
Strengthen gums and teeth
Collagen is found throughout the body and it is made up of fibers which are found in your connective tissues. Lowered collagen levels may cause your teeth to loosen which makes this substance essential in binding your teeth to the gum.
Reinforce skin elasticity
The skin loses its elasticity as it ages, leading to sagging and wrinkles. Collagen supplements help replenish the lost protein and other connective skin elements.
Change hair quality
Collagen helps strengthen your hair allowing it to grow. You can apply the supplement on your scalp to reduce dryness especially in grey hair. When used regularly, collagen will lead to a thicker and fuller mane.
Boost healing of wounds and burns
Collagen molecules bind together aiding in skin renewal. This is a natural dressing for wounds. It can absorb emissions within the wound, helping the wound stay moist without developing bacterial infections.
Help lose weight
This is yet to be scientifically proven, but there are weight loss products that contain collagen. Like any other weight loss remedy, you need to incorporate a healthy lifestyle to lose weight. If you’re taking collagen supplements for weight loss, combine them with a healthy diet and some form of exercise.
Precautions for Using Collagen Supplements
The supplement industry is unregulated and it is difficult to understand the potency of the supplements you are about to take. If you wish to take oral collagen supplements, ensure that you first seek medical advice in order to identify the best products and proper dosage as well. In the case of collagen injections such as Botox, Restylane and others taken for cosmetic purposes, you need to be aware of the risks involved. All injections have risks and side effects.
Side Effects of Collagen Supplements
High calcium levels
Collagen supplements are sourced from marine life such shell fish and shark cartilage, they therefore have a high calcium concentration. These supplements may bring about high calcium levels and should be used with caution especially when combining them with calcium.
Abnormal taste in the mouth
Collagen supplements have been known to leave a bad taste and odor in the mouth. You can mask this unpleasant taste by taking your supplements with fruit juice. However acidic fruits such as apple, orange and grape juice may lower the potency of the supplements.
Allergic reactions are possible when taking any type of supplements. Because these supplements are sourced from marine sources such as shell fish, it is possible to get hypersensitive reactions when you take collagen supplements.
Loss of appetite
Collagen is used for weight loss purposes due to its appetite suppression powers. However, this may be a side effect for people who are not taking the supplement for weight loss purposes.