What Is Collagen? 7 Benefits for Skin, Hair, Joints and More

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Top 7 Collagen Benefits

1. Improves Health of Skin and Hair

Collagen for skin? It’s considered the No. 1 collagen benefit for a reason. As we age, collagen production declines — it’s happening as you read this! You’ll notice it physically: looser skin, more wrinkles and less elasticity. Increasing collagen levels can help your skin look firmer, increase smoothness, and help your skin cells keep renewing and repairing normally.

Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies investigating the anti-aging properties of collagen have found that 2.5–5 grams of collagen hydrolysate used among women aged 35–55 once daily for eight weeks significantly improved skin elasticity, skin moisture, transepidermal water loss (dryness) and skin roughness, all with little to no side effects. This makes collagen one of the best natural skin care ingredients available.

Collagen benefits also include reducing cellulite and stretch marks. When skin loses its elasticity as a result of decreased collagen, there’s another side effect: more visible cellulite. Because your skin is now thinner, cellulite becomes more evident — no more hiding what’s happening below the surface. Collagen for skin helps its elasticity and helps reduce potential dimpling.

2. Reduces Joint Pains and Degeneration

Have you ever felt like you’ve got “skeleton legs,” the types that feel extra stiff and cause pain when you move? Yup, that’s likely a loss of collagen rearing its ugly head. That’s because when we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments start moving with less ease, leading to stiffness, swollen joints and more.

With its gel-like, smooth structure that covers and holds our bones together, collagen allows us to glide and move without pain. Think of ingesting more collagen like greasing a creaky door hinge: It helps your joints move more easily, reduces pain often associated with aging and even reduces the risk of joint deterioration. It’s no surprise then that a recent study even found that collagen is an effective treatment for treating osteoarthritis and other joint pain and disorders.

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Researchers at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston investigated benefits of collagen and found that supplementing with type 2 collagen helped patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis find relief from painful symptoms by decreasing swelling in tender joints. Another study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that people with osteoarthritis joint pain treated with type 2 collagenshow significant enhancements in daily activities, such as walking up stairs, ascending or sleeping, and a general improvement in their quality of life. 

3. Helps Heal Leaky Gut

If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, a condition where bad-for-you toxins are able to pass through your digestive tract, collagen can be super-helpful. It helps break down proteins and soothes your gut’s lining, healing damaged cell walls and infusing it with healing amino acids.

The biggest digestive benefit of consuming more collagen is that it helps form connective tissue and therefore “seals and heals” the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Today, we know that many illnesses can actually be traced back to inflammation or irritation stemming from an unhealthy gut. Poor gut health — including changes in the gut microbiome and permeability in the gut lining — allows particles to pass into the bloodstream where they can kick off an inflammatory cascade (hence the name leaky gut syndrome).

Studies have found that in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, serum concentrations of collagen are decreased. Because the amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the colon and GI tract, supplementing with collagen can help treat gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders, including leaky gut syndrome, IBS, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In addition to helping heal leaky gut, the benefits of collagen include helping with the absorption of water within the intestines, keeping things moving more freely out of body.

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