Collagen supplements have been gaining in popularity, and with good reason. Collagen is among the most common protein found in connective tissues and plays a crucial role in the overall maintenance of your body. It contains amino acids your body needs, including hard-to-get-naturally conditional amino acids like arginine, glutamine, proline, and glycine.
From head to toe, collagen occurs naturally pretty much everywhere in the body. It’s in our skin, muscles, blood vessels, digestive systems, and tendons. It’s also hard at work helping your skin stay elastic, your joints stay un-creaky, your muscles grow lean, and your connective tissues stay stretchy and springy.
Let’s take a look at how collagen can benefit your overall health, from the inside out.
Help Build and Maintain Lean Muscle
This is where those amino acids come into play (or rather, to work). Glycine works to convert glucose into energy to feed muscle cells and form muscle tissue. Arginine helps the body make protein from other amino acids, aiding in muscle growth, preventing muscle tissue wasting, and even boosting metabolism. Glutamine does double duty to help prevent muscle catabolism (tearing down of muscles) and help promote muscle anabolism (muscle growth).
On top of that, the glycine and arginine in collagen peptides promote the production of natural creatine in the body. Creatine is essential for muscle growth and has been also shown to help improve performance during short periods of exercise.
Strengthen Bones and Prevent Bone Loss
Bones are comprised of minerals and collagen. This protein and mineral powerhouse combination work together to form the structure, flexibility, and strength of your bones. As you age, your bone density levels decrease. This can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is linked to a higher risk of bone fractures.
By helping the body’s natural production of collagen and providing a bioavailable source of amino acids, collagen is a key player in keeping your bones strong.
Improve Skin Health
While many people may use topical collagen creams to improve skins appearance, hydrolyzed collagen may improve the skins appearance from the inside out. With age, your body produces less collagen, the structural integrity of the skin declines and wrinkles begin to form. Your dermis (middle layer of skin) gets thinner and fibroblast (skin cell) numbers begin to decline.
Collagen peptides form a network of cells called fibroblast, which help to stimulate new cells to grow to replace and restore dead skin cells. This helps to provide skin with its firm structure and improved elasticity.
Pulling it all Together - Vitamin C and Tryptophan
Collagen does not contain all the essential amino acids unless tryptophan is added. Vitamin C is also necessary for the body to utilize the amino acids to develop collagen and tryptophan helps to improve protein quality to complete collagen’s amino acid profile.
Talk to your health care provider to learn more about the benefits and potential risks of collagen supplements.