What, Why and How to Use Collagen
This may be one heck of an assumption on our part, but if we had to bet, donkey skin and shark fins are not part of your normal diet, right?
Don’t worry, we aren’t judging you if they are, nor have we completely lost our minds. In fact…
…for centuries, women in the Far East have considered collagen to be the elixir of youth and routinely consumed dishes like donkey skin and shark fins in the hopes of smoothening skin and curing aching joints.
We just honestly don’t see this being part of many people’s daily diet these days, and thankfully, due to advances in supplementation, they don’t need to be.
While collagen has been used in the U.S. since the 1980s as an injectable filler that could soften lines and plump up lips, it is only in very recent years made its way into nutritional supplementation.
Whether in the form of capsules, single-use sachets, coffee creamers, powders, chews, etc, these newfound means have certainly helped push collagen to the mainstream, and for good reason.
In 2020, experts from Nutrition Business Journal estimate that consumers will spend almost $300 million on collagen supplements alone.— This is a significant increase from the $50 million in 2014.
Globally, collagen is predicted to make its way into more foods and beverages, topicals, and even the operating room - the market is projected to reach $6.5 billion by 2025.
There is something to this collagen-craze, huh? We think so!
So, what is collagen? Despite its immense popularity, many questions linger referring to its safety and effectiveness.
What is Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in humans -- it accounts for a third of the protein composition in our bodies and is a key element of connective tissues that make up many body parts like muscles, skin, ligaments, and tendons.
In addition to that, Collagen is important for the human body as it provides the skin with the structure and helps strengthen bonds. You can think of collagen as the glue that holds all these things in your body together. The name is derived from the Greek word for glue which is kolla.
As explained above, collagen supplements have grown quite popular in recent years, so you have almost assuredly heard of either collagen or “collagen peptides,” “hydrolyzed collagen,” and “collagen powder.”
These terms simply refer to the process the collagen has undergone, called hydrolysis. This process breaks down the amino acids in collagen into smaller molecules, making it easier for your body to absorb.
As a quick note, there are at least 28 different types of collagen in existence, but types I, II, and III forms the bulk — between 80 and 90 percent — of the collagen in your body.
While it is possible to get collagen through foods such as bone broth, pork skin, chicken skin, salmon skin, egg yolks, and yes, if you so choose, donkey skin and shark tail, it is probably easy to see why supplementation has become the way to go for most.
Now that you know a little more about collagen, maybe you’ll want to know why you might consider supplementing with it.
Why Would I Use Collagen
As previously noted, collagen plays a very vital role in keeping the body healthy, operating optimally, and youthful too. But we want to dive a bit deeper into the benefits of collagen so you know the specific reasons why you would consider adding collage to your regiment.
Relieves Joint Pains
Collagen helps maintain cartilage integrity. The cartilage is a rubber-like tissue that protects joints. As we grow older, the collagen level in the body decreases which then increases the chances of developing osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint disorders.
Studies have indicated that collagen supplements can help with symptoms of osteoarthritis and help relieve overall joint pains. A study was done on 73 athletes who were given 10g of collagen for 24 weeks. They reported that they experienced a decrease in joint pain when walking in comparison to the placebo group.
Since it is pretty safe to say that almost everyone over the age of 40 understands increasing joint pain, we see this benefit as potentially huge for everyone who intends to get older.
May Prevent Bone Loss
Did you know the main element in our bones is collagen? Collagen helps provide the structure and keeps the bones strong.
As we now know, the collagen levels reduce as you grow older so the bone mass reduces in tandem. Thus, health conditions like osteoporosis can occur, most likely caused by low bone density.
According to studies, the intake of collagen supplements can help slow down the process that leads to osteoporosis.
In yet another study, women were given calcium supplements with 5g of collagen and calcium supplements with no collagen for a year. At the end of the year, the group that was taking the supplement with collagen had significantly lower levels of the proteins that promote bone-breaking when compared to the control group.
Since we know those who suffer from osteoporosis are at a higher risk of bone fractures, anything we can do to maintain bone health should be welcome.
It is more than likely that the role Collagen plays on the skin is the main reason for its recent growth within society. To be clear, collagen is, in fact, very important to the skin. It hydrates the skin, improves the elasticity and it strengthens it.
Once again, since dry skin and wrinkles are very common as we age, it is easy to see why collagen has become of such interest to the aging population.
In truth, many studies have now convinced scientists that collagen supplements can slow down the aging process of the skin.
In one study, women were given collagen supplements (that contained 2.5 - 5g of collagen) for eight weeks. This group had less dry skin and better skin elasticity compared to those in the group that didn’t take the supplement.
In another study, women who drank a collagen supplement beverage every day for twelve weeks experienced more hydrated skin and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth in comparison to the placebo group. The wrinkle-reducing effect is thought to happen because the supplements stimulate the body to produce its own collagen.
It looks like collagen might very well become more and more popular as the days, weeks, months and years pass.
Boost Muscle Mass
Up to 10% of the body’s muscle tissue consists of collagen. It is required for the strong functioning of the muscles. Studies continue to suggest that this protein can boost muscle mass in those who have sarcopenia, the condition where you lose muscle mass as you grow older.
A study was done on 27 men who were given 15g of collagen every day for 12 weeks while taking part in an exercise program. When the results were compared to the test group that exercised but did not use collagen, there was a significant increase in muscle mass and strength.
When you consider the importance of maintaining muscle mass as we age, collagen probably sounds like a necessity.
How Should I Use Collagen
Thankfully today’s nutritional supplementation industry provides options, not just for collagen use, but for almost all supplements. Whether you choose to use a capsule form of collagen or a powder form is completely a personal choice.
Our simple suggestion for collagen supplementation is to just get it in, especially if you are 35 years of age or older.
1.5g to 5g or collagen is an excellent start and, over time, should begin to show a nice return compared to the cost of inclusion.
We choose to take in two servings of Collagen Complex per day, one serving first thing in the morning, upon waking, and another at night, before bed.
3D Labs Nutrition to the Rescue
Considering the now proven benefits on our joints, bones, skin, and muscle mass, you can probably understand why it was so important for us at 3D Labs Nutrition to bring our Collagen capsules to the market.
We are well aware that some people like the powder form, but we also think many will appreciate the simplicity of a few capsules, once or twice per day.
If you are such an individual, you will be thrilled with Collagen Complex and its combination of peptides. A single serving will provide 1500mg of collagen and get you well on your way to happier, healthier aging.
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Now, onward! You only have one life to live, one body to live it in...so take care of it. Progress, not perfection. Good, better, best with your food intake, and some form of "movement" daily. Get your nutritional foundation from food, supplement where necessary, and drink plenty of water.
And, don’t forget, always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise regiment.
Live a 3D Life...Decisions Determine Destinations!