You may have found yourself clicking on this article because you’ve heard of this ever growing health trend: consuming collagen for anti-aging. Every article on collagen benefits will most likely mention, at a minimum, this one particular fact about collagen: that collagen can help reverse aging. But what exactly are the effects of collagen for anti-aging? Learn more here about how collagen and aging are related and how collagen helps to improve the health of your hair and skin.
The Structure and Function of Collagen
For starters, it’s good to know exactly what collagen is: collagen is a unique protein found (and naturally produced) in our very own bodies! Actually, collagen is the second most abundant molecule in the human body, being beaten only by water. Skin, which is the human body’s biggest organ, is 70% collagen. Connective tissue, including joints and ligaments, is 90% collagen. The organic matrix of our bones? 90% collagen. In a way, you could say that collagen literally holds us together. Collagen can be found in our hair, teeth, bones, skin, stomach lining, nails, joints, and eyelashes. So you can see the structural importance of collagen, but what exactly does it do?
Like any other protein, collagen serves as a building block for different parts of the body. What’s special about collagen, however, is that it’s a protein that repairs. Collagen helps to repair muscle, joints, and skin. It restores. Through its repairing and restorative powers, collagen can have significant anti-aging benefits.
So How Specifically Does Collagen Help for Anti-Aging?
Collagen is found all over and throughout our bodies and it plays a key role in keeping those parts structurally strong. Here are four major collagen anti-aging benefits for your body.
- Collagen upholds the integrity of your skin.
Collagen and aging are related. Collagen is and forever will be your skin’s best friend. Soon after we reach our twenties, our body’s natural production of collagen declines. This decline continues as we get older. Researchers have learned that when people reach their sixties, the amount of collagen in their bodies is just about cut in half from their twenties. So what does that mean exactly? That dramatic difference in the amount of collagen makes our skin subject to more wrinkles, saggy skin, and cellulite. Skin hydration and overall quality are not as supported as they used to be.
Our skin has three layers. Collagen is found in the middle layer, called the dermis. Oil and sweat glands, hair follicles, blood vessels, nerve endings and connective tissue can be found in this middle layer of skin. Within the dermis, a type of gland in particular that is key to skin quality is the sebaceous gland. These glands produce sebum that helps to keep our skin moisturized. Collagen supports the sebaceous glands and everything else in the dermis because collagen contributes to the overall strength of the dermis layer of our skin. By supporting the dermis, this internal layer of the skin, collagen is able to promote the function of other tissue and glands.
Through collagen supplementation, you can help to reduce the appearance of skin wrinkles and increase skin hydration as well as help improve elasticity and flexibility of the skin. Additionally, the benefits of collagen may help in hiding cellulite and reducing the appearance of unsightly skin marks such as acne scars and stretch marks. With regular collagen supplementation, your skin may improve in elasticity, thickness, and firmness. Imagine youthful skin like back in high school – except no pimples this time!
- Collagen strengthens and refreshes your hair.
We can’t forget about your hair – and neither can collagen! You now know that collagen is found in the dermal layer of skin. Recall that within this layer our hair follicles are found. These small organs regulate hair growth. Right at the top of each follicle are sebaceous glands that are internally attached. We said that these glands keep our skin moisturized; now we’re saying these glands keep our skin AND hair moisturized. Because collagen plays such a key role in our skin, let alone the dermal layer, the hair follicles and sebaceous glands are well supported. In fact, the actual growth of hair follicles relies heavily on the collagen matrix within the dermis. If collagen is scarce, the thickness and total number of hair follicles you have can be reduced.
As we age, we tend to lose hair each year. Low collagen levels may be a big reason for this, and that is why supplementing with collagen may reduce this annoying and distressing symptom of aging. Collagen anti-aging benefits can help promote stronger, longer, and thicker hair that is less likely to fall out!
- Collagen supports your joints and bones.
Let’s face it: no one is looking forward to the day when it hurts to just transition from a sitting position to a standing position. This is a major sign of aging, and it can easily sneak up on you as you get older. Our bones and joints weaken over time, just like anything else in our body. Thanks to collagen breakdown, we can actually lose up to 50% of our bone strength during the aging process.
So how do we take care of the connective tissue that holds us together and keep our bodies strong and healthy? You’ll be happy to know that there are many collagen benefits that help your bones and joints stay strong. This protein helps give structure to our bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons – these are all parts of our body that helps us bend and stretch. Collagen plays an important role in the matrix of our bones, taking up 90% of it. It joins bone to tendons and ligaments. According to scientific studies, when we experience any bone impacts, it’s the collagen in our bones that is taking that energy. This simply means that the more collagen we have in our body helps to lead to stronger bones that are harder to break. Collagen also contributes to bone strength by helping to promote the cell growth of new bone that replaces old damaged, worn bone cells.
Clinical studies have shown that the supplementation of collagen may help to reduce joint pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis, and it may even improve joint mobility, flexibility, and strength. Don’t let aging slow you down!
- Collagen helps to maintain nail strength and promotes nail growth.
Nails are neither skin nor hair nor bones, but they benefit greatly from collagen supplementation nevertheless. The skin cells located within the finger are what produces the fingernail. The matrix from which the nail grows may be positively affected by collagen supplementation. That means less brittle, fragile nails. Collagen supplementation has been shown in studies to increase nail growth and decrease nail breakability. If you’re someone who breaks your nails easily, collagen might just be your solution. Many women have nails that grow to a specific length before getting broken, peeled, or chipped, but collagen can help you get to the length you want so you can paint your nails that shade of red you’ve been hoping to show the world!
BONUS BENEFITS- Collagen may help to promote weight loss and keep your gut strong!
There are also more subtle collagen benefits that make it a safe anti-aging substance for your body. Some symptoms of aging aren’t as obvious, including the fact that weight loss and weight maintenance get much more difficult as we get older. Collagen is a protein, and protein in general helps make people feel more full after consumption. Collagen in particular is very satiating without having a lot of calories, overall keeping you full longer. In simple terms: collagen can help you eat less.
In addition, by contributing to your lean muscle mass, collagen supplementation may potentially help boost your metabolism. Rich in glycine, an amino acid that plays an important role in the conversion of nutrients such as glucose into energy, collagen may help promote the formation of muscle tissue. Muscle mass is key to ensuring your body has a supportive system as you age, so it’s crucial to retain as much muscle mass as you can. Having muscle mass can help your bone health and posture, and it can also benefit you because you’ll be burning more calories than you are burning fat.
Collagen’s support of the gut is one last bonus that we think you ought to be aware of. It may help repair damaged cell walls within the gut’s lining. An unhealthy, leaky gut can lead to a variety of digestive issues and illness. Collagen, in a way, helps to seal up your gut, supporting healthy digestion.
The anti-aging properties of collagen may not be able to help you look and feel like your old self, but it can surely help you look and feel like your current best self!
- Collagen is an important protein that is found throughout our bodies, including our hair, teeth, bones, skin and nails.
- Supplementing with collagen can have lots of anti-aging benefits.
- Supplementing with collagen may help improve skin hydration, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and reduce unsightly acne scars or stretch marks.
- Collagen supplementation may help promote stronger, longer and thicker hair.
- Collagen supplementation may help to make bones and joints stronger, as well as reduce joint pain associated with exercise and aging.
- Collagen aging benefits include helping to strengthen nails.
- Collagen protein may help keep you full longer, thereby helping to keep you full longer.
- Collagen protein supplementation may help to heal the intestinal wall and promote better digestion.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Want to read more?