Oct 5, 2021
Do Collagen Supplements Actually Provide Benefits
In the last 30 years we have heard a lot about collagen and how important it is to good, overall health. Most likely we have heard about the two most popular collagen supplements – Chondroitin sulfate and Glucosamine sulfate. These supplements have been marketed as beneficial to almost every problem known to occur. I’m consistently asked, “do collagen supplements really help?”
Collagen is a protein that’s a key component of cartilage, bone and other tissues in both humans and animals. Collagen is built by our bodies from formulations of many different amino acids. Under normal and healthy circumstances, all of these amino acids are produced by our body. However, when we are stressed, sick, taking prescription drugs or otherwise unhealthy, our body may not be able to produce enough of these amino acids by itself. This is when it needs help from outside sources, like diet or supplements.
The building and re-building of healthy collagen is essential to the functioning and good health of our body. Collagen is present in most all tissues of our body from connective tissues like skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments to structural tissues like bones. When everything is running in tip-top shape we build lots of collagen and life is good. However, when we are stressed, eating poorly, not getting proper sleep or fighting illness our collagen production can be substantially reduced. This is when collagen supplements are most valuable.
Some of the most common benefits of collagen supplements are:
- Reduction of arthritis pain - More than 50 million people in our country have some type of arthritis, which is a way of referring to joint pain or degenerative joint disease. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Collagen supplements have shown great promise in reducing the inflammation and pain associated with both of these forms of arthritis. Some participants in a study showed complete remission of all arthritis pain while taking collagen supplements.
- Improvement in skin health and appearance – Collagen helps form elastin and other compounds within skin that are responsible for maintaining skin’s youthful tone, texture and appearance. Nutrition is key when it comes to skin health and appearance. The more collagen we have in our body, the less likely we are to develop those nasty visible signs of aging – wrinkles. Collagen supplementation effectively improves common signs of skin aging by building strength from the inside out.
- Powering up our digestive health – Collagen helps support a healthy mucosal layer in our gut. Studies have found that in individuals with digestive imbalances, serum concentrations of collage are decreased. Supplementing with collagen can support healthy digestive function by keeping the mucosal layer of our gut healthy. With a healthy mucosal layer we can often avoid problems like leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disease symptoms and slow metabolism.
- Enhanced longevity and athletic participation – Collagen is an essential component of connective tissues in our bodies. As we age, stiffness, achiness and arthritis are some of the most powerful limiting factors in movement. If it hurts to move, we tend to limit our participation in athletic events and in many of life’s enjoyable activities. Collagen supplements can often give some relief to allow us to continue in our athletic endeavors, whether they be competitive or simply playing with our kids and grandkids.
Books are written on the benefits of collagen supplementation. Suffice it to say the benefits are many and long-lasting. If the key to life is movement, the key to continuing to move is healthy collagen production. We can all use a little help in this area. Be well.
- Dr. Sterling
Category: Skin Care