What is collagen?
Where would we stand without collagen in our bodies? OK, for a moment visualise being reduced to a disorganised clump of cells connected by a few neurons. Nope, of course not an option! Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Indeed it’s what provides the main structural support for all our connective tissues, like bones, joints, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels and our skin.
Not surprisingly, the word collagen comes from the Greek word kolla meaning ‘glue’.
With aging however, there is a reduction in the amount of collagen in the skin of about 1 percent per year. This starts quite early on, from around 20 years of age. Collagen makes up a massive 80 percent of our skin, and, along with elastin looks after our skin flexibility and elasticity. Making this percentage loss a big deal!
With perimenopause and menopause the figures become even more striking. Skin collagen reduces by as much as 30 percent in the first 5 years after menopause. This in turn leads to a reduction of skin elasticity and thickness, sagging of the skin and the formation of wrinkles. With our body’s natural decline in collagen production, the benefits of including it as a supplement become increasingly apparent.
In regards to bone health, bone is made up mostly of collagen. Along with calcium, it is what makes our bones strong and flexible. During aging, collagen alterations reduce bone strength and elasticity, contributing to bone fragility. Indeed we see a parallel between reductions in bone mass and diminishing skin collagen content in particular with post-menopausal women.
Supplementation and its benefits
Fortunately, effective supplementation is available in the form of collagen peptides (CP). This hydrolyzed collagen’s well-absorbed and digested. CP are wonderfully versatile for adding to your diet, including adding to coffee, water or delicious smoothies.
Including CP in your diet can improve skin elasticity, increase skin hydration and improve the signs of aging. The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology identified these benefits in their 2019 literature review. Great results that we can practically apply!
CP are well-recognised for their benefits for bone and joint health. Also for hair, scalp and nails. Benefits continue with reduced insulin resistance, improved sarcopenia, and a healthy blood pressure. Collagen supports muscle strength, muscle mass and soreness after exercise. Regarding gut health, the cells of our gut lining use two of the amino acids of collagen for their essential energy and fuel.
CP also have a positive effect for postmenopausal women with osteopenia, where the bone density is lower than normal. Researchers have recently demonstrated that CP can assist with improving bone metabolism and increasing bone mass for postmenopausal women.
Also consider adding the nutrient vitamin C with your CP to further increase the benefits. Studies have shown individuals to be, on average, 33 percent less likely to develop osteoporosis with a greater dietary vitamin C intake.
What a significant influence CP can have on our overall health at any age! Adding CP to your daily regime can offer many benefits. Just be sure to take the digestible form rather than taking topically on your skin. All the studies point to this way as the most effective.
Now your only delicious decision is what else you’ll be adding to your collagen smoothie…
Need help working out which CP brand and type to take? Book a discovery call with me and let’s chat.