Aging is a natural process. But that does not mean that anyone should look less pretty or youthful with growing age! Did you know that much of the harm to skin or joints happens due to reduced production of an important structural element of skin and bones named collagen?
What is collagen?
Collagen is a common term for a type of structural proteins that is present in the skin and connective tissues. The biomolecule encompasses approximately 30% of the total proteins present in the human body. Collagen is made of around 19 amino acids like glycine and arginine.
Collagen is directly linked to aging:
Studies show a dramatic reduction in the production of collagen in the body as a person ages. This, in turn, impacts skin’s elasticity and thickness, creating wrinkly or sagging skin. Apart from skin, there is a direct impact on the loss of flexibility in tendons and ligaments, thinning of arteries, and so on. Joint pain or osteoarthritis is the direct consequence of the same.
What are the core benefits of collagen for the human body?
Hydration of the skin is touted as a major benefit. Just like you, your skin needs optimum hydration levels to stay smooth and healthy. Dehydrated skin essentially loses elasticity and is prone to dryness and early wrinkles.
Multiple studies show that collagen peptides may slow down changes in skin that happen due to aging like dryness and loss of elasticity.
A study reported that women participants who consumed collagen supplement in the form of a beverage for 3 months reported higher levels of skin hydration. More evidence is however needed to definitely prove the benefits.
Relief in joint pain:
Collagen is a major component of cartilage, a tissue that protects joints. As we age, collagen production reduces, leading to the onset of early signs of osteoarthritis.
In one study, 73 athletes consumed 10 grams of collagen every day for 6 months. It was reported that this group of athletes experienced significantly less joint pains when compared to the group that did not consume the same.
In June 2016, a report published in the Eurasian Journal of Medicine points out that participants who took collagen experienced a reduction in joint pains.
Some studies show that collagen supplements may help in the reduction of inflammation, joint pains and can protect the body from the early onset of osteoarthritis.
Plays a role in the prevention of bone loss:
Collagen is a structural element that keeps the bones stronger. When the body lowers down the production of collagen, lack of bone mass is a natural consequence. The condition is medically termed as osteoporosis, a painful health condition with an increased risk of fractures.
A study reported that women who took 5 grams of collagen for 12 months showed a higher BMD or bone mineral density level (7%) than the group of women who did not.
Improvement in cardiovascular health:
Collagen is the structural unit that keeps arteries strong. Decreases in the level of collagen weaken them. This may result in a narrowing of arteries and the onset of a condition called atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
A study was conducted on around 31 adults who took 16 grams of collagen every day for 24 weeks. The study shows optimistic signs like a decrease in stiffness of arteries for the participants.
Plant-based collagen supplements may improve gut health:
There is an optimistic result for those who suffer from digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and others. A study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics shows that patients who suffer from IBD experience an imbalance in collagen levels. There is a chance that collagen supplements may improve the gut’s health and relieve some of the symptoms for the patients who suffer from such digestive issues.
Additionally, collagen helps in maintaining the overall health of hairs, nails and enables faster metabolism.
Did you know that the collagen biomolecule is stated to be worth $6 billions by 2025 in the market? The increase in awareness about multiple health benefits for skin and bone health has made this super biomolecule into a billion-dollar industry.
Now, collagen is naturally found in the following types of foods like fish, chicken, citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, soy, some herbs like Bala and ashwagandha, Chinese knotweed, horsetail and so on. The rise of veganism has forced the industry to look for plant-based alternatives.
Increase in demand for plant-based collagen:
Veganism is more than a dietary change! It is more of a lifestyle choice where the vegans decide to steer clear of animal-based diet or products. For those who practise veganism and abstain from animal-based products. There is an increase in demand for plant-based collagen which is a bit different from animal-based collagen.
Collagen can be produced by using genetically modified yeast and bacteria. Studies point out that the bacteria P. pastoris produces high-quality collagen. Plant-based collagen is naturally found in extracts like sea buckthorn, acai berry, acerola cherry and so on.
From deep-sea collagen elixirs to native plant-based collagen powders. There is a surge in demand for collagen in the beauty industry as well as in health supplements.
Now, studies show that consumption of plant-based collagen powder or any other similar product has a different impact than consuming collagen from animal-based products. From lowering of costs due to a scalable environment in the lab where yeast is produced to less allergic reactions that some people might experience while consuming animal-based collagen, there is a shift towards “vegan collagen” or plant-based collagen consumption and production.
Two top-rated plant-based collagen products in Australia:
Native collagen powder by Edible Beauty:
A high-rated product manufactured by Edible Beauty, Australia, this 100% plant-based collagen powder is rich in antioxidants, supports protection against premature aging and optimizes gut health. The product uses extracts from naturally occurring plants like Hibiscus, Kakadu Plum, Quandong, Sea Buckthorn, Maqui Berry, and Mountain Pepper Berry. The product is animal cruelty-free.
“Myself waited several weeks before I could make an honest review. I blend a teaspoon of this product with water, a banana, pumpkin seeds. sunflower seeds, and flax meal. I drink this ritually every morning and the energy I have is unbelievable. It took a couple of weeks but well worth the wait. My nails are growing quicker and my hair feels healthier. I will continue to use this product.” – Natasha F.
Deep-Sea Collagen Elixir Serum by Adore Beauty:
A magic mantra for skin’s replenishment, the deep-sea collagen elixir serum contains natural extracts from Seaweed leaf, Lychee, Purslane, Arcadia Senegal, Xanthan gum, Millet seeds, Portulaca oleracea, and so on. The product is vegan and animal-cruelty free.
“This serum leaves my skin glowing and feeling amazingly soft!! I will definitely be repurchasing this product before it runs out because I don’t want to be without it!!!!” – Zhaowei.
An essential building block for skin health, bone health, and many other body functions, more extensive research is awaited to know the exact benefits of consuming collagen. But there is an optimistic certainty that the consumption has little or no side-effects and many people experience happy and radiant results of glowing skin and gut!