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All About Collagen

Research supporting collagen benefits for health, beauty, and sports performance. 

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. Its function is to hold tissues together, ensuring integrity, elasticity, and skin regeneration, cartilage, and bones, among others. 

It represents almost 30% of all proteins present in the human body. Collagen ingests date from centuries, past generations used to prepare bone broths to contribute to bone and joint health. 

Our body’s natural production of collagen peaks at around age 20. After that, its metabolic cycle slows down, causing a gradual deterioration of collagen fibers in all connective tissues. This process affects different parts of our body, such as skin, hair, nails, bones, cartilage, and joints.

Effects of collagen deficiency in the body 

What happens in the body when collagen levels decrease? 

The collagen network that provides firmness and structure breaks down. As a result, cells become less active while the skin becomes thinner and dehydrated. Fine lines, wrinkles, and deep marks will appear. 

Bones begin to lose their natural balance; this means that there is a reduction in bone formation. This makes the bone structure increasingly fragile and easy to break. 

Low levels of collagen and other network components can cause cartilage and joints to malfunction, resulting in discomfort and pain during daily activities.

Collagen deficiency causes the structure of the tissues responsible for giving vitality to hair and nails to lose strength becoming more fragile. As a result, hair loss is accentuated and nails break easily.

How to maintain collagen at healthy levels?

Collagen is a natural and safe ingredient that can be obtained from different sources. It can be found, for example, in bone broths or gelatin.  However, consumption of these foods does not ensure adequate levels of collagen availability. 

The most effective way to incorporate it and ensure its absorption into the body is through a hydrolyzed collagen supplement. 

The hydrolysis of collagen is a process through with the help of enzymes the protein is fractioned into small chains of amino acids. These chains or peptides are more easily digested and absorbed, allowing our body to take full advantage of its benefits for tissue health. 

Several studies have shown that 90% of hydrolyzed collagen is digested and absorbed within hours of ingestion. This quick availability ensures the effective delivery of essential peptides and amino acids to the appropriate tissue.

In addition, the supplements combine collagen peptides with other essential nutrients such as vitamin C, a contributing factor to collagen synthesis in the body. 

For all these reasons, hydrolyzed collagen supplements are the best and most effective source of collagen for the body.

Benefits of supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen. 

Collagen peptides contain a high level of key amino acids, such as glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These three represent about 50% of the total amino acid content in collagen. Hydroxyproline is only found in this protein.

The collagen amino acids are the same found in skin, joints, and bones.

This composition gives collagen peptides a bio-functional property not found in other protein sources, promoting reparative effects on different tissues of the body. 

In addition, they have a dual-action effect: provide amino acids necessary for tissue renewal while triggering the natural synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers.

Benefits for the skin.

Collagen fibers are a key component of skin structure. They provide infrastructure for elastin and hyaluronic acid, which are in charge of maintaining elasticity and retain moisture. 

As a result, the skin remains firm and hydrated, preventing the appearance or accentuation of lines, wrinkles, and deep marks. 

A recent clinical study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology demonstrated that collagen peptides intake can effectively improve skin density and hydration.

The report shows that collagen fragmentation in the deeper layers of the dermis was reduced after four weeks, and decreased by 31% after 12 weeks. 

At the same time, the density of the collagen layers increased, providing more firmness to the skin. Hydration improved by 28%. This rearrangement is key to obtaining an anti-aging effect.

Benefits for the bones.

Collagen makes up about 90% of organic bone mass, and provides flexibility for calcium absorption, increasing bone strength.

According to different researches, collagen intake contributes directly to bone metabolism: stimulating the regeneration of collagenous tissue, maintaining mineral density, and improving bone strength.

A review published in the Hospital Nutrition Journal states that regular consumption of hydrolyzed collagen can prevent and alleviate symptoms of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.

Benefits for articulations.

Collagen makes up 70 to 90% of cartilage and is crucial for its structure and strength. 

With age and high impact loads on the joints, cartilage damage and even breakage can occur. 

Symptoms may include joint pain, brittleness, stiffness, and blockages. 

Daily intake of hydrolyzed collagen stimulates the synthesis of cartilage cells, producing and increasing aggrecan and collagen. 

A recent study suggests that by taking 8 grams of collagen daily it is possible to reduce joint pain and improve joint flexibility and function.

Benefits for hair and nails.

Collagen is the structural foundation for skin and nails. When amino acids from collagen peptides are ingested, they are absorbed and utilized by hair follicles to produce keratin, a protein highly necessary for healthy hair. 

Toenails and fingernails, also contain keratin which is boosted by daily hydrolyzed collagen ingest.  

Benefits for the muscles.

To ensure optimal muscle regeneration, physically active individuals need sufficient amino acid availability to enable muscle synthesis during recovery. 

A collagen-rich diet after exercise can enhance muscle anabolism helping to maintain and restore muscle protein content. 

Bioactive proteins, such as collagen peptides, can provide numerous benefits beyond muscle building, like improving performance, protecting connective tissues, maintaining healthy joints, and reducing the risk of injury.

Frequently Asked Questions about hydrolyzed collagen intake.

Which is the minimum recommended dosage? 

Scientific studies suggest that a minimum daily intake of 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen may be sufficient to take advantage of all its benefits. However, the dosage may vary when it comes to bioactive peptides, so it is recommended to check the manufacturer’s indications for each particular supplement.

What are the differences between bovine, porcine, and marine collagen? 

None. Collagen protein has a single structure, whether it comes from a porcine, bovine or marine source, and in all three cases, the effects are the same.

Are there different collagen types? 

Natural collagen can be classified as type 1, 2, or 3. However, this classification is no longer relevant when the collagen is subjected to the double hydrolysis process. After this step, the collagen remains in its purest state and contains no traces of its origin.

Can hydrolyzed collagen supplements contribute to gain weight? 

Daily consumption of hydrolyzed collagen does not provide a significant amount of calories. It is estimated that 10 grams of collagen have around 65 calories, which can be easily balanced with a healthy diet and moderate physical exercise. Furthermore, the consumption of collagen has a satiety effect that can help us reduce the total daily calories ingested.

Does hydrolyzed collagen have any contraindications? 

There are no contraindications for the consumption of collagen since it is a natural product that can be easily assimilated by the body. It is important to ensure that the supplement has high quality and that the dosage is the one recommended by the manufacturer or the doctor.

Is collagen properly absorbed by the body? 

The enzymatic hydrolysis of collagen is a process that ensures collagen molecules become available, digestible, and absorbable by the body. Hydrolyzation ensures collagen absorption so that the body can take advantage of all its benefits in tissue regeneration.

Is hydrolyzed collagen effective? 

Nowadays, there is a vast scientific literature that demonstrates the health effects of drinking collagen. 

Some of these studies were mentioned in this post, but there are many others. In addition, the positive experience of the large majority of consumers highlights its positive effects on the skin, bones, and joint health.

Is marine collagen better? 

There are many myths about marine collagen being better than the one obtained from other sources. The truth is that for our body to absorb collagen, it must be hydrolyzed, and in that process, the collagen molecule is split into peptides that do not contain any trace of its origin. Therefore, all hydrolyzed collagen peptides are identical and have the same effect, regardless of their source.

Does collagen taste bad? 

No. The taste of hydrolyzed collagen supplements may vary depending on the components used by each manufacturer. The formulation can have different flavors depending on how it is made (with water, yogurt, or natural juices), so each consumer can choose a solution that fits their preference.

Does hydrolyzed collagen work better on an empty stomach? 

It is indistinct. Although fasting is the time when the digestive system is freer and with more “working capacity”, which could be traduced in better absorption, the truth is that at any time of the day the hydrolyzed collagen peptides can be easily absorbed.

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