Are you thinking about trying collagen supplements? Here is what to know first.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in the body, and the main component of connective tissue that make up skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 1 Collagen production decreases as you age. 2 Because of this, it can be beneficial to take collagen supplements or increase the amount of collagen you get from your diet, especially as you get older.
Food Sources of Collagen
Adding more of the above foods to your diet is a good way to get the benefits of collagen. However, if you find it difficult to integrate enough collagen-rich foods into your diet and prefer the convenience of a supplement, you may find that taking a good quality collagen supplement is the right choice for you. Keep in mind that all sources of collagen are animal-protein based. There are kosher options available.
What are the Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements?
Taking collagen may help increase bone density and reduce bone loss. 3 4 In one study where participants in one group took calcium, vitamin D, and collagen supplements and another group took only calcium and vitamin D supplements, the group that did not take collagen had significantly more bone loss than the group that took collagen supplements. 5
Improves Skin, Hair, & Nails
Many people take collagen in order to improve the health and look of their hair, skin, and nails. Taking collagen may strengthen nails and help both hair and nails grow faster. 6 Collagen may also improve skin’s elasticity and reduce the appearance of aging. 7 As you age, your body produces less collagen, which contributes to dry, wrinkled, and sagging skin. 8 Taking collagen supplements may help to keep your skin, nails, and hair looking and feeling their best.
Helps Relieve Achy Joints
As you age, your body produces less collagen, and the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint disorders increases. 9 Research shows that taking collagen supplements may help reduce joint stiffness and other symptoms of osteoarthritis. 10
What are the Side Effects?
As with any dietary supplement, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects associated with taking collagen. Some people experience bloating, nausea, and digestive issues when they take this supplement.
It is also important to note that collagen supplements may be made with common allergens including shellfish, fish, and eggs, so if you are allergic to any of these you should avoid taking collagen. Collagen supplements are also animal-protein based, so they are not appropriate for those following a vegan diet.
How to Choose Collagen Supplements
Identifying high quality collagen supplements can be difficult, especially if you are new to using dietary supplements. This is because FDA regulations on supplements are very limited, which means there are many products out there that may not actually be what they claim to be. 11 For the best product, look for supplement brands that conduct third-party testing. If you want some guidance in choosing quality dietary supplements, talk to a naturopathic doctor. They can help you identify trusted products that have been adequately tested.