What is collagen?
I made an impulse buy at the Vitamin Shoppe the other day and bought a powder form of the dietary supplement collagen.
I'm usually not one to make impulse decisions when shopping, but oh well, at least this is better than a random pair of shoes or expensive purse (in my opinion).
I decided to buy collagen because I heard that it was much better for healthy skin and hair when compared to the popular vitamin B7 (Biotin). And I liked the idea of having a powder supplement so I could add it to drinks and smoothies!
When I got home, however, I realized that as a pharmacist I really should know more about exactly what collagen is, how it works, and if this powder is really the most effective way to intake the protein.
While I was doing my research on collagen, I read numerous articles stating, "collagen is a protein found in animal hooves and bones."
Yes, that is a correct statement, but, um, hello people! Collagen is the most abundant protein in OUR bodies! Collagen is not just an animal protein. It is in HUMAN connective tissue: bones, cartilage, tendons, teeth, digestive system, muscles, skin, etc.
I'd say that collagen is pretty important, wouldn't you?
I continued my research to find out what benefits I could expect to see if I started taking this supplement on a daily basis.
Here is what I found out about collagen
As stated above, collagen is basically the building block protein that makes linings of our body (skin, digestive tract, muscle, etc.) durable and strong. However, our body's natural production of collagen slows down as we age. Therefore, supplementing with this protein daily can increase the amount of collagen in our bodies and lead to these benefits:
A 2014 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studied the effects of oral administration of collagen to women ages 35 to 55. The women were randomized to either receive the treatment (2.5 to 5 grams of collagen hydrolysate once daily) or placebo for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, skin elasticity in the treatment group showed statistically significant improvement in comparison to the placebo group. (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology)
Bone and Joint health
The stiff, achy, swollen joints that come with older age are caused by decreased production of collagen. It has been proven, however, that supplementation with oral collagen can be beneficial for this suffering from joint pain! We are taught in pharmacy school that the best OTC treatment for osteoarthritis is acetaminophen (Tylenol). However, upon finding that research has shown osteoarthritis patients to benefit from supplmenting with collagen, I am now going to start recommending collagen! Not only is it a natural remedy, but it also does not have the risk of liver toxicity like with acetaminophen.
Two scoops of collagen packs in about 20 grams of protein! How does that help with weight loss? Adding those 2 scoops to your morning coffee or juice can help you to feel fuller for longer!
Just the other day my mom asked me for advice on what she could take for her aching joints, so it was really exciting for me to read that collagen could possible be her answer! Initially when she asked me, I had told her to supplement with glucosamine because this is what I was taught in pharmacy school (other than the acetaminophen as mentioned above). When I read about collagen and bone health, I immediately called my mom to let her know! She was also excited to hear this since the glucosamine she bought was really large and tasted bad.
Want to learn how you can incorporate more collagen into your diet?
First, head over to your closest Vitamin Shoppe to get the collagen supplement.
Do you have any suggestions for recipes or other ways to intake this dietary supplement? What do you think about the benefits of collagen?
Leave a comment below! And as always, thank you for your support!