Welcome to our first guest blog post from Natural Healthy Concepts! Natural Healthy Concepts is a leader in educating people to change their lives through wellness and natural health. They have been offering education on essential oils, collagen, turmeric, and more since 2004.
Many of us think of collagen as a beauty and anti-aging supplement, but did you know it has a vast array of internal health benefits as well? Collagen has long been used for beautifying our exterior, such as the skin, hair, and nails, which it is proven to do, but that’s not all this protein can do - not by a long shot.
What is Collagen
Collagen is a structural protein, making up over 30% of all proteins in the body. We need collagen for several reasons; it helps to form our skin, tendons, ligaments, organs, and bones, and even parts of the gastrointestinal tract. But by the age of 50, the body will lose up to 50% of collagen, and that’s a problem for the body. So how do you stop this?
There are three major types of collagens in our body: Type I, Type II, and Type III. Collagen Type I and III are known to support healthy aging, offer bone support, and promote healthy circulation and muscle health. Type II Collagen, on the other hand, primarily supports cartilage health as well as joint health in the knees, back, and jaw. With this knowledge, individuals can seek out the types of collagen that will provide them optimal benefits.
How Collagen Helps Athletes
Osteoarthritis, joint pain, and inflammation are common in active people, particularly runners. Even people in their 20s have been known to suffering from joint problems either due to higher impact workout regimens or genetics. Oftentimes, the cause of these problems is cartilage that starts to break down and erode around joints.
While collagen loss is a serious problem, there is much less evidence that exercise can accelerate the progression of joint disintegration, which is commonly thought of as ‘wearing out’ your joints. While there is no way to repair joint damage caused by other conditions without medical intervention, there are ways to reduce problems that stem from a loss of collagen.
Reasons to Take Collagen
The use of collagen for joint difficulties and mobility challenges is relatively new. In the past, advertisers sold people on the promise of collagen helping to maintain youthful skin. But thanks to increasing science based evidence about its use for joints and mobility, collagen is making its way into more sports products and supplements. A study showed that when collagen supplements were combined regularly with resistance training, elderly men had a “pronounced improvement in body composition,” with an “increase in muscle mass” and a “decrease in fat mass.”
Collagen also works for your joints as a major component of connective tissue. As you age or become more active, the body is slower to regenerate collagen, causing joints to lose the previous protective layer. Supplementing with collagen is said to help your body continue to produce collagen efficiently, primarily because of the amino acids found in collagen. Amino acids are chains of molecules that act as a kind of glue for other molecules, like protein. If taken on a regular basis, these amino acids are believed to help the body replenish a new supply of collagen.
There are also reports that suggest collagen has a regulating effect on the immune system, which can help contribute to a healthy inflammation response in healthy joint tissue. In another study, scientists found that collagen (from chicken broth) inhibited the attraction of immune system cells to the site of inflammation. This resulted in a protective effect on exposed collagen in addition to helping relieve inflammation. In a sense, taking a collagen supplement disrupts the normal function of the immune system, helping to stop it from harming us.
While studies on collagen continue every day, and many are still in the early stages, we cannot ignore what has already been discovered. Collagen is quickly becoming one of the most all-inclusive natural supplements for our overall health, beauty, and wellbeing.