Collagen is the most important joint component, and their damage is related to insufficient amounts of this protein in the tissues. Supplementation with collagen has a healing impact on joints and also reduces pain, which is confirmed by scientific studies. Does collagen only help the joints? In what doses should collagen be taken to make it work? How to choose the best collagen?
Collagen for joints, strong bones and young skin
Collagen is one of the main building proteins of the body. It is the most important component of connective tissue, which means that it is part of cartilage, bones, teeth, tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles. It is dominated by type I collagen, which makes up around 90% of all collagen proteins. For this reason, it is a good idea to use collagen for joints in the case of intense physical effort and pain.
What is collagen good for?
Collagen is associated with several medicinal and health-promoting benefits, but only some of these are well-established and scientifically supported.
It is certainly known that:
- Collagen strengthens joints and bones
The effects of collagen on joints are well studied. Collagen increases the integrity of cartilage - the elastic structure that protects joints, and its decreasing amount in cartilage with age has been linked to osteoarthritis. Taken for joints, collagen can alleviate symptoms of already existing degeneration, reduce the formation of new lesions, and reduce joint pain. Supplementation with collagen for joints is necessary for a minimum period of 3-6 months.
Not only calcium and vitamin D3 are responsible for healthy and strong bones. Do not forget about collagen - an important component of the bone. Its supplementation for a minimum of 3 months is linked to a lower risk of osteomalacia, osteoporosis and bone fractures.
- Collagen reduces wrinkles
Collagen is the main element of the skin. Its production in the skin decreases with age, which results in wrinkles and poor hydration. Collagen supplementation can slow the ageing of the skin, improve hydration, reduce wrinkles, increase skin tone and density. Taking collagen for at least 2-3 months stimulates the formation of new collagen in the skin, as well as other proteins responsible for its structure - elastin and fibrillin.
- Collagen improves the condition of the arteries
Collagen is an important component of blood vessels. Without it, arteries and veins become weak and fragile, leading to atherosclerosis - a disease in which damage to the arteries is 'plugged' with a fatty lamina, the lumen of the arteries shrinks, gradually leading to heart attacks and strokes. Taking collagen for 6 months reduces arterial stiffness and reduces atherosclerotic lesions.
How does collagen affect the joints?
Collagen is a large protein and due to its size and complex structure, there is no way that collagen taken in a meal or supplement could be directly absorbed into the joints or skin. Collagen, like other proteins, is digested in the digestive tract partly to free amino acids and partly to collagen peptides Pro-Hyp, which is composed of two amino acids - proline and hydroxyproline. They are highly bioavailable, namely well absorbed from the blood into the target tissues. Therefore, collagen supplementation ensures that there is a larger amino acid number in the body that can be used to build joints, bones and skin. Furthermore, collagen peptides are attributed to unique functions not available in other proteins. Crucial in collagen's impact on joints and wrinkle reduction is the Pro-Hyp dipeptide, which increases skin cell production and especially plays a role in stimulating cells that synthesise new collagen fibres. Consequently, collagen acts on joints, skin, bones and other organs by supplying the body with the building blocks of connective tissue as well as stimulates collagen production and repair of damaged tissues.
The most powerful collagen - what to look for when choosing the best one?
The best collagen is the one that works. To make sure collagen supplementation is effective, you need to use the right dose of it. Although there are no official recommendations for effective collagen dosages, scientific studies suggest that the necessary amount of collagen for joints is 8-12 g per day. This amount is most easily obtained from collagen powder, which is mixed with water and drunk. Therefore, it can be assumed that it is the best way of consuming it for our joints. It can be enriched with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which increase collagen synthesis. In supplements for joints, MSM (organic sulphur), glucosamine and chondroitin are often found alongside collagen. However, the main indication of the best collagen should be the high dose of collagen itself.
Collagen used to smooth the skin and reduce wrinkles should be taken at a dose of 2 to 5g per day. This amount can easily be provided from high quality capsules..
According to scientific publications, the most powerful collagen is natural fish collagen extracted from fish skins and scales. It is characterised by its small peptide content, greater bioavailability and digestibility than collagen from other sources. When considering which collagen to choose, it is worth paying attention to whether it is hydrolysed to be more easily digested and absorbed. The best collagen does not have to be freeze-dried. It does not show significantly better characteristics than, for example, spray-dried. However, freeze-drying does not harm collagen supplements in any way and prolongs their durability.
Is collagen supplementation necessary?
Collagen supplementation is not necessary always and for everyone, but it can be very helpful. People over 50 are especially likely to benefit from taking it, as they are at greater risk of inflammation and mechanical damage to their joints. Bone density also decreases with age, which is associated with the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, while collagen supplementation strengthens the bones, potentially reducing the risk of fractures.
Collagen supplementation is advisable for anyone who complains of joint or bone pain, joint "crunching", rheumatism, is at risk of osteomalacia and osteoporosis, or does regular physical activity.
Why collagen supplementation instead of diet? Collagen supplements are the easiest way of getting collagen into the body because, in food, this protein is found primarily in the connective tissues and skins of animals. Hardly anyone eats the meat cartilage or skins. They are treated rather as rubbish. The only common sources of collagen in food can be long-cooked broth on bones and cartilage, meat and fruit jellies made from gelatine. However, with an increased demand for collagen peptides, simply drinking broth is not enough. In addition, collagen supplementation in capsules or powder allows us to accurately take this protein in the right amounts suggested by scientific studies.
Collagen for athletes - why is it important?
Athletes are one of the groups that are most prone to joint damage. It is caused by high biomechanical loads of connective tissue and non-physiological movements, e.g. turns, changes of direction, sudden stops. All this causes the excessive use of cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Joint collagen for athletes can be very important in treating ongoing damage, preventing injuries and degeneration.
Collagen is recommended for all athletes, especially those most exposed to overloads - those who train too much, rest too short, use incorrect techniques during training (which very often happens to beginners), and are exposed to stress caused by competitions. The knee joint is the most frequent injury among athletes. To prevent them, regular collagen supplementation is recommended.
Studies with physically active and healthy people (without osteoarthritis) have shown that the short-term increase in collagen degradation during and after a workout can be eliminated by taking collagen at a dose of 5-10 g for a period of 3 to 6 months.
A collagen supplement for athletes can prevent joint damage and heal already existing injuries by stimulating collagen production in the tissues.