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The Science Behind Collagen Supplementation: Fact or Fiction?

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The Science Behind Collagen Supplementation: Fact or Fiction?

The Science Behind Collagen Supplementation: Fact or Fiction?



Collagen is a protein naturally present in our body that contributes to the structural elements of epithelial and connective tissues including ligaments, the lining of organs, tendons, cartilage, and skin. It even makes up  3- to 40% of our bone's organic matrix with collagen acting as a scaffold providing a framework for anchoring bone cells (osteocytes), regulating growth and supporting mineral deposition.


The formation of collagen in the body involves the assembly of collagen fibrils using primarily three specific amino acids: proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. These fibrils are grouped together in larger clusters forming collagen fibres which possess remarkable tensile strength and elasticity. These amino acids are uniquely rich in collagen supplements providing the body with a bioactive source of these vital amino acids.


Consuming collagen rich and collagen boosting foods is an effective way to support our natural collagen stores in the body as it provides more of these vital amino acids to support collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen supplementation provides a rich source of collagen peptides for use by the body as it is a highly bioavailable source of amino acids that can be rapidly up taken and used by the body.



Collagen Supports Skin Health


The dermal proteins collagen, elastin and proteoglycans are essential to providing support our skin’s structure, hydration, and elasticity. These proteins are synthesised and secreted by specialised skin cells called fibroblasts. When fibroblasts are activated by biochemical triggers and mechanical tension within the body they produce collagen. However, this activation reduces as we age due to both internal (chronological) and external (environment and lifestyle) factors.


There is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicate that the incorporation of ingestible collagen peptides can significantly increase fibroblast collagen and elastin synthesis, while reducing the impact of dermal protein degrading enzymes. Evidence from placebo-controlled clinical studies show that daily oral consumption of collagen peptides improves the density and integrity of the collagen structures and elastic properties of normal skin.  The positive effects of collagen peptides on fibroblast activity can be further enhanced in the presence of antioxidants like vitamins A and C.



The Key to Healthy Joints and Mobility


Collagen, along with elastin, is a key protein present in our joint connective tissue. The loss of collagen contributes to the increase in joint pain experienced by some individuals. Consequently, researchers have speculated that supplementing with collagen might have the potential to alleviate joint pain.


Randomised trials have investigated the effectiveness of collagen supplementation in reducing joint pain across diverse populations. For instance, a trial conducted with college-aged athletes demonstrated that a 24-week regimen of daily hydrolysed collagen intake at a dosage of 10 mg resulted in improved joint pain, particularly in the knees. Similarly, another randomized trial indicated that 13 weeks of collagen supplementation led to subjective reports of reduced pain associated with osteoarthritis.



Healing from the Inside Out



Collagen is a rich source of bioactive peptides with nutraceutical benefits associated with supporting digestive balance and reducing the impact of gut inflammation associated with conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Dysfunction of the intestinal barrier is a key indicator of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and can cause painful chronic inflammation and may lead to damage to the gastrointestinal tract.


Research has provided recent evidence that bioactive collagen peptide amino acids may support the maintenance, reinforcement, and repair of intestinal barriers. This is due to the ability of collagen peptides to support the synthesis of tight junction proteins that reinforce the epithelial tissue that lines the digestive system, this reinforcement of intestinal barriers may reduce the impact of oxidative stress and associated inflammation.


The support that collagen supplementation is not just limited to research in chronic gut issues with current studies underway investigating the use of daily collagen peptide supplementation in the reduction of bloating and the improvement of mild digestive symptoms in otherwise healthy female adults in the absence of any other dietary or lifestyle interventions.



Want to find out more?

We have curated a database of relevant collagen peptide supplementation research and trials; this information can be found on our dedicated Collagen Research & Studies page.



Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult with your Doctor or healthcare professional regarding your individual health needs before making any changes to your health routine or starting any new dietary supplements.




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