It seems that everyone is talking about collagen these days. Bloggers, fitness gurus and even Instagram stars are touting its amazing health-boosting abilities from strengthening hair and nails to contributing to glowing skin and quieting creaky knees. While that all sounds great, before we start adding collagen powder to our smoothies or popping a supplement we needed a little more information. Is it all it’s cracked up to be or just a passing trend?
First, what exactly is collagen and could it be as unappetizing as it sounds? Collagen is the connective tissue found naturally in our bones, ligaments and tendons. In supplement form, the source is usually powdered tissue from cows and fish. Because it’s naturally packed with protein and amino acids, it does deliver on its ability to keep you full longer and strengthen hair and nails. Wait, did we say connective tissue from cows and fish? Yes, but before you say thanks but no thanks know that the powder is actually tasteless and pairs particularly well with warm foods. We hear one could even swirl a spoonful of the stuff into a cup of coffee without noticing a difference.
Ok, but is there any science to back up these health claims?
We did a little digging and here’s what we found.
According to two studies published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology collagen supplementation improves skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles around the eyes by as much as 20 percent.
“Four weeks after the women stopped their daily regimen, wrinkle volume was still 11.5% less than it was at the start, on average,” reports Prevention Magazine. The second study had 69 women in the same age group drink the substance dissolved in water for 8 weeks; the subjects older than 50 showed a significant improvement in skin elasticity, hydration, and skin roughness.”
For Weight Loss and Stronger Muscles
A study published in the British Journal of Medicine found that resistance training paired with collagen supplementation improved muscle strength and boosted fat loss. “The men who supplemented their workouts saw a greater improvement in their fat-free mass, muscle strength, and fat loss,” Dr. Vincent Pedre, medical director of Pedre Integrative Health told Mind Body Green “This is quite remarkable! Consistently supplementing with collagen can make your workouts stronger at any age.”
For Gut Health
While the research on the benefits of collagen for healing the gut is still out, progressive doctors are reaching for the powder to treat leaky gut. “For the same reasons collagen helps repair and grow muscle tissue, it serves as an excellent nutrient source for rebuilding the rapidly dividing cells that line the interior of the gut,” Dr. Pedre told Mind Body Green. Also, glutamine, one of the primary amino acids in collagen is shown to help prevent inflammation of the gut wall and heal the gut.
Bottom line? Given it’s potential for helping skin glow, hair shine, combatting wrinkles, aiding fat loss, improving muscle strength and healing the gut, this is one trend we’re considering giving a try.