The Benefits of Collagen: What This Invaluable Protein Can Do for Your Body
By Christopher Walker
The bodybuilding industry endlessly peddles protein supplements. It’s how the industry stays in business. What the so-called gurus don’t tell you, though, is that not all proteins are created equal.
Collagen is one such protein that is not always found in your typical whey protein powder or product. Not only is this the most abundant protein in the body, but it also does your body good in far more ways than one.
We’ll outline the benefits of collagen with the hard science to back it up.
1. Collagen Promotes Healthy Skin and Hair
Collagen production naturally declines with age. The lack of collagen is what accounts for wrinkly and saggy skin. It also accounts for hair loss in men. Instead of buying cosmetic creams or Rogaine, we recommend supplementing with collagen.
Collagen improves skin health and elasticity, making the skin firmer and suppler. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, female subjects that took collagen supplements over an eight-week period saw a remarkable improvement in skin moisture, dermal elasticity and less skin roughness. The subjects reported very little side effects or none at all.
READ MORE: The 5 Essential Types Of Collagen
For women planning on showing skin on their next beach trip, they should know that collagen also reduces cellulite. Cellulite is what gives you the dreaded “cottage cheese thighs.” Those little bumps and stretch marks become more visible because surface skin layer becomes thinner as collagen decreases.
2. Collagen Lowers Joint Pain
Do you feel the onset of arthritis? Do you feel a pounding sensation on your knees when you run or even walk? Are your elbows, wrists or fingers throbbing when you type or use a writing instrument?
Your joint areas are likely lacking in collagen, which acts as a glue or cushion of sorts that prevents friction between the connecting bones. Think of collagen as lubricant oil that prevents friction and heat buildup between metal moving parts in a car engine.
One 24-week study verified that collagen supplementation is effective for reducing joint pain in athletes who otherwise show no signs of joint health disease. Another study also found that the health benefits of collagen extend to patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis. That’s not all; more research found that the protein is also effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis and similar inflammatory diseases.
3. Collagen Is Good for the Gut
Your gut is the epicenter of your overall health. This area of your body has a direct and indirect effect on your brain, hormonal and immune health. Do you frequently experience bloating? More seriously, have you been diagnosed with a gut-related disease, such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s, acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome?
One study found an inverse correlation between collagen levels and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In other words, as collagen levels decrease, IBD instances increase. This occurs because collagen-based amino acids make up the internal tissue that lines the gastrointestinal tracts. As the inner connective tissue lining thins out, the tracts become vulnerable to irritation. This is also what accounts for much of the aforementioned gut-related disorders.
To really ramp up gut health and improve digestion, get more collagen in your diet while also consuming probiotic-rich foods.
4. Collagen Increases Lean Muscle Mass
Collagen benefits extend to the gym. For all the gym rats and muscle heads out there, take notice. The protein helps through a number of pathways. This is not to say, though, that collagen has steroid-like effects; don’t go injecting yourself with collagen-filled syringes as a pre-workout ritual.
Collagen helps convert glucose into energy, which your muscles require for recovery. If you’re active in the gym, you may also be familiar with the amino acid arginine. This is the main ingredient found in most nitric oxide (NO) supplements due to its ability to increase blood vessel dilation. In turn, this increases nutrient transportation after a heavy workout. A 12-week study showed that arginine promotes lean gains in muscle mass and strength increase.
Collagen, as it turns out, is rich in arginine.
For maximum muscle gains, we recommend a collagen supplement or food rich in collagen, in conjunction with a natural testosterone booster like Testro-X.
Even if you’re not trying to pack on muscle, collagen still improves overall health by strengthening your immune system and increasing your body’s ability to use antioxidants.
5. Collagen Increases Strength of Hair, Nails and Teeth
Do you have brittle nails that frequently split? Is your dentist seeing signs of periodontal disease even though you brush and floss daily?
One study found that collagen could have therapeutic effects for treating hair loss and dermal diseases. Another study that found that collagen may play a vital role in teeth enamel formation. Enamel is the outer coating that protects the teeth. Once enamel is stripped away from factors like consuming acidic foods, it’s gone forever and cannot regenerate.
6. Collagen Is Good for the Liver
Glycine is one of the key amino acids used to form collagen that has a myriad of health benefits. Glycine is also known to protect the liver by absorbing harmful endocrine disruptors, such as toxins and allergens from food and the air you breathe. In a 1998 study, glycine was found to have a healing effect on liver damage from long-term alcohol intake.
For optimal results, we recommend combining collagen intake with regular intermittent fasting. During your fasting period, consume a serving of collagen-rich bone broth. Both the broth and the fasting helps detoxify the liver and cleanses it from years of toxin accumulation. In addition, the broth also quells hunger.
7. Collagen Improves Blood Flow
Last but not least, collagen boosts blood flow. Aside from glycine, proline is another amino acid that makes up the collagen protein. Proline keeps blood pressure in check and improves blood flow by removing fat buildup from arterial walls. A study at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed that collagen reduces arterial stiffening, which is a big risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
We also mentioned earlier that collagen is rich in arginine. Dilated blood vessels also mean better blood flow to the heart.
If poor circulation and associated conditions like varicose veins is a problem, then we recommend a supplement stack of collagen and a product like Redwood.
Collagen Benefits Speak for Themselves
As you can see with the wealth of independent studies, collagen benefits are the real deal. Whether you get them through food or supplementation (including hydrolyzed collagen powder), make a commitment to make this vital protein a mainstay in your diet. You’ll notice drastic improvements both in the gym and from a general health standpoint.
And if you want to make it easy on yourself, we recommend grabbing some zuCollagen Protein. All of the benefits with none of the stress. Just mix and go!