It seems like everywhere you turn there is talk about one of the most sought after supplement ingredients, collagen. Why is collagen so important to wellness and will taking a supplement make a difference? We explore the science in this article.
What is Collagen?
The most prolific protein in the body, collagen is the foundation for many vital structures within the body such as bones, tendons, ligaments, joints and of course, skin. It’s flexible and fibrous nature makes it the ideal material for connective tissues which require strength and a measure of elasticity. When you look at collagen under a microscope, it is similar to a three-strand cord of rope. Its triple helix structure is part of what gives collagen protein its intrinsic strength. Collagen and other types of protein are all made up with amino acids. There are different types of collagen in the body, but collagen generally contains the amino acids glycine and proline.
How Does Collagen Decline with Age?
Collagen production in the body begins to decline as we approach the age of 30. From our mid 20’s on you can expect to lose about 1% of your collagen each year with steady increases in this percentage. Menopausal women begin losing about 30% of their collagen with each passing year. Collagen is what keeps skin plump. A loss of collagen can accelerate the appearance of wrinkling and sagging skin. Collagen loss also affects joint health since it is the main component of several connective tissues found in the body.
Can Collagen Supplements Be Effective?
The short answer: it depends. Not all collagen supplements are equal in quality. Collagen is a large molecule that the digestive system struggles to absorb without proper preparation.* To promote absorption of collagen, it needs to be hydrolyzed or broken down into smaller elements that can be absorbed in the digestive tract. A supplement may contain collagen, but if it is in a form that the body can’t readily use, it is not of much value. Our Hyaluronic Acid complex features collagen in a highly bioavailable form for optimal absorption. Limited scientific studies show that collagen supplementation from a quality product may have a positive impact on joint health and the appearance of skin.*
What Makes Nature’s Lab Collagen Supplements Different
When developing our collagen supplements, we wanted to choose a well-researched form of collagen that is in a form the body is more likely to absorb. We chose BioCell Collagen® because it has been studied extensively in human clinical trials. It is a patented formula based on a naturally-occuring matrix, not individual elements. This matrix contains not only collagen but hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate. It features hydrolyzed collagen that is broken down into much smaller molecules for enhanced absorption. You can try this collagen for yourself in our Turmeric + Joint Complex and Hyaluronic Acid formulas.
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Holwerda, A. M., van Loon, L. J. C. (2022, May 4). The impact of collagen protein ingestion on musculoskeletal connective tissue remodeling: a narrative review. Academic.oup.com. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/80/6/1497/6380930
Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019, October 17). A collagen supplement improves skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density: Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/
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