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The popularity of collagen is skyrocketing. It’s especially effective in compensating for problems related to our bones and our skin as we age. Although human beings start out making collagen naturally, as people get older, they become less capable of absorbing nutrients or synthesizing them. In that case, collagen-rich foods and supplements can compensate for deficiencies. Collagen is also the most abundant protein in your body so you might want to know a bit about it.
Collagen can help a lot with arthritis, a painful disease in which the body has an autoimmune response against its own cartilage. There’s a few theories as to why this helps relieve joint pain. One is that it might accumulate in the cartilage and stimulate production of more cartilage. Another, is that that this supplementation might not replace collagen due to the autoimmune response. Instead, it may lessen the severity of the autoimmune response itself by increasing the body’s tolerance of (or familiarity with) collagen through repeated exposure!
Sarcopenia is losing muscle mass (often as we grow older.) This condition increases the possibility of falls and bone breaks. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the rate of this loss. A recent study noted that a combination of weight training and the use of collagen supplemention can help. In that study, a group taking collagen derived from chickens increased their muscle strength and their fat free muscle mass at a much higher rate than the control group.
Finally, collagen can also help with maintaining the elasticity of your skin. It’s a common problem: aging skin can get wrinkly. While the sun has its own impact on your skin, aging alone can decrease the quality and the quantity of collagen your skin uses. Oral administration of bovine collagen can compensate for those decreases and help maintain a youthful look.
There are collagen supplements that are widely available. One of the most familiar might be bone broth, which takes collagen out of the bones of chicken, fish or beef. You’re right to be concerned about what exactly is the source of that collagen. Supplements using animal parts from cows or ground up hooves might make consumers think twice. You’ll feel more assured if you look for companies that acquire their collagen (bones and tissues) from cage-free, free-range, and antibiotic-free sources.
Collagen: “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. It is the substance that holds the body together. Collagen forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure. Endogenous collagen is natural collagen, synthesized by the body. Exogenous collagen is synthetic. It comes from an outside source, such as supplements.” (Medical News Today)
LINKS & RESOURCES: “Sarcopenia with Aging,” Web MD, June 30, 2019, https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/sarcopenia-with-aging#2, accessed April 2019.
“Chicken capsules good for aching joints, arthritis study finds,” Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130192915.htm, accessed April 2019.
Hongdong Song, et al., "Effect of orally administered collagen peptides from bovine bone on skin aging in chronologically aged mice," Nutrients 9.11 (2017): 1209, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/11/1209, accessed April 2019.
James McIntosh, “Collagen: What is it and what are its uses?” Medical News Today, June 16, 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262881.php, accessed April 2019.
“Resistance exercise and specific collagen peptides fight sarcopenia,” Neutraceutical Business Review, September 23, 2015, https://www.nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/news/article_page/Resistance_exercise_and_specific_collagen_peptides_fight_sarcopenia/112079, accessed April 2019.
Gregory Shaw, et al., "Vitamin C–enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis," The American journal of clinical nutrition 105.1 (2016): 136-143, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/105/1/136/4569849?fbclid=IwAR2F-PlCIV5b1IDRWrnBKvq44-tp81Ei5WlDrdeljiWZLQ2kIGZqHlqmCwI, accessed April 2019.
“The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen,” Cleveland Clinic: Health Essentials, May 15, 2018, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/, accessed April 2019.
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