How does collagen work?

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Rejuvenating creams and supplements with collagen are an absolute must-have for the modern woman. Known as the “protein of youth”, collagen is something like a scaffolding for the skin. Specialists have long been talking about its beneficial effects on the body. How does collagen work and why should you use it?

Collagen – what is it?

Collagen is a fibrous protein that is the foundation of connective tissue. It builds the walls of veins, arteries and blood vessels. It is also one of the basic building blocks of joints, bones, tendons, hair, skin and nails. Collagen constitutes as much as 70% of protein cells in the skin, ensuring its proper hydration and elasticity. “Protein of youth” directly affects the stability of the skeleton, vascular elasticity and skin. Its molecules form long thin fibers that bind the body together and provide tissues with stretchability. A young body produces collagen in sufficient amounts, but as we age, its production declines. A particular decline in collagen occurs in menopausal women. This explains why the skin then loses its firmness and becomes flabby.

How does collagen work?

Collagen has a number of beneficial properties. We present only those scientifically proven.

Improves the condition of the skin

The condition of the skin depends on collagen. It also affects the speed with which wounds, burns or scratches heal. A group of German scientists conducted a study among women aged 35 to 55 years. For two months some of them took collagen hydrolysate, and the rest – a placebo. As a result, the skin of women who drank collagen became more elastic and moisturized. Researchers did not observe any side effects of the supplementation.

Strengthens bones and joints

Collagen supports protective processes within cartilage tissue, treats inflammation, and helps with joint pain. It also strengthens bones, protects them from wear and tear, and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis. American nutritionists conducted an experiment to which they invited 147 athletes. They divided them into two groups and asked them to supplement their daily diet with supplements. Some of the athletes regularly took 10 grams of collagen, while the rest took a placebo. After 24 weeks, the athletes who took the collagen experienced improvements in their musculoskeletal system at rest, on the move, and when carrying or lifting objects.

Accelerates the growth of muscle mass

Collagen accounts for about 10% of total muscle mass. According to scholars, collagen also helps to increase its amount and improves performance during workouts. Taking it not only keeps tendons and joints healthy, but also reduces the risk of injuries of varying degrees of severity. This was proven by a group of German specialists who conducted an experiment involving 50 men with reduced muscle mass. Half of them received 15 g of collagen every day and performed strength training three times a week. The others just worked out. As a result, those of the men who took collagen gained more muscle mass.

Helps heart function

Collagen builds the walls of blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to other organs. When this protein is deficient, the vessels become brittle, which promotes atherosclerosis and increases the risk of stroke or heart attack. Over a six-month period, Japanese scientists monitored the health of 31 people. The volunteers took 16 g of collagen every day with their meals. At the end of the study, specialists noted a significant elasticity of blood vessel walls. Moreover, in the blood of the subjects there was an increase in the concentration of HDL cholesterol by about 6%. Based on this, the scientists concluded that collagen may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.

Main Photo: pexels.com/Anna Shvets

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