Collagen is a buzzword that’s been passed around the health community for years, but few people know exactly what it means or what it can do for your body. It’s time to explore collagen, because the health benefits from head to toe can be pretty astounding. Collagen is a structural protein that is found everywhere in our bodies, including our muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, and our digestive system, but as we age, we produce less of it each year. This is where collagen-rich foods and supplements can help us maintain our collagen stores and help improve our overall health.

Read on to find the seven ways collagen have been associated with your health, and why it’s a beneficial nutrient to be incorporated it into your life.

1.  Healthy Joints

As you get older, your body slowly stops producing as much cartilage, which is the connective tissue between bones and joints. As the cartilage thins out, bones and joints start rubbing against each other. This can cause joint pain and even osteoarthritis, so maintaining that cartilage and replacing lost cartilage can be helpful in reducing pain. Research has shown that ingesting collagen (one of the main ingredients in cartilage) orally can accumulate into cartilage and provide some pain relief from mild arthritic conditions.

2. Gut Health

It seems like almost anyone you know is complaining about one digestive issue or another. Gut health has been on the radar for years now, and it’s not hard to understand why. The health of our gastrointestinal system can affect our overall well-being, so finding ways to maximize gut health is important. Collagen is a component of the gut’s connective tissue and contributes to the integrity of the protective lining of your digestive tract. A study has shown that people with some digestive challenges were more likely to have lower levels of serum collagen. 

3. Skin Health

As your body’s largest organ, your skin needs a lot of TLC. As you age, your body declines to produce as much collagen on its own, which can lead to wrinkles, signs of aging, and less skin elasticity. For years, cosmetic companies have been touting the benefits of collagen applied topically to the skin, but recent studies have shown that oral supplements of collagen can significantly boost overall skin elasticity.

4. Brain Health

Scientists are just starting to figure out all the benefits that collagen contributes to our health. While it’s easy to see the link between collagen and skin care, collagen can also surprisingly help with cognitive function. Studies using animals and brain tissues have shown that certain types of collagen can even help protect the brain against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, which is incredible and ground-breaking news.

5. Heart Health

With heart disease as the leading cause of death in Australia, heart health is incredibly important to many people. Collagen has previously been theorized to help keep your arteries strong, and now studies have shown that collagen actively contributes to enhance the health of your cardiovascular system.

6. Muscle Growth

You might already be drinking protein shakes and doing intense training to achieve your goals, but did you know collagen might also help you stimulate muscle growth? Research has shown that collagen supplements combined with resistance training can increase muscle strength and improve overall body composition for those with age-related muscle mass loss.

7. Healthy Teeth, Nails, and Hair

Last, but definitely not least, one of the benefits of collagen is supporting healthy teeth, nails and hair. If you’re struggling with hair loss, weak nails, or soft teeth, you’ll definitely be interested to know how collagen may help. Research has observed that a particular type of collagen is associated with hair follicles, the shrink of which cause hair loss. Since collagen protein helps build strong hair, teeth and nails, ingesting collagen supplements can help your body use it to reduce brittleness .