Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, predominantly found in the skin, bones, muscles, and connective tissues. It provides structure and elasticity, essentially functioning as the 'glue' that holds our body together.
Collagen supplementation has grown in popularity over recent years due to its potential health benefits. Supplements often come in the form of collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, which are more easily absorbed by the body.
In this article we investigate the various health benefits of collagen supplementation at different dosages, based on findings from scientific literature. We aim to understand not just the potential advantages, but also the optimal dosage required to reap these benefits.
Types of Collagen And Their Functions
There are at least 16 types of collagen, but the vast majority of collagen in the body is type I, II, or III. All collagen molecules are composed of three polypeptide chains arranged in a triple helix, with each chain being a sequence of amino acids.
Type I collagen, the most abundant, contributes to the structure of skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth. Type II collagen is found in elastic cartilage and makes up 50% of all protein in cartilage and 85-90% of collagen of articular cartilage. Type III collagen is typically found alongside type I and contributes to the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Natural Sources of Collagen
Natural sources of collagen include bone broth and organ meats from animals, fish scales, and eggshell membranes. For vegetarians and vegans, certain nutrients can help the body produce collagen, including vitamin C, proline, glycine, and copper. Other foods like berries, garlic, and leafy greens can also support collagen production.
As we age, our bodies produce less and lower quality collagen. Factors such as sunlight, smoking, and a poor diet can also affect collagen levels. This can lead to common signs of aging, such as wrinkles and joint pain. Therefore, collagen supplementation may be beneficial to counteract these effects.
Health Benefits of Collagen Supplementation
Improvement of skin elasticity and hydration
Oral collagen supplementation has been shown to increase skin elasticity and hydration, likely due to the ability of collagen peptides to stimulate the body to synthesize new collagen. A study conducted by Proksch et al., found that collagen peptide supplementation for 8 weeks significantly increased skin elasticity (1).
Reduction of skin aging
Borumand & Sibilla (2014) noted a significant reduction in wrinkles and a smoother skin texture after collagen supplementation, suggesting its potential role in slowing skin aging (2).
Alleviation of osteoarthritis symptoms
Bello & Oesser (2006) found that collagen hydrolysate can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis, possibly due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (3).
Improved joint pain management
In a study conducted on athletes with activity-related joint pain, collagen supplementation resulted in significant improvement in joint function and flexibility (4).
Bone density enhancement
Collagen peptides have been found to have a positive effect on bone density, particularly in postmenopausal women who are at higher risk of osteoporosis. A randomized controlled study by König et al., showed significant improvements in bone mineral density after collagen supplementation (5).
Enhanced muscle mass
Zdzieblik et al., found that collagen peptide supplementation, in combination with resistance training, significantly improved muscle mass and strength in men (6).
Dose-Response Relationship in Collagen Supplementation
Low Dose Benefits (1-5g)
- Minor improvements in skin health: Borumand & Sibilla (2014) reported slight improvements in skin elasticity and moisture content after daily supplementation with 2.5g of collagen for 60 days.
- Initial relief in joint pain: A study by Bello & Oesser (2006) found that daily supplementation with 1.5g of collagen hydrolysate can provide initial relief from osteoarthritis-related joint pain.
Medium Dose Benefits (5-10g)
- Enhanced skin elasticity and hydration: Proksch et al., (2014) reported a significant increase in skin elasticity and hydration after daily supplementation with 5g of collagen peptides for 8 weeks.
- Significant relief in osteoarthritis symptoms: A study by Clark et al., (2008) noted a significant reduction in joint pain in athletes after daily supplementation with 10g of collagen hydrolysate for 24 weeks.
High Dose Benefits (>10g)
- Significant increase in bone density: In a study by König et al., (2018), postmenopausal women taking 12g of collagen peptides daily for 12 months experienced a significant increase in bone mineral density.
- Enhanced muscle mass: In a study by Zdzieblik et al., (2015), men who took 15g of collagen peptides daily in combination with resistance training for 12 weeks had significant improvements in muscle mass and strength.
Every scoop of BrainFirst Smart Collagen contains 15g of Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides, Types I and III from grass-fed pasture-raised cattle, to confer maximum benefit. A unique brain health blend and prebiotic fiber are also added, making it a great all-in-one health product that you can add to your smoothies, desserts, recipes, or simply add water to the amazing-tasting, naturally-flavored powder.
The scientific literature suggests that collagen supplementation offers a range of potential health benefits, including improvements to skin health, joint function, bone density, and muscle mass. Furthermore, these benefits seem to be dose-dependent, with different doses providing different levels of benefits.
Considering the growing body of evidence, collagen supplementation appears to be a promising strategy for combating age-related decline in collagen and associated health issues. It may offer a non-invasive way to boost collagen levels in the body, promoting overall health and wellness.