Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, yet I still come across people who have no idea what it is. Other people I talk to have heard about collagen, but they don’t know the wide variety of ways it can benefit the body. They certainly don’t know there are ways to incorporate collagen into their skincare routine, including vegan collagen. If you are in that group, you might be amazed to learn all the ways collagen can benefit you.
What Is Collagen?
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, collagen is protein molecules made up of amino acids. It provides structural support to the extracellular space of connective tissues. Due to its rigidity and resistance to stretching, it is the perfect matrix for skin, tendons, bones and ligaments. There are 28 types of collagen, although type I makes up more than 90% of collagen in the human body.
How Can Collagen Benefit You?
If you have already learned something about collagen in this article, chances are good that you haven’t heard about all of the ways it can benefit you. Let’s take a closer look at the different roles of collagen in our bodies.
1. It supports skin health
As mentioned above, collagen is the perfect matrix for the skin. This includes the elasticity and hydration of your skin. It’s no wonder that there are so many skincare products that feature vegan collagen. The amount of collagen in your body starts to decrease after the age of 40, which is why many people turn to vegan collagen skincare products. These can help with hydration for the appearance of more youthful-looking skin.
2. It supports the health of your hair and nails
If you took high school biology and have an incredible memory, you might remember that your skin, hair, and nails are all part of the same body system, the integumentary. Because of that, it makes sense that collagen can also benefit the strength of your hair and nails. As people age, some notice their hair and nails become brittle and split more often. Vegan collagen can support the appearance of healthier, thicker hair and nails.
3. It supports your bones and can soothe joint pain
Bones are another part of the body that collagen’s matrix serves well, according to the National Library of Medicine. It seems like everyone is aware of calcium’s role in strong bones, but collagen is another key component. It allows for some flexibility while maintaining the structure in load-bearing tissues like bones, tendons and ligaments.
As a result, vegan collagen and other collagen sources can help soothe joint pain. Your joints, tendons and ligaments all work together for your body to move in certain ways. When something isn’t 100%, it can cause discomfort.
4. It supports healthy vital organs
Collagen can be a helpful tool in supporting the health of your arteries and the connected organs. Maintaining healthy arteries is an important factor in maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure. Arteries need to keep their flexibility and elasticity to function at their best while transporting blood throughout the body.
Some proponents of collagen supplements also claim they support a healthy brain, but more research is needed in this area. Part of that claim is that collagen impacts hormones related to stress, which is why you might hear that it can help reduce anxiety and lead to better sleep.
5. It may support your digestive system and other parts of the body
Some of the amino acids in collagen can help support a healthy digestive system. For example, glycine is an amino acid that helps regulate the production of stomach acid. More studies are needed to examine this, but many proponents claim that collagen supports a healthier digestive system as well as your metabolism.
Other claims involving the digestive system point to a fuller feeling to support weight loss or weight management. On top of that, glycine has been mentioned in association with building up lean tissue and muscle mass. Glycine is also part of the body’s process to excrete toxins. For this reason, some say that collagen supports healthy liver function.
Collagen plays an important part in many aspects of our bodies. It is the most abundant protein we have, but most people have no clue about the many ways it can benefit them. Collagen is central to the structure and function of our bones, tendons, ligaments, and much more. It supports the health of our skin, hair, and nails, not to mention it can help soothe joint pain. Finally, there are some possible added benefits for our digestive system and other functions within the body. We have the potential to benefit from a greater understanding and appreciation of all of the things that collagen does for our bodies.