Here at Chuckling Goat, we add fish collagen to our Gut Health Smoothie every day, mainly to benefit gut health. That’s because collagen contains the amino acids proline and glycine, which are essential building blocks to repairing damaged intestinal lining. A recent study found that collagen peptides were able to prevent the breakdown of the intestinal lining,1 as well as decreasing inflammation inside the gut.2
But collagen has a lot of other wonderful benefits as well! Here are a few things collagen can do for you:
Improves dry skin and reduces wrinkles
As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles.3 However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.4
In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity compared with those who did not take the supplement.5 Another study found that women who drank a beverage mixed with a collagen supplement daily for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared with a control group.6
The wrinkle-reducing effects of collagen supplements have been attributed to their ability to stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own.7
Additionally, taking collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.8
Promotes strong, healthy hair
Collagen can act as an antioxidant and fight damage caused by free radical
– compounds that develop in your body as a result of stress, air pollutants, smoking, poor dietary choices, alcohol, and other environmental influence – which may also damage hair follicles. Since your body’s defence against free radicals decreases with ageing, older adults are especially susceptible to hair damage.
Several test-tube studies have shown that collagen — especially from fish scales — may have powerful antioxidant activity. One study found that marine collagen was able to fight four different free radicals, while another study observed that the protein may be a more effective antioxidant than a well-known compound found in tea.9
Relieves joint pain
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.
As the amount of collagen in your body decreases as you get older, your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases. Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall.10
In one study, 73 athletes who consumed 10 grams of collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a significant decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with a group that did not take it.11
In another study, adults took 2 grams of collagen daily for 70 days. Those who took collagen had a significant reduction in joint pain and were better able to engage in physical activity than those who did not take it.12
Researchers have theorized that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make their own collagen.
Reduces appearance of cellulite
A 2014 study over six months found that women who suffered from moderate cellulite were able achieve clear improvements in the skin’s appearance with regular oral supplementation. The conclusions of the study was that long-term therapy with orally administered collagen leads to an improvement of cellulite and has a positive impact on skin health.13
Prevents bone loss
Fish collagen has shown its ability to increase the body’s own natural collagen production. In the past, studies have demonstrated that collagen peptides from fish skin might have a positive effect on bone health by increasing bone mineral density and exerting anti-inflammatory activity on osteoarthritis.14
Boosts muscle mass
Between 1–10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. This protein is necessary to keep your muscles strong and functioning properly.
Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age. In one study, 27 frail men took 15 grams of collagen while participating in an exercise program daily for 12 weeks. Compared with men who exercised but did not take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength.15
Researchers have suggested that taking collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins like creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise.16
Promotes heart health
Collagen provides structure to your arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile. This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the narrowing of the arteries.
In one study, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily for 6 months. By the end, they had experienced a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness, compared with before they started taking the supplement.17
Additionally, they increased their levels of HDL “good” cholesterol by an average of 6%. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis.
Improves brain health
Roughly one third of collagen is composed of glycine, a non-essential amino acid that is key to brain health. Scientists have even studied the link between glycine and schizophrenia, finding that treatment with the amino acid improved their positive, negative, cognitive and general psychiatric symptoms. Additionally, this amino acid also plays a role in cognitive performance and has been investigated as viable sleep aide, as it can help usher in a deeper, more restful sleep state, which in turn supports a better functioning brain.18
Improves nail growth
Studies have shown that oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails.19