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Collagen: A Comprehensive Guide

19 Mar, 2024
Collagen supplementation for hair, skin and nail health

Top Ten FAQ's - Collagen

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for about one-third of its protein composition. It's one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.1

What does collagen do?

Collagen provides structure to much of your body, including bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. It helps to give our skin strength and elasticity, and helps to replace dead skin cells.2

Why is collagen important for skin?

Collagen helps maintain the skin's firmness and elasticity. As we age, collagen production declines, which may lead to wrinkles and skin sagging.2

What causes collagen to decrease?

Age is the primary cause of decreased collagen production.3 Other factors include smoking, UV exposure, and pollution, which may accelerate the breakdown of collagen.

Can you rebuild lost collagen?

While you cannot completely reverse the loss of collagen, certain treatments and supplements may help stimulate the production of new collagen.2

Can collagen help with joint pain?

Some studies indicate that certain types of collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain.4

What are the side effects of taking collagen?

Collagen supplements are generally safe with few reported side effects, which might include digestive issues, headaches, and a bad taste in the mouth.5

Is collagen vegan?

Traditional collagen supplements are not vegan as they are derived from animal products. However, there are vegan collagen-building supplements available that supply the necessary nutrients for collagen production in the body.

Can collagen improve hair and nails?

Anecdotal evidence and some initial research suggest that collagen may help to improve the strength of nails and the health of hair, though more research is needed for conclusive results.6,7

Does Collagen help with weight loss?

Collagen may indirectly support weight loss efforts, but more research is needed. Its high protein content may promote satiety, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake, while aiding in muscle mass maintenance, which is beneficial for metabolism.8

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and a critical component of connective tissues.

It's often hailed as a fountain of youth for skin, a healer for joints, and a building block for overall health. But what exactly is collagen, and why is it so important? 

Understanding Collagen's Role

Collagen is a hard, insoluble, and fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in the human body. In the various connective tissues, it works like glue to provide structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, and teeth.1

Close-up of a woman's eye with flawless skin, hinting at the purity of Lily & Loaf's collagen.

Types and Functions of Collagen

There are 28 types of collagen, but just three (types I, II, and III) are most abundant in the human body.2 These different types of collagen have different structures and functions:

Type I: This type accounts for over 90% of your body's collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and teeth.9
Type II: This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.10
Type III: This type supports the structure of arteries, muscles, and organs.11

The Benefits of Collagen

Collagen's benefits are potentially as diverse as its types. Here are some of the key benefits attributed to collagen:

Skin Health: As the main component of the dermis layer of the skin, collagen helps maintain skin elasticity and strength. In research, collagen supplements have been associated with improvements in skin hydration and wrinkles.3
Joint Health: Collagen is believed to help maintain the integrity of cartilage, 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.4
Bone Loss Prevention: Collagen helps give bones their structure and strength. As collagen in your body deteriorates with age, bone mass does too. This may lead to conditions like osteoporosis, characterised by low bone density and linked with a higher risk of bone fractures.12
Muscle Mass: Collagen is a component of muscle tissue, so it is necessary for maintaining muscle mass. Initial research shows that collagen may promote muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth post-exercise.13
Heart Health: Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Some studies suggest that collagen supplementation may help prevent atherosclerosis.14
Split-face comparison of youthful and aged skin, showcasing the rejuvenating effects of Lily & Loaf Collagen

Collagen Loss and Ageing 

One of the most noticeable signs of reduced collagen is ageing skin. As collagen production decreases with age, skin becomes less firm, less elastic, and more vulnerable to ageing signs like wrinkles and sagging.3

Boosting Collagen Levels

While the body naturally makes collagen, its production decreases with age. Sun exposure, smoking, and poor diet may also decrease collagen levels. However, you can support collagen production by:

Diet: Consuming a well-balanced diet is essential to your overall health and may support collagen levels. Amino acids and foods rich in vitamin C (like citrus fruits) may be especially important to collagen production. Some studies show that vitamin C may increase type I collagen synthesis, which is important for skin health.15
Supplements: Collagen supplements have become a popular way to boost collagen intake. They are often sold as hydrolysed collagen or collagen peptides. These types of collagen have already been broken down, making it easier for you to absorb.16
Bone Broth: Made by boiling down animal bones, bone broth may be a rich source of collagen. However, more research is needed to determine how much collagen your body can actually absorb from bone broth.

Patient discussing health concerns with a smiling doctor, embodying Lily & Loaf's commitment to holistic well-being.

Potential Side Effects of Collagen Supplements

While collagen supplements are generally safe, some people may experience side effects, such as a bad taste in the mouth, upset stomach, or headaches.5 If you have allergies, make sure to get supplements that aren't made from sources you're allergic to.

Keep in mind that collagen supplements are most often sourced from animals, but vegan options are available.

Collagen is an essential building block for comprehensive health, supporting everything from skin elasticity to joint and bone health. While aging and lifestyle factors can deplete our natural collagen stores, through diet, supplementation, and lifestyle changes, we may be able to support our body's collagen production.

Embracing a collagen-rich lifestyle might just be the secret to not just looking younger but feeling stronger and healthier as you age. Remember, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.



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  2. Wang H. A Review of the Effects of Collagen Treatment in Clinical StudiesPolymers (Basel). 2021;13(22):3868. doi:10.3390/polym13223868
  3. Al-Atif H. Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and CosmeticsDermatol Pract Concept. 2022;12(1):e2022018. doi:10.5826/dpc.1201a18
  4. Martínez-Puig D, Costa-Larrión E, Rubio-Rodríguez N, Gálvez-Martín P. Collagen Supplementation for Joint Health: The Link between Composition and Scientific KnowledgeNutrients. 2023;15(6):1332. doi:10.3390/nu15061332
  5. Martini N. Collagen supplements. J Prim Health Care. 2019;11(4):385-386. doi:10.1071/HC15947.
  6. Hwang SB, Park HJ, Lee BH. Hair-Growth-Promoting Effects of the Fish Collagen Peptide in Human Dermal Papilla Cells and C57BL/6 Mice Modulating Wnt/β-Catenin and BMP Signaling PathwaysInt J Mol Sci. 2022;23(19):11904. doi:10.3390/ijms231911904
  7. Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nailsJ Cosmet Dermatol. 2017;16(4):520-526. doi:10.1111/jocd.12393
  8. Moon J, Koh G. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight LossJ Obes Metab Syndr. 2020;29(3):166-173. doi:10.7570/jomes20028
  9. Naomi R, Ridzuan PM, Bahari H. Current Insights into Collagen Type IPolymers (Basel). 2021;13(16):2642. doi:10.3390/polym13162642
  10. Bakilan F, Armagan O, Ozgen M, Tascioglu F, Bolluk O, Alatas O. Effects of Native Type II Collagen Treatment on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled TrialEurasian J Med. 2016;48(2):95-101. doi:10.5152/eurasianjmed.2015.15030
  11. Kuivaniemi H, Tromp G. Type III collagen (COL3A1): Gene and protein structure, tissue distribution, and associated diseasesGene. 2019;707:151-171. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2019.05.003
  12. Zdzieblik D, Oesser S, König D. Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides in Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: Long-Term Observation in Postmenopausal WomenJ Bone Metab. 2021;28(3):207-213. doi:10.11005/jbm.2021.28.3.207
  13. Holwerda AM, van Loon LJC. The impact of collagen protein ingestion on musculoskeletal connective tissue remodeling: a narrative reviewNutr Rev. 2022;80(6):1497-1514. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuab083
  14. Tomosugi N, Yamamoto S, Takeuchi M, et al. Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy HumansJ Atheroscler Thromb. 2017;24(5):530-538. doi:10.5551/jat.36293
  15. DePhillipo NN, Aman ZS, Kennedy MI, Begley JP, Moatshe G, LaPrade RF. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic ReviewOrthop J Sports Med. 2018;6(10):2325967118804544. doi:10.1177/2325967118804544
  16. León-López A, Morales-Peñaloza A, Martínez-Juárez VM, Vargas-Torres A, Zeugolis DI, Aguirre-Álvarez G. Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and ApplicationsMolecules. 2019;24(22):4031. doi:10.3390/molecules24224031