29 scientific evidence based uses of collagen that work!

But firstly,

What is collagen?

Several scientists, researchers and medical news define Collagen in a number of ways. Most authentic descriptions of what is collagen is as follows:

According to Dr. Josh Axe [1]:

In relation to recent medical research, collagen is a hard fibrous protein produced endogenously to provide support and strength and solve the health related problems associated with the depletion and the breakdown of the body's collagen. As exogenous collagen is used for cosmetic as well as medical purposes, to help with repairing and healing of the body’s tissues [2].

According to Harvey Lodish et al., In a book ‘Molecular Cell Biology’, collagen is a fibrous and the insoluble homogenous protein in extracellular matrix comprises a family of genetically distinct molecules that are packed together to form long thin and a unique triple helix fibril of three polypeptide subunits of glycine-X-Y called alpha-chains, where X is proline and Y are hydroxyproline [3].

According to Dr Ananya Mandal, Collagen is a fibrous protein made up of a specific amino-acids, which are built up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Collagen contains a significant amount of different amino acids like Arginine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Glycine, which cover about 60% of all the amino acids in the human body. Collagen makes up one-third of the protein and is an essential component of the human skeleton and skin [4].

 


 

According to Dr. Josh Axe [1]:

In relation to recent medical research, collagen is a hard fibrous protein produced endogenously to provide support and strength and solve the health related problems associated with the depletion and the breakdown of the body’s collagen. As exogenous collagen is used for cosmetic as well as medical purposes, to help with repairing and healing of the body’s tissues [2].

According to Harvey Lodish et al., In a book ‘Molecular Cell Biology’, collagen is a fibrous and the insoluble homogenous protein in extracellular matrix comprises a family of genetically distinct molecules that are packed together to form long thin and a unique triple helix fibril of three polypeptide subunits of glycine-X-Y called alpha-chains, where X is proline and Y are hydroxyproline [3].

According to Dr Ananya Mandal, Collagen is a fibrous protein made up of a specific amino-acids, which are built up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Collagen contains a significant amount of different amino acids like Arginine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Glycine, which cover about 60% of all the amino acids in the human body. Collagen makes up one-third of the protein and is an essential component of the human skeleton and skin [4].

Types of Collagen

There are several types of collagen present in our body, but more commonly found collagen is type 1 which cover approximately 90% of total collagen. Collagen is divided into several types according to structure and occurrence [5, 6].

  1. Fibrillar (Type I, II, III, V, XI)

It is further divided into 5 types:

  1. Type I
  2. Type II
  3. Type III
  4. Type V
  5. Type XI
  1. Non-fibrillar

It is further divided into several different types and each type has its own subtypes:

  1. Basement membrane collagen including Type IV
  2. Short chain collagen including Type VIII, X
  3. Fibril-Associated Collagens with Interrupted Triple Helices collagen including Type IX, XII, XIV, XVI, XIX.
  4. Membrane Associated Collagens with Interrupted Triple Helices collagen including Type XIII, XVII
  5. Multiple Triple Helix domains with Interruptions collagen including Type XV, XVIII
  6. Other includes Type IV and VII

The most abundant types of collagen are as follows:

  • Type I collagen:

The most abundant type of collagen is type I and it is found all over the body, but not in the cartilaginous type of tissues. Type I collagen is present in skin, organs, bones, vascular ligature and tendon. This type of collagen is also synthesized in different diseases (like fibrous diseases) and in response to injury.

  • Type II collagen

This type of collagen is present in cartilaginous tissues. Beside this, it is also present in developing cornea and vitreous humor.

  • Type III collagen

This type of collagen is present in hollow organs like walls of arteries. Type III commonly occurs in the same fibril with type I.

  • Type IV collagen

This type of collagen forms the bases of a cell basement membrane-like basal lamina.

  • Type V

This type of collagen forms hair, cell surfaces and placenta and is present in minor amounts.

So, one can choose the type of collagen, according to their requirements like type II in a case of osteoarthritis and type I in skin problems.

Natural collagen

According to research, It is transparent, slightly opalescent and has a homogenous, gel-like consistency, with a characteristic smell [7, 8].

Natural collagen is similar to naturally occurring collagen, so highly acceptable to our body. After penetration through skin epidermis, natural collagen fulfils the deficiency of body collagen and maintain the skin structure, elasticity and support. Natural Collagen or fish Collagen is exceptional and very delicate because of its isolation method in its active and live natural form. Natural collagen solves the problems associated with deficiencies of collagen in a natural way without any side effects [7].

According to research, natural collagen is safe for both young and mature and skins that maintain the natural firmness of the skin, allows the regeneration of skin and maintains the wrinkle free youthful skin. So, collagen is a non-surgical and non-invasive substitutes to solve the skin problems and to achieve healthier and totally natural regenerated youthful skin [7, 8].

What does collagen do?

Collagen is commonly present in the skin, ligaments, connective tissues and bones within the body, providing strength and support to various body structures of the body, maintain elasticity of the skin and protects the skin from environmental toxins, pathogens, microbes and cancerous cells by preventing absorption and spreading because of its thick and fibrous structure. Collagen protein is the cement that holds bladder, kidney, heart, blood vessels, muscle tissues and digestive tract cells and tissues together [4].

Collagen is even the major component of the extracellular matrix, where it forms a complex network of macromolecules and provide physical support to body tissues. Beside this, collagen is also present in the middle layer of the skin commonly known as the dermis. In dermal layer, it forms a network of fibers upon which new cell can grow. It also maintains the thickness and integrity of the skin [2].

Benefits of Collagen

29 scientific evidence based uses of collagen that work…

1. What does collagen do for your skin?

According to Dr. Liow Tiong Sin, wrinkles, sagging pores or skin depressions, lines, and scars are formed on the skin because of collagen deficiency or collagen cells lose its consistency and elasticity. So, the benefit of using collagen is that it can improve the wrinkles and lines and also fill out depressions.

Collagen naturally aids your skin cells to keep repairing and renewing normally. Collagen can prevent the formation of acne by preventing the skin from microbes cause acne vulgaris and maintain the moisture level [2, 9].

2. The benefit of collagen for your bones and cartilage?

Mechanical and biological properties of cartilage depend on contracts within the cartilage and extracellular matrix covering the cartilage. Type II collagen is the main component of extracellular matrix. So the benefit of collagen usage is that enhances the mechanical properties of cartilage and increases the process of healing. Collagen and collagen binding proteins form a new layer on damage cartilage and repair the cartilage.

Collagen is also the main component of bone and abnormal collagen metabolism is the main reason of bone fracture. Abnormal metabolism of collagen cause decalcification of bones and bones become weak with the passage of time. Because of the loss of collagen, there is an increased risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Several studies reported that collagen also stimulates the production of synovial fluid. Collagen increases the mobility of joints by increasing the activity of cartilage cells because of its amino acids. So the use of collagen not only increases the process of cartilage healing but also decreases the aches and pains and improves the painless mobility of joints [10, 11].

3. What does collagen do for leaky gut?

Inflammation can cause ‘leaky gut’ syndrome by affecting the outer lining of the intestine and tight junctions. Leaky gut is mostly because of food sensitivities and hard to digest foods that can damage the collagen layer. Foods that are not completely digested by our stomach included wheat/gluten, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts etc [12].

According to Jordan Reasoner, leaky gut can allow the passage of undigested food, toxins, bacteria and other microbes and cause a number of health-related problems (Figure 1) [12]. Collagen is beneficial in leaky gut syndrome because it forms a protective layer, heals damaged cell outer layers, soothe the gut’s lining and help with the breakdown of undigested food and proteins. Lastly, collagen benefits with water absorption, keeping things moving freely through the intestinal tract [1].

Figure 1: Inflammation and Leaky gut: effects of leaky gut [12]

Taking collagen for leaky gut is useful as it helps form a protective layer, soothes and helps water absoprption to keep moving thru the intestinal tract. 

4. How does the use of collagen benefits getting rid of cellulite?

Cellulite is the non-medical condition in which the skin appears bumpy, dimpled, and cotton cheese like due to the deposition of fat under the skin, and lose its elasticity especially on the thighs and buttocks. Collagen helps in cellulite because it maintains the smoothness, firmness and elasticity of the skin. Collagen is the most important protein in our body that form the mesh network under the skin and hold the fat in its position and decreases the signs of cellulite [13-15].

5. What does collagen do with body metabolism?

Collagen can increase the bodies metabolism. Collagen also increases the metabolism by its cleansing effect on the liver. Collagen maintains the energy level of our body because of its glycine content. Uptake of collagen with Vitamin C convert the collagen into a useable form that restore the normal metabolism and energy level [1].

6. What does collagen do with wounds?

According to Singh et al., collagen is essential for skin tissues and boost the process of wound healing. Deterioration of wound can lead towards amputation. Collagen can avoid this deterioration by closure when it is made available to the wound bed. Collagen can attract new skin cells that promote the process of healing and enhance the process of growth. It is also useful in wound dressing because of its resistance against bacteria that keep the wound sterile [2, 16].

Collagen dressings are useful in the following types of wound [2]:

i.Sites of skin donation and grafts

ii.Second-degree burns

iii.Full-thickness and partial wounds

iv.Chronic and non-healing wounds

v.Exuding wounds

vi.Granulating wounds

vii.Necrotic wounds

7. What does collagen do for Nails & Teeth?

Collagen is an essential component of human nail and teeth. So, use of collagen increases the strength of nails and teeth and avoid deterioration and damage [1].

8. What does collagen do for the heart?

Collagen is a main component of the cardiac skeleton. It is the main part of a heart valve, septa of the heart chamber, including the atrioventricular septum and the interventricular septum. It is also present inside the chamber and inside the blood vessels. So, collagen is necessary for normal functioning of the heart and flow of blood as well.

9. What does collagen do for a liver?

Collagen cleanses your liver that increases the metabolism and avoid toxicities. It also helps in the removal of chemicals and unnecessary substances from the body. That’s because of glycine, which is present in collagen [1, 17].

10. What does collagen do for dark circles?

With the passage of time, our skin loses collagen and fat which make our skin thinner under the eyes and reduce the flow of blood vessels. Because of this, dark circles start appearing under our eyes. Thin skin is more vulnerable to skin damage that speeds up the process of damage, especially breaking down of collagen under eyes [18, 19].

According to Lesley Reynolds use of collagen maintains the collagen level and reduce the pigmentation to clear the dark circles. It decreases the deposition of fats and maintains the blood flow. It also reduces the dryness, dullness and wrinkle formation [18].

11. What does collagen do for age spots?

Age spots also known as liver spots are formed because of the natural aging process, decrease a level of elasticity and collagen. According to research, use of collagen can decrease the signs of age spots not only by covering the loss of collagen but also by improving the elasticity of the skin. Collagen also maintains the thickness of the skin and blood flow that decrease the signs of aging by improving the glow of skin [20, 21].

12. What does collagen do for chapped lips?

Chapped lips also known as cracked lips is the term used to describe dry and wrinkled lips. Lips have no sebaceous glands (sweat glands) and, therefore, the loss of water on the lips is five to ten times more than other parts having these types of glands. Breakdown of lip collagen also the main reason of chapped lips. Use of collagen on lips avoid the loss of water by forming a protective layer on the lips. Besides this, it also protects the lip from sun damage and improve the look of skin [22, 23].

13. What does collagen do for razor bumps?

In razor bumps, the skin becomes inflamed with red pimples. In razor bumps, hairs curl back into the skin and cause inflammation and itching surrounding the shaving area. To avoid the damage and repair the damaged skin, body produces collagen. According to Bevel, collagen forms a layer around the affected skin and avoid bacterial infection and further damage to the skin and increases the process of healing [24].

14. What does collagen do for puffy eyes?

The appearance of puffiness and swelling under the eye is known as bags or puffy eyes. There are several causes of puffy eyes. It may be because of the breakdown of collagen and elastin. According to research, use of collagen is beneficial in this condition [25].

15. What does collagen do for your hairs?

Collagen is necessary for healthy hair because it provides the protection from the damaging effects of UV rays and strengthens the hair structure. Besides this, collagen helps in the binding of an appropriate quantity of water and coating of collagen avoid the evaporation of water that protects the hair from drying [26].

16. What does collagen do for burnt skin?

Collagen increases the process of tissue and cell regeneration. It also encourages the organization and deposition of newly formed tissues and fibers. According to Onkar Singh et al., skin is severely damaged in case of burns and collagen is beneficial in skin burns because it replaces the burnt skin with new skin [16, 27].

17. What does collagen do for muscles?

As collagen is the most abundant protein, it is also present in the muscles. So, use of collagen is beneficial in muscle growth and repair the muscle damage. Collagen is beneficial in any type of muscle injuries because it increases the process of healing [28, 29].

18. What does collagen do for body weight?

According to the description of several clinical studies, collagen is beneficial in body metabolism and act as a natural appetite suppressant because of its fibrous structure. Hydrolyzed Collagen is beneficial in weight loss because of its appetite suppressant properties.

According to Laura Bowden, taking collagen is more effective than other types of weight loss products because of decrease number of side effects. Collagen maintains the normal functions of the body because of its natural origin and properties [30].

19. What does collagen do for anxiety / sleep?

Proper sleep is necessary for health. Proper sleep increases the work performance and quality of life. Besides this, it also improves the mood of an individual. Several studies reported that glycine is beneficial in insomnia or sleepiness. Collagen is beneficial in insomnia because of its glycine content [30].

Studies on human being confirmed that glycine is beneficial in anxiety related disorders because of its neuroprotective properties [31, 32].

20. What does collagen do for cancer?

Collagen is helpful in cancer because of its glycine content. Glycine protects the body from cancer because of its antioxidant properties. Besides this, a study conducted on rodents confirmed that glycine has anti-tumor properties. Glycine limits the flow of blood by blocking the formation of new blood vessels, which is necessary for the growth of tumorous cells [31].

21. What does collagen do for depression?

Research studies showed that depressive symptoms are associated with collagen diseases. Few pathogenic studies also confirmed the correlation of manic-depressive symptoms with collagen diseases. A study conducted in Japan observed that signs and symptoms of depression are present in collagen disease and concluded that collagen deficiency is related with depression [33]. Therefore, collagen is beneficial in depression.

22. What does collagen do for arthritis?

Collagen is beneficial in both types of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Collagen and collagen binding proteins form a new layer on damage cartilage and repair the cartilage. It is flexible and durable and prevent the further damage. It is beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

A study conducted by Clark et al. reported that collagen is beneficial in joint pain and decrease the risk of joint deterioration. Besides this, Scott Gavura also reported that collagen is beneficial in osteoarthritis [34, 35].

23. What does collagen do for back pain?

After arthritis, the most prevalent and painful condition is back pain. According to Daniel BeNoon, the routine back pain really hurt and routine treatment options like NSAIDs, heat and ice and exercise is not enough [36]. According to Dov Michaeli, the main cause of back pain is the intervertebral disk degeneration. The center of the disk is made up of cartilage and it is surrounded by a fibrous ring having collagen as the main component [37]. So, as a main fibrous component, collagen can decrease the painful condition by decreasing the degeneration.

24. What doe collagen do for prostate?

Collagen is an essential component of prostate matrix. Because of deficiency of collagen prostate become enlarged and loss its normal functioning. Therefore, use of collagen can maintain the normal function of the prostate. According to Eman Sadoun, taking collagen is beneficial in prostate cancer [38, 39].

25. What does collagen do for schizophrenia?

Glycine, the amino acid, is an essential component of the collagen. The increase uptake of glycine is useful in schizophrenia and decrease the signs and symptoms to a significant extent. Different clinical studies have reported that increase level of glycine in the body decrease the symptoms like avoidance of activities and disinterest in schizophrenic patients [31].

26. What does collagen do for memory?

Collagen is beneficial in dementia and memory related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers and Investigators from the Stanford, University of California, San Francisco and Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease have discovered that collagen protects the brain cells against amyloid-beta proteins. According to research amyloid-beta proteins are the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Besides this, collagen is a neuroprotective agent and boosts the memory and enhances processing power [40].

27. What does collagen do for lungs?

Collagen is beneficial for lungs because it is a main component of alveolar interstitium, blood vessels and bronchi. So, it is necessary to maintain the structure as well as the function of the lungs. The normal level of collagen is necessary for healthy lungs because the increase level of collagen is harmful because it is associated with lung diseases like asthma. But, normal level of collagen can decrease the occurrence of asthmatic attacks [31, 41].

28. What does collagen do for fatigue?

If you are feeling constant fatigue, tiredness and it is difficult for you to get out of bed, then the use of collagen is very helpful to you. Collagen contains several essential nutrients that increase the level of energy and decrease the fatigue [42, 43].

29. What does collagen do for an ulcer?

A pressure ulcer is a type of ulcer in which skin and deeper tissues are damaged because of increase pressure on an area of skin. Several studies reported that collagen is beneficial in pressure ulcers of its healing power. It increases the process of healing. Mean healing time of collagen is 5 weeks in pressure ulcer [44, 45].

Hydrolyzed collagen vs Lyophilized collagen

Hydrolyzed Collagen

Hydrolyzed collagen is produced from collagen having the high amount of proline, lysine and glycine. It is present in the connective tissues, bones and skin of animals such as fish, cattle, rabbits, pigs and horses. Hydrolyzed collagen obtained from the process of hydrolysis that involves the breaking of molecular bonds with the help of alkali or acid solutions [46].

This type of collagen is easy to digest because of its molecular weight. According to MediLuxe, hydrolyzed collagen is like a gelatin and biologically inert. Collagen helps to increase the growth of cells much quicker because of its natural ability to increase the number of connective tissues. This collagen cannot enhance the growth in the same way as natural collagen because of its inert nature. According to a research laboratory, compares the biochemical parameters of the skin, reported that natural collagen is more effective than hydrolyzed form [46, 47]. Beside this, it is reported that hydrolyzed collage mostly obtained from a bovine source that cause serious health problems.

Lyophilized Collagen

According to MediLuxe [47]:

Lyophilization process preserves the activeness of collagen by using low temperature (-40 oC) and high vacuum (1Pa). It maintains the purity as well as low molecular weight. So, this type of collagen is easy to absorb and increase the growth of cells like natural collagen. It is obtained from fish sources, therefore, it is safe to use and has no to fewer side effects [47].

Different sources of collagen

There are several sources of collagen like:

1.Fish collagen/Marine collagen

2.Bovine collagen

3.Chick collagen

4.Pig collagen

5.Rabbit collagen

6.Horse collagen

Among them, the most common used collagen sources are fish and bovine.

1. Fish collagen / Marine collagen

Fish collagen or marine collagen is a type of collagen extracted from the skin and scales of the fish that has increased ability to absorb through the human skin and intestine than other forms of collagen. Fish collagen or marine collagen is resistant to the chemical as well as physical changes because of the living habit of fish like the variety of water temperatures and pressures [48].

Fish collagen is mostly obtained by the process of lyophilization that maintains the triple-helix structure of the collagen. So, fish collagen is like a natural collagen and make the resulting treatment more effective [48].

According to research, fish collagen is seven times more superior to animal collagen when broken down by molecular weight. Collagen is absorbed through the intestine when it breaks down into peptides by enzymatic action. So, we can say that fish collagen is seven times more capable of absorbing than animal collagen [49].

Fish collagen is mostly used in cosmetics to maintain the skin integrity, moisture level, firmness and to decrease the appearance of skin wrinkles and acne. It is also usable in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also effective as a dietary supplement because it is easily soluble in water and digestible [48].

2. Bovine collagen

Bovine collagen is a type of collagen obtained from the skin, bones, muscles and tendons of cows. Bovine collagen is mostly obtained from the hydrolyzate process, which is not as active as natural collagen. It is cheaper than collagen obtained from the marine source. It is increasingly used in the cosmetic industry because of its cost-effectiveness [50].

According to research, bovine collagen is less digestible and not a permanent solution to solve the problem of collagen deterioration or loss. Bovine collagen is mostly used as the injectable form because of its poor absorption through the digestive system [51].

Bovine collagen has the potential to spread mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Beside this, it is also associated with allergic reactions like shortness of breath, chest pain, skin irritation, hives, lumps and scar formation [52].

 

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