Collagen is often associated with glowing skin or getting a youthful complexion. So, typically women think to use collagen more than men. But, asides from being a big deal in the beauty world, collagen has a whole host of health benefits throughout your body particularly in places like your muscles, joints and even digestion.
Collagen can be a useful ally in muscle recovery and fighting off anti-aging signs such as hair thinning, achy joints and low energy. Naturally, as you age, collagen levels begin to drop, by supplementing collagen into your diet, you can boost your levels and reap the benefits.
Here are some reasons why everyone, especially men, should increase their collagen intake:
- Promotes gut health
- Supports joint health and reduce joint pain
- Strengthens hair, skin, nails and teeth
- Boosts muscle recovery
- Increases energy levels and mood
- Protects the heart
- Improves metabolism and muscle mass
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It makes up the connective tissues in your body including ligaments, tendons, skin, and muscles. It’s found throughout your body and is responsible for skin, joint and bone health. It’s like the glue in your body that holds everything together and keeps it working properly. Collagen is often referred to as a complex protein as it contains a whopping 19 amino acids.
Men and women’s skin has significant differences in terms of collagen and thickness. Men have a higher collagen density than women. Because of this, it’s more common for women to show premature signs of aging faster than men, even though they might be the same age. Although collagen creams and tinctures are often aimed at youthful skin and anti-aging in women, men still need collagen, maybe even more so.
Even if you’re not looking for dewy morning skin, you still need to pay attention to your collagen levels. Why? Well, if you like to hit the gym, run, or bike, and want to recover quickly, then collagen is your friend.
Why Take a Collagen Supplement?
In order to gain the health benefits of collagen, you also need to have vitamin C in your body. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best way to get plenty of vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, lemon, and cauliflower. Your body produces collagen on its own however, as you age natural stores of collagen start to decline.
As you age, your collagen levels start to drop at about 1.5% per year. Unfortunately, at about 25, collagen production starts to decline. Other factors can also cause collagen production to decrease such as smoking, sugar, and ultraviolet rays. Collagen performs a ton of roles in the body. What that means is that when your collagen levels are low, you might find you have weaker joints and longer recovery times.
It can be difficult to know if you’re getting enough nutrients through diet alone to produce the amount of collagen your body needs. That’s where a collagen supplement or collagen builder comes in. However, when it comes to collagen supplements, a lot of products on the shelf are derived from animals.
Collagen supplements are available in tablets, powders, or capsules. Typically, collagen supplements are made from fish or bovine connective tissue. Most collagen supplements go through a process known as hydrolyzation. This means that the collagen in the supplements has been broken down into peptides so that it is more easily absorbed in the body.
Fortunately, there is another option when it comes to collagen supplements that don’t involve any animal ingredients. Plant-based collagen builders work in a different way by helping your body to produce its own supply of collagen.
Sunwarrior’s Collagen Building Protein Peptides is a great plant-based option. Basically, vegan collagen builders provide your body with all the ingredients necessary to produce its own collagen. You don’t need to be vegan to take plant-based collagen builders and feel the benefits.
Collagen is derived from plants. Humans and animals create collagen from protein peptides, amino acids and vitamins. Collagen supplements from animals are made from the bones, hooves, horns, and hides of cows, pigs, rabbits and other animals.
The collagen from animals has to be broken down by the body to the fundamental amino acids, protein peptides and vitamins.
Sunwarrior skips the middle man (animal), and goes straight to the source, plants.
Why Everyone Should Take a Collagen Building Supplement, Especially Men
Promotes Gut Health
Collagen is great for the digestive system and gut health in general. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, healthy sleep, and an effective digestive system. An unhealthy gut can negatively impact your overall health.
Collagen can help to protect the gut, soothe the lining in the gut and repair damaged cell walls. All of this can help to prevent leaky gut. Essentially, a leaky gut happens when your intestinal barrier starts to have gaps, causing undigested food and toxins to leak into your body and bloodstream.
And get this – men typically have more leaky gut issues than women! A leaky gut can cause all kinds of problems in the body including:
- Digestive system issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Seasonal allergies or asthma
- Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
- Food allergies, food sensitivities or food intolerances
- Poor immune system
- Arthritis or joint pain
Supports Joint Health and Reduces Joint Pain
Collagen is crucial in building, maintaining and repairing the cartilage in your joints. This is the rubber-like tissue that protects and cushions the joints. Adrenaline junkies and athletes may experience more damage in these areas. Whether that’s from overuse or even a predisposition to arthritis, joint pain or achiness can start to set in. Collagen helps to feed the tissue and cartilage, making everything run more smoothly.
One study found that 73 athletes who took a collagen supplement daily for 24 weeks experienced a decrease in joint pain when walking and at rest, compared to the control group. It’s also been shown that supplementing collagen may lead to lower inflammation, more support for your joints and reduced joint pain.
Research suggests that collagen combined with vitamin C can help to strengthen tendons and ligaments. This is especially important for athletes and those who are very active. Joint health and preventing injury play a huge role in remaining active and being able to perform at an optimal level.
Strengthens Hair, Skin, Nails and Teeth
One of the most well-known benefits of collagen is its effect on hair, skin, nails, and teeth. Collagen can help support a happy head of hair (and beard) and is one of the key components of healthy skin and teeth, too.
No matter your age, no man wants to see more hair in the drain after a shower than they used to. Collagen can help to keep hair follicles and the hair itself much more strong and supple, reducing hair loss. Hair-loss is another one of those pesky signs of aging, but collagen can enhance your hair health helping to reduce hair loss.
Research published in the Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that supplementing collagen orally has beneficial effects on the skin including increase skin elasticity and moisture.
Several studies have shown that supplementing collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help to decrease the pace of aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.
Boosts Muscle Recovery
If you love to hit the gym or weights but dread recovery time then collagen may be able to help you. Collagen may speed up your recovery so you need less time in between sessions to fully recover.
Collagen directly affects the muscles that have been damaged during exercise, helping to relieve pain as well as speed up the recovery process. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage are all stressed during exercise. Collagen supports the repair and recovery process, supercharging your workout.
Roughly 1-10% of your muscle is made up of collagen. If you want to lift heavier weights and push yourself harder, you need to have a strong supporting structure which is where collagen comes into play.
Increases Energy Levels and Mood
Whether you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, get tired in the afternoon or generally feel sluggish, many people experience a lack of energy at some point. Although it may be unrealistic to feel energetic every second of the day, a sustainable amount of energy should be within reach.
Collagen is an important component of energy production and cellular repair. The protein helps to fuel your body, aiding in proper recovery, development, and growth. Plant-based collagen builders encourage your body to produce its own collagen allowing you to kick-start your energy levels much more naturally.
Collagen has been associated with a ton of health benefits that may boost your overall well being. Generally, when you feel healthier, you feel happier and in a good mood. By boosting your quality of life and wellbeing, you can feel the benefits both physically and mentally.
Protects the Heart
Although more research needs to be carried out, it’s thought that collagen may help to reduce the risk of heart-related health problems. Collagen supports the structure of the arteries in your heart which are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of the body. Without adequate collagen levels, arteries could become weak or fragile. Collagen may help to prevent atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the artery walls, which can lead to stroke and heart attack.
Research shows that after taking a collagen supplement for six months, participants experienced a significant reduction in artery stiffness. They also found an increase in levels of good cholesterol which is another crucial risk factor for developing cardiovascular problems.
Improves Metabolism and Muscle Mass
In the last few years, interest in collagen supplements has exploded. One reason for this is the effect collagen has on muscle. Evidence suggests that collagen can help you build stronger and bigger muscles. One study focused on men in their seventies. Researchers investigated the effects of collagen supplementation and strength training. After three months, the group consuming collagen had grown more muscle mass.
The amino acid, glycine, in collagen is essential for repairing and building muscle tissue. As collagen helps to improve muscle mass this helps to boost metabolism. When you increase your muscle mass, you can increase your metabolic rate. This makes your body burn more calories, aiding weight management and weight loss.
Although your body can produce collagen naturally, as you age collagen production does start to decline. It’s never too early to start introducing more collagen to give your body the boost it needs. Collagen has so many roles to perform in the body, therefore, a lack of collagen can really impact your overall well being.
Collagen can be a powerful tool in daily maintenance as well as healing and repairing your body, supporting a healthy digestive system and promoting proper joint care. Collagen is so much more than just a beauty buzzword, by incorporating collagen builders into your daily routine, you can discover all its beneficial health effects.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on MAY 23, 2019 and has been updated for quality and relevance.