The word ‘collagen’ has started to pop up on snack bars, proteins and supplements. However, have you ever wondered what this is, and if consuming this can help you to get healthier skin better gut health and stronger nails? Does adding them to your plant-based meals help?
Let us find out…
What Are Collagens?
These are a group of hard, fibrous and insoluble proteins that make up the connective tissues in your body. It makes up to 33% of all the proteins in the human body. There are more than 24 types of collagen that have been identified and of them the notable ones are:
- Type 1: these are found in the bones, internal organs, tendons and skin
- Type 2: these are found in the cartilage and eyes
- Type 3: these are found in the lymphoid tissue, blood vessels, bone marrow, muscles and skin
Collagens are also found in hair, protective membranes and ligaments that are found around organs.
To form collagens, the body requires certain amino acids such as hydroxyproline, glycine, proline and lysine. Along with this, nutrients such zinc, copper manganese, vitamin C—all these help to maintain the collagen matrix.
Are There Benefits Of Consuming Collagen?
There are many scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of adding collagen to your plant-based diet. Most of the supplemental forms of collagen contain hydrolyzed collagen that is called collagen peptides. If you consume these forms of collagen, these are broken down into smaller proteins and some of the benefits of consuming them are penned down below:
- A faster rate of healing of wounds
- Increased bone mineral density
- Increased muscle mass when paired along with resistance training
- Less joint pain and increased mobility in the case of patients suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Improved health of skin- increased elasticity, fewer wrinkles and blemishes and increased hydration.
Most of the studies are done on laboratory animals and are funded by collagen supplement companies. There are still no tests on humans, and neither is there scientific evidence backing the claim that collagen has the ability to heal the gut, increase weight loss and boost brain health. Since the body breaks down the collagen into simpler amino acids, it is not easy to understand if the benefits are indeed the work of collagens or not—is it because of the collagen or the amino acids that are present in the collagen that does the magic? For the time being, even science doesn’t have the answers…