You can think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together. It’s the most abundant protein in the body, and its fiber-like structure makes connective tissue. It’s a major component in skin, bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
Collagen essentially helps hold the body together, forming connective tissue that, as the name suggests, connects our body’s tissues.
As we age, the body’s production of collagen decreases. And furthermore, the collagen our bodies do produce tends to break down more quickly. Have you noticed how our skin tends to sag and wrinkle as we age? That has to do with a decline in collagen production. Declining collagen production is also connected to sun exposure, aging, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and diets high in sugar and processed foods.
Collagen supplements are designed to boost collagen production we lose as we age. According to available research, it seems that collagen can be beneficial in a number of ways. Still, more research is needed.
There are five common types of collagen. They are:
Our bodies mostly consist of type I. In supplement forms, types I and III are intended to support skin, hair, and nails, while type II is more commonly linked to joint health.
There are several tasty food options that contain collagen, including pot roast, brisket, and chuck steak. These are tough cut meats that are full of connective tissue. That said, doctors don’t recommend that you eat too much red meat, as doing so isn’t healthy in the long term. Bone broth, which you’ll find in most any soup aisle, is also rich in collagen. Gelatin is another form of collagen, made by boiling animal bones, cartilage, and skin for hours and then allowing the liquid to cool.
There are some other foods that, while not rich in collagen themselves, are thought to promote healthy collagen production, since they are rich in the amino acids that support the formation of collagen. Some of these foods include poultry, fish, meat, dairy, eggs, soy, and legumes. Collagen production also benefits from zinc, which is found in shellfish, legumes, meat, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. And for proper collagen formation vitamin C is needed, which you can find abundantly in berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
Collagen supplements are usually made from animal products, such as bone broth made from pigs, fish, and beef. The market for vegan collagen supplements has grown in recent years, and some options are now made from yeast and bacteria that have been genetically modified. Care/of offers an animal-based and vegetarian option made from eggshell membranes.
Since the body can’t absorb collagen in its whole form, the ideal version of collagen supplement will be hydrolyzed, which means that collagen is made into shorter chains of amino acids (a.k.a. peptides). Collagen peptides are turned into the pills and powders that you can mix with your various food and drink options: water, smoothies, oatmeal, you name it.
Yes, collagen supplements are safe for men. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation has limited side effects.
The scientific research for collagen dosing is somewhat varied, but the key is consistency. Some studies have looked at 2-3 g per day and others have gone up to 15 g per day. If you have questions, you can talk to a medical professional about the right dose for you. You can check out our deep dive into how much collagen to take per day for more information.
Collagen supplements have recently been gaining popularity among men – and there are good reasons why. Let’s take a look at some of the possible benefits of collagen supplementation for men.
Studies have shown that collagen supplementation may support muscle mass and muscle recovery. This study, for example, found that collagen peptide supplementation combined with resistance training increased muscle strength in elderly adults. Meanwhile, this study of young German men found that those who resistance trained while taking 15 g of collagen peptide daily had a more of an increase in fat-free mass than those who took placebos.
Studies have found that collagen supplements can help support healthy blood vessels, thereby promoting overall heart health.
Some studies have found that collagen supplementation can help promote bone and joint health.
Collagen can support the microbiome in your gut and support gut barrier function, helping to promote healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and supporting gut health overall. This study of healthy women found that collagen supplementation can support gut health and maintain healthy digestion, though more research is needed.
We all like to keep our hair healthy. Collagen can help us do exactly that. One way it can do so is by helping to combat damage from oxidative stress to hair follicles. However, according to a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, there’s not enough research to prove that collagen can address hair loss. That said, there’s no question that collagen is important to the overall health of your hair. Collagen is a source of amino acids needed to build protein for hair. This review explains how the hair follicle has a layer called the dermal sheath which is made of collagen which suggests potential for collagen to play a role in maintaining hair health. However more research is needed.
Most studies of the effectiveness of collagen supplements on skin health have focused on women. However, these studies have yielded promising results, and there’s no reason to suppose that men wouldn’t benefit similarly. This study found that after 12 weeks, women who’d taken 1,000 mg of oral collagen peptide had superior results in skin hydration, elasticity, and appearance of wrinkles than the people who took the placebo.
Collagen supplements have been shown to support the building of fat-free muscle mass, when combined with high intensity training.
Collagen supplements are considered safe to consume. Like any supplement, though, they can sometimes come with some side effects. Among the rare side effects associated with collagen supplements digestive issues or gas. To make sure you’re getting a top-notch collagen supplement, you should be sure to get your collagen from a reputable company and check to be sure that your supplement is third-party tested. Of course, Care/of products are third-party tested, so you know that you’re getting exactly what’s written on the label.
Collagen is the connective tissue that helps hold our body together. Since we start to produce less of it as we age, it’s become an increasingly popular supplement – first for its cosmetic benefits, but increasingly for its benefits for other areas of health. In recent years, especially, men have taken an interest in collagen’s potential benefits. More research is needed to conclusively determine collagen’s effectiveness, but the existing research is very promising. You can also boost your collagen intake from eating foods rich in collagen and foods that aid in collagen production. Some of these foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and high protein foods. Other ways to enhance your collagen production include certain lifestyle tweaks, including stopping smoking, spending less time in the sun or wearing sunscreen), getting enough sleep, managing your stress levels, and regularly exercising.
If you’re interested in a collagen supplement, you can try Care/of’s Collagen: The Skin Hero, which is made from grass-fed bovine and seamlessly blends with coffee, tea, and smoothies. You can also try our vegetarian option that contains collagen and hyaluronic acid, made from eggshell membranes. You should talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement to your routine.