Collagen consists of naturally occurring proteins found in connective tissue. In fact, it is the most abundant protein in the human body, serving as a key building block and nutrient for skin, hair, nails, and connective tissues. There are different kinds of collagen; types I and III are found in skin, bones, tendons and organs, while type II is found in cartilage.
Best known as a major ingredient in cosmetics, collagen is widely valued for its skin-supportive qualities. During the aging process, the body's natural collagen levels may decline. This nutrient depletion has been identified as a possible precursor to skin problems including wrinkles, sagging and loss of elasticity. For this reason, supplemental collagen is suggested as an anti-aging beauty nutrient for firm, supple and youthful-looking skin. In addition to its use in supplement form, it has become popular as injectable filler in cosmetic procedures designed to smooth wrinkles and plump lips.
Hair and nails also need collagen for healthy structure and strength. In fact, issues with brittle nails or dry, fragile hair have been linked to nutritional deficiencies, including a lack of this key building-block nutrient. Supplemental collagen may have a restorative influence that helps to support the strength and beauty of hair and nails.
In addition to its popular use in natural beauty and cosmetics, collagen is widely renowned for assisting with skeletal strength and joint flexibility. It acts as a glue-like substance that helps form cartilage, holding its building blocks together and giving cartilage its cushiony, shock-absorbing capabilities. Well-nourished cartilage is associated with joint comfort and easy mobility. In addition, it helps form the matrix that gives joints, cartilage, ligaments and tendons their structure and holds them firmly in place. As a key component involved in the growth, maintenance and repair of these connective tissues, collagen is an important nutrient for joint health.
Collagen supplements may be derived from a variety of sources, including fish, chicken, cows and pigs. Those with religious traditions that preclude certain animal products are advised to confirm their supplement's animal source before they take it. Collagen supplements are generally presented in capsule or tablet form, though powder and liquid varieties are also available. Some supplements contain specific collagen types, often I and III combined or collagen type II on its own. It may appear as an ingredient in formulas designed for joint comfort or skin beauty, and is also a popular ingredient in topical skin creams and serums.
Collagen Directions for Use
It is important to contact your health professional before beginning any supplementation regimen. There is currently no official recommended collagen dosage. Supplements supply a wide range; anywhere from 40 mg to 1000 mg per serving.