If you like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in health and fitness, then you’ve probably seen plenty of people praising the benefits of collagen powder. The question is, does this powder really work as a better substitute for protein shakes? Should you be jumping on the bandwagon and filling your drinks with collagen supplements?
Today we’ll dive into the details surrounding collagen and its current popularity so that you can determine if it’s right for your health.
Collagen actually already plays a huge role in your body’s health, even if you’ve never taken a collagen supplement before. It’s the glue that binds your cells and tissues together, which means it’s found in everything from your bones to your muscles. You can thank collagen for holding your body together and giving it a firm shape.
According to many health and fitness gurus, consuming animal-sourced collagen is essentially a way of boosting your body’s original amount of collagen. This can help strengthen your bones, muscles, and even your skin. Runners who complain of joint pain find that the extra dose of collagen helps alleviate their discomfort because of its impact on their bones and joints.
Some people inject collagen, but the most common way to reap its rewards is to drink it. By mixing it into your favorite healthy smoothies or even your coffee, people claim they experience better health and enhanced athletic abilities.
According to recent studies, our bodies naturally lose some collagen as we age. Babies start out with plenty of collagen so that they can grow strong and repair problems quickly, but adults have a much lower dosage. As scary as this sounds, scientists say it’s completely natural.
However, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s something you want to deal with. Researchers state that it is possible for collagen supplements to improve your skin, and they might help with various kinds of pain amongst some athletes. Still, not enough research has been conducted to truly determine if collagen supplements are just a fad or if they’re truly beneficial for the average person’s health.
Additionally, scientists say that there is no research to prove that the collagen you ingest becomes collagen in your tissues. Yes, the amino acids in collagen may enter your bloodstream, but you can’t force them to go to one area of your body or alter your bones or muscles in specific ways. This means that spot-training with collagen is pretty much impossible, so forget targeting your thighs or arms.
Well, collagen is a form of protein, so that question in itself is a little misleading. However, most traditional protein powders you can snag at the grocery store are made of whey protein, not collagen protein, and the two can be different.
The biggest difference lies in the proteins’ glycine levels. Collagen contains quite a bit of glycine, which is an extremely powerful antioxidant that can help you digest your food better. On the other hand, whey protein has less glycine but contains more of the essential amino acids.
Collagen can also potentially help you recover from workouts a little bit faster than whey protein powders can. Because collagen synthesis rates in your tissues and muscles are high, that means you’ll feel less sore after a difficult stint in the gym. Collagen may also be a better choice for people with arthritis and joint pains because it relieves stiffness and inflammation more than whey protein does.
Like any fitness trend, collagen supplements have their avid believers and their skeptical doubters. Many people claim that collagen has made their body stronger and more capable, as well as slimmer. Others acknowledge that although this may be true, there is no long-term evidence indicating whether or not collagen is truly a miracle supplement.
So, back to the big question: should you be taking collagen supplements? The answer is a resounding maybe. If you continuously experience joint pains, stiffness, or inflammation, then collagen may very well make your workouts more doable. The supplements may also improve your diet and strengthen your bones.
However, should you decide to try collagen supplements, don’t expect overnight results or to be able to target specific areas of your body. Think of them instead as an investment in the overall feel of your body, not your abs or another defined spot.