The Benefits of Collagen for Joint and Bone Health
When we think of nutrition and body composition it can be easy to focus on the things we can see in the mirror – skin, hair, muscles, fat mass. But looks aren't everything! Getting the right nutrition is also super important to maintain healthy joints and strong bones. Collagen is a key nutrient in this process and topping up collagen levels with your diet or supplements has been proven to support joint and bone health.
A Compact Guide to Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, weighing in at around one third of our total body protein. Its structural role helps to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails – as well as bones and joints.
Think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together, connecting all of your bones to make one big skeleton!
If you haven't read post #1 of our mini-series, here's a brief catch-up on the importance of collagen…
Don’t run your body on a Skeleton Crew!
Without collagen we simply wouldn’t have a leg to stand on – literally! Our skeleton and the connective tissues that glue it together protect our organs, not to mention upholding them from the force of gravity! That’s a big job, and one which requires a constant input of nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, minerals and – you guessed it – collagen!
Read on to discover just how collagen works its magic to promote strong and healthy bones and joints.
Collagen for Bone Health
Bones are living tissues that grow and repair themselves, but they need the right nutrients to do so – one of which is collagen. Collagen is probably best known for its benefits to bone health. It plays a role in the formation and maintenance of bone tissue throughout our entire lives. There’s heaps of evidence to support this, and most studies use collagen supplements rather than dietary collagen to show the benefits.
Bone tissue is made up of collagen and minerals like calcium phosphate, which work in sync to keep bones strong but flexible enough to withstand stress. Collagen peptides work to increase bone mineral density (BMD) making bones more resilient and less likely to fracture.
As well as improving BMD, collagen also improves the structure of bones, which in turn makes them stronger. Collagen binds to bone minerals in a cross-link formation, creating a strong structure that is the architecture of your skeleton.
Just as collagen levels drop as we age, so does bone mineral density. Bones are at their thickest and strongest when we are young but that soon changes past the age of 35. Having a poor diet can accelerate this process and lead to bone disorders like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Getting enough collagen is a must in the later years of life, especially for women. Lower oestrogen levels after the menopause cause hormonal imbalances that reduces bone density. Without proper nutrition, this can go on to cause thinner, weaker bones that are more likely to break.
‘Bone turnover’ is the process of breaking down old bone to build newer, stronger bones. It’s happening all the time but sometimes the balance is off, and more bone is broken down than is made – resulting in a net loss of bone density.
Collagen supplementation has been shown to have a protective role in preventing diseases of bone loss, such as osteoporosis. Studies have shown that collagen lowers levels of proteins in the blood which stimulate bone breakdown. This gives your body more of a chance to build stronger bones, rather than losing them.
Collagen for Joint Health
Our bones are super important for mobility, and we couldn’t go far or do much without them. Joints act as a sort of hinge between bones, allowing you to run, jump and bounce around without your bones grinding together and deteriorating!
Getting enough collagen can prevent joint pain and lessen the negative effect that ageing has on our joints. This will help you to stay stronger for longer, keeping active to a ripe old age!
Studies have shown that as we age lower circulating levels of collagen make our joints less flexible. They become more ‘calcified’ which basically means they become harder and less mobile, reducing your range of motion.
The good news is that you can combat the effects of ageing joints with a daily collagen supplement and regular flexibility exercises. Keeping yourself flexible is also important for stretching muscles to prevent injuries, so should be an integral part of an active lifestyle.
High intensity exercise is great for fitness but puts an inevitable strain on your joints. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation can reduce stiffness, discomfort and inflammation commonly experienced following endurance exercise. What’s more, collagen contains 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids, making it a great addition to any post-workout shake!
Collagen also helps to build cartilage, the flexible tissue that surrounds and protects your joints. Taking a supplement helps to prevent cartilage degeneration and support healthy joints, as well as stimulating the body’s natural production of collagen.
100% Pure Bovine Collagen Peptides
Adding a collagen supplement to your real food diet is a reliable, convenient and effective way to boost collagen levels. ‘Hydrolysed’ collagen, also known as collagen peptides, provides a supply of amino acids which are easy to digest, absorb and distribute throughout the body – helping you to top up your collagen levels and reap the many health benefits!
We source our 100% Pure Bovine Collagen Peptides that are unflavoured, with feather-light flakes that are easily added to hot and cold drinks, soups, smoothies and meals for your daily collagen boost – bone appetite!
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