Collagen protein is found abundantly in the human body. The word collagen is derived from the Greek word kola, meaning “glue.” Collagen is the foundational “glue” that helps hold the body’s flesh and connective tissues together. Collagen is found in hair, nails, skin, muscle tissue, blood vessels, and bones. Tendons, cartilage, the digestive tract, heart, kidneys, gallbladder, and other organs also contain collagen. Collagen gives our skin elasticity and strength. It even plays an integral part in helping our bodies replace dead skin cells.
Collagen comprises nearly one-third of the body’s protein content, with 90% of the collagen types 1, 2, and 3 collagen.(1, 2) Over time, the body’s production of collagen slows, which is when dietary supplementation can play a role. As consumer awareness of collagen supplementation in health and personal care grows, along with expanding nutraceutical products, market researchers predict a strong collagen market. Global Market Insights’ “Competitive Market Share & Forecast 2016 – 2023” estimates that the global collagen market, valued at more than $3 billion in 2015, is likely to exceed $5 billion by 2023, with a CAGR of 7% between 2016–2023, with growth expected for gelatin, collagen peptides, and marine collagen markets.
“The market for collagen products is on the rise in the U.S.,” says Katie Stevenson, business development manager, Nitta Gelatin NA Inc. (Morrisville, NC). “Innovative applications that we see driving growth this year include ready-to-drink products and gummies, as well as shots containing collagen for beauty-from-within, joint health, overall health and wellness, and as a protein source.”
1. Di Lullo GA et al., “Mapping the ligand-binding sites and disease-associated mutations on the most abundant protein in the human, type I collagen,” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 277, no. 6 (February 8, 2002): 4223-4231
2. Lodish H et al., “Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition.” (New York, W. H. Freeman, 2000). Table 22-3.
CLICK ON IMAGES TO VIEW SLIDESHOW
Photo © iStockphoto.com/EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER. Edited by Quinn Williams
Beauty from Within
Collagen is one of the leading natural skincare ingredients targeting skin health and signs of aging with its ability to support the health of deep skin layers while providing visible beauty benefits from within. One well-known benefit of collagen is its ability to improve the overall health of hair and skin. Increasing collagen levels can help skin look radiant and healthy, even reducing the appearance of fine line and wrinkles associated with aging or environmental effects.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effect of oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides on human skin physiology found that 2.5–5 g of collagen hydrolysate used once daily for eight weeks significantly improved skin elasticity compared to placebo. Positive benefits were also observed for skin moisture. The randomized study was conducted among women aged 35 – 55 years. No side effects were noted.(3)
With nutricosmetics expanding in the health and beauty industry, collagen doesn’t just address an aging audience. With consumer awareness of the benefits of nutricosmetics increasing, skin care is beginning in early adulthood. More collagen products, combinations, and delivery systems are being offered, and manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to create supplements with claims backed by scientific research and proven efficacy. For instance, Biocell Technology LLC’s (Newport Beach, CA) type II collagen ingredient BioCell Collagen has been clinically shown to significantly reduce skin aging, facial lines, and wrinkles, including in a 2012 study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging.(4)
3. Proksch E et al., “Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study,” Skin Pharmacology & Physiology, vol. 27, no. 1 (2014):47-55
4. Schwartz SR et al., “Ingestion of BioCell Collagen(®), a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs,” Clinical Interventions in Aging. Published online July 27, 2012
Photo © Shutterstock.com/goodluz
Joint and Bone Health
Aging and other stressors can reduce collagen levels, leading to joint discomfort as ligaments and tendons move with less ease. Collagen supplementation can support joint health and reduce discomfort.(5) Bone- and joint-health supplements like Wellnex collagen peptides by Nitta Gelatin NA Inc. have been clinically shown to prevent joint cartilage and subchondral bone cell deformation in both laboratory and human clinical studies.
5. Bruyère O et al., “Effect of collagen hydrolysate in articular pain: a 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study,” Complementary Therapies In Medicine, vol. 20, no. 3 (June 2012):124-130
Photo © Shutterstock.com/Sebastian Kaulitzki
The benefits of collagen for joint and bone health have expanded into the athletic arena, where collagen has been shown to support joint health and reduce the risk of joint deterioration in athletes.(6) In sports, collagen supplementation has been shown to support the recovery and strength of muscles and protect joints and connective tissues, as well as assist with injury prevention.
6. Clark KL et al., “24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain,” Current Medical Research and Opinion, vol. 24, no. 5 (May 2008): 1485-1496
Photo © Shutterstock.com/Daniel_Dash
Health and Wellness
Collagen is an efficient protein source for overall health. Glycine, an amino acid in collagen, converts glucose into energy, helping to form muscle tissue. It supports the digestive and central nervous systems, encourages cell longevity, and is a building block for healthy cell structure.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/angelhell
Unlocking New Insights
Emerging research points to new horizons in collagen’s beneficial effects on protecting cardiovascular health, promoting tissue regeneration, effecting healthy granulation of tissue supporting wound care, improving liver health, and more.
“While research continues to grow that supports collagen’s beneficial effects on blood sugar, the potential for growth for this ingredient is endless,” says Stevenson. And because collagen is cold-water-soluble, she says, expect to see more collagen in ready-to-drink beverages moving forward.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/RapidEye