Can collagen do all that?

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Can collagen do all that?

Healthier skin. Stronger bones. Less joint pain.

These are some of the potential benefits of collagen that are being reported and researched.

Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the body. It is a major building block of bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, and nails. It also is found in blood vessels and the intestines. Collagen comes from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue, as it binds together cells and tissues.

Low levels of collagen can cause skin to become drier and less elastic, which can lead to wrinkles. Because collagen is such a large component of cartilage, its decline in the body over the years can lead to weakened joints.

The body makes collagen from protein-rich foods and other vitamins and minerals. These include chicken, beef, fish, dairy, eggs, citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains. However, the natural production of collagen decreases with age. To ensure the body has enough ingredients to make collagen, individuals may need to change their diet or take dietary supplements, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Collagen supplements are available in powders, tablets, and capsules.

But do collagen supplements really work?

Collagen has gained popularity as a nutritional supplement and ingredient in shampoos and body lotions. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows collagen supplements improve skin density and hydration. Other studies show the supplements may help promote hair and nail growth.

According to the National Institutes of Health, consuming collagen may help relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, and boost muscle mass. Studies also suggest it may promote brain, heart, and digestive health. However, more research is needed to support those claims.

As with any dietary supplement, the Food and Drug Administration does not evaluate any claims a company makes on how well their collagen products work.