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When you think of collagen, you likely think of reduced wrinkles and improved joint health. While this would be an accurate train of thought, collagen boasts more benefits than improved joint and skin health, which is why it’s ballooned into such a big business. Beyond supple skin and healthier joints, collagen has other benefits for your body that may surprise you. 

Longevity benefits of collagen

May improve sleep 

A study published in Diabetologia found that individuals who slept 5 hours or less, compared to those who slept 7 hours, faced a 33% increased risk of death. So, if you’re struggling with getting enough rest, how is adding a collagen supplement to your routine going to help?

Collagen contains an amino acid called glycine and research has suggested that glycine can improve sleep quality and sleep efficacy, as well as reduce daytime sleepiness.

How exactly does it do this?

Well, researchers believe that glycine reduces core body temperature and a reduction in core body temperature has been associated with a better night’s sleep. While more research is still needed to confirm these findings, swapping your evening tea with a cup of bone broth wouldn’t hurt. 

May improve brain health

As more and more people age across the world, experts have found that the prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), is fast increasing. If that’s not enough, statistics have found that Alzheimer’s disease kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

However, it appears that the amino acid found in collagen may help to maintain and protect neurological health. Glycine acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. The antioxidant and inflammatory properties that it possesses have researchers believing that glycine may improve brain health. That said, more research is still needed. 

Provides a powerful dose of antioxidants 

The body needs antioxidants for a number of reasons, most importantly to protect them from the dangers of free radicals

Free radicals can trigger oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage and an increased risk of a number of health concerns and diseases.

One of the most powerful antioxidants out there is glutathione. In fact, a study published earlier this year in Nutrients showed that glutathione extended the lifespan in mice by 24%. Human studies have found that glutathione can improve your health in a number of ways and if you want to maintain the levels of glutathione in your body, then you may want to use collagen to do so. 

This is because of the three amino acids that the body uses to make glutathione, glycine is one of them (the other two are cysteine and glutamic acid).

May reduce Type II diabetes risk

Globally, around 462 million people are currently living with type II diabetes. If you’re worried about your risk of the condition, then you might want to add more collagen to your diet. 

Poor insulin response is one of the major risk factors for type II diabetes. However, it has been found that glycine can stabilize your blood sugar by improving insulin response, which then helps mitigate the risk for, as well as better manage, diabetes. 

May help repair leaky gut

If you want to protect your health span, then you need to make sure that you’re at optimum gut health. Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the walls of your gut are compromised, which then causes toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause a host of problems. Symptoms of leaky gut include digestive issues like chronic diarrhea, constipation, bloating, as well as fatigue, and abdominal pain.

If left untreated, leaky gut can trigger prolonged inflammation in the body, which can then increase the risk for chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, and some cancers.

Collagen contains many amino acids that can help with leaky gut syndrome, one of which is glutamine. According to studies, glutamine is considered the most important nutrient for healing of ‘leaky gut syndrome’

collagen
YuliaLisitsa/Shutterstock

Takeaway

Yes, including collagen in your daily routine has been proven to do wonders for your skin and joints, but the benefits don’t stop there.

In fact, there’s so much more collagen can do for your body, and making it a prominent feature in your lifestyle is sure to boost your longevity.

MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: YuliaLisitsa/Shutterstock

Want to know more?

Every year, many people spend thousands of dollars on liposuction, laser surgeries, and other procedures, just to get rid of cellulite. Luckily, collagen may help combat the appearance of cellulite and improve your overall skin health naturally.

References

Kumar, P., Osahon, O. W., & Sekhar, R. V. (2022). GlyNAC (Glycine and N-Acetylcysteine) Supplementation in Mice Increases Length of Life by Correcting Glutathione Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Abnormalities in Mitophagy and Nutrient Sensing, and Genomic Damage. Nutrients14(5), 1114. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14051114

Rao, R., & Samak, G. (2012). Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions. Journal of epithelial biology & pharmacology5(Suppl 1-M7), 47–54. https://doi.org/10.2174/1875044301205010047

Razak, M. A., Begum, P. S., Viswanath, B., & Rajagopal, S. (2017). Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2017, 1716701. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1716701

Wang, Y., Huang, W., O’Neil, A. et al. Association between sleep duration and mortality risk among adults with type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study. Diabetologia 63, 2292–2304 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05214-4

YAMADERA, W., INAGAWA, K., CHIBA, S., BANNAI, M., TAKAHASHI, M. and NAKAYAMA, K. (2007), Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 5: 126-131. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x

Zheng, J.C., Chen, S. Translational Neurodegeneration in the era of fast growing international brain research. Transl Neurodegener 11, 1 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40035-021-00276-9

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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