WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the second most abundant substance in our body, after water. It’s the most abundant structural protein in the human body. Collagen is often called the body’s scaffolding. It’s the glue that holds the body together and is found in skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and all our connective tissues, with its purpose being to provide these body parts with their strength, structure, and elasticity.
As we get older, our bodies become less efficient at naturally producing collagen which is why so many people supplement their diet with collagen to keep their bodies in optimal working condition.
WHAT DOES COLLAGEN DO?
Collagen has many important functions and is a major structural protein found in our bodies, both internally and externally. It’s the primary building block, composed of amino acids, that provide our skin, hair, nails, organs, bones, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels with structural support and strength. This naturally occurring protein is found in our body in large amounts and helps to keep us strong and fit.
Collagen makes up about a third of all the protein in the human body, more than any other type of protein in the body by mass. Collagen - which is rich in amino acids, including proline, glycine and hydroxyproline – plays such an important role in the body that it specifically makes up about 70-75% of our dry-mass skin content, providing volume that keeps skin looking plump and keeps lines at bay.
Our bodies make collagen, in a process known as collagen synthesis, by combining different amino acids extracted from our diet.
type I is the most common type of collagen – found in skin, hair, nails, bone, teeth, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and organs such as the heart, lungs, and others.
type II collagen is mainly found in cartilage.
type III collagen is present in the skin, muscle, and blood vessels.
The majority, as much as 90%, of the body’s collagen is type I.
WHAT HAPPENS TO COLLAGEN AS WE AGE?
Our body’s ability to synthesise collagen declines gradually as we get older. As we age, we break down collagen faster than we can replace it, and our natural collagen production begins to slow down, which can result in sagging skin, the appearance of fine lines, thinning hair, and joint stiffness for example. As we age, our bodies also make lower quality collagen too.
We begin to lose about 1% of our collagen per year in our mid-20s. By the time we get to 40, we will have lost around a third of our natural collagen, and the visible signs of ageing become more prominent. Excess sun UV exposure, smoking and poor diet can also inhibit our natural collagen production and speed up the rate at which our collagen levels deplete.
There have been some impressive clinical studies (which we highlight below) that show that supplementing our diet with ingestible collagen may stimulate the body into producing collagen on its own and can help:
+ improve skin elasticity & hydration
+ boost muscle mass & strength
+ provide relief from joint pain
+ prevent bone loss
+ promote heart health
+ increase hair and nail strength
+ support gut health
WHAT IS A COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT?
Although there are also several protein-rich foods we can eat to increase our collagen intake, including beef, pork skin and bone broth, we’d need to consume an enormous amount of bone broth to have any impact on our collagen levels.
High-quality collagen supplements contain animal collagen. Using a process called hydrolysation, the collagen fibres are broken down into smaller chains known as “collagen peptides” which makes it more bioavailable – i.e. easier to absorb. This is why collagen peptides are also known as hydrolysed collagen.
"Hydrolysed Collagen" is more effective because it contains a complete amino acid sequence as a collagen peptide and research shows that due to its very low molecular weight, hydrolysed collagen is absorbed at a higher level into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the body more easily than other forms of collagen.
The amino acids in collagen peptides include glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, all of which are difficult to get in large quantities from diet alone. These three amino acids are fundamental to fuelling and stimulating the production of collagen in our bodies.
WHAT IS MARINE COLLAGEN?
Unsurprisingly, Marine collagen is extracted from the bones, skin, and scales of fish. When the flesh of a fish is removed to be used as food, everything that is left, and would otherwise be discarded, is cleaned, and collagen is extracted via the process hydrolysation.
Marine collagen is therefore not suitable for those with allergies to fish.
IS MARINE COLLAGEN BETTER THAN BOVINE COLLAGEN?
Studies that have looked at the absorption of collagen peptides found marine collagen tends to be absorbed 1.5 times better than bovine collagen due to its low molecular weight. Studies also show hydrolysed collagen seems to be well absorbed in general and can boost circulating levels of important amino acids.
Furthermore, because Marine Collagen is sourced from fish, there is a lower risk of transmissible diseases and viruses that can affect animal products such as BSE (commonly known as Mad Cow Disease) and Foot-and-Mouth Disease.
Moreover, the structure and bioavailability of collagen peptides from marine fish are quite similar to those of humans across the gastrointestinal barrier.
Marine collagen is predominantly type I, which is used in our skin, hair, nails, bones, teeth, tendons, ligaments, vascular ligature, and organs. Type I collagen accounts for 90% of the total collagen in the human body.
SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN
Clinical studies show that HIMMENSE SHIFT's key ingredient, Type I hydrolysed marine collagen peptides, can have a beneficial effect on the appearance of skin, boost muscle mass, promote heart health, support gut health and reduce joint pain when taken daily for 12 weeks. It is thought that collagen supplements may give our natural collagen production support by triggering our body to ramp up its collagen synthesis.
Let’s delve into the science below.
SKIN HEALTH & ELASTICITY
Being in constant contact with the external environment, the skin is subject to more insults than most of our other organs, and is where the first visible signs of aging occur. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. Collagen plays a role in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity and hydration.
A meta-analysis published in 2023, comprising 14 randomized controlled trials involving 967 participants, found compelling results in the effectiveness of a 12-week regimen of hydrolysed collagen supplementation in improving skin hydration, elasticity, wrinkles, firmness and radiance.
A comprehensive meta-analysis published in 2021 in the International Journal of Dermatology, that had a total of 1,125 participants, found hydrolysed collagen supplementation showed favourable results in terms of skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkles. These findings were consistent across all 19 studies included. Based on the results, the research concluded that ingestion of hydrolysed collagen for 90 days is effective in reducing skin aging, as it reduces wrinkles and improves skin elasticity and hydration.
In addition, taking collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.
Collagen is an excellent protein source, packing in more protein per calorie than other sources while containing less sodium and sugar.
A 2019 study in recreationally active men aged between 21-27 years showed that a combination of collagen supplements and strength training increased muscle mass and strength more than a placebo.
One study of 53 elderly men with sarcopenia a loss of muscle caused by aging, found that those who took collagen daily, in addition to lifting weights three times per week for 3 months, gained significantly more muscle and lost more fat than those who only lifted weights.
During workouts, muscles absorb amino acids at a faster rate and don’t leave enough for other parts of our body. The hydrolysed marine collagen in HIMMENSE SHIFT contains 19 different amino acids including glycine and proline. Glycine is one of three amino acids that our body uses to make a compound called creatine. Studies show that creatine can increase muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance. And the amino acid proline acts as an antioxidant and helps monitor cell damage that may cause post-workout achiness.
Collagen helps maintain the healthy cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that covers the surface of our joints, protecting them from wear and tear. As we age, the amount of collagen in our body decreases so we are at an increased risk of developing conditions such as osteoarthritis. The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness. Furthermore, high impact activities and high-intensity sports can exert stress on joints that can lead to pain and injury.
A meta-analysis of five randomized placebo-controlled trials involving more than 500 people with osteoarthritis found that taking collagen daily for an average of 24 weeks led to significant improvements in joint stiffness and joint pain.
A joint study by Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical Centre followed a group of 30 Osteoarthritis (OA) patients for 48 weeks. Half were given a placebo, and the other half were given collagen supplements. MRI scans proved that the collagen patients had significant re-growth of damaged cartilage after a year.
In one study conducted by Penn State University, 73 athletes who consumed collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a significant decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with a group that did not take it.
In another study, adults that took collagen daily for 70 days had a significant reduction in joint pain and were better able to engage in physical activity than those who did not take it.
Bones are mostly made of collagen, a protein that provides flexibility (toughness) to the bone structure, and calcium, a mineral that helps build and maintain healthy bones.
Collagen contributes to the formation of strong bones that are less prone to breakage, plays a role in bone tissue regeneration, and prevents bone loss. As we age, the structure of our bones changes and this results in loss of bone mass or density. Low bone mass means bones are weaker and may break or fracture more easily. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation may help improve bone mass density and slow osteoporosis. For example:
A randomized year-long randomized controlled study of 131 participants (with a mean age of 63 years), found that 5 grams of collagen peptides a day significantly improved bone mineral density. In addition, collagen supplementation was associated with a favourable shift in bone markers, indicating increased bone formation and reduced bone degradation.
Collagen provides our organs and blood vessels with structural support and strength. It provides structure to our arteries, the vessels that keep blood flowing to and from our heart. Arteries play a crucial role in distributing oxygen, nutrients, and hormones throughout our body. Weak, stiff, narrow, and inflexible arteries are linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke.
A meta-analysis published in The British Journal of Nutrition determined that collagen supplements positively affected biomarkers related to cardiovascular disease, with studies showing that taking collagen supplements can reduce artery stiffness and increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in the body. This means it can help reduce your risk of developing heart conditions.
If our levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of our arteries. This build-up is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow our arteries and limit blood flow.
When it comes to our hair, the specific protein responsible for maintaining its structure and quality is keratin. As we age and keratin reduces, hair often becomes thinner, weaker and sometimes more coarse. Marine collagen contains amino acids in a very easy to absorb form and some of these amino acids are vital for the production of keratin.
Human studies on the use of collagen supplements to increase hair growth are limited, however, there has been several studies on mice that show promising results. For example:
A study on mice found that the group given marine collagen peptides, experienced significantly enhanced hair regrowth versus the mice in the control groups. Based on the results, the study determined that collagen peptides could be used as food supplements for hair loss prevention as well as hair regrowth during alopecia.
Furthermore, collagen is the primary component of the dermis, which is the connective tissue layer in our bodies that contains hair follicles. Collagen contributes to the elasticity and strength of our dermis. With age, our body becomes less efficient at naturally producing collagen and replenishing cells in the dermis, and this can be one of the reasons why our hair gets thinner over time.
A key feature of a healthy gut is a happy and healthy gut lining. Collagen plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of our connective tissues, including the gut lining.
The gut lining acts as a barrier, preventing harmful substances from entering the bloodstream. However, stress, poor diet, and ageing can compromise the integrity of the gut lining, leading to a condition called "leaky gut." When the gut is “leaky”, bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream, and can cause widespread inflammation and possibly trigger a reaction from the immune system and make us sick.
Scientific studies have shown that collagen supplements can help repair the gut lining, reduce inflammation, and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. For example:
A study published in 2022, found that a daily collagen peptide supplement for 8 weeks led to an increase in bowel movements and participants saw less bloating and an improvement in mild digestive symptoms.
Research shows that amino acids are essential to the health of our gut lining. Marine collagen is a source of amino acids, some of which are essential for restoring and maintaining gut integrity, specifically, glycine, glutamine and proline which support a healthy bacterial balance in our gut microbiome and facilitates a healthy gut barrier.
Collagen has been used for treating wounds for more than 2,000 years, according to a study published in the journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine. The collagen is applied topically, often with other structural proteins and antibiotics, to promote healing and prevent infection.
For example, a review published in the journal Biopolymers in 2014 describes how a collagen gel or sponge may be placed over a severe burn. The sponge allows the skin to maintain a moist environment while protecting it from infections, and the collagen acts as a scaffold for the regeneration of cells and production of new collagen.
If you've got more questions on Collagen, like what age should you start taking it? ....just check out our FAQ's here.
HIMMENSE SHIFT is a daily hydrolysed Marine Collagen supplement infused with Vitamins C (for normal collagen formation), D, B12, B6, B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Selenium and Ashwagandha that supports physical and mental wellbeing. Benefits associated with the nutrients in HIMMENSE SHIFT range from skin, heart, joint, gut, and sexual health to improved muscle mass and strength.
We know men want to look and feel their best which is why we’ve made sure HIMMENSE SHIFT has no added sugar, artificial flavours, sweeteners or colours, gluten, dairy, soya, animal fat, alcohol, cholesterol, emulsifying agents or soy lecithin.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Consult a doctor or healthcare professional if you have any questions or are taking any other medications before you try any remedies.
Published 9 November 2021