When you think of collagen, you probably imagine advertisements filled of beautiful women with supple skin. The last thing that comes to mind is a ripped dude at the gym, right?
Can men take collagen – and should they?
Believe it or not, collagen comes with many benefits for men to support healthy muscles and ward away several undesirable symptoms of aging.
Here’s how it works.[INFOGRAPHIC]
What is Collagen?
Collagen protein is an important “complex protein” found throughout just about every cell in the body. We aren’t going to call it the “glue that holds everything in your body together” because you’ve probably heard that a thousand times by now.
It does, however, contain 19 powerful amino acids like proline, arginine, glycine, and glutamine. As a bonus, these are unusual amino acids not typically found in other proteins. Collagen peptides, also called hydrolyzed collagen, are smaller and easier to digest than other enzymes so the body can use them efficiently.
This vital compound, collagen, is responsible for giving your skin, hair, joints, muscles, blood, organs, and much more their structures and support.
As we age, our body’s collagen production slows down and collagen storage throughout the body deteriorates. Unfortunately, some of everyone’s favorite lifestyle choices and environmental factors like sun damage, consuming too much sugar, and smoking can accelerate this deterioration process.
You can find collagen in plenty of topical skincare products. You can also compensate for collagen loss by adding a powder to smoothies, taking a dietary supplement, or simply eating more collagen-rich foods like bone broth.
Should Men Take Collagen?
Absolutely. First, why wouldn’t men want to reduce the visible signs of aging? Women shouldn’t be the only ones to care for their skin, right?
Okay, we can’t convince you to worry about your wrinkles. We can, however, explain over a half-dozen other reasons men should consider consuming more collagen.
It isn’t going to raise your estrogen or lower your testosterone levels – so there’s no reason men shouldn’t take collagen. The truth is, everyone needs collagen for multiple reasons. Everyone regardless of gender can reap the benefits of adding collagen to their diet.
Plus, collagen is one of the safest supplements to add to your arsenal without any known drug interactions. Unless you have a shellfish, egg, beef, or chicken allergy, the only side effect you may experience is heartburn and even that is pretty unusual. Just make sure to discuss your plans with a doctor.
8 Reasons You Should Take a Collagen Supplement
What are the top benefits of collagen for men? Let’s take a look at what science says.
1. It Helps Reduce Hair Loss
No man in his 20s – or any age for that matter – wants to see more hair in the shower drain each morning while his scalp slowly makes an appearance.
It’s true that we’re largely at the mercy of genetics, but how many men do you know proactively tried to encourage hair growth before they started to notice hair loss? Collagen keeps both hair follicles and the hair itself supple and strong.
2. It Supports Bone and Joint Health
Joint pain is another seemingly inevitable effect of aging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take measures to protect your delicate joints – especially if you work in a physically demanding career.
Several studies have examined collagen’s ability to support cartilage integrity and reduce overall joint pain. Researchers believe that collagen consumption stimulates the cartilage’s ability to produce more collagen which ultimately reduces inflammation and pain. (1)
3. Collagen Helps Your Muscles Recover Faster
The special combination of amino acids found in collagen for men can help you quickly bounce back after a strenuous workout or day at work.
Your tendons and ligaments contain about 75% collagen so consuming it as a supplement can help reduce potential pain or injury. Collagen also helps reduce inflammation due to strain from intense lifting or high-impact exercise.
4. It Helps Maintain Muscle Mass with Age
Not every guy loves hitting the gym after work, but those that do generally want to increase their muscle mass. Even men who aren’t particularly concerned with the size of their shoulders and biceps should care about the potentially dangerous loss of muscle mass due to age because it increases your risk for falling.
Collagen accounts for up to 10% of all muscle tissue. Studies have found that collagen consumption can boost muscle mass, improve strength, and encourage creatine synthesis – even in frail men. (2) Plus, collagen is a complex protein similar to whey but with different amino acids like arginine to increase muscle mass.
5. It May Ward Off Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Many factors contribute to conditions that lead to heart disease like stiff arteries, high cholesterol levels, and atherosclerosis (narrowing arteries).
Researchers have done plenty of studies on collagen for its ability to maintain flexibly in arteries and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. (3) To top it off, collagen contains proline: an amino acid that can help clear fat from arteries and relax blood vessels. Although more studies are needed, collagen is safe so it can’t hurt to add it to your repertoire.
6. Collagen Supports a Healthy Gut
You probably put your digestive system through more stress than you’d like to admit. It’s okay, we’re all on the same page here. If you suffer from conditions like leaky gut syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you may want to consider adding collagen to your diet.
Collagen supports flexibility in every cell in your gut so it helps reduce inflammation and protects the lining of your sensitive intestines. (4) Say goodbye to constipation, diarrhea, and bloating (as long as you make some changes to your diet, too).
7. It Keeps Skin Resilient with Age
You want to age gracefully, right? Who says women are the only ones who can take advantage of collagen for healthy aging? As we age, our skin becomes hydrated and loses its elasticity.
Collagen can boost skin hydration which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (5) Plus, research shows that consuming collagen can actually improve your body’s own ability to produce collagen which can improve elasticity and support natural anti-aging.
8. Collagen Can Improve Metabolism and Energy
The amino acids in collagen, particularly glycine, glutamine, and arginine, play an important role in supporting healthy metabolisms and muscle mass. Collagen also keeps the central nervous system healthy which can help maintain optimal energy levels.
Bone Broth Vs. Collagen
This is a tough one. The difference here is truly in the details and bone broth contains collagen, so it’s easy to get confused.
However, bone broth contains much more than collagen alone. It also includes calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and tons of other vital nutrients – so it provides excellent well-rounded support.
Collagen that you purchase as a powder or supplement, on the other hand, is hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are easier for your body to digest, process, and use. Not only are you consuming higher levels of more effective collagen, but you’re also consuming more of collagen’s peptides and unique amino acids.
Marine Collagen Vs. Bovine Collagen
This is another great distinction to question because it’s the little details that matter.
Bovine collagen comes from cowhide – usually of grass-fed cows. Bovine is type 1 or 3 collagen which is usually less expensive and beneficial for things like digestive health.
Marine collagen, on the other hand, comes from fish. Don’t worry it has absolutely no fishy taste or smell. Marine is type 2 collagen which is usually the preferred choice for skincare.
In reality, both marine and bovine collagen will deliver the amino acids and substances you’re after for overall health. Make your choice based on availability and any diet restrictions.
Collagen Peptides Vs. Protein Powder
Collagen contains a ton of important amino acids for building muscle but it doesn’t contain tryptophan so collagen isn’t a complete protein. Not only is collagen missing one essential amino acid, but the other amino acids aren’t in balanced amounts like they are in other complete proteins.
Protein powders like whey, however, contain all the essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids (BCAA).
Collagen and whey protein also come from different sources.
Whey protein powders come from milk sources while collagen protein comes from the skin and connective tissues. This makes collagen an excellent choice for anyone with a sensitive dairy allergy.
There’s no reason though that you can’t add some collagen protein to your standard protein shake to reap the benefits of both.
Collagen for Men: The Bottom Line
Can men take collagen? Absolutely. Consuming collagen comes with so many benefits across the body for people of every gender. From skin and hair to heart health and muscle mass, collagen for men improves your body’s delicate structures and supports overall function. Plus, collagen is extremely safe with virtually no side effects or drug interactions. Add a scoop to your smoothie or shake and enjoy.
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