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Benefits of Liquid Collagen: for Face, Skin, Weight Loss, and Hair

By Nancy H, PharmD
May 7, 2023
7 minutes

Introduction

One of the hard truths about the human body is that it is not designed to last forever. No one stays young for eternity. At some point, the versatility and vitality of the main organs and tissues in the body start to decline. Different biological and physiological processes in the body start shutting down at some point.

This explains why, at some particular age, the body becomes more prone to specific ailments and disorders.

Sadly, while some processes and functions don’t start declining until old age, from sixty-five and above, some begin very early. A perfect example is collagen, an essential protein in the body. The production of collagen starts to decline in the mid to late 20s and early 30s.

This implies if the level of this protein is not replenished, all the organs and processes that rely on the availability of the protein to function will start to decline in activity.

Fortunately, these processes and organs can be maintained at peak functionality for a considerable amount of time with the use of appropriate medical interventions, such as medicines, therapies, and surgical procedures.

We will therefore concentrate on collagen, including its restrictions, synthesis, advantages, and methods of consumption, particularly liquid collagen.

What is Collagen?

In simple terms, collagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints, skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It’s in your bones, muscles, and blood, comprising three-quarters of your skin and the most abundant protein in the human body, making up about 30% of its total protein content .

Collagen is produced by specialized cells called fibroblasts, which are found in the skin and other connective tissues.

According to scientists, there are 28 different types of collagen in human tissues. The most abundant is type I, which makes up over 90% of collagen in the body. The skin contains collagen types I, II, and III, which give skin strength and elasticity.

After reaching our maximum level of collagen production as we age, the levels begin to decline. And according to research , humans reach their peak collagen synthesis at age 20, and starting in the mid-20s, the human body starts to break down the collagen it already has, making it more difficult for it to make more .

Sadly, when you approach, the difference becomes so significant that you begin to see symptoms such as joint pain, saggy skin, wrinkles, and more. That explains why you see many individuals opt for collagen supplements, such as liquid collagen to keep the level of collagen at an optimum level.

An excellent way to take collagen supplements includes peptides, protein powder, pills, or liquid collagen. However, we will talk about liquid collagen.

Liquid Collagen

Liquid collagen contains hydrolyzed proteins broken down into smaller blocks or peptides for better absorption. Most of the water, generated from animal connective tissues, has been purified and is available as prepared beverages, vials, or smoothies.

Types of Liquid Collagen.

The collagen in liquid collagen products is produced from different sources. It is helpful to know the differences before thinking about buying a supplement because of allergies and sensitivities.

The most common source of collagen in supplements is beef. This is usually preferred because the body tolerates and absorbs bovine collagen very well.

Collagen from pigs is also easy to absorb, similar to human collagen. Other products may contain collagen from:

  • Sheep
  • Chicken, duck, or rabbit skin
  • Fish or marine invertebrates (such as jellyfish or sponges)

Marine collagen is one of the most popular types in the cosmetic industry. According to a 2020 study , it causes less inflammation than animal sources and is less likely to contain contaminants.

Health Benefits of Liquid Collagen.

Although little to no research specifically considers the health benefits of liquid collagen, there are loads of studies and reviews on the general health benefits of collagen supplementation. Below are a few:

1. Skin and Nail Health

Collagen supplements are commonly known for their ability to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. As the skin is made up of around 75% collagen, liquid collagen has been shown to help improve elasticity.

Also, it increases hydration and reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the skin.

In a 2019 study from Germany, 72 older women who received either liquid collagen or a phony supplement were examined to determine the effects of collagen supplementation.

Skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density significantly improved after four weeks in individuals who received liquid collagen.

A 2019 assessment of research from the University of California, Irvine, corroborated these findings and found that collagen supplements are “promising” in their capacity to raise skin elasticity, moisture, and density.

However, the study stated that more research is required.

Additionally, several studies have established a connection between improved nail health and collagen supplementation.

According to a 2017 study , after taking a collagen peptide supplement for 24 weeks, those with brittle nails experienced a 12% increase in nail growth, a 42% decrease in nail breaking, and an improvement in nail brittleness.

2. Muscle Mass and Strength

Muscles are comprised of only around 10% collagen or less . Hence, collagen doesn’t help “build” muscles but instead supports the structural stability of muscles so that they remain healthy and strong.

Compared to 12 weeks of strength training alone, a 2019 study in the journal Nutrients revealed that a 15-gram daily dose of hydrolyzed collagen peptide boosted muscle mass and strength.

However, the lack of a control group, which would have allowed researchers to determine if collagen supplements have any benefits, limited the findings, which were nonetheless encouraging.

3. Osteoarthritis

Cartilage comprises around 60% collagen , and the loss of collagen over time contributes to the onset of osteoarthritis (“wear-and-tear arthritis”).

The use of a hydrolyzed collagen supplement daily may reduce the development of osteoarthritis by encouraging the distribution of collagen in joint cartilage, according to a 2016 review of studies from Brazil that included both human and animal trials.

Collagen supplements may help with cartilage growth and healing, according to another review that included 41 published research .

However, it cautioned that “before any conclusive conclusion can be made, further research is required due to the generally poor quality of studies.”

4. Heart Health

Blood vessels are composed of more than 50% collagen . It is believed that taking a daily collagen supplement may help reduce the stiffening of arteries, known as atherosclerosis, which contributes to heart disease.

According to a 2017 study from Japan, taking a twice-daily dose of a collagen supplement for six months in healthy individuals may significantly reduce the risk of arterial stiffness along with improved cholesterol values.

However, the current research needs to be more comprehensive to adequately support the claims that collagen supplements can prevent or treat heart disease. Studies are currently ongoing to consolidate this stance.

5. Hair Health

Your hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin . Like every other protein, keratin comprises different amino acids, some of which are found in collagen.

Collagen supplements may help support healthy hair growth by providing the essential amino acids necessary for collagen synthesis. Subsequently, this increases hair growth and improves hair thickness and density.

Moreso, another research showed that collagen might act as an antioxidant to fight off free radicals. Free radicals accumulate in the body as a result of different processes in the body and exposure to several environmental toxins.

These free radicals are damaging in nature. They damage cells, tissues, and other organs of the body. In fact, free radicals can also damage hair follicles , resulting in hair loss.

Acting as an antioxidant, collagen can help fight off free radicals and maintain the integrity of your hair . However, more research will be needed to completely ascertain collagen’s antioxidant properties.

Possible Side Effects

Generally, collagen supplements are tolerated by many people. However, it is best to consult a doctor before starting collagen supplements to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

For instance, research has shown that supplemental collagen may cause an allergic reaction in some persons. If someone drinks marine collagen and has a shellfish allergy, they may have a severe reaction or anaphylaxis.

If you notice symptoms such as swelling in the face, mouth, or throat after taking collagen, call 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department immediately.

Other common side effects include:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea

Moreso, if you have diabetes, ensure you look for brands that don’t contain sugar, as most of the liquid collagens are sweetened and flavored.

As said earlier, liquid collagens are produced from different sources, including fish, chicken, sheep, etc. If you have allergies to any of these, ensure you opt for other available options.

This is particularly true for collagen supplements made from fish and shellfish protein , which have been shown to cause nasal congestion, redness, cramping in the stomach, and diarrhea in people with known fish or shellfish allergies.

Hence, it is imperative you speak with a physician before you start taking any supplements.

Conclusion

Collagen is a necessary protein for the body, and taking collagen supplements is an excellent method to keep collagen levels at their highest. Liquid collagen is one of the best supplements available. They are made from the connective tissues of many animal species.

Liquid collagen, according to different studies and reviews, may help improve the quality and integrity of your hair and prevent conditions like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and atherosclerosis by enhancing the health of your skin, joints, muscles, bones, and heart when used as a dietary supplement.

Nancy H, PharmD
I am Nancy a licensed pharmacist with extensive knowledge in the healthcare industry. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics including; disease management, dietary supplements, nutrition, fitness, functional medicine, and lifestyle changes for optimal health. Below is my Linkedin profile
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