What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues of the body. It is significant in making certain parts of the body such as nails strong and is also an important factor in joint health. Collagen supplements come in various forms. One of the most common is called Gelatin. For a long time Gelatin has been used in collagen replacement and has been thought to strengthen nails and hair. Individuals suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis often take collagen supplements to replace collagen in the joints. The collagen supplements mostly used in such a case has chicken collagen as an active ingredient. There are also collagen creams that are applied on the skin to help reduce wrinkles and lines.

How Collagen Works

Collagen is a form of fibrous protein that is normally present in the bodies of humans and even mammals. It provides a supportive structure for various body tissues such as muscles, bones and ligaments and prevents them from falling apart. It works with another compound called Elastin to provide strength and firmness to the tissues. Collagen also works to keep the skin looking firm, tight, flexible and youthful looking. Young people naturally produce more collagen than older people. With age, the collagen in the body breaks down leading to wrinkles and folds around the mouth. As such, collagen stimulation leads to a more youthful looking skin. The substance has been used for a long time in combating signs of aging.

Collagen in Plastic Surgery

Collagen works to reduce the signs of aging by plumping up the skin, making it firm and flexible due to the fibrous and stable structure of the substance. Many plastic surgeons use the substance to give their clients a youthful appearance. In this case, the collagen is injected directly to the skin in the areas with depressions created by wrinkles. The collagen plumps up the wrinkles making them less noticeable. The collagen injections may last up to six months after which one has to go through the same procedure to refill wrinkles. The procedure may take a few hours or minutes depending on the extent of wrinkles.

Collagen has various other uses including artificial skin construction for burn victims. The collagen used in this procedure is normally obtained from bovine or equine sources to replace lost skin as a result of third party burns. Recently, collagen from human sources has become available for skin replacement in case of burns though it is more expensive.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Many people take collagen supplements because of the substantial health benefits it has on the body. Anecdotal reports state that there are certain improvements when taken. However, little research has been done to support the effectiveness of these supplements. The substance is purported to assist individuals with arthritis and other illnesses affecting the joints or bones. Collagen helps to increase mobility and reduce pain. Collagen is also believed to improve the appearance of the skin, nails and hair. There are various topical health products that are available for enhancing the look of skin. Collagen injections are normally administered by plastic surgeons to correct skin indentations and plump up the skin.

Collagen for Arthritis

Various studies indicate that chicken collagen supplements can be effective in the treatment of pain, swelling as well as stiffness around joints. This type of collagen is mostly used by people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Studies also indicate that collagen supplements used with protein and amino acids supplements help in improving mobility and flexibility in athletes.