The beauty industry has been aware of the advantages of collagen for many years, and it has been a popular item on the ingredient list of many cosmetic preparations for maintaining a youthful complexion. However, in recent years science has discovered that taking collagen as a dietary supplement has significant potential to support the framework of our bodies by replenishing and preserving joint health.
As more research emerges, collagen is extending its presence from the beauty and cosmetic counters, to providing a powerful and natural means of turning back the clock in terms of joint health and prolonged mobility. But what is bovine collagen, and how do we tap into its benefits?
The Discovery of Collagen
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Research into understanding proteins in the human body began in 1950 when an Indian Scientist, G. N. Ramachandran, first discovered the structure of collagen. In 1953 scientists Sir James Watson and Francis Crick went on to publish their research into the structure of DNA, the building blocks of life made up of proteins. Their findings were built upon the work already completed by Ramachandran. Collagen was heralded as being the most abundant protein found in most animals, including humans. Much of Ramachandran’s research was conducted using cow hide as his preferred material.
Due to the findings of academic research, collagen first attracted the attention of the cosmetic industry but after a while became of serious interest to the corrective surgery sector. Trials into using collagen as a surgical filler began to take place. In 1981 bovine collagen was approved for cosmetic surgery injection.
Due to its moisturising, film-forming, and regenerating properties, collagen has become one of the main ingredients of cosmetic formulations. Because of its excellent ability to bind with water, it helps to maintain the correct water content in the skin, ensuring the skin is softened and adequately moisturised. Additionally, its film-forming properties reduce the loss of water through the epidermis due to evaporation.
Research has shown that collagen speeds wound healing and tissue regeneration, therefore collagen is widely used in the field of cosmetics but is equally useful for enhancing the vitality of hair as well as skin.
What is Bovine Collagen?
Collagen is a protein which occurs naturally in humans as well as in animals. It plays a vital role in the structure of skin, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Bovine collagen, as its name suggests, is obtained from the hide (skin), muscle tissue and bones of cattle.
The natural ageing process means that our bodies produce less collagen with the passing years and our stores begin to diminish. This results in noticeable signs of ageing, such as sagging and wrinkling skin, weakened cartilage and stiffening joints.
Bovine collagen is a protein found in connective tissue, bones, cartilage and the hides of cows, and is the most usual source of collagen in supplements and cosmetic products. Unless a product is labelled as marine collagen or vegan collagen, it is almost certainly bovine.
Cowhide and bones are often discarded as by-products of the meat industry so the fact that they are an excellent source of collagen means they can be put to very good use as pure collagen protein powder.
Bovine Collagen Benefits
Bovine collagen offers a wide range of benefits for health and wellness. As well as improving the strength and flexibility of your joints, bovine collagen can help reduce digestive discomfort, improve the quality of your hair and nails, strengthen tendons and boost muscular recovery after sport or general activity. Here are the main areas where bovine collagen can give significant help:
Strengthening Joints and Promoting Mobility
As we age, our joints naturally experience wear and tear, and at the same time, our body’s own collagen production undergoes a gradual and natural decline. The effect of diminishing collagen goes deeper still, causing loss of skeletal strength as bone mass and mineral density decreases. This may result in osteoporosis, causing vulnerability to fractures. It may also lead to the onset of osteoarthritis, a condition where joint cartilage breaks down, resulting in bone rubbing against bone and causing a great deal of pain.
Collagen plays a crucial role in the formation of cartilage, the soft, rubbery tissue which cushions joints. It is collagen that provides cartilage tissue with the elasticity and toughness needed to keep joints active. The depletion of cartilage tissue is often due to natural ageing, but it may also be the result of years of excessive strain.
This sounds a depressing prospect, but research has shown that bovine collagen offers a reprieve. Supplementing our own diminishing supplies can go a long way towards renewing bone mineral density and bolstering natural collagen reserves. It has also been found that supplementing with collagen can strengthen the structure of cartilage, helping to prolong free movement and a more active lifestyle.
We offer a collagen supplement specifically blended to give maximum support to joint health.
Enhancing Skin Health
There is a great deal of scientific evidence showing that collagen supplements can help manage the ageing process, keeping skin looking younger for longer. The reason for the positive effect of collagen in the anti-aging effect of the skin is due to its ability to stimulate the production of your own natural collagen. This, in turn, strengthens your skin’s structure and enhances its ability to retain moisture, improve skin elasticity, firmness, and moisture retention. By stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, allowing you to maintain a more youthful complexion for longer, ultimately resulting in plumper, smoother, and more radiant skin.
Collagen is rich in glycine and proline. Glycine penetrates through the layers of skin, deep into the dermis where it stimulates your body’s own natural collogen production. Proline helps improve skin’s elasticity. It also increases your body’s own collagen production and helps skin repair and regenerate.
Bovine collagen supplements have been found to also boost the production of other proteins that help support the structure of the skin, such as elastin and fibrillin.
Improving Digestion and Gut Health
Bovine collagen contributes to better digestion and gut health. It contains amino acids which strengthen the connective tissue within your digestive tract, improving overall digestion and nutrient absorption. This can lead to reduced symptoms of bloating, indigestion, and other digestive discomforts.
Furthermore, bovine collagen supports a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in promoting overall well-being. A healthy gut contributes to stronger immune function, more efficient nutrient processing, and even improved mental health.
Boosting Hair and Nail Health
Bovine collagen is something of a secret weapon when it comes to stronger and healthier hair and nails. Collagen is essential for healthy hair and nail growth, and bovine collagen takes it up a notch by providing the necessary building blocks to achieve stronger, thicker hair and nails, reducing breakage.
Such issues as thinning hair, hair loss, or brittle and breaking nails can all benefit from bovine collagen and with regular use will result in a significant improvement.
Supporting Athletic Performance and Muscle Recovery
For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, bovine collagen can be a great friend. It speeds up muscle recovery and repair, ensuring your body can bounce back quickly after intense workouts or physical activities. By providing essential amino acids, bovine collagen boosts healthy muscle growth and protein synthesis, which enhances athletic performance and endurance.
Collagen peptides, which are derived from bovine collagen, are especially beneficial for muscle recovery. These powerful amino acids help your muscles recover faster, reduce exercise-induced joint pain, and improve overall athletic performance.
There is some evidence that supplements can boost muscle mass in cases of sarcopenia, an age-related muscle wasting condition. However, further research is needed to verify this.
Vegan Collagen Supplements
While bovine collagen offers numerous benefits, you may prefer a vegan option. Luckily, there are vegan collagen alternatives available that harness the power of plant-based sources, processed using a cutting-edge method known as microbial fermentation. This involves the use of specific microorganisms to produce amino acids which are identical to the amino acids in collagen, and they work in a similar way. These alternative supplements do not contain collagen, but contain nutrients that stimulate your own collagen production, ensuring you can still reap the benefits without compromising your dietary preferences.
You may also find it helpful to increase your vitamin C intake as this will support your body’s own collagen production.
Taking Bovine Collagen as a Supplement
It is possible to take bovine collagen in the form of powder, liquid, capsule, topical skincare product or injection:
Hydrolysed bovine collagen is very easy to incorporate into your daily diet in powder form as it blends well in hot or cold drinks, including smoothies, coffee or juice. It can also be added to muesli or oats and stirred into yogurt. This is the fastest and most efficient way for your body to absorb bovine collagen.
Supplements can be available in liquid form, but this method may be difficult to monitor in terms of getting the dosage right.
These have the advantage of being already pre-dosed and simply require to be swallowed with water. However, one capsule cannot hold enough for your daily dose, so you may need to take several at a time, which may prove somewhat inconvenient.
You have the option to use collagen as a skincare product if you are wishing to use it for the appearance of your skin. There is not usually a high percentage of collagen included in skincare preparation and it can’t penetrate the skin in high doses. This means that applying collagen as a topical product will give a short-term boost, but it is much more effective when taken orally as a supplement.
There is currently no legislation in the UK to say that there needs to be a minimum level of qualification to carry out dermal filler injections, but there have been some horror stories of these procedures having gone wrong. The advice is to choose a qualified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to conduct your collagen injections.
Injections are usually made from bovine collagen which is the closest to human-produced collagen. This procedure will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help reduce scar tissue from such things as acne.
Injections are also given to give skin a more plump and youthful texture and appearance. There are certain risks involved (such as swelling, bruising, discomfort, ruptured blood vessels, scarring etc) and these should always be made clear to you before the procedure takes place.
10 Key Takeaways:
- Bovine collagen supports joint health, cartilage, and bone health.
- It improves joint flexibility, reduces inflammation, and promotes mobility.
- Bovine collagen improves skin elasticity, firmness, and moisture retention.
- It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and promotes a youthful complexion.
- Bovine collagen aids in digestion, strengthens connective tissue, and improves nutrient absorption.
- It promotes a healthy gut microbiome and overall gut health.
- Bovine collagen enhances hair thickness, reduces breakage, and strengthens nails.
- It supports muscle recovery, muscle growth, and athletic performance.
- Collagen peptides derived from bovine collagen optimize muscle protein synthesis.
- Vegetarian collagen alternatives available which provide collagen- boosting nutrients.
When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.