Is Collagen Good for Menopause?

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Meta Description: Menopause leads to a decrease in collagen production, a protein found in skin, hair, nails, muscle, and bone. Collagen supplementation may have cosmetic and anti-ageing benefits in menopause. 


Fluctuations and declining levels of oestrogen during perimenopause/menopause are accompanied by a wide range of unwanted signs and symptoms, including noticeable changes in skin elasticity and hair. Many women also report aches and pains in their joints at this time. Recently, collagen supplements have become increasingly popular due to their perceived health and beauty benefits. With all the hype surrounding collagen supplementation, is there any scientific evidence to back these claims?


What is Collagen?

Collagen, deriving its name from the Greek word 'kolla' meaning glue, constitutes a significant portion of the human body's protein content. Predominantly found in connective tissue, it serves to bind and support various bodily structures including skin, hair, nails, bones, and muscles. Comprised of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline amino acids, collagen forms fibrils in a triple helix structure.


Types of Collagen?

Among the twenty-eight identified types of collagen, five major types hold prominence: Type I, II, III, V, and X. Each type serves specific functions within the body. For instance, Type I collagen predominates in skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments, while Type II is crucial for gut lining and joint health. Type III contributes to arterial wall integrity, and Type V is significant in cell membranes and placental health. Type X plays a role in bone formation.


Collagen Synthesis and Maintenance

Collagen synthesis occurs endogenously through fibroblast cells. However, with aging, collagen production diminishes, leading to decreased skin elasticity and other health concerns. External factors such as smoking, poor diet, and UV exposure further exacerbate collagen depletion. Strategies to maintain collagen levels include adopting a healthy lifestyle and protective measures against UV radiation. Additionally, exogenous collagen, sourced from supplements, finds applications in both medical and cosmetic fields for wound healing and aesthetic purposes, respectively.


How Does Collagen Absorption Help in Menopause?

Collagen supplementation is often sought for its anti-aging effects, yet its absorption mechanism remains a topic of discussion. Unlike being directly absorbed in its intact form, collagen is broken down into peptides within the body. These peptides serve as building blocks for the synthesis of collagen, elastin, keratin, and other essential proteins found in skin, hair, and nails. Additionally, collagen intake may aid in alleviating symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and joint pain, common concerns for menopausal individuals.


Benefits of Collagen Supplementation for Skin and Joints?

Research indicates potential benefits of orally consumed collagen on skin health. Studies have demonstrated improvements in skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. Systematic reviews have further supported these findings, highlighting reductions in wrinkling and roughness among supplemented individuals.

Moreover, collagen supplementation shows promise in alleviating symptoms associated with conditions like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and joint pain. Hydrolyzed collagen supplements have been linked to significant improvements in symptoms of these conditions, including increased bone mineral density.


Exploring Collagen's Effects on Muscle, Hair, and Nail Health

Collagen's influence extends beyond skin and joints to muscle mass and possibly hair and nail strength. Evidence suggests that collagen supplementation may aid in muscle protein synthesis, potentially enhancing muscle mass and aiding in post-exercise recovery. While limited evidence exists regarding collagen's direct impact on hair and nail strength, it is believed to promote overall health in these areas through various pathways. Further research is needed to fully elucidate collagen's potential benefits for skin, joint pain, bone health, muscle mass, and hair care.


What Type of Collagen is Best For Menopause?

Collagen types I and II are recommended for perimenopausal and menopausal women. Type I collagen is the most abundant form of collagen in the body, found in skin, hair, nails, and bones. Type I collagen and therefore recommended for skin, hair, and bone health. Collagen type II is found in connective tissue, joints, and cartilage. Therefore, type II collagen is recommended for joint health.


What Foods Are Rich in Collagen?

Collagen cannot be absorbed in whole form, so eating collagen-rich foods will not directly increase collagen levels. There are however foods that provide nutrients to support collagen production. These are foods rich in the amino acids, glycine and proline, which are the building blocks of collagen. Foods containing vitamin C, zinc, and copper are also important as these vitamins and minerals are necessary for triple helix formation.

Foods rich in collagen as well as glycine and proline are mainly found in animal-derived products. Examples include: bone broth, gelatin, eggs, chicken, and fish. Plant foods (for vegans and vegetarians) containing glycine and proline include asparagus, beans (kidney and black), cabbage, mushrooms, seeds (chia and pumpkin), seaweed, and soybeans.  

It is also important to include foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, and copper. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit (i.e. oranges, lemons, grapefruits), strawberries, blackberries, peppers, broccoli Foods containing zinc include: oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts, breakfast cereals, and dairy products.  Foods rich in copper include beef liver, oysters, mushrooms, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, and dark chocolate. Consumption of a healthy balanced diet should provide all the ingredients required for endogenous collagen production. 

How Much Collagen Should I Take Each Day?

The collagen products available on the market include hydrolyzed collagen (collagen peptides, collagen powder, collagen hydrolysate, and hydrolysed gelatin), undenatured type II collagen, and gelatin. Hydrolysed collagen is often the preferred type as it is already broken down and therefore easily absorbed. Collagen supplement sources include: bovine (containing collagen types I and III), marine (types I and II), and poultry (type II). Daily requirements really depend on  the type of collagen taken and what it is being taken for. Research has shown that it is generally safe to consume between 2,5 g to 15 g of collagen per day, but it is always best to check the nutritional facts label to see the recommended daily dosage. For skin health, research has shown that 2,5 grams to 10 grams of collagen peptides taken orally for eight to 12 weeks is both safe and effective. For arthritis or joint pain, 10 grams of collagen should be taken daily (i.e. 5 grams twice a day) for a minimum of five months for noticeable improvements.


Are Collagen Supplements Safe?

Taking the recommended dosage of collagen (i.e. between 2,5 to 15 g/day) is generally considered safe and few side effects have been reported. However, individuals with food allergies, such as shellfish, fish, or eggshell, should be careful as to which product they purchase as most collagen supplements are derived from animal sources. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider if you are unsure. Vegan collagen products are also available. 



At present, there is limited research to show that oral collagen supplementation (or eating foods rich in collagen) increases collagen production in menopause - but the results are promising. Collagen may have several anti-aging benefits, including improved skin and hair health. Collagen supplementation may also improve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Other potential benefits include increased muscle mass, improved bone mineral density, weight loss, gut health, and more. Research has shown that collagen supplementation is generally safe, and an easy and convenient way to increase collagen intake. Collagen supplementation is therefore a personal choice, but may be worth considering due to the potential benefits. To prevent further collagen breakdown, it is always best to wear sunscreen when outdoors, limit processed and sugar laden foods, and not smoke.

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