Collagen is an essential protein found in the cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the human body. It is the most abundant form of protein naturally produced in the body and is also the structural component of all connective tissue. As humans age, they are unable to produce as much collagen; they develop wrinkles and become less flexible. One way to prevent this loss, however, is to take collagen supplements.
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Taking collagen supplements has been cited to have may health benefits. According to Kinmah, online distributor for Pure-Col, collagen supplements protect the cartilage from deterioration, reduce oxidation damage to the joints abd helps reduces joint pain, tenderness and swelling. Kinmah also reports that collagen supplements prevent blood clotting and help to maintain a healthy heart. It claims the supplement also increases daytime energy and delivers deeper and better sleep for adults.
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Better Nutrition reports that collagen supplements may also improve outward appearance. According to its report, supplementation preserves and replenishes lean muscle mass as well as increases metabolism. Because faster metabolism burns more fat, weight loss and a firmer, toned body is often a result. The same report also claims that supplements work as a form of skin care and can plump the skin, reduce lines/wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.
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There are no known side effects to collagen, which carries the classification of a food and not a regularly prescribed pharmaceutical. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declared it GRAS, or "Generally Recognized As Safe." However, Kinmah recommends consulting a physician before taking collagen as a food supplement as a precaution.
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There are three types of collagen supplements: Types I, II and III. Collagen manufacturer CR2000 recommends that a person with arthritic needs take Type II because it contains glucosamine, which aids in joint healing and is the main component of hyaline cartilage, the same cartilage that forms on the joint. It recommends a person with cosmetic needs to take non-glucosamine collagen supplements such as Types 1 and III, as those are less expensive and naturally abundant in the skin.