Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in the connective tissue of most animals. Collagen pills are nutritional supplements containing collagen proteins obtained from shellfish, poultry, pigs, or cows and is taken orally for its potential nutritional benefits. As a nutritional supplement, collagen is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. As a result, it is recommended that you consult your physician before using any nutritional supplement containing collagen to make sure it is safe for you to use.
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Collagen may be an important compound for maintaining heart health. According to the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology," collagen is essential in maintaining the health and maintenance of cardiac tissue, and may be an important indicator of overall heart health. A loss of collagen in cardiac tissue may lead to transformations in your heart that cause a weakening of your cardiac muscles, leaving you more susceptible to a heart attack or stroke.
Collagen pills may increase the amount of serum collagen circulating in your blood stream, and can make its way to the outer layers of your skin. Collagen may have a rejuvenating effect on your skin and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles, making you look more youthful. Collagen pills may also help speed up the recovery of superficial cuts and scrapes by stimulating the generation of new skin cells that close up breaks in the outermost layers of your skin.
In a 2009 study conducted by the "International Journal of Medical Sciences," researchers found that collagen supplementation benefits people suffering from arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritis and osteoarthritis are chronic inflammatory conditions that affect your body's joints and bones, causing persistent joint pain and loss of mobility. Collagen supplementation may have an anti-inflammatory effect on your joints. Reducing inflammation can improve range of motion and quality of life in people suffering from arthritic conditions.
According to "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs," the Food and Drug Administration labels oral collagen supplements as GRAS, or generally regarded as safe. Some people may be hyper-sensitive to collagen, depending on the animal source of the product. If you are allergic to shellfish, for example, you should avoid any collagen product that is derived from ocean sources. The most common side effect of collagen hypersensitivity is an allergic reaction. Symptoms include hives, swelling of the throat and face, increased heart rate, nausea, and upset stomach. If you experience any of these, seek medical attention immediately.
- "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs"; Nicola Reavley; 1999
- JACC; Cardiac Interstitium In Health and Disease: The Fibrillar Collagen Network; Karl T. Weber; 1989
- "Today's Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide"; Louise Tenney; 2007
- IJMS; Safety and Efficacy of Undenatured Type II Collagen in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Clinical Trial; David C. Crowley et al.; 2009