You have most likely heard that collagen can be good for the joints and skin, but did you know collagen may have an important part to play in brain health as well? New studies are exploring the role that collagen may have in the health of the organs and systems in the body. The role that collagen plays in these systems is vital to the performance and health of your body as a whole. One such area of research is focusing on the effects of collagen use and the health of the brain.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein found in the body that plays a major role in healthy aging. As we age, our body’s production of collagen declines and this can lead to poorer health and quality of living. By taking a collagen supplement as part of a daily health regimen, you can help to reverse this loss of collagen in the body. This intake of supplemental collagen can be a benefit to the body overall and lend itself to the concept of “healthy aging.”
When we speak of brain health however, there are two major concerns that we generally are concerned with. The first is making sure that the blood supply to the brain is within a healthy range so that it is getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Second, and in tandem with blood supply, is making sure that inflammation in the body as a whole is in check. In each of these areas, collagen has a role to play.
Collagen and the blood supply:
Some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements can improve endothelial function (the lining of the blood vessels). Vascular tone, which is the ability of the blood vessels to open and close, may also be improved. This can result in improved blood flow to the heart and brain, which can help to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but more research is needed to understand the full effects.
Collagen and inflammation:
Collagen also has anti-inflammatory properties. One of the ways it accomplishes this is from the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline (which collagen is comprised of) which have been shown to reduce inflammation. Another way in which collagen can reduce inflammation is that collagen may help reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines Cytokines are molecules that cause inflammation. Collagen can lessen the creation of these molecules by helping to reduce the body’s response to allergens, protecting the cells from oxidative damage, and stimulating the repair of damaged cells and tissues.
Collagen and brain health:
Collagens effect on the body as whole therefore has an effect on the brain by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation. Some studies have suggested that taking collagen supplements may improve cognitive performance and improve overall cognitive function in some older adults. Furthermore, animal studies have found that taking collagen supplements can improve learning and memory.
While the evidence around collagen and brain health is promising, more research is necessary to further determine its effectiveness. Nonetheless, it is clear that collagen may play a major role in healthy aging and may provide numerous benefits for cognitive health.