The world is full of beauty treatments, but the vast majority of them are targeted at women. Women are bombarded with advertising to smooth their skin, bolster their hair, reduce wrinkles and beautify their appearance. Men, meanwhile, get simple grooming, but very little in the way of targeted skincare and other beauty treatments. Even the phrase "beauty treatments" sounds like a feminine rather than a unisex term.
The truth is, men can benefit from many of the same beauty treatments women regularly employ. There's nothing inherently feminine about caring for your appearance, and truth be told, many beauty treatments are more than just skin deep. Some, like collagen, have a range of benefits to the health of your body, down to your very bones.
What can men get out of collagen supplements? Let's dig in.
Collagen Helps Fight Hair Loss
Hair loss is one of the most obvious and most difficult to cope with cosmetic issues we face. It's not dangerous or harmful to anything other than our self-esteem, but that hit to confidence can be extremely difficult to handle.
Unfortunately, most hair loss is genetic. Sometimes you lose hair because of stress, and sometimes because of medical treatments like chemotherapy, but age-related hair loss is typically just a genetic factor that none of us can really influence.
Collagen may, however, be able to keep our scalps healthier for longer, minimizing how much and how fast we lose our hair. Collagen can make your skin – including your scalp – stay healthy and elastic and can help make your body more resistant to stress. This may be able to slow the progression of age-related hair loss and might make you more resistant to stress-related hair loss. Collagen can't change your genetics, though, so it's not perfect and it's not a cure.
Collagen Strengthens Hair, Nails, and Teeth
Collagen is a natural protein, and as such, your body knows well how to break it down and use the nutrients it contains where they're needed. When you consume and digest collagen, your body ferries those nutrients to other parts of your body, many of which go to replace lost collagen in other parts of your system.
One of the most visible locations collagen benefits is hair, but your nails and teeth are also affected by the collagen you eat. Your teeth may grow stronger and more resistant to damage, with healthier gums and fewer cavities, though of course, your diet plays a huge role in this as well. Your nails will grow more smoothly and with fewer cracks and ridges, and will be more resistant to damage.
Your hair, of course, will benefit as well. Collagen-supplemented hair tends to be stronger, so it doesn't break off or fray quite as much. For men with short hair, this isn't much of a concern, but for men who like to keep their hair longer, the luster and resilience are a godsend. When one of your biggest issues is split ends and dry hair, collagen may be an excellent supplement to help.
Collagen Supports Strong Bones
As you get older – from about age 25 and onwards – your body produces less collagen. Every year, your collagen production declines. You can help offset that by encouraging further collagen production within your system, and by simply eating collagen to bring it in.
Bones aren't just osseous scaffolds upon which your body is built. Bones are living organs, which produce blood cells and regulate the immune system, among other functions. In order to stay alive and functional, your bones need a range of nutrients and, yes, collagen.
Studies have shown that collagen supplements can help minimize bone loss over time. As you age, your bones can lose mass and density, leading to the condition known as osteoporosis. By keeping that condition at bay for as long as possible, you're able to maintain a strong, healthy skeleton.
Collagen alone isn't the miracle cure here. You'll need a range of other nutrients, and you'll want to avoid anything that can damage your bones over time, but collagen can go a long way towards helping keep your bones strong.
Collagen Lubricates and Restores Joints
Your bones aren't the only part of the skeleton that's essential to living. Your joints are crucially important, for everything from walking to moving. As anyone who has experienced a joint injury can tell you, trying to live without one – even one as minor as a knuckle – can be frustrating, tedious, and painful.
There is a range of different ailments that can affect your joints over time. Usually, these have to do with the cartilage in your joints. When cartilage becomes infected or injured, it swells up and becomes inflamed. This leads to pressure on the joints, which is painful. Conversely, over time, wear and tear can wear through the cartilage in your joints, leaving your bones to grind against other bones instead.
Cartilage is made up of a lot of different molecules, but one of the primary components is – you guessed it – collagen. Collagen supplements may be able to help keep your cartilage healthier for longer, minimize how much it wears out, and help alleviate issues that come from swollen or inflamed cartilage and joints.
Again, collagen isn't a miracle cure. It's not going to get rid of arthritis or anything of the sort. It just helps fuel and facilitates your body's natural healing and restorative processes.
Collagen Promotes Muscle Recovery
While women are traditionally more focused on beauty, men end up more focused on fitness. The stereotypes are just that – stereotypes – but for men who work out regularly, collagen can be a good supplement to add to your routine.
Specifically, when you're working out, you're damaging your muscles. They heal, and they heal better and stronger than they were, but it takes time to heal. Many workout programs include protein shakes to enhance healing, by giving your body the protein it needs to break down into amino acids and use for repairing muscle fibers.
Collagen is an excellent protein for this specific use. Collagen is actually made up of a variety of different proteins of different molecular chain lengths, and those different proteins are all great for your body. The small-chain proteins can be broken down and used very quickly, for immediate accessibility. The longer chain proteins take a little longer to digest and use, but they promote longer-term healing and growth.
Of course, if you're already taking a formulated mixture of proteins for a post-workout recovery drink, you might not need the extra collagen. Collagen can be a good option in place of those proteins, but you don't want to throw off your macros by consuming too much protein in too many forms.
Collagen Increases Energy Levels
Collagen proteins are made up of amino acids, and amino acids are responsible for a lot of different things within your body. One of those responsibilities is being consumed for energy, to bolster your metabolism and keep you awake, alert, happy, and active.
Several of the amino acids that make up collagen are useful for boosting your energy levels. These include glycine, glutamine, and arginine, all of which are probably familiar to you if you've done any sort of research into some workout and energy-boosting supplements. Rather than picking one or two of them, collagen has them all.
Collagen Assists with Digestion
Several of the effects listed above can all help with overall gut health. Everything from your stomach to your intestines to your colon can benefit from collagen. Collagen helps with wound healing, so any of the small tears or aches you get in your gut can be soothed by providing your body with more collagen to heal. Collagen can also help stabilize and heal the overall digestive system. This can lessen the effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Leaky Gut, both of which are exactly as unpleasant as they sound.
Another side effect is that collagen can help minimize gas and bloating, as well as digestive issues of a more temporary nature, such as diarrhea.
Leaky Gut can lead to a variety of other issues, as well. Headaches, seasonal allergies, food allergies and sensitivities, skin problems, and even immune system issues can all stem from a gut that is out of balance. There's a ton of evidence that suggests a wide range of bodily issues are caused by or triggered by imbalanced gut bacteria. Feeding your gut more fiber and protein helps promote healthy bacteria, while processed carbs and sugars are food for the bad bacteria.
Collagen May Protect the Heart
Collagen helps heal muscles, and what muscle is more important than your heart? More than just muscle healing, though, collagen may be able to help increase the elasticity of your arteries and blood vessels, which helps prevent them from constricting more than is necessary and getting clogged up with plaques. In other words, collagen might help alleviate some of the symptoms that lead up to heart disease.
Again, we cannot stress this enough: collagen is not a miracle cure. It's not going to reverse or heal heart disease or cardiovascular problems. It's part of a much larger and overall holistic approach to health and can be part of sustained efforts to improve your quality of life.
Collagen Reduces the Effects of Aging
Many of the effects listed above are symptoms of aging or are superficial appearance-changing effects of aging. In other words, collagen can help reduce the visible effects of aging. Men are often just as sensitive about their appearances as women, they just focus their efforts in other directions. There's no shame in caring about your appearance, of course.
Collagen helps keep your skin elastic and your flesh healthy. It helps keep your joints pain-free, to avoid secondary issues like walking with a limp or a hunch. The earlier you start taking collagen, the longer you can forestall the effects of aging.
Risks and Warnings
Are there any risks to collagen? Not really. Collagen is just a protein, and it's a natural animal product. If you have kidney disease or otherwise need to limit your protein intake, then you might not want to take collagen, but otherwise, it's not going to hurt you.
The biggest issue with collagen is exactly what we mentioned: it's an animal protein. There's no vegetarian or vegan option. We've explored a few of the options you might take if you're vegan over in this post, but truth be told, there's not a great set of options for you.
Other than that, the biggest risk of collagen is the same as any risk of any large capsule; don't choke while swallowing it. Collagen doesn't have a strong flavor or texture to get in the way of whatever you add it to, it's not dangerous if you accidentally take an extra dose during the day, and it's not going to hurt you to take it for too long. It's really just a perfectly fine and healthy supplement with some health benefits you can observe after taking it long enough.
That's one thing that's worth noting, actually. Collagen takes a while for your body to fully adapt to using an external source, so you won't see your results right away. Take collagen for at least 8-12 weeks before you start looking for results.
How Men Should Take Collagen
Collagen comes in many forms; as a powder, as a pill, as a capsule, in bone broth, and more. It's extremely flexible, and you can take it in any way you feel most comfortable.
We recommend taking collagen on a daily basis, spreading it out throughout the day. If you work out daily, take your largest dose after your workout, as part of your restorative aftercare. If you don't work out, well, you should probably start, but if you're not planning to, spread your collagen out throughout the day. A small dose at breakfast, a dose at lunch, and a dose with dinner are plenty fine.
Our collagen comes in capsule form and is very easy to take. We recommend two capsules each day, taken after food, so your digestion is already stimulated and ready to break it down. You can take both at the same time, or one after one meal and one after another. It's flexible; take it when it will do the most good for you.