Collagen supplementation has numerous benefits for your physical health, from wound healing to skin elasticity to improved joint function. But did you know that collagen is becoming touted as one of the best supplements for mental health too?
That’s right, collagen for mental health is a growing field of study that’s yielding positive results. Because all your body’s tissues contain (and rely on) collagen, it should be no surprise that collagen might benefit your brain too.
But just how do collagen and brain health correlate?
As far as supplements for mental health go, collagen is certainly worth talking about. So let’s dive in and do exactly that. Let’s discuss how and why collagen and mood are so closely linked, and what makes collagen one of the best supplements for mental health.
Is collagen a cure-all?
As we’re going to see, collagen supplements for mental health are yielding more and more promising results. But before we share the positive findings of recent studies and medical activities, it’s important that we make one thing clear:
Supplements are not medicine.
Using collagen supplements for mental health does not substitute a prescription. Collagen supplements, and any other supplements, should never replace professional medical advice. Instead, the best supplements for mental health should support any medicine you’re taking.
If you’re unsure, always ask a medical professional for advice. Doctors may indeed advise against you taking supplements for mental health if they interrupt other treatment that they have prescribed for you.
Mental health is complex, and can strongly affect a patient’s mood, dissuading them from seeking effective treatment due to anxiety or paranoia.
Moreover, mental health isn’t black and white. Conditions often develop gradually over many years, with initial symptoms being all too easy to leave unnoticed or untreated. It’s often much easier for someone else to see a change in your mood that may require medical attention - it’s much harder to identify it in yourself.
As such, we caution against experimenting with supplements for mental health unless you are under the supervision and advice of a healthcare professional. That being said, certain supplements, like collagen, may be incredibly beneficial for mental health.
The goal of supplements for mental health
Supplements for mental health have a definite role to play in the fight against mental illness. But what does a supplement for mental health aim to do?
When combined with the correct medicines, the goal of supplements for mental health is to restock the body with the natural nutrition it needs to function effectively.
Supplements for mental health won’t turn back the clock on cellular deterioration, but they may help cells to stay active and youthful for longer. They do this by giving your body more of what it needs to hold back typical signs of aging or cell deterioration.
So should collagen be considered on the list of daily supplements for mental health?
When it comes down to it, the same reasons why collagen is one of the best supplements for physical health make it one of the best supplements for mental health too.
Although we don’t see mental activity the same way we see physical activity, the biological processes in brain cells still require the transfer of energy. Here, like everywhere else in the body, protein is present, providing form and strength to cellular structures.
For a clearer idea of why collagen for mental health may be a good idea, it’s worth putting the brain under the microscope to understand its composition better. Once we’ve done this we can understand the connection between collagen and brain health more clearly.
Collagen and brain health
Your brain is composed of billions of interconnected neural cells. The majority of the makeup of these long, spider neurons is fatty in composition. There simply isn’t as high of a demand for protein when compared to muscles or joints. But that doesn’t mean protein isn’t there.
Hormones and enzymes that cause chemical alterations and control bodily processes are all made of protein - and protein plays a large role in how brain cells communicate with each other.
Collagen provides a versatile and tunable system for drug and cell delivery to the brain, so it’s no wonder that collagen and brain health are connected. But how do higher collagen levels protect against certain mental health conditions?
Let’s take a look at what the studies say.
5 reasons doctors are considering collagen for mental health
1. Collagen may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for loss of memory and other cognitive abilities that interfere with day-to-day life. It’s important to remember that Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, even though the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s increases with age.
On a biochemical level, Alzheimer's is a breakdown of the communication between neurons caused by toxins. A key to the prevention, or slower progression, of Alzheimer's disease is to block the harmful toxins as much as possible.
Doctors are considering collagen supplements for treating Alzheimer's because collagen may protect the body against Amyloid β (Aβ) peptides, the peptides widely presumed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
The body’s go-to defense against Alzheimer’s disease is collagen VI. Doctors have found that collagen treatment can block the Amyloid peptide from causing excess damage through neurotoxicity. It has also been discovered that a natural reduction in collagen levels can raise the neurotoxicity in sufferers.
Although discoveries such as these shouldn’t be misinterpreted as collagen being a cure for Alzheimer's, they do underscore how important collagen is to the brain. With this in mind, we can see clear support for collagen supplements for mental health.
2. Glycine in collagen may improve schizophrenia
The treatment of Alzheimer’s isn’t the only breakthrough medical professionals are working on when it comes to collagen as a supplement for mental health. Doctors are also using collagen to treat general psychiatric symptoms and schizophrenia.
Going deeper into the makeup of collagen, we find that one of the most common amino acids in this incredible protein is glycine. It is glycine, in particular, that doctors are studying the effects of when it comes to schizophrenia.
A double-blind study investigated the effects of the addition of glycine to antipsychotics when treating patients with schizophrenia. The patients who received glycine showed significant alleviation of symptoms.
Positive initial signs such as these are causing ripples through the medical community at large, and show that collagen warrants further investigation as a mental health supplement.
There is cause for optimism that the correct deployment of collagen can make a big difference when it comes to supplements for mental health.
3. Collagen may improve your sleep
One of the most common uses of glycine supplementation is as a natural sleep aid. Glycine is a naturally occurring inhibitory neurotransmitter. Its function is to calm the central nervous system, allowing us to relax and unwind.
How does it do this?
Glycine lowers our core body temperature by diverting blood flow away from our core and to our extremities. This reduction in temperature is sustained during sleep.
Good quality sleep in itself is a great indicator of general mental and physical health, as the body is given time to repair and regenerate as you rest. As such, doctors are investigating if collagen’s benefits as a sleep aid may make it a good supplement for mental health.
4. Collagen may boost your mood
Our moods are delicate. Sometimes we know we feel down or stressed, even if we can’t correctly identify the cause of our feelings. Of course, no matter how logical and rational we claim to be, our feelings are rarely caused by individual events.
Consider this; if you get cut off in traffic one day, will you always feel the same level of road rage? Aren’t there some days that are worse than others? Why is that?
The answer is hormones. More specifically the answer is a correct balance of hormones. When hormones are imbalanced, it can create a strong emotional response, whether that be joy, anger, sadness, or fear.
The relationship between collagen and mood is a strong one. Mood boosting supplements like collagen may help to assist our emotions by balancing out hormonal activity. Glycine in collagen helps calm the brain, which may help relieve feelings of anxiety and depression.
5. Collagen may improve hormone health for women
Women’s hormone health changes and shifts with different life events such as pregnancy, birth, and menopause. The hormone that fluctuates most is estrogen. Estrogen production decreases over time, particularly after menopause, causing an array of day-to-day challenges to mood and health.
Although there is no current evidence that suggests collagen can make up for a reduced level of estrogen, it is a great choice as a natural hormone balance supplement for women.
When your hormones are more evenly balanced, you will be less likely to experience irritability and mood swings, which in turn can improve your overall mental health. This is why collagen and mood are so interlinked, and is one of the reasons why doctors are considering it as a mental health supplement.
All this being said, some people have reported that collagen supplementation actually had negative effects on their mental health. This is unfortunate, especially as it could have been avoided.
Not all collagen supplements are created equal, and that’s just one of the reasons why it’s important to seek the advice of a medical professional before attempting supplementation.
Let’s take a look at why collagen was affecting the mental health of some individuals negatively, and what simple steps could have been taken to avoid those negative outcomes.
Can collagen negatively affect mental health?
When taken improperly, collagen may indeed have negative effects on mental health.
Collagen protein on its own is missing the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood.
Your body breaks down tryptophan to turn your collagen supplement into a complete protein - but since no tryptophan exists in collagen, you are simply depleting your natural stores of this important mood regulating amino acid.
The remedy is simple - all you need to do is buy a high-quality collagen supplement that already has tryptophan added in.
The best collagen supplements for mental health
With both food and supplements, the quality of your nutrition is important. As we’ve seen, choosing a collagen supplement with tryptophan is a key consideration for consumers concerned about their mental health.
Medical-grade collagen supplements, like the ones from ProT Gold, are trusted by thousands of medical facilities across the nation for use in medical nutrition. These collagen products contain added tryptophan, which means they shouldn’t have a negative effect on your mood.
In fact, research points in a very positive direction for high-quality collagen to be one of the best mental health supplements. Plus, with the convenient liquid collagen protein pouches, answering the question: “How much collagen should I take?” couldn’t be easier to answer.
Enlisting the support of high-quality collagen protein daily may make all the difference for your mental or physical health. After learning all the benefits, why not try it for yourself?