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Collagen and Menopause, how important is supplementation?
By Tammy-Lynn McNabb, RHNP
Menopause is a natural and biological process women experience when they reach their 40’s and 50’s. As we approach menopause, the production of the hormone estrogen slows down, which can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. One thing we notice is the slight sagging of our skin. Most alarming for some is that this goes beyond the face and reaches areas of our body like our arms, legs, and stomachs. I began exercising more than I ever have in my life in my 50’s in hopes that what I was seeing develop around my waist and thighs could be combatted through the building of muscle mass. Though this has helped, I quickly discovered there was much more going on within our menopausal bodies
So, what is happening internally to cause this change in skin tone? One answer is loss of collagen production.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in the body that plays a crucial role in the health and maintenance of connective tissue, skin, hair, and nails. Recent studies have suggested that collagen supplementation may provide some benefits for women going through menopause. In this blog, we will explore the role of collagen supplementation in managing menopausal symptoms.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up about 30% of its total protein content. It is found in the skin, hair, nails, bones, and connective tissue. Collagen provides structural support, strength, and elasticity to these tissues. Its primary function is to maintain the integrity of the extracellular matrix, which is the intricate network of fibers and proteins that hold our tissues together
Collagen is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. The three most abundant amino acids in collagen are glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids give collagen its unique properties, such as its ability to form triple helix structures and resist stretching (and sagging).
How does menopause affect collagen production?
As women approach menopause, the production of the hormone estrogen slows down. This hormonal shift can lead to a decrease in collagen production, which can contribute to several age-related changes in the body. For example, decreased collagen production can lead to a loss of skin elasticity, thinning hair, weaker nails, and joint pain.
Additionally, decreased collagen production can affect the integrity of the connective tissue supporting the pelvic organs, which can contribute to incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Collagen also plays a crucial role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of the vaginal walls, which can become thinner and less supple during menopause.
How can collagen supplementation help during menopause?
Collagen supplementation has been shown to have several potential benefits for menopausal women. A study published in the Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals found that women who took a collagen supplement for 12 weeks experienced a significant increase in skin elasticity compared to women who took a placebo.
Other studies have suggested that collagen supplementation can improve joint pain and stiffness, promote bone density, and improve the health of the vaginal walls. A study published in the journal Maturitas found that women who took a collagen supplement for 12 weeks experienced an improvement in vaginal moisture, elasticity, and pH levels.
Collagen supplementation may also help alleviate some of the psychological symptoms of menopause. A study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that women who underwent collagen filler treatment for facial wrinkles reported an improvement in their quality of life and self-esteem.
Should you include collagen supplementation in your routine to combat the negative effects of menopause? In my opinion, there is enough research to support supplementation as a benefit to women in their menopause journey. Though more research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and duration of collagen supplementation for menopausal women, there doesn’t seem to be no negatives in including collagen in your daily health routine.
- Collagen Supplements for Again and Wrinkles: A paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Journal List Dermatol Pract Concept v.12(1); 2022 Feb PMC882454 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8824545/