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Is collagen good for menopause?

by Natasha Whiting

Is collagen good for menopause?

If you're reading this article, you may be approaching the end of premenopause and getting ready to move into the perimenopause or the menopause. Daunting as this may be, there is actually some good news for these two stages. Read on to learn the role collagen can play both before and during the menopause, and discover some science-backed ways collagen supplements can alleviate symptoms of the menopause.

What is collagen, exactly?

Collagen is a unique protein that is found in the bodies of all living things. In our bodies, it is a fundamental component of skin, bones, joints, the gut, cartilage and more. It is often thought of as the glue that holds the body together, and there is good reason for this. The problem is that our bodies' synthesis of collagen begins to decline very early in adulthood - production starts to decrease in your 20s. By the time you reach the age of 50, your collagen production has virtually halved, so a collagen supplement can play a big part in healthy ageing and staying ahead of the menopause. But not all collagen supplements are equal. This is mainly because there are many different types of collagen, the most common of which (in humans) are Type I and Type III collagen. The former is found in:

• Skin
• Bones
• Ligaments
• Tendons

The latter is found in:

• Skin
• Blood vessels
• Intestines

It is therefore important to take collagen supplements that contain at least Type I collagen, but Type II content is also highly desirable.

What are the stages of menopause?

There are 4 stages of menopause in a woman's life:

1. Premenopause: this is your normal productive life.
2. Perimenopause: this is the time between your last regular period and your final period.
3. Menopause: the time after your final period.
4. Postmenopause

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the perimenopause and the menopause as these are often the most challenging stages.

What are the common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause?

If there was a way to skip the perimenopause and menopause stages of life, everyone would use it. For most women, the perimenopause stage arrives around the age of 47 and continues for approximately 4 years. The most common signs are that your periods become irregular and hot flushes start occurring along with a pendulum of emotions from one minute to the next. The full list of perimenopause symptoms includes:

• Irregular periods (light/heavy, long/short)
• Hot flushes
• Vaginal dryness
• Mood swings
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss of bone density
• Forgetfulness

When you reach menopause, the menstrual cycle and fertility come to an end. This typically occurs around age 51, but the following signs will let you know it has arrived:

• You have not had a period in over a year
• Your ovaries no longer produce oestrogen or progesterone

The full list of possible symptoms of menopause includes:

• Hormonal changes
• Reduces sex drive
• Mood swings
• Hot flushes
• Elevated heart rate
• Sweating
• Vaginal soreness and/or dryness
• Pain during sex
• Night sweats
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss of hydration and volume in hair and skin
• Joint stiffness
• Weight gain in the mid-section

The menopause can come with a host of problems, but one advantage is that you can wave goodbye to periods! Science-backed ways collagen can alleviate symptoms of perimenopause and menopause You don't have to resign yourself to losing so many things you care about when menopause strikes.

Collagen can help alleviate many of the symptoms

1. Collagen fights the signs of ageing in skin

Menopause makes the loss of collagen in skin even worse than age alone. One 1999 study found that, in the first 5 years of menopause, women lose around 30% of the Type I and Type III collagen in their skin. The result of this is that wrinkles and dry skin really set in around the 50s, and this is something many people would rather keep to a minimum. Having said that, remember that Mark Twain wisely stated that "wrinkles...merely indicate where smiles have been".

2. Collagen reduces cellulite

As menopause causes your oestrogen levels to plummet, cellulite begins to set in. This is further exacerbated by the drastic decline in the levels of Type I and Type III collagen in the body. In a double-blind study conducted in 2015, 105 women aged 24-50 with moderate cellulite were given either 2.5 grams of collagen peptides or a placebo every day. After 6 months, the women taking collagen peptides experienced a substantial decrease in the appearance of cellulite on their thighs. So you can rest assured that supplementation with high-quality collagen can keep cellulite at bay.

3. Collagen strengthens your hair and may slow greying

Hormone changes during menopause can cause varying degrees of hair loss in women. But collagen, making up a large percentage of the layer of skin that contains hair follicles, may help prevent the thinning and loss of hair. It may even slow greying thanks to its potent antioxidant properties. It has the potential to reduce oxidative stress which can lead to slower greying.

4. Collagen strengthens the nails

Our nails contain a large amount of Type I collagen. So when our collagen levels are low, the nails become brittle and break easy. A study involving 25 participants taking a daily dose of 2.5 grams of collagen peptides over 6 months found that participants experienced a 12% increase in nail growth and a 42% decrease in nail breakage.

5. Collagen can help balance the hormones

Menopause subjects the body to extreme hormone changes. Oestrogen and progesterone plummet, leaving you feeling flushed, grumpy and unlike yourself. Amino acids can help with balancing the hormones and collagen contains 19 of the 20 essential amino acids the body needs. Three of collagen's most abundant amino acids are proline, hydroxyproline and glycine. There is a study that indicates glycine may function as a signal to activate thyroid function. Furthermore, collagen contains the non-essential amino acid tyrosine, which converts into the 'feel good' chemical dopamine and the hormone norepinephrine. These two hormones are essential for regulating mood.

6. Collagen can help with joint pain

The joint pain that is commonly associated with menopause boils down to the low levels of oestrogen. When oestrogen levels drop, inflammation in the joints commonly increases, increasing the risk of things like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The result is joint pain. A high dosage of collagen powder every day (10-20 grams) has helped many women with the joint pain caused by low oestrogen.

7. Collagen can improve gut health

As the gut microbiome ages, you can experience a whole host of unpleasant digestive problems. With low collagen levels and high stress, the balance in the gut is disturbed, increasing the risk of things like weight gain and autoimmune disease. This is why high-quality probiotics are recommended. Combined with collagen supplements, you get the benefits to the gut flora from a probiotic along with the healing and sealing in the gut brought about by the collagen boost.

8. Lean muscle mass

It can be harder for women (and men, for that matter) to stay lean as they get older. Weight gain increases the risk of things like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A study in animals discovered that using collagen as a supplement can reduce weight gain.

9. Collagen can help increase bone density

Bone loss occurs as a result of various factors:

• A lack of resistance exercise
• Collagen depletion
• Oestrogen loss
• Advancing age

The drastic reduction in oestrogen and collagen associated with menopause can have disastrous consequences for bone density. But collagen makes up as much as 90% of bone, and a study found that women with a mean age of 63 experienced an increase in bone density by taking 5 grams of collagen peptides a day for 12 months.

10. Improvements in the health and composition of arteries

Coronary artery disease becomes a bigger risk with age due to a build-up of plaques. Type III collagen plays a role in keeping arteries supple, but the levels of this collagen deteriorate during menopause. A study in 2017 found that collagen peptides, consumed daily, helped reduce cholesterol in individuals with atherosclerosis (an arterial disease that causes fats and cholesterol to build up). Atherosclerosis is a contributor to nearly 50% of deaths in the western world, so a high-quality protein supplement may help ward off some of that risk.

Final thoughts

Above, we have listed common menopause symptoms and benefits of of collagen that relate to many of them. Many of our customers are women who are going through the menopause, and some of the most positive feedback we get comes from these lovely ladies. Everything from reduced joint pain, improvements in hair, skin and nails to more balanced mood and even improvements in gut health are reported. This is why we are confident that Kollo marine collagen supplements can help alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause - it's definitely worth a try if you are having difficulties.

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