This post was last updated on July 12th, 2018
Collagen and hair growth are linked closely together. And that makes sense since collagen is an abundant protein in the body, and is also a major substance in the composition of the hair, nails and skin.
Beauty experts often recommend vitamins for hair growth and strength, and if it’s topped off with a collagen drink, that’s even better.
See, collagen is technically a polypeptide.
This polypeptide contains a variety of amino acids, including:
And there is an unusual abundance of these amino acids found in collagen.
While many shampoos and treatments boast the addition of collagen, it’s essential to know that the benefits of collagen occur internally. This isn’t to say that these treatments don’t work, but if collagen is consumed, it provides the utmost benefits for hair growth.
Why Using Collagen For Hair Loss Is Important
If you’re suffering from hair loss, you need to know that you’re not alone. Nearly 66% of men will suffer from some form of hair loss when they reach thirty-five. By the time a person is in their fifties, 85% of men will have significant thinning in their hair.
These signs of aging also occur in women.
Women account for roughly 40% of hair loss sufferers, and this is devastating for a woman’s image. Many women will suffer from this hair loss or thinning in silence because they’re embarrassed of the issue.
But why is collagen so important for hair loss?
This long-chain amino acid is the most abundant protein found in the body. When a person ages, this protein goes on the decline. Poor diet and stress along with gut health imbalances have been shown to cause collagen levels in the body to dip.
In fact, collagen accounts for 30% of all proteins in the body.
And if collagen levels begin to fall, the hair is weakened, the skin suffers and your nails will become brittle. Supplementing collagen is a good way to help combat hair loss.
A Deeper Look at the Role of Collagen and Hair Loss
Studies on collagen and the role it plays in hair loss and hair growth are still ongoing. The results point to conflicting evidence, but it is expected that collagen along with a change in diet can help a person start to regrow their hair.
It’s vital to know that there are a multitude of reasons for hair loss, and collagen levels being low are common – especially in older sufferers.
Scientists recently found that hair loss occurs because stem cells in the hair follicles will become damaged as a person ages. This damage will cause the hair cells to eventually turn into skin. This happens at a continual pace until a person’s hair follicles eventually disappear altogether, leading to thinning and balding.
The study was conducted by Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
Hair stem cells were found to regenerate on a cyclical basis, unlike other stem cells in the body. This active growth is followed by a phase where growth goes dormant. This is the same reason why many laser hair therapies are conducted over a long period of time to target hair follicles that are in the active growth cycle.
What the study found was that age-related DNA damage caused the destruction of Collagen 17A1.
And when the collagen was destroyed, it caused damage to stem cells, which are then able to fall off of the skin with greater ease.
The signaling environment from the stem cells are damaged due to the lack of collagen. The findings proved that collagen for hair growth is essential for the natural hair cycles that go from active to dormant stages.
When taken out of the lab and tested on humans, the researchers found that hair follicles in people over 55 were smaller, and there was a lower level of collagen present. The findings point to collagen causing a change in the way stem cells in the hair go through the active and dormant cycles, eventually leading to the hair becoming damaged and weaker over time.
Note: The study also concluded that there are a variety of factors in hair loss.
Collagen Benefits for Hair
Collagen is important for joint and skin health, and it’s even more important for your hair. When you take a collagen supplement for hair growth, you’ll be boosting your overall health as a result, too.
Collagen benefits the hair in a variety of ways:
- Stem Cell Damage: Stem cells responsible for the active and dormant phases of hair growth can become damaged over time due to lower levels of collagen caused by age. The cells will eventually become damaged due to collagen being destroyed through DNA damage. Collagen supplements will help replenish this damaged and destroyed collagen so that stem cells can maintain proper hair cycles.
- Hair Strength: Hair often breaks and becomes brittle before it thins and falls out. This weakening can be linked to lower collagen levels, too. Collagen supplementation will strengthen the hair, ensuring that it doesn’t break and become brittle. This goes along with our previous point where DNA damage causes stem cells to become damaged as people age.
- Digestion: Your digestive system plays a major role in your health. And when the digestive system has issues, collagen can help. Studies have shown that collagen coats the digestive tract and helps to improve overall digestion. This leads to a healthier digestive system and eliminates one of the many factors linked to hair loss.
- Hormonal Balance: The large role that collagen plays in the body can cause hormonal imbalances if collagen levels fall too low. Research has shown that collagen, or more specifically the amino acids in collagen, help the body go into hormonal balance, which plays an important role in hair and overall health.
Collagen for hair growth works best when ingested. This is a result of collagen working to restore the body’s hormone levels, digestive system and lower levels of collagen. Hair treatments may help to strengthen the hair through collagen absorption into the hair follicles, but this only provides minimal results.
Since the body is lacking higher levels of collagen, it’s a supplement best taken in pill or drink form.
Drink form and pills will have a higher absorption rate, leading to much better results. It’s important to know that collagen sourced from grass-fed animals has been shown to be the most beneficial.
And outside of hair benefits, collagen has also been linked to faster healing in the body, reduced levels of cellulite, improved blood circulation, arthritis and joint pain relief, and even a reduction in wrinkles.
If you have hair loss or notice your hair is thinning or becoming brittle, it may be time to add more collagen into your diet through supplementation.
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