Can Collagen cause depression

Can Collagen Cause Depression? A Hidden Connection

Writen By: Huma Khan
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: May 10, 2024

Are you considering taking collagen supplements for healthier skin and joints but worried about their potential mental side effects? Or have you ever felt down or low after taking collagen supplements? If so, you may wonder, Can Collagen cause depression? As Collagen is a popular choice for promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails, the idea that it might affect your mood seems strange. However, it is important to understand the relationship between what we eat and how we feel. It is a complex phenomenon that requires a great deal of research.

Collagen is an important protein for our body’s structure. It not only affects physical appearance but also has other implications. According to recent studies, collagen intake can impact mental health. As a result, many people who use collagen are now interested in how collagen affects both physical and mental wellness. A person should be particularly concerned about this if they are suffering from collagen depression or are experiencing mood swings as a result of their collagen intake.

The purpose of this blog post is to educate readers about collagen and how it impacts their mood. We will examine the research on the connection between collagen and depression, how to recognize signs of collagen affecting your mood, and the steps to achieve balance. We want you to have all the information you need about collagen to make informed choices about your health and well-being.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making 25–35% of the total protein. Like other proteins, collagen is made up of amino acids. It is an incomplete protein, meaning that it lacks tryptophan, an essential amino acid. Collagen is the main component of connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Collagen provides structural support and helps to maintain the elasticity and strength of these tissues. In addition, blood vessels, teeth, bones, and the cornea of the eye all contain it.

There are 28 different types of Collagen in the body. Each type is meant for a different structure and function. Here is how collagen helps: 

  • Skin Health: Collagen is the main building block of your skin. Studies show that it helps provide elasticity and plumpness. However, as time passes, collagen production starts decreasing. It then causes wrinkles and sagging.
  • Joint Support: Collagen is a key component of cartilage, the spongy tissue that cushions joints. Cartilage is essential for joint flexibility and shock absorption, which allows joints to move smoothly. 
  • Strong Bones: Collagen is essential for bone structure and strength. It helps deposit minerals like calcium and maintain bone density.
  • Overall Wellbeing: Collagen is also present in the blood vessels, muscles, and digestive system. Therefore, it is essential for health and function.

Where Does Collagen Come From?

Your body naturally makes collagen, often called Endogenous collagen. It’s like a built-in factory that works away throughout your life. The bad news is, this collagen production slows down as we age. That’s why our skin might start to lose its bounce and wrinkles might appear. But here’s the good news! You can help support your body’s natural collagen production through external sources of collagen, sometimes called exogenous collagen or synthetic collagen. These are typically taken as:

  • Dietary Sources: Certain foods are rich in amino acids, which help the body build Collagen. Some popular options include bone broth, fish, egg whites, and citrus fruits.
  • Supplements: Collagen supplements are abundantly available in medical stores. You can buy them as powder, capsules, or liquids. While there is ongoing research, some studies suggest collagen may improve skin health and joints pain.
  • Stimulating Production: Certain nutrients, like vitamin C, zinc, and copper, can help your body produce more Collagen. It is helpful to take these, along with a balanced diet or supplements.

Now that we are aware of what collagen is and why it matters, it is necessary to first comprehend depression in order to respond to the question, “Can Collagen Cause Depression?”

What is Depression?

Depression is a prevalent mental illness with potentially dangerous outcomes if left untreated. It usually starts with conditions like mood fluctuations and emotional responses to daily life. It is marked by an ongoing sense of melancholy and a decline in interest or enjoyment in activities. Hence, it can profoundly affect life. Generally, the impact is observed in relationships with family and friends and their ability to work or study.

The prevalence of depression is significant. Recent trends show that an estimated 3.8% of the global population, 5% of adults, and 5.7% of those older than 60 years are suffering from depression. Thus, approximately 280 million people worldwide are fighting depression. The gender-based proportion shows that depression occurs about 50% more frequently in women than in men. In acute depression conditions, over 700,000 people die by suicide each year. It is the leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds. 

Symptoms

Depression symptoms vary from person to person. The common symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness 
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Irritability and frustration
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss, or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Unexplained physical problems such as headaches or back pain

Now that we have a clear understanding of depression and collagen, we can answer the question, “Can Collagen Cause Depression?” to learn more about the relationship between the two.

Can Collagen Cause Depression?

Several people want to try adding collagen supplements to their routine. Supplements are essential for those who wish to make up for their collagen deficiencies and improve their physical appearance. Despite the desire to use it the way they want, what prevents them from taking collagen is the concern that “can collagen cause depression?” It is one of the common questions that arise when talking about the impact of Collagen. 

Over the years, research has been conducted to come up with the required results that can reveal the answer related to the effect of collagen consumption on mental health, particularly mood.

One potential reason behind mood fluctuations like depression is a special amino acid called Tryptophan. Tryptophan is a building block for Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. As Serotonin levels decrease, it can cause depression and anxiety. A 2008 study examined how rats’ absorption of tryptophan was impacted by gelatin (a broken-down form of collagen). The study found that collagen intake might reduce Tryptophan levels in the brain, leading to lower serotonin levels and possibly affecting mood. However, this is just one study in rats, and more research is needed to confirm a similar effect in humans. 

Research suggests a strong link between gut health and mental health, known as the “gut-brain axis.” Studies show that genes like the collagen type III alpha 1 gene can be related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is often found in depression. People who have GERD and hiatal hernia have lower levels of type-I and type-III collagens in their digestive tissues, which could affect their gut’s health. Since GERD is linked to depression, these lower collagen levels might play a part in that connection. New research also suggests tiny molecules called miRNAs might be involved too. Basically, keeping our gut healthy, including having enough collagen, might be important for both good digestion and a happy mind. 

While directly linking collagen to depression is difficult, the following are some of the possible factors linked to collagen use and depression that result from using it:

  1. Impact on Digestive Health: Evidence suggests a connection between gut health and mental health, commonly called the “gut-brain axis.” Collagen supplements might affect gut health, potentially impacting mood. This influence could be positive, promoting a healthy gut and potentially improving mood. However, it could also be negative, disrupting the gut balance and impacting mood adversely.
  1. Immune Response: Collagen is known to support the immune system. However, in some cases, the body might overreact to collagen supplements, triggering an excessive immune response. This can lead to inflammation in the body, which has been linked to depression. So, while collagen itself isn’t directly causing depression, an overactive immune response to it could be a contributing factor.
  1. Nutritional Imbalance: Excessive reliance on supplements like Collagen can cause a nutritional imbalance if not paired with a balanced diet. This imbalance can have various adverse effects on overall health and mood. A balanced diet is important because it provides a wider range of essential nutrients that contribute to overall well-being and, potentially, mood regulation.
  1. Psychological Factors: Sometimes, people have high expectations for what collagen supplements can do. They might expect quick or significant results. But if these expectations aren’t met, it can lead to feelings of disappointment or frustration, which can worsen or trigger depression. It’s essential to have realistic expectations and understand that supplements are just one part of overall health.

Currently, there’s no clear evidence that collagen directly causes depression. However, more research is needed. If you’re concerned about depression, talk to your doctor. They can assess your individual situation and recommend the best course of action.

How to Manage Depression While Taking Collagen Supplements?

Are you facing depression while taking collagen supplements? There can be multiple reasons and similarly different ways to handle them. Here’s a guide to help you decide what steps to take.

1. Consult an Expert

It’s good to consult a healthcare expert. He will correctly assess whether collagen is causing your depression or if there’s another reason behind it. An accurate diagnosis is important to ensure you receive the right treatment.

2. Supplement with Tryptophan

If it’s determined that collagen is the reason for your depression, it’s likely due to reduced levels of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is essential for producing serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mood. When collagen intake increases, tryptophan levels may drop.

To counter this, consider taking tryptophan along with collagen. Here are some foods that are rich in tryptophan and should be included in your diet:

  • Turkey and Chicken are excellent sources of tryptophan and can be easily included in various meals.
  • Eggs are a rich source, whether you have them scrambled, boiled, or however you like.
  • Dairy Products like milk, yogurt, and cheese can provide tryptophan.
  • Nuts and Seeds are also rich in tryptophan.
  • Fish especially Salmon and tuna are good choices.

Eating a balanced diet that includes these food sources can help you regulate your mood naturally.

3. Consider Alternatives to Collagen

If taking collagen isn’t necessary for you, consider leaving it out and trying alternatives that don’t lower tryptophan levels. For example:

  • Protein-Rich Foods: Lean meats, fish, and legumes provide the necessary amino acids.
  • Gelatin: Offers similar benefits to collagen without significantly affecting tryptophan levels.

4. Self-Help Techniques for Depression

If you stop taking collagen but still feel depressed, try these self-help techniques:

  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity can boost endorphins and improve your mood.
  • Stay Connected: Talk to friends and family. Social support is crucial.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Meditation or deep-breathing exercises can reduce stress.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Achieving small, manageable goals can give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Seek Professional Help: Therapy or counseling can provide additional support.

Remember, depression can have various causes, and it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional to find the most appropriate solution for you.

Conclusion

So, can collagen cause depression? There’s no clear evidence of a direct link yet. However, research suggests some indirect connections. Collagen might influence mood through the gut-brain axis, inflammation from an overactive immune response, nutritional imbalances caused by overreliance on supplements, and even psychological factors like unmet expectations.

Here’s the key takeaway: If you’re taking collagen and notice feeling down, talk to your doctor right away. They can help you figure out if it’s related and what to do next.

Remember, a healthy you is a whole you! Taking care of your mind and body goes hand-in-hand. By listening to your body and staying informed, you can achieve true wellness.

FAQs

Q: Can Collagen cause depression and anxiety?

There’s currently no evidence that Collagen directly causes depression or anxiety. There are mixed results related to the relation between collagen and mood changes. 

Q: Are there any adverse effects of taking Collagen?

Although Collagen is a good health supplement, it can cause the following in specific subjects:

  • Bloating, heartburn, or diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions
  • Worsen acne 

Q: What are the psychological effects of Collagen?

Research suggests collagen benefits might extend beyond skin and joints, potentially improving mental well-being for some individuals. While there’s no direct evidence linking collagen to mood enhancement, it could indirectly affect psychological health through mechanisms like gut health or inflammation reduction. Some potential benefits of collagen may come from improved physical appearance and reduced discomfort, leading to increased self-confidence and well-being.

Q: Why do I feel weird after taking Collagen?

If you are feeling uncomfortable after using Collagen, then it can be due to the following reasons: 

  • You have taken a higher dosage.
  • You might be allergic to other ingredients in the supplements besides Collagen.
  • Make sure that there is no other medical problem.

Q: Who should avoid Collagen?

Although it is safe for most people, it is better to see a doctor if 

  • You are allergic to fish, shellfish, or animal products
  • You are suffering from any liver or kidney disease
  • You have a history of blood clots