Collagen – you see it advertised, but do you know what it is and why it’s important to your overall health? Let’s break it down and see what the science says.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein – the most abundant one in our bodies, in fact – comprising one-third of our protein composition. It is contained in our skin, as most know, but also in our joints. This includes our cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, so our movement and motion are greatly dependent on plentiful collagen.
Collagen loss actually begins when we are still young, between 18 and 29 years of age. By the time we are 80, collagen production has slowed by 75% as compared to young people. Signs of aging include loss of elasticity of the skin, stiff joints, and muscle loss. Other signs of a collagen loss are excessive skin wrinkles, blood pressure problems, achy muscles, cellulite, dental problems, thinning hair and brittle nails.
Benefits of Collagen
Joint health – Collagen strengthens and supports your ligaments and tendons. In one study, adults who took 2 grams of collagen daily for 70 days reported a significant reduction in joint pain and were better able to engage in physical activity than those who did not take it.
Healthy hair, skin, and nails – Supplements reduce collagen breakdown by supporting better skin elasticity and hydration lost through aging and sun exposure. In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity compared with those who did not take the supplement.
GI health – Collagen protects the lining of the GI tract, improving nutrient absorption and digestion. It can actually make you feel more full and improve weight management.
Bone health and prevention of osteoporosis – While calcium has always been touted as the best supporter of healthy bones, it turns out that pairing calcium with collagen increases the power of both. Studies have shown that women taking a calcium and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those taking only the calcium.
Heart health – Just as collagen provides elasticity to joints and skin, it also does the same for your arteries. In one study, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily for 6 months. By the end, they had experienced a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness, compared with before they started taking the supplement.
And even for those with no major heart problems, collagen has been shown to increase levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, by an average of 6%. This can help staff off heart conditions in the future.
How can you get more collagen in your diet?
Interestingly, collagen is present in the same areas of an animal’s body as it is in our own, but as Americans, we rarely, if ever, eat those sections of the meat. One way you can incorporate collagen into your diet is to make healthy soups with bone broth as the base. But beyond that, it’s tough to increase our collagen naturally. That’s why a supplement makes sense. Collagen supplements are usually found in powder form and are labeled as collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides.
My favorite collagen protein is made by Biotics Research Corporation, a vitamin and supplement company located in Rosenberg, Tx. It’s the best hydrolyzed collagen protein I’ve seen and tried so far and it only has 3 ingredients, which are: hydrolyzed beef collagen, natural flavors, and luo han guo extract. The protein source is from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, non-GMO cows in Sweden. And, it’s also ideal for dairy-sensitive people and those who desire a collagen source of protein.
Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein is a nutritious dairy-free protein powder made from a highly concentrated bone broth isolate. Using hydrolysis and ultrafiltration, the protein is split down into many small fragments, which helps it to absorb into your system and provide necessary amino acids and protein.
This product actually provides 21 grams of protein per serving, along with Types I, II and III collagen peptides. Type I collagen is common in skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, vascular ligature and organs. Type II is primarily found in cartilage. Type III is most commonly found in tissues with elastic properties and in the fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, tendons and other connective tissues.
I recommend collagen supplements as yet another way we can take care of our bodies and keep them as young as possible for as long as possible.
Stay healthy, everyone! And please feel free to share this post or to add your own tips in the comments! If you are having a tough time managing your weight or you need help with your own personal meal plan catered to your goals and lifestyle, reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.