Have You Considered Collagen?
In light of the growing interest and popularity of collagen supplementation have you considered collagen? Today, let's take a dive into collagen: What it is, what it’s good for, how it can be used and why I love adding it to my cuppa Joe, soups and smoothies on the regular.
What is it?
Collagen makes up about 30% of the body’s total protein. It is the primary building block of our connective tissues providing structure and strength to our:
To date, there are over 25 types of collagen identified. About 80-90% of collagen in the body is type 1, 2 and 3. Type 1 and 3 are the most abundant in our skin, bone, ligaments and tendons providing a tensile strength stronger than steel. Type 2 collagen is primarily found in our joint tissue and lends the ability to resist weight and compression stress.
What are the Benefits of Supplementing?
Touted as a supplement that gives “youth” to our tissues, collagen is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Depending on age, stress levels, nutrient deficiency, inflammation, antioxidant status, toxin (ex. smoking) and UV exposure; the demand for and ability to produce collagen can be hampered by many factors.
By supplementing with collagen, we aren’t just providing the body with the ingredients to rebuild or maintain our tissues. Supplementation can also stimulate our body’s own collagen production. In addition to this, collagen is rich in glycine a beneficial amino acid that helps with antioxidant production and detoxification. Glycine may be part of the reason why collagen can be so helpful with its anti-aging properties. Collagen supplementation has been shown to support:
Skin, hair & nails
Support nail growth and reduce chipping.
Increase hair thickness.
Reduce muscle loss and increase strength.
Cardiovascular & metabolic health
Sources of Collagen
Collagen can be found in animal connective tissues such as skin, hide, tail, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Unfortunately, our modern diet primarily consists of animal meat and very little of the connective tissue which means that we are unlikely to benefit through diet alone which is another reason to supplement collagen.
Bone broth protein, gelatin or collagen hydrolysate?
Collagen in its natural form is difficult to digest so heat and enzymes are used to help break it down and make it better absorbed. Bone broth protein and gelatin are partially digested to make a powder that can be mixed into hot liquids but will gel when they’re cooled. Collagen hydrolysate is further broken down into smaller elements allowing it to be mixed into both hot and cold liquids.
In addition to the standard options, marine collagen is another product offered and touted. Marine collagen comes from fish skin and scales and can be a great for those who prefer a pescatarian option.
Because our own digestive processes will randomly cut the chain of collagen amino acids into various peptides, the benefits of using a general collagen hydrolysate powder can vary. If you’re looking for a collagen powder that has more specific therapeutic effects, opt for a collagen peptide powder that’s been enzymatically processed to cleave or cut the collagen protein at specific points to give peptide chains that better target skin, joint or bone.
Beyond supplementation: Other ways to support collagen
In addition to taking a collagen supplement, consider other ways you can support your body’s own collagen production:
Make a homemade bone broth using bones and other connective tissue. Animals (ourselves included) tend to store many of our toxins in our bones, fat and connective tissue. Ensure your animal sources are free run, grass or grain fed, antibiotic & hormone free.
Go beyond meat. Try eating parts of the fish or animal that we’re not typically served. For example: fish skin, ox tail, chicken feet, or organ meats (again making sure your sources were raised as healthily as possible).
Reduce sugar intake, high blood sugar and insulin can increase inflammation and oxidative damage which degrades our collagen.
Increase vitamin C. Whether through food or supplementation, vitamin C is required for collagen production but also acts as an antioxidant to protect and preserve collagen.
Interested in learning more about collagen? Whether you’re dealing with joint pain, interested in anti-aging strategies or supporting bone health, let’s get together and make a plan to optimize collagen for your health and well-being. Book an appointment today.
In Health & Wellness,
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