Collagen just may be the secret ingredient to pausing the hands of time. While collagen has long been associated with skin health and is an ingredient commonly seen in skin care product. It is the oral intake of collagen that can provide a wide range of benefits to improve your total health.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies. You have it in your muscles, skin, bones, blood vessels, tendons and digestive system. Collagen is what gives our skin elasticity and holds our joints and tendons together. Collagen is naturally high in amino acids such as proline, glycine, glutamine and arginine. All of these amino acids have a wide variety of key roles within the body.
As we age our collagen levels naturally decline. It is this drop in collagen that directly causes our skin to sag, wrinkles to appear and joint pain to begin. Of course when we eat a diet that is high in sugar, processed foods and have a high exposure to UV rays and pollution, the signs of ageing will be accelerated, regardless of collagen levels.
Your skin and collagen
Taking collagen can improve all aspects of your skin. Studies have shown that women aged 35-55 who consumed 2.5-5gm of collagen hydrolysate daily for eight weeks, reported a significant improvement in skin elasticity, and hydration. (1)
Collagen and your joints
As a structural component of your joints, collagen helps with flexibility in the ligaments. As collagen declines, stiffness can set in. Our joints contain type 2 collagen (there are over 6 different types of collagen!), which is high in chicken, for this reason, chicken bone broth is great for managing stiff and painful joints. Multiple studies have shown an improvement in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and general joint pain when taking collagen. (2,3)
Collagen and Gut Health
Collagen is an important structural component of the lining of our digestive system. This lining is essential for regulating what does and doesn’t enter the blood stream. When this layer gets compromised, undigested molecules enter the blood stream, resulting in inflammatory and immune responses. I have written about this extensively here and here. I can’t stress enough that gut health is key to good health.
How to take collagen
Collagen is naturally found in animal based foods such as poultry, fish, beef, pork, dairy and eggs. For the vegetarians and vegans out there, you can ensure your body makes its own collagen by eating plenty of the cofactors that are required for collagen production. This includes vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, silica, copper and manganese.
Bone broth is a great way to add collagen into your diet. Here is a recipe to show you how easy it is to make this healing broth.
Collagen supplements are a great way to really take a therapeutic dose of collagen. Collagen supplements come from bovine, porcine or marine based sources. Marine collagen is the best choice as the collagen is a smaller molecule, making it easier to absorb. The most abundant form of collagen is called Type 1 collagen. Marine collagen is rich in this Type 1 collagen, making it a great all-rounder that will benefit all aspects of your health.
I use Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water. This is a marine based collagen that dissolves into liquid and has no nasty fishy taste to it. You can purchase this product from iherb.com (I have no affiliation with this product, it is simply a good quality and ethically sourced product.)
Image Source – vital proteins
Refreshing Daily Collagen Drink
2 scoops of marine collagen (10-20gm collagen)
250ml cold coconut water
Blend and enjoy