What is Collagen
Collagen has been all the rage in the holistic health community. Celebrities such as Jennifer Anniston and Gwyneth Paltrow are raving about the benefits of collagen and claim collagen is their fountain of youth. If you are bewildered by the information on the benefits of collagen, you are not alone.
In this previous article, I compared the difference between taking hyaluronic acid or collagen as part of your beauty ritual but I wanted to deconstruct the topic a little more and understand collagen better. Collagen is a protein that is already present in your body. In fact, collagen makes up a third of your body’s protein composition. Collagen is a major building block in bones, skin, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissues.
Even though collagen is naturally found in the body, it can be destroyed by smoking, sunburn, and consuming excess sugar. These are all common factors in the break down of skin elasticity and aging, as well.
Incorporating collagen into your routine could reduce signs of fine lines and wrinkles while improving your overall health.
The Benefits of Collagen
Implementing collagen into your diet can provide many benefits. As we age, our collagen production decreases. This leaves our skin, bones, and joints at risk of deteriorating.
The benefits of collagen include an increase in skin elasticity. This will improve the appearance of skin and reduce signs of aging. Collagen does this decreases sun and pollution damage and increasing cell renewal. Slowing the aging process isn’t the only benefit of consuming collagen.
Studies show that collagen can improve joint health in those who suffer from arthritis. Individuals who participated in this study reported a sharp decrease in pain after two months. The benefits of collagen are not lost to those who do not suffer from arthritis. Increasing your collagen intake can act as preventative medicine for joint pain.
Collagen can also improve muscle mass. One study found that individuals who combined weight training with collagen saw an increase in strength and muscle mass. If you are trying to bulk or increase strength, collagen could help.
Where to Find Collagen
Benefits of Collagen in Food
Your body creates collagen by combining amino acids with vitamin C, Zinc, and Copper. There are many foods that contain the proper amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to increase your collagen production.
Eating protein-rich foods such as lean meats, beans, eggs, and dairy will provide the amino acids needed to increase collagen. Combine these foods with fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, greens, broccoli, and peppers. Don’t forget about incorporating nuts and healthy whole grains to achieve complete collagen protein.
You can also get collagen from bone broth. You can make bone broth at home by boiling beef, chicken, or fish bones in water. This healthy broth is rich in the proteins, vitamins, and minerals needed to increase collagen production. You can purchase bone broth at the grocery store, but I recommend making it yourself or buying all organic bone broth.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to enjoy the benefits of collagen, but as we age our ability to absorb these nutrients decreases. This is where a collagen supplement comes into play.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
The benefits of collagen supplements are very similar to the benefits of incorporating collagen-rich foods into your diet. The biggest difference lies in the absorption of the protein.
Most collagen supplements are hydrolyzed. This means that the proteins have been broken down to allow for easier absorption. If you find that incorporating collagen into your diet isn’t providing the results you want, try adding a collagen supplement.
There are many different types of collagen supplements on the market. Some of the most common are pills and powders.
Most collagen powders are tasteless and are easily added into beverages, soups, or sauces. Collagen powders come in many different variations from gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Choose a collagen powder that best fits your lifestyle.
Collagen pills are very easy to add to your daily vitamins. Like the powder, collagen pills come in many different variations. So, don’t be afraid to shop around to find what’s best for you!
I LOVE the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides! Super easy to incorporate in your shakes and food.
These are my absolute favs!
If you wanna make it really simple just keep these super tasty waters on hand.
Benefits of Topical Collagen
Even though increasing collagen through food and supplements is the most effective, you can apply collagen directly to your skin. The jury is still out about the benefits of collagen in skincare. Some professionals believe that collagen in skincare cannot absorb directly into your skin, deeming it useless in scientific debates.
This does not mean that you cannot increase collagen production with the right topical products. Applying vitamin C and retinoids to the skin can increase collagen along with laser treatments and chemical peels.
Collagen is essential in maintaining your overall health, and understanding how to increase your collagen production is key in the longevity of youth. To achieve the full benefits of collagen, it is best to combine the options above. Keep in mind that everyone is different. It is important to find which source of collagen is right for you!