Powdered collagen supplements have become “all the rage” lately amongst the clean eating crowd. But does this stuff really live up to all the hype or is it just another health fad? Learn all about what collagen is, why we need it in our diets, and where to find the best sources.
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Let’s Talk the basics… What is collagen and is it good for us?
Collagen is actually the most prevalent protein found in the human body. It is an amino acid, found most abundantly in skin, hair, and nails (although it is in many other parts of the human body). It is responsible for carrying out several vital functions and is what gives our skin its elasticity.
Collagen also gives your bones their strength and plays a major role in holding your joints and ligaments together.
As you can see, collagen is an incredibly important part of our biology. Simply put, we need it to survive.
Unfortunately, the bodies natural ability to make collagen declines with age and poor lifestyle habits can also cause it to wane. That is why it’s so important to make sure that we consume enough in our diets.
There is good news! Collagen can be very easily obtainable from whole food sources and supplements (More on this in a minute).
First, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of collagen consumption.
benefits 0f collagen in the diet
Improves health of skin
One of the most noticeable benefits of collagen is in the skin. This is because it plays a key role in cellular regeneration – one of its main jobs is to replace dead skin cell. Collagen increases the elasticity and moisture in our skin, which is something that naturally declines as we get older.
Plus, when we increase collagen in our diet through supplementation and food, we actually help to improve the bodies own natural production process. Regular consumption of collagen has even been shown to visibly improve cellulite and stretch marks!
Helps to heal the Gut
As collagen is a key component of connective tissue it can help to ‘heal and seal’ the gut lining. It aids in thickening the protective barrier of your intestinal tract, blocking particles from making their way into the bloodstream and causing a cascade of inflammatory effects (aka Leaky Gut). This greatly improves digestion and your bodies ability to absorb nutrients.
Collagen contains specific amino acids that may actually help to balance out the amino acid content in the body. Recent research is showing that this may improve the bodies natural ability to produce and regulate hormones.
Strengthens Nails, Hair, and Teeth
The key component of your nails, hair, and teeth is collagen and when there is a lack it in the body, your hair and nails can become brittle, and your teeth can become weak. Studies have shown that adding collagen to the diet may even help to reverse hair loss (source).
Improves Bone and Joint Health
Collagen lubricates our joints and is essentially the “glue” that holds our bones and ligaments together. Collagen allows our joints, tendons, and ligaments to move with ease. There is growing evidence that supports the use of collagen supplements in patients with osteoarthritis and other joint conditions. (source)
Where Can I find Collagen?
Some of the best sources of collagen can be found in bone broths and bone-in meats from pasture-raised, grass-fed animals.
If you don’t eat a whole lot of meat, or you’re not that into making bone broth, there are also powdered forms of collagen that are virtually tasteless and can be mixed easily into smoothies, soups, or baked goods. This is the brand I use.
Why I Supplement
Supplementing with collagen gives me the piece of mind that I am consuming enough protein and getting varied amino acids into my diet. Times have changed and people don’t eat like they used to. We aren’t consuming the amount of home cooked broths, or quality animal products that contain these types of amino acids anymore.
Even if you have a diet loaded with collagen-rich foods, it won’t hurt to supplement. When we consume more collagen, our bodies produce more collagen. So load up!
Another reason that I supplement is because, it’s just flat out convenient. It is so easy to just throw in with my daily smoothie, coffee, or add a little extra into my homemade bone broths. Plus, I just love seeing its benefits on my skin.
It’s also a wonderful protein source for kids. I give it to my daughter regularly and because it’s tasteless and orderless its the perfect option for those picky eaters. Collagen is all around a great supplement for the entire family!
Have you tried collagen yet? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.