What is Collagen + How Can It Improve Your Health?
If you're anything like me and know you probably should be adding more collagen into your diet but can't stomach the thought of drinking bone broth, then keep reading.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein and is what gives our skin that youthful look as well as strength and elasticity along with replacing dead skin cells (1,2.) Aside from water, collagen is the second most plentiful substance in our body, comprising about 25 percent of the total protein. In regards to our joints and tendons, it's what helps hold them together, preventing them from rubbing against each other. (3,4)
How Does Your Body Use Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in our bodies. It is a major component of
- connective tissue
- blood vessels
- digestive system
- heart disease
- back pain
- strengthens hair and nails. (1,2.)
Did you know there are different types of collagen?
Did you know there are different types of collagen? Apparently there are up to 16 different types, though 80-90% of the collagen in your body consists of types I, II & III. (3.)
Type I & III collagen supplements are ideal for boosting skin hydration and elasticity and strengthens hair and nails. So it makes sense to increase your type I & III collagen if you're wanting to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and strengthen your skin. (2,4.)
Type II Collagen is mostly found in cartilage and joints and taking a supplement with type II collagen helps to increase joint mobility and promotes healthy cartilage and connective tissue and promotes joint lubrication. (4,6.)
As we age the amount of collagen your body produces starts to decline which often results in an increase of wrinkles and fine lines, sagging skin and joint pain due to weaker or decreased cartilage.
Yes, you're starting to see the picture now, aren't you- increasing your collagen intake can help with sagging, dry skin and help delay the telltale signs of aging and creaky, painful joints. Hence, the inclusion of it in many face creams, serums and the increasing popularity of collagen supplements
How Can You Increase Your Collagen Intake?
You may have noticed collagen supplements have increased in popularity over the last few years, especially as we start to realize the amazing benefits of this amazing substance.
There are a variety of ways you can increase collagen in your diet including:
- Bone broths (made from organic ingredients)
- High protein foods (Beef, chicken, fish, eggs, etc)
- Dark green vegetables
- Vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables
- Protein powders
- Collagen supplements (Animal, Plant, Marine)
How To Choose A Collagen Supplement
If you've been curious about including collagen in your diet, it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. However, be warned, like most supplements, not all collagen is of a high quality and often times you are not getting what you expect or are told you are getting.
A collagen supplement is quite literally a supplement which provides an ingestible form of collagen. Many collagen supplements contain what is called Hydrolyzed collagen. This basically means the collagen molecules are broken down into smaller particles so your body can digest it easier.
According to research, liquid collagen is the easiest to digest and be absorbed by your body. Also, if you have allergies, it is best to stick with animal or plant collagen as some people can be allergic to marine collagen and not be aware. (6.)
Top Collagen Supplements
Collagen is one of the amazing supplements I believe everyone should add to their diet. From more youthful looking skin to reducing inflammation and healing your gut, collagen is a true nutritional powerhouse.
Here are 4 of what I believe to be the best collagen supplements available on the market today. In no particular order:
Other Factors To Consider
Some other, just as important, factors to consider when looking for a collagen supplement include:
- Has an enjoyable taste- check out customer reviews to find out about the taste of the product. Some collagen products taste great; others taste downright awful. Since this will become a regular part of your daily regimen, obviously you want it to taste good.
- Contains other healthy nutrients- The best collagen supplements contain other healthy nutrients like vitamins and minerals which are good for your skin and joints.
- Is free of- gluten, fat, added sugar, cholesterol, artificial sweeteners, and unwanted fillers and contaminants.
- Is affordable- A high-quality collagen supplement is not going to be cheap, but it should be reasonably cost-effective. Be aware of the cost over time. You might see what appears to be a cheap-looking bottle of collagen, but you will have to take a lot of them to get the same benefit you would from a single dosage of high-quality liquid collagen. So while the liquid collagen may appear more expensive, it actually costs less in the long run when you take the benefits into account.
So, there you have it. Collagen is a powerhouse protein that is needed by almost every area of our body and without it can cause some significant decline in health, skin dehydration and joint mobility.
Don't take our word for it though. Go and try it for yourself. You may need to try a few different types before you find a brand that you are happy with. It can only improve your entire health!
(1.) Dr Axe 'What Is Collagen? 7 Ways Collagen Can Boost Your Health'. https://draxe.com/what-is-collagen/
(2.) Dr Mercola, 2017 'Buyer Beware: Most Collagen Supplements Sourced From CAFO's'. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/10/23/nonorganic-collagen-products.aspx
(4.) Nutrients For An Energetic Lifestyle, 2016 'Collagen Types I, II & III- Knowing The Important Differences' https://www.energeticnutrition.com/blog/2016/04/collagen-types-1-2-3-knowing-important-differences/
(6.) Best Collagen Supplements 'How To Choose The Right Collagen For Your Skin' http://www.bestcollagensupplements.com/
(7.) iherb, 2016 'The Collagen Connection' https://au.iherb.com/blog/connection-skin-health/39