Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body and is made up of many amino acids including glycine, proline, glutamine and arginine. It can be found in your skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, digestive system, and when it comes to your joints and tendons, collagen is literally a “glue” that helps hold your body together.
Sadly, as we age, our natural collagen production begins to decrease and contributes to those tell-tale signs of aging like wrinkles and joint pain. When combined with other unhealthy lifestyle factors such as a diet high in sugar, smoking or too much time in the sun, then collagen levels can decrease substantially faster. Not good news!
Thankfully, consuming collagen is easy and provides lots of benefits to our health. Let’s take a look at a few of these benefits and find out how to include this powerhouse protein into a healthy lifestyle!
Improves skin health. Collagen production declines as we age, and our skin visibly starts to reflect these changes. Wrinkles, loss of elasticity, looser skin and more visible cellulite are all common complaints after the age of 30. Quite the natural skin care ingredient, a recent double-blinded clinical trial found that collagen can help skin look firmer and smoother, all while helping skin cells renew and repair normally. (link to study)
Eases joint pain. When we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments start stiffening, swelling and, overall, not moving well. Collagen, almost gel-like and smooth, covers and holds our bones together, allowing us to move and glide without pain, leading to less joint deterioration over time. In fact, researchers and doctors have been treating rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other joint disorders with collagen, and results show significant improvement in daily activities and quality of life.
Helps build muscle and burn fat. Collagen is a huge part of muscle tissue, so it’s no surprise that its impact to muscle growth is also huge, increasing muscle strength and fat loss in several recent studies. Additionally, the amino acids that comprise collagen have big jobs in building muscle and burning fat by providing fuel to our cells; glycine, for instance, is involved in the process of creatine synthesis and provides our muscles with the fuel needed to power through those tough workouts!
Improves digestive health. Collagen breaks down proteins and helps soothe and heal the gastrointestinal tract’s lining. Poor gut health is often a leading culprit in several illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or “leaky gut” syndrome. Because amino acids in collagen help to heal and build tissue, adding collagen to a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods (such as meats, greens and other low-carb foods) can help treat these conditions.
So now that you know about some of the many health benefits of collagen, you’re probably wondering how to add it to your diet and regimen. Here are 2 easy ways to get started:
Bone broth: One of the easiest ways to supplement your collagen stores is to drink bone broth. It provides a non-dairy source of protein and power-packed amino acids, ideal for people who suffer from a leaky gut or those who may be lactose/dairy intolerant.
- Hydrolyzed collagen peptides: In this form of collagen, amino acids have already been broken down so they’re easier for your intestinal tract to digest and easier for your bloodstream to absorb. They dissolve in hot and cold liquids, so they’re an easy add to your morning cup of joe or green breakfast smoothie!
Adding collagen to your everyday diet can help you move towards your beauty and wellness goals. If you decide to try adding collagen on the daily, be sure to drop us a note and tell us how you go!