What Is Collagen? A Simple Overview
Collagen for muscle mass...
Collagen for joint health...
Collagen for skin, hair, and nails...
Let's talk about why Collagen is all the rage and why you need it.
SO, WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the term used for the main structural proteins that are found in the skin, skeletal muscles, and connective tissues of the body.
Think of it as the "glue" that holds your body together.
One of the most abundant proteins in the body, collagen accounts for nearly 30% of the proteins in your body, which is why it plays such a crucial role in optimal functioning.
Collagen is a protein composed of these amino acids:
- Aspartic Acid
- Glutamic Acid
Commonly referred to as the "building blocks of protein", these amino acids work together to keep you strong, mobile, and functioning.
COLLAGEN'S ROLE IN THE BODY
- Rebuilds the connective tissues found in the tendons and ligaments.
- Improves joint strength and mobility.
- Reduces joint pain and inflammation.
- Protects against joint deterioration.
- Increases lean muscle mass.
- Decreases fat.
- Supports the elasticity and strength of skin, hair, and nails.
- Supports gut health.
BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS
The number one benefit of taking collagen supplements is that they help increase your natural intake of collagen through collagen-rich foods as well as help your body's natural production of collagen.
You can find collagen supplements in the following forms:
- Gummies and Tablets
- Bone Broth
- Collagen Infused Ready to Drink Products
Remember, to reap the benefits of collagen, you must ingest it.
Topical collagens are SHIT, don't believe that non-sense.
SOURCES OF COLLAGEN
Aside from collagen supplements, you can find collagen in the foods that you are already eating. Contrary to what you may hear, collagen comes from animal-based products.
Animal Based Collagen-rich foods:
- Bone Broth
- Organ Meat
- Bone Meat
TYPES OF COLLAGEN
To better understand what causes collagen to increase or decrease, let's start with the forms of collagen.
There are four main types of collagen:
- Type I
- Type II
- Type III
- Type IV
The most common type of collagen found in the human body is connective tissue collagen, also called Type I. Sagging skin, wrinkles, brittle nails, thinning hair, and damage to bones, organs, and tendons are all symptoms of Type I decline.
Healthy for the skeletal system and advantageous to the cartilage.
Supports muscle, artery, and organ structure and frequently collaborates with Type I.
Found in the skin's outer layers and aids in the filtering process.
You can use nutrients or natural sources that increase collagen production to get the most out of the above types of collagen.
Natural sources of collagen are animal based products. These include bone soups or broths, gelatin, chicken, and pork skin.
HOW TO IMPROVE COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
The nutrients and healthy habits help to boost your body's natural production of collagen. (not to be mistaken for collagen-rich foods)
Add these nutrients and healthy habits to your diet and lifestyle to increase natural collagen production:
VITAMIN C — Get yourself fruits high in citrus like oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, and grapefruits. Bell peppers, kiwi, and strawberries are also high in vitamin C
PROLINE — Found in dairy and egg whites, as well as in wheat germ, mushrooms, cabbage, and asparagus
GLYCINE — Abundant in many protein-rich foods, including gelatin, pork, soybean, dried seaweed, and chicken skins
COPPER — Seafood, cocoa powder, mushrooms, tofu, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds, lentils, cashews, chickpeas, salmon, dark chocolate, avocados, and organ meats all contain significant amounts
ANTHOCYANIDINS — Provides plant parts with red, blue, and purple colors. We can find them in vegetables and fruits like apples, blackberries, blueberries, black beans, cherries, mango, and raspberries
AMINO ACIDS — Found in high-quality protein like tofu, meat, poultry, legumes, seafood, and dairy
HEALTHY HABITS AND EXERCISE — Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and protects collagen, ensuring healthy skin, bones, muscles, and joints. Avoiding smoking and overexposure to the sun are great ways to increase collagen production
WHAT DAMAGES COLLAGEN PRODUCTION?
As much as collagen can be increased, it can also be damaged.
Avoiding these factors can help maintain healthy skin and strong joints, as they can deplete the body's collagen supply:
- A high-sugar diet speeds up glycation, a process in which blood sugars bind to proteins to form new molecules, resulting in weak collagen in the body.
- Smoking is harmful to collagen, as tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that damage the skin's collagen and elastin. There is nicotine as well, which reduces the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
- Collagen can break down more quickly if exposed to direct sunlight without protection from a sunblock. This damages the fibers and causes the formation of wrinkles, as elastin is reconstructed incorrectly.
- The aging process can be slowed down by collagen peptide supplements, even if we can't stop it altogether.
WHY WE LOSE COLLAGEN
Why? Because of nature and the circle of life.
Once we hit the ripe age of 25, our natural collagen production begins to slowly decline.
Once we hit the 40's production slows even more.
Here are some signs that your collagen production has slowed:
- Increased wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
- Joint inflammation, aches, pains, and reduced joint strength and mobility.
- Muscle aches and prolonged recovery times.
- A weakened gut system.
- Brittle hair, skin, and nails.
The good news is that you can supplement your body's collagen production by eating collagen rich foods and by taking a high-quality collagen supplement.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING COLLAGEN?
Collagen supports joint functions and gut health, rebuilds and repairs connective tissues, and strengthens skin, hair, and nails.
WHEN CAN I TAKE COLLAGEN?
Anytime. Morning, day, or night, the more the merrier is the saying right?
HOW TO USE COLLAGEN?
Collagen can be used throughout the day and can be added to your coffee, tea, protein shakes, favorite smoothies, baked goods, and more.
PRO TIP: To avoid clumping in cold drinks, mix 1-2 scoops of collagen with a small amount of lukewarm water until the collagen is dissolved. Top off the mixture with your cold liquid of choice and ice last.
HOW MANY TIMES A DAY CAN I USE COLLAGEN?
We recommend using Collagen 1-2 times per day.
WHAT CAN I ADD COLLAGEN TO?
Anything. Take a look at our favorite collagen recipes.
- Chia Pudding
- PB+J Overnight Oats
- Veggies and Collagen Smoothie Bowl
- Turmeric tea
- Chocolate Chia Pudding
Collagen and Date Protein Balls
Flourless Collagen and Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies
It's never too early or too late to start including a collagen supplement into your lifestyle, but at some point, you'll need to start supplementing your's body's natural production of collagen.
Choose a high quality collagen from sources you trust and disregard the rest.
Lastly, don't fall for the marketing gimmicks.
Remember these two important points:
There's no such thing as "vegan" collagen.
Collagen must be ingested to reap the benefits.