We see it everywhere — collagen in lotions and in vitamin supplements. It’s touted as the health elixir for those wanting stronger nails, plumper, wrinkle free, younger-looking skin and shiny, thicker, healthier hair. But does collagen really do more? And should you be consuming it?? And if so, what are 5 surprising benefits of collagen?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is an important building block for elasticity and it’s ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is the most abundant protein in our body, found in our muscles, skin, bones and tendons. It’s known as the “glue” that holds our bodies together, and as we age, we produce less and less of it.
Collagen is also full of amino acids like glutamine, arginine, proline and glycine. Normally, these amino acids are produced by the body, but as we age, you guessed it, we produce less and less.
It is one of the most important nutrients our body needs to be strong, keep your body always in healing mode, and counteract the destructive aging process.
Did you Know?
The average person hardly has any collagen in their diet! How do we get more? Through bone-broth, slow cooked organ meats, whole crustaceans and fish soups and stews. The problem? Who wants to sit down to a big ol bowl of hearty heart stew at every meal?? And for those who don’t or can’t eat seafood? Looks like you’re outta luck, again!
That’s why the Collagen movement is so huge right now — because you can easily access it through supplementation!
Improves our skin appearance (less wrinkly, plumper and smoother ), and strengthens our nails and teeth (less peeling, weak, ridged nails). Your diet has the biggest influence on your skin (inside and out) which means cleaning it up is essential! Diets high in processed carbs and sugar causes your body to produce less and less collagen, which gives us that ashy, aging, sunken-in look. Stop wasting money on expensive creams and tonics and instead turn to a safer and more reliable anti-aging source, collagen!
Improves joint function (provides greater flexibility and mobility) and strengthens our bones (supports stronger, denser bones — who wants brittle, weak bones as we age, right?). Chronic pain and arthritis are the two most common complaints and doctors have no problem prescribing ointments and drugs that are harmful to our digestive tracts, liver etc. The building blocks of healthy joints once again comes from your diet. Supplementing with collagen is key to healthy joints now, and also down the road.
Reduces symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome and IBS (conditions where toxins are able to pass through your digestive tract and cause inflammation from consuming trigger foods). Collagen helps to break down proteins and soothe your gut lining, heal damaged cell walls and infuse it with amino acids. It also helps to absorb water, which keeps things moving along nicely in your digestive tract. Gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, and abdominal discomfort are all signs that you have too much bad bacteria in your gut and collagen is loaded with the amino acid glutamine, which is very effective in healing these issues.
Improves metabolism and muscle growth (the glycine in collagen pumps sugars into your body’s tissues=increased energy and it aids in muscle development. More lean muscle mass=greater and faster fat burning capabilities). Weight Loss is also a benefit from collagen supplementation but not in the typical thermogenic or stimulant way. Instead, collagen helps raise your satiety levels (feeling full) by naturally inhibiting the growth hormone in your gut that triggers hunger. It also cuts cravings out! Adding collagen to your mid-morning coffee or later-afternoon tea is a fantastic way to get you to your next meal.
Improves sleep quality and quantity (you get a deeper night’s sleep which aids in body repair and regeneration, more regularly, plus is helps to clear brain fog so you awaken clearer). We never seem to get enough sleep. And with sleep medications being prescribed more and more, we aren’t doing our bodies any good by turning to these quick-fixes. The average Canadian only gets 6.5 hours of (interrupted) sleep, while our bodies actually perform better with 8-10 hours of quality sack time (thankfully, I am a 8-9 hr gal). Collagen helps support deep sleep because it is loaded with glycine, an amino acid that helps your body unwind, decompress and this in turn helps promote quality, deep sleep. Keep in mind that glycine is not a sedative (phew).
I personally just started taking Collagen. I started adding 1 tbsp of it to my morning Bulletproof coffee about a week ago. While benefits should be seen immediately, because I wear nail tips it’s hard for me to see if my nails are stronger, but I do notice a huge difference in my tummy and joint aches. I think it is too soon to say how collagen is affecting my muscle production, as I do build muscle quite easily. Oh, I have noticed my sweet cravings after dinner have completely subsided, so I am going to tip my hat to collagen with that!
I think it’s important to note that Collagen is not a band-aid supplement or a quick fix to weight loss. But it is a very valuable additive to a healthy and clean-eating diet. It can be expensive, so do your research and shop around. I personally like the Organika brand (about half the cost of other brands I researched), but intend to try the Bulletproof brand after I am done the bag I have now. You can also get Collagen in capsule form, but I take so many other supplements and vitamins and minerals that I prefer it in powder form.
Do you consume Collagen regularly? What are your thoughts?
If you do decide to give it a go, make sure to record your symptoms before starting supplementation so you can compare your progress as time goes by. Oh…and don’t forget to let me know how you do!!