Collagen, What’s all the hype!

If you’re looking for the secret to youthful skin and a healthy body, you’re not alone.

There is no such thing as a fountain of youth, so how can you change your insides and outside to look and feel younger? Reduce stress, get enough sleep, eat healthy, and prioritizing daily skin care are all correct. You can also increase your collagen intake through diet and supplements.

Collagen is made naturally by the body, but the amount of collagen produced by the body decreases over time. Enter collagen supplements. Everyone has their own strengths. Collagen can go a long way in helping you look and feel healthy and youthful; inside and out.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein produced by the body. It’s fibrous structure is used to build connective tissue and keep it strong and flexible.

Collagen is found in your:

  • Skin
  • Hair
  • Nails
  • Other connective tissues
  • Organs
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Bones
  • Blood vessels
  • Intestinal lining

Your body makes collagen by combining amino acids and nutrients found in protein-rich foods. There are many ways to get more collagen from your diet. Collagen is found in animal and fish meat. Bone broth has been around for centuries, but only recently this nutrient-rich liquid has been put in the spotlight. As for the connection to collagen, gelatin from bone broth (a type of collagen produced by boiling animal bones, cartilage, and skin for several hours and allowing the liquid to cool and solidify) can be used in much the same way; it detoxifies the liver, prevents wrinkles, builds bones and reduces joint problems.

Also, the body needs sufficient vitamin C, zinc, and copper to complete the collagen production process. They are found in many animal and plant foods. This list is not exhaustive, but these foods are high in each nutrient mentioned.

  • Amino acids: High-protein foods like meat, eggs, dairy, legumes, and soy
  • Zinc and copper: Shellfish, legumes, meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
  • Vitamin C: Leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes

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Does Collagen have any benefits?

Yes, collagen has many benefits. It is one of the major components of bones, skin, hair, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Adequate collagen intake can help reduce the signs of aging.

  • SKIN: The number one reason people turn to collagen supplements. Collagen keeps skin plump and healthy. According to a PubMed-referenced article on Healthline Collagen, “A review of 19 studies that included 1,125 participants (95% women) between the ages of 20 and 70 found that taking hydrolyzed collagen improved skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles compared with placebo treatments”
  • HAIR AND NAILS: Hair and nails benefit from collagen by maintaining its strength and moisture. Increased collagen intake reduces hair damage and makes nails less brittle.
  • JOINTS: Studies have shown that collagen can improve joint mobility and maintain healthy levels of cartilage to support joint comfort.
  • MUSCLE: Active adults may have better muscle recovery and athletic performance

What Causes Collagen Loss? Is it possible that you are lacking collagen?

When you’re young, your body produces more collagen than any other protein. Aging and a poor diet lacking proper nutrients are the main reasons collagen levels decline. “Your body has been making collagen your whole life, products to boost your collagen levels may be helpful,” says Dr. Elizabeth Bradley, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.

Signs of declining collagen levels include:

  • smile lines, wrinkles, sagging
  • stiff joints and joint problems
  • muscle breakdown
  • gastrointestinal problems (due to thinning of the lining of the digestive tract)

You can’t technically be deficient in collagen, but you can be deficient in the proteins and nutrients that help keep collagen levels high. Vitamin B, C, D and iron deficiencies can lead to hair damage and overall hair loss.

Do I Need a Supplement When Eating Collagen-Rich Foods?

Healthy, protein-rich foods and the vitamins and minerals needed to form collagen provide your body with some of the best building blocks for collagen production. We need more protein than the typical American diet provides. And busy schedules and soaring food prices can make it difficult to reliably meet your collagen needs through diet alone.

Collagen can be applied topically to the skin by opting for injections. Supplements are a good way to make sure your body produces enough collagen throughout your life.

Supplementing with quality products is a good complement to a clean diet. There are many collagen options on the market. Stick to supplements made to the highest standards of quality and purity that contain the right type of collagen and amino acids and no fillers. Look for supplements that are backed by science, have been shown to improve collagen density, and have real benefits you can see and feel.

Are collagen and collagen peptides the same? What else do you need to know about collagen peptides?

Collagen peptides are shorter chains of collagen proteins. Higher quality supplements contain collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, which are the same thing and refer to the broken down form of collagen. This form is more bioavailable. This means it is more easily digested by the body and absorbed by the skin, effectively providing the benefits of collagen.

Are there any side effects of using collagen?

Studies have shown that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity and joint mobility. Research shows that there are no negative side effects from taking collagen supplements.

Questions were asked online regarding the link between collagen and skin health, constipation and weight gain/loss. Here’s a breakdown of the responses:

  • Skin health: Because collagen is the protein that supports hair, skin, and nails, it has been found to contribute to overall skin health. Contains vitamin A. Vitamin A has also been shown to be beneficial for skin health.
  • Constipation: Collagen is a protein, so when you increase your collagen intake, you should also increase your fiber intake to avoid constipation.
  • Weight gain/loss: Collagen helps build muscle, but it doesn’t grow as quickly as you gain weight. Muscle growth helps you lose fat, so you can burn more calories or intentionally add more calories to your daily routine. You can maintain your weight while adding collagen to your diet.

There are many benefits to increasing your collagen intake. We recommend you talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement or dramatically changing your diet.

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