Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body and it makes up a large part of our skin, hair, and nails. Technically a polypeptide, collagen contains a mixture of amino acids like proline and glycine, which are found in all connective tissue within the body (including vital organs).
While beauty treatments and shampoos trumpet the benefits of collagen on their labels, the real benefits come internally, not from a topical treatment.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s the “glue” that holds the body together. It’s found in bones, skin, hair, muscles, blood vessels, digestive system, and tendons. Collagen is what helps give our hair and skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells.
The body’s natural collagen production declines with age and many modern lifestyle factors (like stress, poor diet, gut health imbalances, etc.) can also decrease the body’s ability to make it.
5 Reasons you should supplement with collagen every day!
1. Promotes healthy skin and reduces wrinkles
Collagen can help reverse the appearance of wrinkles and restore some youthful elasticity to your skin. The levels of collagen in your body are directly related to the appearance of age on your skin. As your body slows down the production of this vital nutrient, your skin starts to show signs of wear and tear such as wrinkling and becoming loose and thin.
According to a double-blind placebo study conducted last year found that women who took collagen hydrolysate (the peptide form) regularly for 8 weeks saw a 20 percent reduction in wrinkles. This study also showed that collagen consumption can increase skin elasticity and moisture, which also declines during the aging process.
2. Improves hair and nail growth
Hair and nails consist mostly of keratin, a fibrous protein, which requires amino acids to grow. That’s why many people take collagen to achieve longer, stronger hair and nails. If your body doesn’t get the amino acids it needs, it can result in weak, brittle and slow-growing hair and nails.
3. Improves bone and joint health
Collagen may be beneficial to bones and joints in the same way it benefits the skin. By helping the body’s natural production of collagen and providing a bioavailable source of these amino acids, collagen may improve bone and joint health over time. In fact, a double-blind, placebo study showed significant improvement in joint pain.
4. Improve digestion
If you suffer from digestive issues like IBS, ulcerative colitis, leaky gut or Crohn’s, then you’ll want to add collagen to your diet. Collagen will help heal your gut by breaking down proteins and soothing the lining of your intestines and healing damaged cell walls and infusing them with amino acids. Collagen also keeps things moving in the digestive tract by helping with the absorption of water.
5. Hormone balance
Emerging research shows that the specific amino acids in collagen may help improve the amino acid balance in the body and support the body’s natural hormone production.
Where to find collagen
There are several good sources of high-quality gelatin and collagen powders. When sourcing, it is important to make sure that it is obtained from grass-fed and pastured humanely raised sources from a reputable company.
Collagen is a tasteless powder that doesn’t affect whatever you add it too. Mix it into your morning coffee, any smoothie, tea, soup, stew, juice or whatever suits your fancy.