Let’s Talk Collagen
You’ve likely seen collagen products in stores or online, or maybe you know someone who swears by the supplement’s results. Often spoke of as “the fountain of youth” for the health of your skin, it is more like the “glue” that holds our bodies together.
Collagen provides structural support to our bodies by strengthening your skin, nails, joints, and bones. It is a hard, insoluble, fibrous protein often found in muscles, bones, tendons, skin, nails, blood vessels, and the digestive tract. It is the primary structural protein in the human body, providing elasticity and strength to our skin, repairing and replacing skin cells, and maintaining the health of our joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin, and nails.
As we age, collagen production naturally begins to slow, which can have negative effects on your body. By the age of 40, it depletes faster than your body can reproduce it. By age 60, over one half of your body’s collagen has been depleted. In addition to just aging, genetics, smoking, pollution, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiencies can also negatively impact collagen production.
Good news is that you can boost collagen naturally by incorporating certain whole foods into your diet. Food such as egg whites, fish, meat, cheese, dairy, soy, spinach, kale, beets, pumpkin, banana, citrus fruits, berries, sunflower seeds, cashews, and bone broth all contain nutrients that promote collagen formation in the body. Adding a daily collagen supplement can also improve your health. There are several convenient powder form collagen supplements that you can add to your daily coffee, shakes, water, or whatever works for you. This form of concentrated collagen is easily digested quickly after consuming for optimal absorption.
Here are a few top health benefits of including a collagen supplement to your daily regimen:
1. Helps Repair a Leaky Gut – When you have a leaky gut, toxins, food particles, and infections can pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream, causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmunity over time. Amino acids in collagen support healthy cellular health and tissue growth which basically “seals that leak”.
2. Improves the Appearance of Hair, Skin and Nails – As you age, your skin loses elasticity and wrinkles form where your skin was once smooth and supple. Cellulite and stretch marks also become more obvious. Brittle nails and thinning hair develop over time. Collagen increases moisture retention, boosts elasticity, helps smooth out fine lines and that dimpled appearance of cellulite. It can also improve your hair’s fullness and shine.
3. Impacts Joint Health – As collagen depletes, your joints can become stiff, swollen and painful. Collagen allows your joints, tendons, and ligaments to glide and move more easily.
4. Supports Weight Management – Turn your body into a fat-burning machine, even at rest! By promoting more lean muscle tissue, collagen gives your metabolism a boost because muscle burns more calories than fat.
5. Maintains Your Heart Health – Collagen can impact the depositing of fat in your arteries, thus having a positive effect on blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
6. Supports Bone Formation, Growth, and Repair – It’s not all about the milk! Bones are one third collagen, which gives them flexibility. Adding collagen to your diet may increase bone mineral density, which may positively impact osteoporosis.
7. Impacts Detoxification and Liver Function – Daily toxins that we are exposed to must be processed by your liver and eliminated from your body. Collagen can support your liver during this potentially damaging detoxification process.
The bottom line is that collagen is an important protein that provides structure to many parts of your body. As we age, boosting collagen naturally or by supplements can be extremely beneficial to achieving optimal health.