We all know the importance of protein in a healthy diet, however, there seems to be one protein in particular that is all the rage at the moment. Collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the human body – making up about 30% of our total protein – is found in our tendons, bones, muscles, skin, cartilage and digestive system. It’s collagen that gives our skin its firmness and elasticity, and is the “glue” (as the word means in Greek) that holds our joints and tendons together. Unfortunately, as we age, collagen production decreases. Lifestyle choices such as eating a diet high in processed foods, sugar, smoking, high amounts of sun exposure and stress even further decrease collagen production. Here’s where collagen supplements come in.
What are the benefits?
You’ve probably seen or maybe even tried collagen powders, elixirs or have sipped on a collagen-rich bone broth, all claiming to provide youthful skin and bones. While research is still being done around the effectiveness of collagen supplementation, studies have shown it to improve skin elasticity and moisture (a.k.a less wrinkles), strengthen hair and nails, help reduce cellulite and stretch marks, reduce joint pain, and help with digestive problems by repairing stomach lining and promoting stomach acid secretion.
How to use it?
Collagen supplements aren’t a quick fix. They must be taken consistently and over time in order to have any effect. The most common sources of collagen powder are bovine (cow) and marine (fish) collagen. Both are great options, though marine collagen is more easily absorbed by the body. Like any product, not all collagen supplements are created equal. When purchasing collagen, look for one that contains at least 90% type I collagen, and if you are purchasing bovine collagen, make sure that it is hydrolyzed (which means that it has already been broken down into amino acids and will be more easily absorbed). Collagen powder can be added to things like a matcha latte, smoothies, bulletproof coffee or even just a glass of water. Chicken collagen is also an option, but is usually consumed through bone broth.