Everything you need to know: Collagen
Most people want thicker hair, smoother skin, stronger nails, better digestion, and less joint pain… right? That’s where collagen comes in.
The skin is the body's largest organ, and up to 80% of the protein in your skin is made up of collagen. That means collagen is about a third of the overall protein in your body, making it the most abundant. Collagen is essential for healthy skin, hair, bones, nails and muscles.
So, what exactly is collagen? It is a protein substance that makes up the connective tissues in the body. It can be found in the skin, tendons, ligaments and bones. Collagen protein is made up of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. Collagen is either naturally produced endogenous collagen, or supplemented exogenous collagen. Although there are at least 16 different types of collagen, the three most common types of collagen make up 80-90% of collagen in the body. Collagen contains 8 of the 9 essential amino acids, so while it is not considered a complete protein, it still packs endless health benefits inside and out.
The body’s natural collagen production decreases with age, as well as with poor diet, smoking, and sun overexposure. Collagen production can begin to slow down as early as the 20s, making anti-aging collagen supplementation necessary for a variety of ages. Supplementing with collagen will help improve skin moisture and elasticity, as well as minimize wrinkles and shrink pores. It is best to ingest collagen rather than apply it topically since most collagen molecules are larger than what can be absorbed by the skin. Be sure you are getting sufficient levels of vitamins A, C, and E for their antioxidant properties that work in conjunction to improve skin elasticity and density.
Collagen has also been proven to help reduce the risk of joint deterioration, minimizing pain, and improving joint mobility. Studies have shown that collagen is actually twice as beneficial as glucosamine for joint pain and repair.
Since collagen also helps maintain connective tissue throughout the body, it works to repair the gut lining throughout the digestive tract and decrease inflammation. The high levels of the amino acid L-Glutamine in collagen also make it a great supplement for anyone with digestive issues like celiac disease or IBS.
Not all collagen is created equally, so look for a high-quality collagen peptide supplement. There are many ways to incorporate collagen into your daily routine! Here are some of my favorite collagen products to consider:
Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides - Grass-fed, gluten free, soy free, dairy free and Whole30 approved. This unflavored powder is easily dissolved in any liquid, and a great way to pack a nutritional punch for your next healthy baked good or entrée.
Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel (Chocolate and Vanilla) - Similarly free from gluten, dairy, soy, this grass-fed variety of collagen from Primal Kitchen is mixed with a coconut milk powder, and comes in both a chocolate and vanilla flavor. This powder adds some healthy fat to keep you satisfied longer. I love to add it to my coffee and smoothies!
Primal Kitchen Collagen Nut + Seed Bars - When you're on the go and you need a snack or want to get your collagen fix for the day, these bars are a great option. They come in four flavors; dark chocolate almond, macadamia sea salt, chocolate hazelnut, and coconut cashew. All varieties are free of gluten, soy, and dairy, and are paleo approved, and contain 15 grams of protein.
HUM Nutrition Collagen POP - This dissolvable supplement contains marine collagen and vitamin C (the ideal combination for healthy skin!). Not only does it look pretty, but it tastes great - a rose water and lemonade fusion!
When looking for a collagen supplement, there are many product options to choose from. Select your supplement based on what is most suitable for your needs and convenient for your lifestyle!
Are you more of a smoothie or coffee person? Are you someone who is always on the go and think a bar is the easiest way to get your collagen fix? Does dissolving a tablet into a beauty tonic sound more appealing to you?