It has become a viral beauty trend as of recent, but collagen truly is such a vital (or crucial) part of preventative health and aging. I am sure you have heard it makes your hair, skin or nails healthy, shiny and beautiful. While it does do all of those things, there are other benefits of consuming/using collagen on a regular basis. The real reason you need to start consuming collagen is a bit less vanity reasons and a bit more of living in the fountain of youth forever.
First, you may be curious as to what exactly is collagen other than an “anti-aging” golden ticket, used in tons of beauty products around the world. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in bones, skin, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and the digestive system. It provides our skin elasticity and strength as well as replacing dead skin cells. It is also the most crucial part of our joints and tendons when holding our body together. As we age, our body’s collagen production starts to slow. The most obvious signs of this degeneration are wrinkles, sagging skin and pain in the joints (due to weaker or decreased cartilage). Lifestyle factors like eating a diet high in sugar, high amounts of sun exposure and smoking also contribute to depleting collagen levels. Let us now address why it is extremely beneficial to have collagen in our body (further research from Dr. Axe.com).
• Hair and Skin Health Improvement: Like I said, with age our collagen production declines which leads to looser skin, more wrinkles and less elasticity. To reverse these signs of aging, increasing collagen levels will help increase smoothness, make your skin look firmer and keep your skin cells renewing and repairing normally. It also helps to reduce stretch marks and cellulite (which you already know I am all about). When the skin loses its elasticity, cellulite becomes more evident due to your skin being thinner.
• Hair, Nails and Teeth Strengthening: The second most common reason for collagen consumption, is to improve these collagen protein-based cells on our body. Collagen actually reverses signs of hair loss and keeps your nails strong. If you are like me and dye your hair and get gel manicures, over time that wear and tear will start to show. It makes complete sense to start helping yourself now rather than later because it is much harder to fix and reverse the damage rather than prevent it.
• Boosts Metabolism, Energy Output and Muscle Mass: Collagen assists in adding lean muscle mass to your frame, which helps with a healthy metabolism. Maintaining muscle mass is very crucial as we age to support posture, bone health and burn more calories than fat. If you are going to add in some extra collagen, I suggest also consuming a vitamin C supplement to ensure your body can convert the collagen into a useable protein. Collagen also can improve the functions of the digestive and central nervous systems. As I have stated in other posts, every time the body breaks down food it ages itself so anything to help that process will improve our internal aging rate.
• Improves Liver Health: Now if you love poisoning yourself with alcohol, much like myself, then adding a little collagen will only improve your lifestyle. Everything we consume goes straight to the liver so it is very important to take good care of it to minimize damage. Glycine (which is the primary amino acid in collagen) has been shown to help reduce alcohol-induced liver damage and other forms of acute or chronic liver injury.
• Helps Heal Leaky Gut: Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where bad toxins are able to pass through your digestive tract. Collagen helps improve this issue by helping break down proteins and healing damaged cell walls to sooth your gut. It is known that inflammation typically stems from an unhealthy gut. Increasing collagen can only help prevent inflammation as much as possible.
• Cardiovascular Health: The amino acid proline which is a direct results of collagen production, releases fat buildup in the bloodstream, shrinks the fat in the arteries and minimizes fat accumulation. Being that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in this country, that looks like a pretty awesome side effect to collagen consumption, in my opinion.
• Reduces Joint Pains and Degeneration: And for the final point I will make, I want to address the most important reason you should start taking collagen RIGHT NOW. When we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments start moving with less ease, leading to swollen joints, stiffness and the risk of injury. Collagen is like adding grease to metal, it’s gel-like structure that covers our bones, helps our joints move with more ease. Do you want to be a little old lady who is in a wheelchair at 65? No. No one wants that life for themselves but if you don’t focus on preventing those issues now, you are running the risk of getting hurt in the long run. People take for granted things that come so easy to them now like walking up-stairs, sleeping or just their overall quality of life.
I think that is more than enough proof to get you to consider adding collagen, don’t you? The best way to consume your collagen would be an all-natural protein powder. A powder over a pill is better absorbed in the body. Here are a few of my favorites!
• Vital Proteins: They make the best collagen protein powders AND capsules. Being they are the most natural and recognized brand, this has been the brand I have been using for the past two years. I like the wild caught marine collagen, which comes from red snapper scales, while the regular collagen peptides come from pasture raised bovine. You can put the powders in hot or cold drinks (I prefer smoothies) and also bake/cook it into things as well! They also sell beauty collagen in Strawberry Lemon or Lavender Lemon, different flavored collagen creamers, matcha collagen powder, beauty water and that is just naming a few. Vital Proteins has such a variety of options that you can find the perfect flavor/type of collagen for you!
• HUM Nutrition: This brand of vitamins is one of the best! They offer a “Collagen Love Skin Supplement” which is a pill supplement, so if you aren’t into the powder idea!
Here is the perfect summer collagen smoothie!
• Handful of Raspberries
• 1 Banana
• 1-2 cups of Watermelon
• 1 tablespoon of raw oats
• 1 scoop of Collagen
Either way you do it, it is time to add collagen to your daily routine (I am just trying to embody the fountain of youth)!