Collagen is something I recommend to almost every patient I see. It is the most abundant protein in the human body and is the substance that holds the whole body together. You will find collagen in “bones, muscles, skin and tendons where it forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure. Our bodies rely on collagen for healthy hair, skin and nails improve bone and joint health and aid in digestion. So maintaining our collagen production is essential for overall health and wellness. It really is the glue that holds the body together.
Collagen makes up approximately 30% of protein in the body. It is a hard fibrous protein that is very strong. There are at least 16 types of collagen in the body but types I, II and III account for 80-90%. The production of collagen begins to decrease after age 40 and declines drastically in women after menopause. Collagen is depleted with excess sun exposure, smoking and eating a diet of refined sugars. To promote collagen production eating fresh and organic brightly colored fruits and veggies as well as pastured proteins. Unfortunately only about 27% of the collagen occurring in foods can be utilized.
Our American diet has been so stripped of most of the collagen with modern methods of processing and our instinctive nature to strip meats of skin and bones prior to eating. Our ancestors consumed collagen naturally with their diets. For many of us it is an important health benefit to include in our diets regularly.
The health benefits of collagen are promoting;
- Healthy hair, skin and Nails. It is responsible for supporting skin elasticity and stronger hair and nails.
- Improves joint health as a result of its gel consistency and ability to support ligament and tendon health.
- Improves Sport performance because of collagen’s rapid absorption and all parts of our body get to utilize it right away.
- Aids in digestion because of collagen’s collection of amino acids. Two major ones include arginine and glycine.
- These help to heal the gut and improves healthy functioning of the gut barrier.
- Aids in weight management due to its glycine content which is shown to promote building of lean muscle mass and converting essential nutrients.
There are two types of collagen I recommend first is the Great Lakes Gelatin which is sourced from beef or bovine. The green can is more versatile as it dissolves in both cold and warm liquids. The red can is great to make fruit or veggie jello jigglers for your family and children as this brand will only dissolve in warm liquids and gels quickly.
The second is Vital Proteins collagen. This comes in several different options including collagen peptides, a collagen veggie blend as well as a chocolate flavor. All of these options are from grass fed, pastured organic beef. I personally use these and add to my coffee, tea, blend in a smoothie or add to soups during the winter months.
I personally enjoy making my own bone broth which contains collagen. The bone broth can be added to a variety of dishes including soups and smoothies. So whether you enjoy making your own or purchasing a powdered supplement collagen; it is an important food item to keep stocked in your cupboard.