Ever heard of collagen supplements? There’s bars, powders, mixes, shakes and so many other options to supplement collagen in your diet. But what’s the fuss? Why is everyone eating more collagen?
Collagen is present in the bodies of every animal and human on the planet. It is the main structural protein for cells and connective tissue and the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is found in your corneas, gut lining, blood vessels, inter-vertebral (between your bones in your spine) disks and the dentin on your teeth, just to name a few places. So, you could say it’s pretty important in the body. Collagen production naturally declines as you age, so collagen supplementation becomes even more important later in life.
There are many different types of collagen- I, II, III, VI, VIII, etc. and each one has a different job in the body. What’s important to note is that a varying combination of the different types of collagen is important to consume instead of just one. The body makes its own collagen from the foods and nutrients we eat, but in times of stress, the body can be focused on other more important functions, like the immune system, so that it doesn’t have the energy to put toward building collagen.
So, what health benefits can collagen supplementation provide?
· May ease joint pain. As cartilage weakens and deteriorates with age, joints may start feeling more stiff. Upping your collagen consumption can help reduce joint pain and alleviate some arthritis symptoms.
· May improve skin and reduce age related skin changes. Collagen is well known for the skin supportive benefits. It provides elasticity to the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and making the skin look younger.
· May reduce cellulite. Like above, collagen provides elasticity to the skin and helps to smooth out the appearance of cellulite.
· Helps build muscle and burn fat. Since collagen is a protein, it’s an essential building block for muscle. It also supports healthy fat loss by providing the extra protein your body wants to use as fuel instead of carbohydrates.
· May improve gut health. Collagen is essential to the lining of your gut and by increasing your intake you can support your gut health by strengthening the barrier. It can help you heal leaky gut.
· May help prevent heart disease. Collagen may help prevent the buildup of plaques in blood vessels, thus promoting good blood flow.
There are many ways to include more collagen in your diet.
Wild salmon, cod, tuna, venison, grass fed beef, parmesan cheese, eggs, avocados, leafy greens, berries, garlic, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are all good sources of collagen. Supplementation with collagen products is also an option. Many companies offer collagen bars made with whole foods ingredients and multiple collagen proteins in many different flavor options. You can also find powdered collagen to mix into liquids, smoothies or recipes for a more convenient way to include collagen. It is important to keep in mind where your collagen supplement is sources from though. If choosing a fish based collagen, make sure it is wild caught fish, and grass fed beef is a much better choice than conventional raised.
Collagen can be a great way to support your whole foods, nutrient dense diet and provide your body with some extra support in certain areas. Still have questions or looking for great brands of collagen supplements to try? Let me help you!