You have finally caught up to speed with adding protein powders to your smoothies or coconut oil to your coffee and now collagen supplements? Here’s why this this latest trend is one that can offer you some serious health benefits.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in muscles, bones, skin and tendons (just to name a few!). It is responsible for giving us that ‘skin elasticity’ that we all desire and is thought to be the ‘glue’ that holds us together. I think it’s safe to say it is pretty important.
Unfortunately, collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. This is a natural process that just goes hand in hand with the natural aging process, and is responsible for signs of aging such as wrinkles or joint pains. Diets high in sugar, sun exposure and smoking are all factors that can also deplete collagen levels prematurely.
So now that I have you all perked up and listening at the sound of ‘wrinkle reduction’, what are the benefits of supplementing with collagen?
It is good for your skin
So we have established collagen is incredibly important for skin elasticity and lifestyle factors and aging can deplete levels in the body. Therefore, it is thought that adding collagen into our diet may be essential in achieving that youthful glow.
One study found that supplementing collagen daily for 8 weeks showed significant improvement in skin elasticity, skin moisture and skin roughness. Just what we need with these harsh winter months!
It is good for joint health
Whether you are a bit stiff from your weekly workouts or just feeling your age when you creak out of bed in the mornings, collagen has been shown to improve joint health. Collagen helps your joints to move easier which can reduce pain and help prolong the longevity of your joints.
It can increase muscle mass
Collagen supplements are high in protein (obviously) and therefore can be a great alternative or addition to protein powder. One study found that supplementing with collagen showed higher levels of fat-free mass after a 12 week training program then those that didn’t supplement. Therefore it can be a great option to get more protein into your diet and support muscle gain.
C n’t I just get it from my diet?
The short answer, yes. With all supplement protocols, food comes first. In animal products the skin, cartilage, shanks, feet, necks, oxtails and ribs are all parts of the animal that are rich in collagen so aim to mix up your meat intake from the standard chicken breast or eye fillet. Bone broth is also a great source.
While, there are ways to get it from food, for many people it is simply not realistic to do so. Many people simply don’t like the idea of the less conventional cuts of meat all the time or don’t want to spend hours slaving over a pot making broths. While in a perfect world, we would all do this, it isn’t realistic for some people, which is where supplementing can really come in handy.
We get our collagen here.
Blueberry Cashew Collagen Smoothie Recipe
Research and popular science articles by the members and faculty of the Holistic Performance Institute.