You might know collagen from high-priced skin products and facial treatments, but did you know that adding collagen to your diet can benefit your health? Collagen can do much more than improve the appearance of your skin.
In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and plays a key role in the health of our skin, joints, intestines, liver, heart, and metabolism. Protecting collagen becomes more important with age, as we lose up to 50% of our collagen by age sixty.
Benefits of Collagen for Skin, Hair, and Nails
While we all know that collagen is good for our skin, did you know that it contributes to healthy hair and nails as well? Collagen is responsible for maintaining the elasticity of our skin and works to hold in moisture to combat wrinkles, cellulite, and stretch marks, and strengthens brittle nails and dry, damaged hair by aiding in keratin production.
Benefits of Collagen for Joints
Collagen works like glue in our joint tissue. As we age, we wear down the collagen in our joints, especially if we’re active. Runners frequently experience joint deterioration at a young age because of low collagen levels. A 2008 study showed that after 24 weeks of using a collagen supplement, joint pain in athletes decreased. A 2016 systematic review found collagen had a “positive therapeutic role” for protecting cartilage and alleviating pain for those with osteoarthritis.
Benefits of Collagen for Bones
Collagen may also prevent bone loss by stimulating bone-creating cells called osteoblasts. Hydrolyzed collagen supplements stimulate the creation of bone collagen in our bodies, helping maintain bone structure.
Benefits of Collagen for Metabolism and Weight Control
As an excellent source of protein, collagen can promote a healthy weight and metabolism by suppressing appetite and encouraging lean muscle mass.
Benefits of Collagen for Gut Health
Collagen may help those who suffer from a condition known popularly as leaky gut, which, among other effects can allow particles that cause unwanted health effects to enter the bloodstream. Our gut works hard to keep harmful compounds from getting into the wrong parts of our bodies. Collagen may play a role in supporting the health of our intestinal walls and help prevent these compounds from entering the bloodstream.
Related: How to Cultivate a Healthy Gut
Benefits of Collagen for Restful Sleep and Anxiety Relief
Collagen has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. The glycine in collagen seems to help disrupt the fight-or-flight response and easing overactivity in the brain.
Related: What to Eat for Better Sleep
How to Get the Benefits of Collagen
One exceptional source of collagen is bone broth, made from boiling bones in water to extract nutrients. Note that most store-bought broths may comprise mostly of salt and spices, and likely contain little beneficial collagen. To get the most from a bone broth, you can make your own at home by slow-cooking bones from chicken, beef, pork, or almost any other animal. Local farmers markets or grocery stores may have bones to sell if you ask. Making the broth is as simple as adding them to a slow cooker with some vegetable scraps. Follow this recipe to make quarts and quarts of the stuff with little effort using what otherwise would be thrown away.
To gain benefits from collagen, though, it’s best to have a consistent source every day, and few of us drink large quantities of bone broth on a daily basis. Leafy greens, fish, berries, and garlic can also support collagen production. It’s a good idea to ingest vitamin C with collagen-rich foods or a collagen supplement to ensure that the collagen is converted into usable protein.
Collagen is readily available as a tasteless powder that can be mixed in with soups or smoothies, or even stirred into your morning coffee. Be sure your collagen is sourced from grass fed animals that haven’t been dosed with antibiotics.
While nothing can replace a visit to a doctor or specialist to understand your body’s needs, collagen is a great way to help you get the nutrients you need to stay active and healthy. Adding collagen to your daily diet is an easy, budget-friendly way to benefit your health.
About the author
Natural Healthy Concepts is a leader in educating people to change their lives through wellness and natural health. They have been offering education on essential oils, collagen, turmeric, and more since 2004.
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Disclaimer: Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. Please consult a licensed professional for personalized medical recommendations.