There has been quite a buzz within the Paleo community recently about collagen. I’m sure you have heard of collagen, and if you are like me you find yourself asking what is collagen? Personally, I did not know exactly what collagen was. I knew it had something to do with skin and cartilage, but that was basically the extent of my knowledge about it. However, always wanting to expand my knowledge, I did a little research. Before I share the official results of our what is collagen quest, I have something to share.
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The truth is my taste buds are picky. I can’t do fish oil gels, some tastes and textures make me gag and other brands of collagen made my stomach cringe. That is why I love BUBS Naturals, I can sneak this stuff into all my drinks and trick myself. It works every time which confirms my permanent status as a child.
What is collagen?
Basically, collagen is the glue that holds a body together, and we would quite literally fall apart without it. Between 25 and 33 percent of a person’s body and more than 80 percent of a person’s skin is comprised of collagen. In addition to skin, collagen is found in ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles, bone tissue, blood vessels, intervertebral discs, gastrointestinal tract, and the cornea of the eye.
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans as well as all vertebrate animals. The protein that makes up collagen contains amino acids that are essential, meaning the body cannot produce them on its own and must be obtained through diet or supplementation, and non-essential, meaning the body can produce them. However, unless a person is in prime health condition, the body has a hard time producing enough non-essential amino acids, in particularly glycine and proline. Therefore, essential and non-essential amino acids have to be obtained through food or dietary supplements to support proper collagen production.
Causes of collagen depletion
- Age. The amount of collagen in a person’s body declines over time. By age 25, the body starts to deplete collagen at a rate of 1.5% a year. By age 40, collagen is depleted faster than it is produced. By age 60, over half of the body’s collagen has been depleted.
- Autoimmune disorders. Certain autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to attack and destroy connective tissue and collagen.
- Smoking. Many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke damages collagen in the skin. Firsthand smoke results in the most damage but even secondhand smoke results in collagen depletion.
- Sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight cause collagen in the skin to break down at an increased rate as well as cause a decrease in collagen production.
How to increase collagen production
- Protein. There are nine essential amino acids necessary in collagen production that must be obtained through diet and the consumption of animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy (if tolerated).
- Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C is it is commonly known, plays an important part in stimulating collagen production as well as protecting the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays. Foods that contain vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- Gelatin and bone broth. Collagen is naturally found in the skin, bones, and joints of animals and is easily digestible when in the form of gelatin and bone broth. Collagen, when it is cooked, breaks down and becomes gelatin. Mineral and collagen-rich bones, when cooked down, become a gelatin-rich bone broth.
- Collagen Peptides and Collagen Protein Powder. A convenient-to-use form of collagen that can either gel (collagen protein) or not gel (collagen peptides), depending upon which type is of collagen protein powder is being used.
Benefits of collagen peptide and protein powder supplements
- Supports skin health. Collagen supplements improve skin elasticity, increase skin moisture levels, and reduce the appearance wrinkles. When applied on the skin, popular collagen creams do not increase collagen within the skin as their molecules are too large and cannot be absorbed. Therefore, collagen supplements must be ingested for any noticeable benefits to occur. Collagen supplements also increase the rate that wounds heal.
- Supports bone and joint health. Collagen supplements improve bone metabolism and increase bone and mineral density. Collagen supplements also build new collagen, increase joint mobility, strengthen cartilage, and can help relieve some arthritic conditions.
- Supports digestion and gut-health. Collagen supplements naturally bind to water, which helps to move food through the digestive tract. In addition, the amino acids in collagen supplements supports stomach acid production, which aids in digestion, In addition, collagen supplements help to reduce inflammation of the gut lining, which supports nutrient absorption.
- Supports weight management. Collagen supplements are high in protein, which creates a satiating effect and leads to a decrease in food intake.
- Supports strength and endurance performance. Collagen supplements help to maintain and restore protein content in muscles after exercise as well as strengthen connective tissue found in tendons, ligaments, and bones.
If you are still asking yourself the question what is collagen, just bookmark this post and come back to read it whenever you want. After doing all this research, I learned one very important lesson: our bodies need collagen!! Like I shared above, I have to trick myself into eating collagen so here are a few ways you can sneak it in too.
- Stir a spoonful into any homemade ice cream recipe.
- Add it to your coffee, hot or iced.
- Add it to smoothies.
- Leave a comment letting others know how you use your collagen!!
**2018 Update** – I have been using the collagen peptides every day mixed in with my drinks. I have 1 teaspoon in the morning with a glass of water, 1 teaspoon post workout and 1 teaspoon before bed. It is absolutely life changing for me using collagen every day.
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