Today, we want to talk about one of our favourite supplements: collagen. You’ve probably heard the word being bandied about, especially in skincare. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse. We'll explain why in a minute!
What is collagen, and why is it so important?
Collagen is an amino acid and the most basic form of protein in the body. Basically, it’s what holds us together. It’s found in our skin, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, bones, blood vessels, discs and the gastrointestinal tract, and it’s responsible for keeping everything nice and strong. It’s also what gives skin its elasticity, which is why many anti-ageing products contain collagen.
Over time, the body’s natural collagen production declines with age, and can be influenced by lifestyle factors like stress, gut health and diet.
That’s where supplementing comes in.
While you can consume collagen via things like bone broth and gravy, it’s not always enough. Collagen powder is packed with the protein our body needs to survive (and thrive), and it’s easily digestible.
The benefits of collagen in your diet
Collagen protein packs a powerful nutritional punch, and there are plenty of reasons to add it to your daily diet.
Boosts skin health
Thanks to its amino acids, collagen works to moisturise skin and keep it smooth, supple and elastic. It helps the epidermis (outer layer of skin) to regenerate, and by doing so, promotes more youthful-looking skin. The body’s natural collagen depletes as we age, so taking collagen is great for combating the signs of ageing, like wrinkles.
Improves hair and nails
As the body’s most basic form of protein, collagen has a lot to do with the quality of our hair and nails. It strengthens nails, and keeps hair thick, strong and shiny. If you’re lacking in those departments, incorporate collagen into your diet.
Alleviates joint pain
The amino acids in collagen, glycine and proline, are known for their abilities to repair connective tissue, reduce inflammation, and build bone density. As such, collagen boosts bone and joint health, and can even help provide relief from joint pain.
Collagen works to soothe, heal and coat the digestive tract, making digestion a smoother, easier process. It also helps repair the stomach’s mucous lining, and this helps the body to better break down the protein and fat in foods. Not bad, huh?
Promotes hormone balance
Hormones are incredibly delicate, and everything from our lifestyle to the medicines we take can throw them out of whack. They need all the help they can get. Enter: collagen. It’s been shown to improve the amino acid balance in the body, which then stimulates the body’s natural hormone production.
Speeds up weight loss
As an amazing source of protein, collagen is satiating, meaning it helps us feel fuller for longer. In turn, it combats cravings and encourages us to eat only when we’re hungry – two things that support weight loss efforts in a big way.
Improves muscle recovery
Earlier, we spoke about how the specific amino acids in collagen do wonders for bones and joints. That applies to muscles, too! Those amino acids work to repair tissue and lessen inflammation – and therefore shorten the recovery time after exercise. If you’re injured, collagen is one of the most useful supplements you can take.
Lifts athletic performance
While we’re on the topic of sports, the glycine and arginine in collagen have been linked to athletic performance. This is because they help to maintain and restore muscle mass – and that makes the body stronger and faster!
If you toss and turn at night, or struggle to fall asleep, collagen may be the missing element. One of its main amino acids, glycine, is an important neurotransmitter. In other words, it sends messages to the brain about when it’s time to go to sleep, and time to stay awake. As such, consuming collagen can improve sleep quality, as well as reduce sleepiness during the day. Try it.
How to take collagen
Now you know why I swear by collagen, let’s talk about the best way to take it. We're huge fans of Vida Glow’s natural marine collagen sachets. Made in Australia, the sachets can be stirred into just about any food and drink – think smoothies, soups, porridge, yoghurt and tea. They’re easily digested and absorbed (boasting an absorption rate of up to 90%!), and deliver the good stuff straight to the dermis – the deeper layer of the skin – where they get to work.
Did you know about these health benefits of collagen? Share your thoughts in the comments below!