The collagen seems to be the rage at the moment. You've probably seen it in store-bought beauty aisle products for years, due to its ability to help keep hair healthy, create soft, supple skin, and build strong, beautiful nails.
What you may not know, however, is that collagen has powerful health benefits far beyond its external benefits.
Because of this, more recently it has found its way onto health food store shelves and in food products such as protein bars, tea, and coffee. Let's take a look at the health benefits of collagen and why it is recommended to take it every day.
Body building blocks
Think of collagen as the "glue" that holds your body together. In fact, collagen comes from the Greek word 'kolla' - which means 'glue'.
It is the fibrous protein found throughout the body, in organs, muscles, skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones, blood vessels, tendons, joints, cartilage and in the digestive system.
There are many different types of collagen (16 to be exact), which do different things, but most of it, up to 90%, is "Type 1". This is the most common and strongest type, even stronger than steel (gram for gram) and is found on your skin, bones, organs, eyes, and within your digestive tract.
After age 35, collagen production naturally begins to decline, which can have all sorts of negative effects on the body.
At age 40, it begins to deplete faster than the body can reproduce, and by age 60, more than half of the collagen in your body has been depleted.
In addition to aging, there are many other factors that affect collagen levels, including genetics, smoking, pollution, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiencies. The daily supplement of collagen is essential for optimal health and performance.
Amazing health benefits of collagen
So, besides the external benefits, what else can it do for you? It may surprise you. The many beneficial effects of collagen go far beyond great skin.
1. Helps repair a perforated intestine
One of the main reasons collagen supplement use is great is to help repair a perforated gut. Almost 60-80% of your immune system is housed in your gut.
As you probably know, leaky or perforated intestine is a common cause of autoimmune disease and thyroid dysfunction.
When you have a leaky gut, toxins, food particles, and infections can pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream, causing inflammation, and over time this chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmunity.
So, if you've been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or thyroid disorder (the vast majority of which are autoimmune), then you likely have a perforated intestine and you would surely benefit from adding collagen to your diet.
That's because your intestinal wall is made up of microscopic folds or "villi" that are actually made up of collagen. The amino acids in collagen literally "seal the leak" or perforations by healing damaged cells and building new tissues.
In addition to helping in healing a leaky gut, collagen supplementation can help a number of other gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), by helping with the absorption of water in the intestines.
2. Strengthens and repairs hair, skin and nails
Hair loss and skin problems can be symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, as well as the normal aging process.
As you age, you may have noticed that your skin has become looser and less elastic - and there may be wrinkles or folds where your skin was once softer and more supple. You can also experience brittle nails. Your hair can also start to thin out and become dry and brittle.
This is because collagen protein is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails, and as mentioned, its natural production declines as you age.
Increasing your intake can go a long way in making your skin appear firmer and smoother by renewing and repairing cells. Is
Recent studies have also shown that supplemental collagen can reverse hair loss in some cases.
Many people do not realize that adding collagen to their diet can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.
When the skin loses its elasticity and becomes thin, cellulite becomes more apparent. Helps increase moisture retention, improve elasticity, and help smooth out that dimpled look as well as fine lines.
3. It is anti-inflammatory to prevent joint pain
Like the oil in a car, collagen allows your joints, tendons, and ligaments to slide and move with ease. With age, and as its production is depleted, your joints can become stiff, swollen and painful, even causing a lack of mobility.
It contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which can help reduce joint pain and help increase joint mobility due to their anti-inflammatory properties, similar to ibuprofen.
A recent study even found that taking collagen can be beneficial for pain associated with osteoarthritis.
4. Supports weight management
Collagen can even help you control your weight. Glycine, the amino acid we mentioned earlier, builds muscle by converting glucose into energy. Having more lean muscle tissue gives your metabolism a boost, because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Essentially, collagen helps turn your body into a fat burning machine, even when you are at rest. There is some evidence to also suggest that supplemental collagen can help suppress your appetite.
One study cited a 20% reduction in food intake after breakfast when collagen proteins were ingested. The same study showed that its proteins were 40% more satiating than other protein powder supplements.
5. Collagen helps protect the heart
The proline, found in collagen, can help clear fat deposits in the arteries and repair tissue within the artery. It has also been shown to help control blood pressure. Because of this, collagen has been linked to the prevention of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
6. Supports bone growth, repair and formation
Calcium is not the only component for healthy bones. Your bones are ⅓ collagen, which gives them their flexibility. Your bone cells are constantly changing, and adding collagen proteins to your daily diet can make your bones stronger by increasing bone mineral density.
Several studies have shown that osteoporosis can be prevented and even reversed by supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen due to its ability to stimulate bone-building cells (osteoblasts).
7. Improves detoxification and liver function
The toxins we are exposed to every day must be processed by your liver to be disposed of outside of your body. The glycine, found in collagen, can help with detoxification and reduce damage to your liver by these toxins.
Studies have even found that glycine can be used to help reduce alcohol-induced liver damage. As if all of this wasn't enough, glycine can be very calming and even improve the quality of your sleep.
How to add collagen to your diet
Where can you find good sources? Of course, there are foods rich in collagen (spinach, kale, tomatoes, beets, fish, and many others), and bone broth has become a very popular food in recent years as an excellent source of collagen.
However, many people find it inconvenient to incorporate bone broth into their diets or go through the process of making it at home.
Taking supplements every day in any safe and reliable form is a great way to supply our bodies with collagen. The low molecular weight protein of collagen is easily digested within minutes of consumption.
Simply take your supplement in capsule or powder form (always choose good quality) if it is powder you can add it to your smoothie every morning or a hot cup of tea. It is a great source of protein that can be added to juices or even a glass of water.
At the very least, to help repair a perforated intestine, you can take 1-2 scoops per day if you consume it as a powder.
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