Discover The 5 Surprising Benefits of Collagen
Today I want to drill down deep and answer the question: What is collagen, exactly? And how can you incorporate this powerful superfood in your daily life?
For starters, collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It's found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons.
It's what helps give our skin strength and elasticity. And it even plays a role in replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, many call it the "glue" that helps hold the body together.
And as we age, collagen becomes even more important. Why? Our body's collagen production naturally begins to slow down. We can thank this degenerative process for signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains due to weaker or decreased cartilage (hello, skeleton legs).
Other lifestyle factors — like eating a diet high in sugar, smoking and high amounts of sun exposure — also contribute to depleting collagen levels. It's been found that collagen-related diseases most commonly arise from a combination of either genetic defects, poor intake of collagen-rich foods, nutritional deficiencies and digestive problems affecting production (synthesis) of collagen.
Thankfully, consuming foods like bone broth and supplementing with collagen can provide plenty of this vital protein. And if you're wondering what is collagen good for, I'm glad you asked.
What Is Collagen? Top 5 Collagen Benefits
1. Supports Healthy Skin and Hair†When you meet people, how do you assess their age?
While a lot of factors play into your answer, the No. 1 giveaway of someone's age is often his or her skin.
Think about how you looked in high school (or years ago) compared to today.
For example, just take one glimpse at your high school yearbook photo or another photo from years gone by. Instantly, you can tell you're visibly older now than you used to be.
Have you ever wondered why that is?
To begin with, as we age, our skin cells don't regenerate and repair themselves like they used to.
Generally, as a result, our skin loses some of its elasticity over time. As our skin's elasticity fades, we start noticing fine lines, wrinkles and other appearances of aging that are often most noticeable around the eyes and mouth.
Here's the thing: This is actually a normal part of life.
However, this process can be accelerated by many factors.
For example, if your skin is exposed to the sun and UV rays for too long, that can cause the skin's normal regeneration and repair cycles to lose efficiency.†
The result? Premature signs of aging, which no one wants.
The best way to combat this cycle and fight back against the appearance of early aging is to tackle the problem on two fronts:
- Limit your exposure to damaging UV rays and other environmental toxins.
- Support and promote the skin's health with collagen.†
2. Provides Support for Joint Discomfort†While bones and muscles are great, your joints are what keep you moving and living an active lifestyle.
Without joints to help you bend, moving would be impossible.
In other words, if you want to stay mobile throughout your life, supporting and maintaining joint health is critical.
Unfortunately, as we age, joint issues can surface.
Years of wear and tear and constant moving around can lead to joint issues.
While regular exercise, a healthy diet, good posture and wearing the right shoes can slow the rate at which your joints wear down, those measures go only so far.
We have to address the root cause of joint issues and give our joints extra support. That's where collagen can come in.†
In fact, some studies point towards Type II collagen offering relief from joint discomfort and supporting mobility.†
3. Helps Seal a "Leaky Gut"†Certain foods and molecules — such as gluten and casein — can irritate the gut.
Over time, this can cause the gut to become more permeable, allowing even larger protein molecules to "leak" into the bloodstream.
That's why it's important to fortify and support your gut with collagen.† Here's why:
Collagen is one of the body's main supportive proteins. It's what gives bones, cartilage and tendons their strength.†
Once cooked, it becomes "gelatin." Gelatin is important because it can support gut health.†
Collagen also contains the critical amino acids proline and glycine, which are known for supporting a healthy gut.†
4. Supports a Healthy Metabolism, Healthy Muscles and Healthy Energy Levels†A boost in collagen may help support a healthy metabolism, thanks to the amino acid glycine.
Like proline, glycine is a main component of collagen, and is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body can produce it on its own when given the proper diet. Glycine is also the smallest amino acid size-wise, but it has huge and powerful effects on the body and is catalytic in various biochemical reactions.
Glycine often acts as a glucogenic amino acid, which means that it supports the body's blood sugar level balance.† Glycine also naturally provides glucose to your body's tissues for energy.†
Glycine can also "get on your nerves" in a good way. It can positively affect the production of brain neurotransmitters that are necessary for maintaining healthy brain function and for supporting emotional health.†
5. Promotes Deeper, More Restful Sleep†The amino acid glycine can also support more restful sleep.†
Restful sleep is a big deal, too.
You may have heard the phrase, "You snooze, you lose." Actually, it is more like: "You snooze, you win!"
You need to get regular, quality, restful sleep, but most Americans come up short on getting enough Zzzzzzzs. In fact, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic, since our modern-day American society has resulted in people sleeping less and less.
In the 1960s, the average time Americans spent sleeping was between seven and eight-and-a-half hours per night; today, however, 50 percent of the American population averages under seven hours. Plus, one out of three Americans say they get a good night's sleep only a few nights (or less) a month.
But sleep is essential because we require enough quality, restful sleep for physical and mental well-being. Why? During sleep is when the body restores itself through muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, growth hormone release and more.†