All About Collagen
Dietary collagen is a significant health sensation right now, and I am going to explain if and why you might want some of this nutrition hype. When hearing the word collagen, you might immediately think “beauty.” Keep reading, and you will understand why it is so much more than a remedy for beauty.
Collagen is the amplest protein in your body and is present in our digestive system, tendons, muscles, bones, ligaments, and skin. Basically, it’s like an adhesive that holds our joints and tendons together and makes our skin strong and elastic. We need this protein to support healthy cell growth and reproduction in connective tissue.
Collagen protein is made up of 1,400 amino acids, including proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. To those of you out there that are not science nerds, simply put collagen is very strong and flexible.
Once we age, our own body’s production of collagen declines, and our skin starts to sag, the cartilage becomes weak, and joints might begin to hurt. Minimal consumption of collagen-rich foods or having digestive problems that impair the making and synthesizing of this protein might actually accelerate the process of degeneration.
The modern diet is lacking adequate collagen primarily because when we consume animal protein, we mostly eat muscle meat. Our ancestors ate more than that; they ate organ meats, tendons, ligaments, etc., which is abundant with collagen.
Benefits of Collagen
· Protects and rebuilds joint cartilage by reducing inflammation in instances of osteoarthritis and rheumatism.
· Provides structure to blood vessels to make them less fragile.
· Increases bone mineral density.
· Improves skin by helping form elastin, reducing wrinkles, and decreasing puffiness.
· Benefits digestive function by sealing and healing the gut lining.
· Maintains muscle and connective tissue health: Glycine found in collagen helps form muscle tissue.
· Detoxifies and minimizes damage to the liver.
There are two ways of getting that extra collagen into your body and help reduce the degeneration of our connective tissue, hence the aging process.
· Adding a collagen supplement: purchase hydrolyzed collagen for easier digestion and absorption, that is organic and certified grass-fed. Some health food stores offer plant-based collagen builders for vegans. You can increase the absorption of your collagen powder by eating citrus fruit or taking your multivitamin that includes vitamin C.
· Eating a collagen-rich diet: bone broth (from grass-fed and pastured animals), spirulina (algae), Alaskan codfish, wild salmon, pumpkin seeds, avocados, eggs, and gelatinous meats (ribs, shanks, necks).
No one wants wrinkles, decreased cartilage, and joint pain. You have that knowledge now to increase your collagen production. As always, real food is best, but if you think you are not getting enough of this nutrient through natural sources, you might want to add come collagen as a supplement.
Tanja Samalya, MNT