I want to cover the benefits of adding collagen to your nutrition plan. Collagen is essential for everyone across all age groups and is significantly critical for us as we age
Collagen which is a form of insoluble fibrous protein found in our body makes up the most significant percentage of our protein footprint. Of all the types of protein in our body, collagen makes up roughly 30% and is used by every part of our physical make-up. Collagen is an essential aspect of our muscles, blood vessels, skin, hair, joints, connective tissue, nails and even internal organs making it a vital protein for our health. The importance of maintaining proper levels by eating foods high in collagen naturally is the best approach, but it is also important to eat foods that help preserve our collagen levels.
The best way to keep your collagen levels balanced is to eat meats such as beef, chicken, and turkey. In recent years bone broth has become popular and can be an excellent source of collagen as an alternative to eating whole meats. One way to help keep your collagen levels from breaking down is by eating leafy greens and berries. Leafy greens are full of chlorophyll which studies have found help keep collagen from breaking down in your body. Certain berries such as blueberries contain ellagic acid which has also shown to prevent collagen from breaking down due to sun exposure.
There are many types of collagen, and this fact can make it confusing when you start to look at collagen supplements. There are in fact sixteen various forms of collagen, but the essential types are I, II, III, and V that are important to consider when supplementing with collagen.
Types I and III are very common and found in beef products. Type I collagen is the primary collagen in our bodies and when combined with type III is a building block for our muscles, hair, connective tissue, bones, teeth and blood vessels.
Type II collagen is primarily from chicken and is very popular often found in the off the shelf collagen supplements. Collagen from fish is another very useful collagen and is a form of type I. Eggs, and the eggshell membrane has collagen and has the most type V which is quickly absorbed and another good option.
Since collagen is not present in plants in its whole form, vegans and vegetarians have a small challenge to build collagen from plant-based protein. Although this is a little tricky since many plant-based proteins do not have a complete set of amino acids using a combination of plant protein can address this problem. Using plant-based proteins will promote the body to build its collagen.
Since collagen proteins create strands that hold everything together at the cellular level is why it is so important to hair, nails and keeping your skin firm and toned. The process of extracting collagen from bone and connective tissue also provides a certain amount of hyaluronic acid which supports joint health by replenishing synovial fluid. Collagen helps your body produce chondroitin and glucosamine which I am sure you're familiar support joint and cartilage health.
Here are a few other benefits of keeping your collagen levels balanced through either proper daily nutrition or supplementation:
• Improved muscle recovery after workouts
• Better digestion and stronger immune response
• Healthier and stronger hair and nails
• Supports bone growth and repair
• Collagen and Protein, in general, can curb appetite
• Overall better joint and ligament health
• Improved liver function
• Improved Cardiovascular Health
Collagen is not without its issues. Taking too much collagen can cause hypercalcemia, where the body accumulates high levels of calcium. Collagen can also cause bloating and other digestive problems if over consumed.
There is also a debate around mixing collagen with other protein supplements. Some schools of thought believe that mixing whey or other forms of protein with collagen powders will affect absorption of the collagen essentially wasting expensive collagen. This, however, has not been substantially proven through research or clinical studies. What is know is that some forms of collagen absorb more efficiently than other types and when taken with various types of protein may get lost in the digestive process.
Taking collagen and getting enough of overall protein in your diet is critical. The older you get both collagen, and other forms of protein like bone broth or whey can help maintain a peak level of health. Older women need the most for immunity and to keep osteoporosis in check.
Regardless of gender or age, everyone can benefit from ensuring your collagen levels, and protein intake is balanced and sufficient in your nutrition plan.
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.