Why Is Collagen All the Rage These Days?
Collagen supplements and powders have become “all the rage” lately and I’ll certainly admit that I have jumped on the bandwagon and have been using a collagen powder supplement for over a year now. I did a little research to learn a more about exactly what collagen is. Here’s what I found…
Collagen is a protein that your body produces. it contains 19 different amino acids and is found in your muscles, bones, tendons, connective tissues, blood vessels, digestive system, hair, nails and most especially, your skin. Collagen makes up 70 percent of your skin’s protein.
If you’re noticing wrinkles on your face or a bit of cellulite on your thighs, your collagen is likely to blame.
In addition to helping to create healthy, younger-looking skin, here are some of collagen’s other benefits:
It helps your tendons and ligaments move easily and lubricates your joints.
It enhances bone health.
It supports a healthy gut wall, helping to heal leaky gut.
It creates healthy hair and nails.
It supports strong liver and cardiovascular health..
When we are children and teens, our bodies produce plenty of collagen, but collagen production decreases as we age.
Unfortunately, once you reach your 20s, collagen production decreases by about 1 percent per year, and by the time you are in your mid-40s, your collagen level can fall by as much as 30 percent.
In addition, if you are under a lot of stress or have suffered a physical or emotional trauma, your body may not be able to produce all the amino acids needed for collagen on its own.
Other factors that can impact your body’s ability to produce collagen include:
A diet high in processed foods, sugars and unhealthy fats (vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, margarine)
An unhealthy gut microbiome
Too much alcohol
Prescription and over the counter drugs
There is good news… you can slow down collagen depletion and help support healthy collagen levels!
Here are some of the best ways you can support your collagen…
Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars and unhealthy fats - In addition to causing inflammation, ruining your digestion, feeding cancer and possibly increasing your risk of heart disease, these foods are also collagen wreckers!
When shopping for your groceries, concentrate on fresh vegetables and fruits, meats, poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs and healthy fats like real butter, olive oil and coconut oil and ferment foods such as kimchee, kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir and miso.
Foods that are especially helpful for collagen are wild-caught salmon, citrus fruits, leafy greens, garlic and berries.
Get enough water…you should be drinking at least eight 8-oz. glasses of filtered water a day.
Balance your gut microbiome - your body’s bacteria, which help your body with just about every process, including helping you to digest your food, think clearly and even maintain a healthy weight. Poor gut health limits your body’s ability to absorb the amino acids needed for collagen (and other nutrients), plus it is less effective at eliminating dangerous, skin-wrecking toxins.
The average lifespan of a bacterium in your microbiome is 20 minutes! So you have the opportunity every time you eat to begin to change the population of your gut microbiome.
Use vitamin C cream for your facial moisturizer - Vitamin C cream helps to support healthy collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines on your face.
Make a batch of bone broth!
Bone broth is a delicious, rich source of collagen that can be made from beef, poultry or fish bones. In addition to just drinking the broth, you can make it into many soups and stews, plus it freezes well.
So What About Collagen Supplements?
There is no evidence that collagen supplements are harmful, however there are plenty of good ways to boost collagen without spending money on supplements. Supplements may however, improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness. They may also help increase muscle mass, prevent bone loss and relieve joint pain. Taking collagen is associated with a number of health benefits and very few known risks.
Sources: Christiane Northrup, Eating Well, Sherry Brescia