Collagen is almost everywhere you look. The local drug store, ads on websites and even billboards all have collagen products on them.
Could this be the new craze after the quinoa super food craze? Collagen promises youthful skin, healthy bones and even longer hair. With plenty of research to back this up, it calls to question whether we should all be using it, or better yet, ingesting it?
Let us take a look at what collagen is, why we need to supplement it and if it lives up to the hype (early hint: yes, it does).
An Introduction to Collagen
Collagen is a structural protein composed of amino acids, a connective tissue that connects bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Collagen works by giving skin elastic properties and structural integrity. As a component of bone, together with calcium, collagen makes bones healthy and strong. Collagen is an active component of the bodies of humans and animals. It makes up about a third of all body protein and is by far the most abundant protein.
There are many different types of collagen found in different organs of the body. The main collagen types to take note of are type 1, 2 and 3.
Type 1 – the most abundant collagen in the body with over 90% concentration. It forms the backbone of muscle, tendons, ligaments and teeth.
Type 2 – this is predominantly found in cartilage which acts as a cushion in joints preventing friction.
Type 3 – this cartilage almost always occurs in conjunction with type 1 and is found in reticular fibers especially in bone marrow.
An easier way to remember what collagen does is to know that it comes from the Greek word meaning “glue producing” so essentially, collagen is the glue that holds all things together in the body.
The Role of Collagen in Skin
The human skin has three different layers. The epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. The dermis, which is the thickest, middle layer contains most of the skin components as well as the cells. Fibroblasts found in this layer are known to produce collagen. Collagen along with elastin working in tandem give rise to the properties of collagen that we get to appreciate.
As we age, the human skin loses most of its elasticity and hydration. A recent study showed that the decline begins in the 20s peaking in the late 40s at the rate of 1% a year. Collagen provides the elasticity needed to keep skin supple and moist. It therefore reinforces the need for supplementation to mitigate the natural decline that comes with aging.
Exposure to sunshine, smoking and pollution are but some of the other reasons why the skin loses its natural elasticity. even with sunscreen and anti-aging moisturizers, nothing beats the natural role that collagen plays in the skin.
Reasons you Should Supplement Collagen
As stated above, your natural supply of collagen begins declining from the age of 25. For this reason, all the functions that are played by collagen gradually decline with time. You may start noticing more dry skin, osteoporosis or weak bones, brittle teeth and even joint pain such as arthritis. With these very dire conditions, the need for collagen supplementation cannot be overstated.
There are many ways to supplement your body’s collagen and we do a deep dive into the options that may be available for you below.
Are There Any Foods That Have Collagen?
It is important to note that collagen is not found in plants. As such, there are no vegan or vegetarian options that offer collagen. The best way to get collagen is from another animal.
Some of the best sources of collagen are:
- Chicken broth
- Chicken, salmon and even pork
- Egg whites
- Bucked Up Collagen (Sure, it’s not technically a food, but come on, you didn’t honestly think we’d miss a chance to throw the reminder of how powerful our collagen up early in this article)
The following herbs also contain high amounts of collagen:
- Chinese knotweed
The last three stimulate production of collagen by the body. The only cons to taking diets rich in collagen may be allergies to the protein or the bad taste associated with some of the herbs.
The other way to raise your collagen levels is to increase your intake of vitamin C, vitamin C, through the production of pro-collagen helps boost up the levels of collagen.
Here are a few good examples of vitamin C rich foods,
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- All colors of capsicum
Non-Skin Related Benefits of Collagen
- Collagen promotes the health of the heart
Collagen is part of the backbone that gives structural integrity to blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. When there is not enough collagen, the arteries may become weak and narrowed, a condition known as atherosclerosis or narrowed arteries. This may lead to heart attack or even stroke. Ingestion of regular collagen has been shown to improve heart health and symptoms of heart failure.
- Collagen promotes hair length and health.
Recent ongoing research shows that taking collagen helps to reduce hair loss. Collagen also works by ensuring that your hair grows long and health. Collagen deficiency has been described in cases of weak brittle hair.
- Collagen may strengthen nails
Are you struggling with brittle soft nails? Collagen may be the answer to your problems. Collagen supplements help to make strong long nails.
- Collagen may help reduce osteoarthritic pain
For individuals with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, ingestion of collagen may help increase joint motion, reducing the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.
It also gives strength to bones that may be osteoporotic or weak.
When Should I Take Collagen Supplements?
While the answer for this question may vary from person to person, here are a few reasons why you should take the first step and take collagen supplements.
As You Start Aging
Due to the natural decline in collagen levels, it is recommended that you start supplementing your body’s collagen from the age of 25. Start with simple collagen incorporation in your diet and supplements.
If You Are Struggling With Hair Loss or Brittle Bones
Collagen may be a natural way to help with alopecia or hair growth. If your bones are weak or you keep getting fractures, consider taking collagen supplements.
As Part of Your Daily Routine
Collagen has a myriad of advantages and would be a great thing to incorporate into your daily vitamin and supplement intake.
Sources of Collagen Supplements
Bovine collagen is sourced from cows and is predominantly rich in type 1 and 3 collagens, making it ideal for skin, bone, and ligament health. It is also encourages gut health as well as wound healing.
Marine collagen on the other hand is sourced from the bones and muscles of fish. It is smaller in size and more easily absorbed into the body. Abundantly rich in collagen type 1 and antioxidants, marine collagen is great for skin and overall health.
It is tedious to absorb collagen from ingested ligaments and muscle. In order to easily absorb collagen, we therefore need to convert it into a form that is easily taken in by the body. Hydrolyzing is a process through which collagen is converted into a more absorbable form that can be turned into pills or powders. In this form, it is smaller, and tasteless, making it edible and conveniently so.
Should You Take Collagen in Pill or Powder Form?
This boils down to personal preference. Pills are more convenient but may need to be digested to be absorbed. Powders are easily absorbable but need to be dissolved in a liquid; this may sometimes have lumps which are uncomfortable to swallow.
All in all, powders do sometimes have flavorings and sweeteners making them more palatable.
When Is The Best Time to Take Collagen Supplements?
There is no scientific basis that justifies taking collagen at any time of day. Some people swear by the morning on an empty stomach which allows them a great start to the day. That being said, just as many people swear by the evening, because it gives them restful sleep.
In other words, the best way is to try both and see what works for you!
Why choose BUCKED UP Collagen?
Our collagen is sourced from the highest quality bovines. Our cows are grass-fed ensuring that the product is all healthy and vegan. This collagen is rich in type 1 and type 3 collagen which are essential for bone, and skin health.* Our collagen is hydroxylated to the smallest most absorbable form ensuring maximum benefit on ingestion.*
As a bonus, our collagen is certified with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. Hyaluronic acid also works to produce more supple, smooth skin.* Vitamin C is great for the immune system and overall health.*
We offer a 30-day money back guarantee and free shipping for orders above $49.99!
Head on over to the site and stock up today!