23 Jan Benefits of Collagen for Workouts, Wellness & Beauty
Benefits of Collagen
The wellness world can’t stop raving about the benefits of collagen. It’s good for your hair, nails, skin, gut and even has shown to improve workouts. While its gut healing and beauty-boosting reasons are great, what exactly is it and is it right for you?
For starters, collagen makes up 30% of the proteins in our bodies. It’s a gelatinous substance and long chain amino acid that’s found in our connective tissues, bones, skin, ligaments and tendons. It’s also found in fish skins, animal bones, fish scales and animal hides.
It’s the most abundant protein in our body and allows you to better move, bend, and stretch. You can thank collagen for helping you master that head to knee pose in yoga class. It’s a protein that’s made of extremely high levels of amino- acids like glycine, hydroxyproline, proline and arginine and functions as a complete protein.
75% of our skin is made of collagen and from the age of 20 we lose 1.5% a year. Aside from slowing down with age, it slows down through lifestyles that have high stress, poor diet and gut health imbalances. If you need one more reason to put your sunscreen on, avoid pollutants and put down that cigarette, let it be this one. The best ways to hold on to your body’s collagen and slow your aging process is to get enough sleep, avoid too much sugar, and limit alcohol as much as possible.
Another claim to fame is its ability to restore your gut health. Often claimed the “second brain”, your gut aids the absorption of nutrients while stimulating a healthy digestive process. Collagen helps heal damaged cell walls and infuses them with amino acids. It helps form connective tissue to “seal and heal” the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract. If you’ve ever been told you have ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, collagen can help you get on the right track.
Types of Collagen
Buzzwords around collagen include partially hydrolyzed and hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed means the strands of collagen have been broken up into smaller pieces, making them easier for your body and cells to use. Partially hydrolyzed collagen is found in gelatin in foods like Jell-O, gummy bears, marshmallows and Poptarts. Your body can’t easily use this form of collagen to get great benefits (so you have no excuse for these sugary foods)! However, there are certain foods that contain the types of collagen your body will benefit from. Bone broth is one of the most popular because you’re eating cooked collagen. Plus, on a cold winter night it’s not the worst thing to have around.
If you decide to supplement further, it’s important to note the three different kinds of collagen. Type 1 and 3 are known to help your hair, skin, nails and bones. This one is ideal for people who’d like to thicken fine hair and slow hair loss, correct weak and damaged nail beds and improve circulation.
Type 2 is best for joint and cartilage support and is known to improve popping knees and support the back, jaw and the joints. It contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.
Vegans! Make sure you thoroughly read the label before you throw a collagen supplement into your cart. Although most of these supplements look vegan-friendly, 99.9% of the collagen products on the market are made from animal products. Stay away from ingredients like “Bovine”, “Grass-Fed Hydrolyzed Collagen” and “Collagen Hydrolysate”. If you are looking for a vegan-friendly collagen product search for a “Collagen Builder” or get vegan collagen from natural sources, i.e. chia seeds, tomatoes, garlic, avocado and berries.
How To Take It
Collagen powder is a favorite since it’s tasteless, textureless and easily dissolves in anything you’re drinking or eating. Some collagen powders are created to work in hot liquids, some cold and some dissolve well in either. Typically people use it in coffee, tea, smoothies, soups and baked goods. A wellness guru’s go-to is adding it to protein balls or a warm turmeric latte.
When deciding on a collagen brand, do your research and always make sure it’s high quality. There’s so many great brands on the market and they even offer to go packets so you can take them with you when traveling or on the go. Typically as with most supplements, you want to give it two months to see benefits and decide if it’s working for you.