WTF is Collagen?!
A beauty buzzword now backed by thorough research for real results.
Often you read a list of benefits from a superfood or the latest Wellness trend and think “yeah right”. In the case of Collagen, you could be forgiven for doing this, especially due to the high exposure of beauty advertisements preaching collagen-packed creams and injections that we've been bombarded with for years.
Yet now, dietary collagen supplements are gaining extreme popularity in the health and wellness industry and the benefit list appears long, covering our most lusted attributes. Luckily, thanks to an abundance of research, these benefits are evidence based and backed for your knowledge and nutritional needs!
Define it for me
Collagen: Derived from the Greek word “kolla”meaning glue, Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, made up of four amino-acids [glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine] which are in turn built of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
How it works
Collagen occurs all throughout our body, making up around 1/3 of the body's protein and can be described as the foundational “glue” of our skin, bones and connective tissues. It is a hard, insoluble and fibrous protein that helps to give our structures strength and elasticity.
We are all born with plentiful amounts of collagen, however as we age the body produces less collagen, which is when we sadly see the structural integrity of our skin decline, as wrinkles may begin to form and joint cartilage becomes weaker. However it is not only the natural ageing process which inhibits our collagen production, exposure to UV lights, smoking, high sugar consumption and even certain auto-immune disorders can also play a role in the deficit of collagen stores. For many women, they also experience a dramatic reduction in collagen production after menopause.
The two types of dietary collagen
As collagen products become more mainstream there are two types emerging in the dietary market – Collagen Peptides and Gelatin.
These two products are fundamentally the same in their make up and amino acids profiles, but differ in their chemical structure.
Collagen Peptides, or Collagen Hydrolysate, has a light molecular structure, and is cold and hot water soluble. It dissolves easily and is quicker to digest.
Collagen Protein, or Gelatin, is literally a “gel” and has a heavier moleculer structure, making it a binding product whilst being less soluble in cold liquids and taking longer to digest.
Unlike cosmetic lotions or creams that claim to increase collagen levels, but are actually unlikely to do so as the molecules are too large to be absorbed through the dermal layer of the skin – ingesting collagen has proven benefits.
So what can collagen do for you?
Promotes healthy hair, skin and nails.
Those cosmetic surgeons weren’t wrong – collagen is needed for great skin and plump, fresh faces, however the less invasive way of topping up your collagen stores has benefical effects. As the protein responsible for supporting skin elasticity, stronger hair and nails, this foundational block can significantly improve the quality and visual effect of the skin, reduce dryness, sustain healthy growth and has virtually zero side effects.
Supports Bone and Joint Health
Due to its gel like consistency and ability to support and replenish the ligaments and tendons surrounding joints, ingesting collagen can improve joint health. Aiding the level of lubrication, the joints are able to move with more ease and studies are proving that the intake of collagen can help to reduce ageing associated pain and inflammation levels, whilst lowering the risk of joint deterioration. Additional research has also shown that these compounds have benefited those suffering from osteoarthritis, joint pain and muscle soreness.
Help digestion and heals the gut
The smooth tissue of the digestive track is susceptible to damage and sometimes individuals who are battling inflammatory bowel diseases can become collagen deficient. Through the intake of collagen, gastrointestinal symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, IBS and acid reflux can become more manageable, whilst gelatin products can help heal the lining of the gut and prevent further damage.
Slow signs of ageing and contribute to weight management.
Glycine, one of the four amino acids in collagen, can assist in maintaining a healthy body as it assists the digestive and central nervous system, whilst also slowing down the effects of ageing. This amino acid helps to replenish healthy DNA and RNA cells, as well as improving how the body uses antioxidants to cope with oxidative stress.
Promotes enhanced sleep quality
You may also find a higher quality of sleep levels when taking Collagen supplements as Glycine has been shown to aid in reducing drowsiness during the day and improving memory recognition performance, whilst assisting with a deeper quality of sleep at night.
How to take it
As it dissolves easily in liquid, Collagen Peptides are great to mix into hot or cold beverages. If you're constantly on the go, it makes a great addition to smoothies, juices or even mixed with water. For an extra burst of energy, try mixing it into your bulletproof recipe to make a delicious creamy collagen coffee!
Due to its binding nature, Gelatin is an excellent addition to your culinary inventions in the kitchen. It is perfect to add to cakes, marshmellows, gummies or fruit snacks, but equally can be used as a thickener for sauces, gravy's, soups or stews!
Where to get it?
After trialling Collagen Peptides for a while now, we have settled on two firm favourites as our trusted sources for getting our daily Collagen fix. Both brands have reputable sources, are bioavailable and are gluten free, paleo, dairy free, with no sugar added!
US based Vital Proteins Unflavoured Collagen Peptides are sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides and are a natural, high quality and sustainable source of collagen.
Get it here: iHerb
Use code ROS0692 on iHerb for an exclusive 5% discount on your order!
Australian based Nutra Organics Beauty Collagen is a specially crafted blend with added vitamin C, zinc and silica to increase collagen absorption and effectiveness.