Collagen has been receiving quite the buzz in the health and wellness world over the past year. But is it worth the hype?
What it Is and What is Does
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in our muscles, bones, skins, blood vessels and digestive system. When it comes to skin health, it is responsible for giving our skin strength and elasticity, as well as aid in cell turnover. As we age, collagen levels in our bodies naturally begin to deplete. This is why we begin to see those oh-so lovely aging signs like fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, and aching joints.
Collagen and Skin Health
Collagen is sometimes marketed as an ingredient in skincare products to help boost levels and repair skin. Applying it topically is really of no use, though, as the molecules are too big to be absorbed into the skin’s lower layers. (Because the skincare market is virtually unregulated and companies can essentially say whatever they want, it can still be touted as a claim – a whole other topic for another day!)
Supplementing your diet with collagen has proven beneficial for hair, joint and bone health, the gut, and hormone balance. When it comes to your skin, the results of incorporating into your diet are positive. A recent study investigated the anti-aging properties of collagen and and found that taking 2.5-5 grams daily for 8 weeks resulted in significantly improved skin elasticity, skin moisture, and skin roughness. (1)
Incorporating in Your Diet
There are two primary and popular ways to increase the amount of collagen in your diet: collagen hydrolysate (AKA peptides) and bone broth.
Collagen peptides resemble protein powder, but it is odorless and flavorless, which makes it extremely versatile. Like anything, quality is important and it’s best for the collagen to come from grass-fed or pasture raised animals. Two great brands are Vital Protein and Great Lakes.
Bone broth is made by taking the bones of high quality, grass fed beef or pasture raised chicken and slow cooking them with water and spices. The nutritional qualities of the bones are leached into the water to become the broth. Not only is bone broth a great source of collagen, but it also provides calcium, magnesium phosphorous and other essential trace minerals. It Is simple to make your own broth, or a great brand to try is Bonefide Provisions.
I personally have been using peptides on and off for about one year now. Although I can’t say that I see a dramatic change in my skin or health, I do think that when I am incorporating the protein daily into my diet, it makes my skin a bit more glow-y.
I also sometimes struggle with getting adequate amounts of protein in my diet, so I love that I can throw a scoop or two into almost anything to get an extra protein boost. One serving contains 20 grams of protein.
Like anything else, collagen is not a magic bullet answer to fix everything, but it certainly has earned its place with me as a good supplement to include as often as I can. Try and see how they work for you!