Hi Everyone! At our most recent nutrition workshop, we took a closer look at some of the potential benefits of consuming collagen supplements. Many people think of collagen for their skin (and they are not wrong), but the benefits go deeper than that. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is extremely balanced in terms of amino acids and is not regularly consumed in the modern America diet where lean muscle meats have replaced organ and ‘bone-on’ meats in the day-to-day diet.
Collagen is important to maintain the structure & function of almost every part of the body. Our bones, ligaments, tendons, skin and gastrointestinal tract greatly depend on the consumption of collagen rich foods. Collagen nourishes the connective tissue which improves not only skin health but the joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, fascia and tendons of the body, helping to improve mobility, elasticity and strength.
In terms of skin health, collagen quickens healing and slows down skin aging & wrinkling. 70-80% of the protein in the skin is collagen and consuming more will improve the strength and flexibility of the tissue matrix.
Below are the three most common types of collagen and some of their benefits
One of the main reasons that collagen is so healthy is that it is the source of some important amino acids that are not always easy to come by in the standard American diet. One of those Proline which make up 50% of total amino acids found in collagen. It helps regenerate cartilage, form connective tissue, promote skin health and support joint health. It also supports the lining of the cardiovascular system. The other amino acid is Glycine which is important for supporting gut health, restful sleep, healthy blood sugar levels, tendon & joint health. It makes up 20-30% of the amino acids in collagen and stimulates the body’s production of glutathione, known as the master antioxidant.
One of the main teachings in my nutrition workshop, is that supplements are great for filling in the nutritional blanks if needed, but really we should look at food first. That is why the class is called, Food As Medicine! Below is a chart with the best food sources of collagen as well as collagen boosting foods (foods that help you absorb, breakdown and assimilate the collagen you ingest)
I hope that this information is inspiring and helpful for you and please share with anyone else you know who may benefit. I want to give a shout out to Dr. Axe who is a wealth of information on this topic and has inspired much of my learning about wellness and nutrition. If you are interested in collagen supplements, his are excellent! Also if you are inspired to learn more about collagen/bone broth and their benefits for the digestive system, his book Eat Dirt is a favorite of ours!
This is the perfect time of year to try and make bone broth. There are so many recipes online that I will leave the search to you, but it truly is the best source of collagen and many other important minerals! I highly recommend giving it a try.
Melissa is a self described 'nerd' about all topics relating to health and wellness. She is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and co-owner of Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing.