Over the course of the last few years, a new supplement has quickly taken the health and wellness world by storm. Everyone from trainers and nutritionists, to celebrities and medical doctors, seems to be touting its benefits.
It’s called: Collagen
People everywhere are adding collagen to their coffees, their lattes, soups and smoothies in the quest for younger looking skin, stronger hair and improved muscle recovery.
Often labelled as a new wellness “trend” or “fad”, collagen has actually been utilised for hundreds of years. The benefits of hydrolysed collagen have been widely cited in traditional medicine around the world, including Chinese medicine, Jewish medicine and even by the ancient Egyptians, in the form of bone broth, to treat the common cold.
Mythbusting! Our blog slays plenty of myths and misnomers relating to collagen. Delve into this article and explore what form of collagen is best - powder, gummies, liquid or pills?
But What is Collagen?
Collagen, at its most basic level, is a protein. In fact, it’s the most common type of protein found in the human body. Our bodies produce collagen naturally using the amino acids proline, glycine, arginine, and hydroxyproline. It’s in our tendons and ligaments, in our skin and bones, muscles and blood vessels. It plays a major role in helping our bodies to maintain their essential functions. It holds all of our cells and tissues together. Without it, we’d literally fall apart!
If We Produce It, Why Do We Need It?
Natural collagen production peaks around age 20 so, as we age, our bones and muscles become weaker. "Your skin starts to sag and feel less elastic, you'll have more frequent joint pains, and you can lose muscle mass," says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition in New York City.
When food was less available, humans consumed every edible part of the animal – including tendons and cartilage and even boiling the bones in water for even more nutrition. The diet of our ancestors would have naturally been full of collagen rich foods such as wild meats and bone broth which would have helped to offset the lessening of collagen production.
Which is best, marine or bovine collagen? Find the answer, and enjoy plenty of other informative reads, in our blog.
Our modern, convenience-based diet is much lower in naturally occurring collagen. This lack of support has a knock-on effect to our body’s collagen production. Environmental factors like stress, UV rays, exposure to chemicals, smoke and processed foods all lead to lower collagen levels too.
What is the difference between Collagen and Hydrolysed Collagen?
In simple terms, hydrolysation is the process of breaking down the collagen proteins into smaller units. These smaller units are also known as collagen peptides. Both collagen and collagen peptides are made from the same amino acids, but the peptides are more easily accessible to the body. That means your body can use them more quickly and easily. They're more effective at helping to repair muscles, improve skin elasticity, and keep joints healthy. Both collagen and collage peptides offer the same benefits, but collagen peptides have the ability to work faster.
It is important to note that consuming hydrolysed collagen can help to ensure proper absorption, especially on people with an irritated digestive tract, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome or if you regularly experience digestive distress.
Read about the role of collagen in Zuleika's battle against arthritis.
The Benefits of Hydrolysed Collagen
Quick Acting: Because hydrolysed collagen is already broken down into basic amino acids, it’s extremely available to the body. It can be absorbed and utilised quickly without the need for extra internal effort.
Easy to Digest: Larger protein molecules, found in gelatine or traditional protein powders, are more challenging for the body to digest. They require more energy and more digestive enzymes before they can be utilised. Hydrolysed collagen peptides have already been broken down during the hydrolysis process to allow for easy digestion and absorption.
Tasteless + Odourless: When collagen is totally hydrolysed, it’s so versatile to use. It can dissolve in anything hot or cold, even water, with no taste or smell. This makes hydrolysed collagen peptides perfect for using in any of your favourite recipes.
May Improve Skin Health: Some studies have suggested that taking collagen peptides may improve skin in both texture and elasticity. As we age, our skin has access to less collagen as our natural production slows. Supplementing with collagen peptides helps to support both skin repair and regeneration, which can greatly affect issues associated with skin aging!
May Improve Hair Health: Our hair is made up of a protein known as keratin, which our bodies build from a combination of several amino acids. Collagen is rich in the amino acid, proline, a key component of keratin! Many users report seeing an improvement in hair growth and hair health. Collagen can also act as an antioxidant to help battle free radicals, which damage hair.
May Improve Nail Health: People who supplement with collagen peptides often report thicker, stronger nails that grow longer and are less likely to break.
May Improve Gut Health: If you struggle with digestive trouble such as IBS, leaky gut or SIBO, hydrolysed collagen could be helpful. With minimal digestive effort for absorption, collagen peptides are an excellent nutrient source for rebuilding the cells that line the interior of the gut.
May Improve Joint Health: Collagen peptides can aid in the maintenance of joint cartilage as we age. Based on growing research, collagen has been found to ease chronic joint pain in osteoarthritis and also overall joint pain.
May Improve Muscle Health: It’s common knowledge that our muscles need protein to repair and rebuild. Collagen peptides are the most bioavailable form of supplemental protein on the market. Studies show that consuming collagen can support muscle strength and may even promote the synthesis of muscles.
- May Aid in Weight Loss or Management: Collagen peptides are a form of dietary protein. Consuming sources of protein, as part of a balanced diet, may aid in feelings of satiety and fullness.
Did you know you can cook with collagen? Our blog shares some amazing recipes that champion this powerful protein, like these delectable collagen Greek yoghurt oat pancakes. Bon appetit!
Collagen, and hydrolysed collagen in particular, is an easy addition to your daily routine that can greatly improve many areas of your life and health. Try if for yourself by clicking here.