Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body.
It’s concentrated in your bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. It’s what gives your skin its elasticity, strength to your hair and nails, and connective tissue, its ability to hold everything in place. Collagen is like the “glue” that keeps our parts held together. In fact, the word comes from the Greek word “kolla,” which means glue.
Like all proteins, collagen is made of amino acids—glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline being the primary ones.
In recent years, collagen has gained popularity as a nutritional supplement due to its numerous health benefits. Collagen in the body degrades with age, leaving us vulnerable to achy joints, sore muscles, and wrinkled skin. Therefore, taking a high-quality collagen supplement might be helpful.
Hydrolyzed Collagen powder vs. Gelatin powder
You are probably wondering what the difference between collagen and gelatin is?
Gelatin is basically cooked collagen. It’s made when you slowly cook the skin, bone, tendons, and ligaments of animals for an extended period. The resulting product is a gel-like substance, which is then dry to make gelatin powder. In the food industry, gelatin powder is used to make desserts, such as ‘jello’ and puddings, because it forms a gel when mixed with hot liquid and then set up jiggly (like jello) when chilled.
Gelatin is further treated with enzymes to break the bonds between the amino acids, and the resulting product is hydrolyzed collagen powder, also known as hydrolyzed collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysate, thus leaving the amino acids intact. Because the amino acids are further broken down, some people find collagen hydrolysate easier to digest. Collagen hydrolysate doesn’t thicken when added to hot or cold liquid, making it convenient to add to your smoothies, soup, juice, tea, coffee, and other liquid. You can also add collagen to your baked goods.
Six ways collagen might benefit your health
- Ease joints pain and supports bone health
collagen acts as a cushion that prevents friction between the connecting bones. Therefore, it facilitates joint mobility and reduces arthritis pain and joint pain experienced by athletes. Our bones are made primarily of collagen and calcium. Therefore, a decrease in any of these can drastically affect the strength of your bones. Also, bone density decreases as you age, especially after menopause, due to the natural decrease of estrogen and progesterone. Which then increases the chance of having osteoporosis. Women in perimenopause and menopause can really benefit from taking collagen supplements to strengthen their bones and reduce their risk of osteoporosis.
2. Promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails
Collagen production naturally declines with age, thus promoting wrinkles, weak hair, and nails. Collagen gives your skin elasticity and strength. It helps your skin cells renew and repair, thus promoting wound healing. People prone to bedsores, such as the elderly in nursing homes, may benefit from collagen to prevent bedsores and supports recovery.
3. Supports cardiovascular health
Collagen supports cardiovascular health by strengthening blood vessels and improving their elasticity, so the blood can flow more smoothly throughout the body.
4. Improves liver function
Collagen improves liver function due to glycine, an amino acid that minimizes damage to the liver caused by toxins or alcohol.
5. Supports gut health
Collagen helps heal leaky gut and relieve the discomfort associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal disorders.
6. Boosts muscle mass
Studies show that taking collagen supplements along with resistance training may help increase muscle mass. In one study, men who took 15 grams while participating in an exercise program daily for 12 weeks gained more muscle mass.
Which type of collagen to choose?
There are many types of collagen, but 80 – 90 percent of the collagen in the body consists of types I, II, and III. With all the different types of collagen on the market, it is hard to know which kind is right for you. Your choice should be based on the health benefit you are looking for.
Let’s take a quick look at the three main types:
It is the most abundant type in the body. It’s key to beautiful skin, hair, nails, and teeth; and supports strong bones.
This type is found in cartilage, the connective tissue that links your bones and helps provide the structure for your body.
This type is crucial for gut health, considering it’s abundant in your intestines. It’s also a key component of your muscles and blood vessels. Type III collagen forms the outermost layer of articular cartilage, which covers the ends of your bones and protects your joints. Therefore, it’s vital for joints health and may help relieve joints pain.
For maximum benefit, it’s good to select a collagen supplement with a combination of different types.
To help you experience these health benefits of collagen, I have put together a blend of type I and Type III collagen, considering those two types are the most abundant and will give you all the benefits mentioned above. My hydrolyzed collagen supplement powder comes from Grass-fed cows raised without hormones and antibiotics. Also, collagen synthesis in the body requires vitamin C. That’s why I have added some acerola cherry powder to my collagen supplement for natural vitamin C and antioxidant benefits. You can buy my Grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen powder here
How much collagen can you take daily?
In many studies, people took between 2.5-15 grams of collagen safely. Some people often take more than that, without any side effects. I think it all depends on the expected benefits. For gut health, I often encourage my clients to take two tablespoons daily, or at least 10 grams. For beautiful skin, hair and nail, I suggest at least 5 grams a day. To boost muscle mass, my suggestion is at least three to four tablespoons daily. The best way to find out which dose is correct for you is by experiencing different amounts for a few weeks, then you can decide to decrease or increase your quantity.
Collagen plays many critical roles in the body. You can get collagen by eating the skin, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage of animals; or consuming bone broth. Unfortunately, in our western diet, these parts of the animal are often discarded. Therefore, taking a high-quality hydrolyzed collagen supplement might be helpful, especially if you struggle with joints pain, digestive issues or want to enhance the beauty of your skin, hair, and nails.