Collagen + Your Health
As with most trendy nutritional products, there is always conflicting information about its health benefits. Collagen is one of them. You may have seen it on the shelves of a natural grocery store in powder, gel capsule or bone broth form. Whichever way it is delivered, it has immense health benefits when consumed the right way.
Because I am a health coach, I always want to fully understand how health products actually effect the body with proven research. I thought it would be interesting to break down this topic so you better understand why collagen can benefit your health.
If you studied anatomy, you may know collagen as the building block of your joints and bones. If not, you may have seen it as an ingredient in your mom’s face cream on the bathroom shelf. By scientific definition, “collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body found in your joints, muscles, skin, and tendons.” It is a natural matrix of amino acids that your body creates to keep your systems functioning optimally.
Naturally, your body’s collagen production starts to decline at the age of 30 and is exacerbated with exposure to toxins, UV rays, and poor dietary choices. The fibrous matrix of collagen cells beneath the outer layer of skin are what start to degenerate and develop wrinkles. An abundance of collagen gives skin and connective muscular tissue elasticity and lubraction.
Collagen + Digestive System.
As I mentioned before, collagen is a protein made up of amino acids, predominantly glutamine, glycine, proline and arginine. Our digestive tracts are made up of amino acids as well. Ingesting collagen can heal the digestive tract and stimulate stomach acid to improve the breakdown of food (aka less bloating). This will help assimilate more nutrients from your food. More nutrients, less digestive issues. Collagen also helps repair leaky gut and inflamed digestive systems as well.
“Science confirms that when cooked foods are eaten with gelatin they are much more easily digested and assimilated. Gelatin/Collagen contains the gut healing amino acid glutamine which is a fuel for our intestinal walls. It is interesting to note that breast milk contains naturally high levels of glutamine and is of course so soothing to the digestive tract.”
Do YOU need to supplement with collagen?
My health coaching philosophy is this: if you are experiencing joint aches and pains, digestive issues or actually any issue at all (because all disease begins in the gut), supplementing with collagen can benefit you. Certain diseases like osteoarthritis, arthritis, muscle soreness or if you are recovering from surgery or an injury are red flags that supplementing wtih collagen is necessary as well.
I always try to get my nutrients from food. The body digests and assimilates nutrients best in their natural form. Bone broth is very rich in collagen when simmered. This would be my number one recommendation of ingestion. Studies show that 5-10g of collagen can improve your health.
Collagen, my story.
I became interested in collagen as I started to study the health benefits of bone broth. Collagen which when broken down through simmering becomes gelatin, is one of the most prominent nutrients in bone broth. If you have made bone broth before it is the part that gels within the broth after cooling in the fridge. Unfortunately, there are few scientific research studies to prove the health benefits of broth and its collagen content. Although this traditional food has been used in most cultures around the world, including the healthiest known, the research on this health “supplement” is slim. Bone broth has improved my digestion and gut immensely and I believe whole heartedly in its medicinal properties.
This is a simple way to reap the benefits of collagen and love your gut.