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Collagen. What's the Big Deal?

Updated: Feb 28

Okay let’s start at the beginning!

Collagen is a protein that is present in many tissues of the body, including skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone, and blood vessels. There are several different types of collagen, with types I, II, and III being the most abundant in our body.

Type I collagen is a fibrous protein and is the most abundant type of collagen in the body. It provides strength and support to our tissues, including bone, skin, tendons, and ligaments.

Type II collagen is a more flexible and elastic type of collagen that is found in cartilage, the tissue that lines the joints and provides a cushion between bones.

Type III collagen is a more loosely structured collagen particularly important in organs such as the liver and spleen, where it provides a supportive structure that allows the organs to function properly. In skin, it helps to maintain elasticity and suppleness.

Choosing a Collagen Supplement:

1.Based on the information above, first determine, why you wish to incorporate collagen into your diet and choose the type appropriately.

2.Select a collagen source that is bioavailable.

The bioavailability of a collagen supplement refers to the amount of the supplement that can be absorbed and utilised by the body. There are a few factors that can affect the bioavailability of collagen:

  • Molecular weight: The molecular weight of the collagen in the supplement can impact its bioavailability. Collagen peptides, which are smaller chains of amino acids, are typically more easily absorbed by the body than larger collagen molecules.

  • Processing: The processing methods used to create the collagen supplement can also affect its bioavailability. For example, hydrolysed collagen, which is broken down into smaller peptides through a process called hydrolysis, is often more bioavailable than non-hydrolysed collagen.

  • Source: In general, marine collagen is often considered to be more bioavailable than bovine or chicken collagen. This is because marine collagen has a smaller molecular weight and size compared to other forms of collagen, making it easier for the body to absorb and utilise. Additionally, marine collagen is also rich in Type I collagen, which is the most abundant type of collagen found in the human body

  • Overall, when selecting a collagen supplement, it is important to consider the factors that can impact its bioavailability, such as molecular weight, processing, and composition, and choose a product that is likely to be well-absorbed and utilised by the body.

Collagen for Vegans and Vegetarians

Collagen is a protein that is primarily found in animal-derived sources, such as bones, skin, and cartilage. As a result, it is not possible to obtain collagen directly from vegan or vegetarian sources. However, there are a few plant-based foods and supplements that can help support the body's natural collagen production:

  1. Vitamin C-rich foods: Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen in the body, so consuming foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and bell peppers, can help support collagen production.

  2. Plant-based protein sources: Consuming plant-based protein sources, such as beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, can also help support collagen production in the body.

  3. Collagen-boosting supplements: There are a few supplements on the market that are designed to support natural collagen production in the body, even in those who follow a vegan/vegetarian diet. These supplements may contain ingredients such as vitamin C, amino acids, and botanical extracts that can help support collagen synthesis.

The Benefits:

Our ability to produce collagen decreases by about 1% each year after the age of 20!

So, yes, consuming collagen-rich foods or supplements is particularly beneficial to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and let’s face it, we all want to look good for as long as possible too!

As you age, your body starts producing less collagen and you may see evidence of:

1. Loss of Natural Fullness

Cheeks become flatter while the under-eye area develops hollows. Unless you’ve lost a lot of weight recently, these are probably signs of collagen loss.

2. Joint Pain

As you start losing collagen, joints begin taking more wear and tear. Eventually, they may start hurting during everyday activities.

3. Sagging Skin

Since collagen powers skin elasticity, as it starts decreasing so does the firmness of your skin. You may notice the sagging effect on your jawline, cheeks, buttocks, and stomach.

4. Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Since the loss of collagen leads to the dehydration and thinning of the skin, wrinkles and fine lines begin to appear.

5. Lifeless Hair

Hair begins to thin and stops looking as healthy as it did before. You may also notice hair loss. As the amount of collagen starts decreasing, hair could begin to split and break.

6. Weight Gain

The decrease in collagen could slow your metabolism. As a result, you may start gaining weight even if you don’t change your eating habits.

7. Teeth Problems

Collagen plays a vital role in anchoring your teeth to gums. You may start having problems with your teeth, such as pain, sensitivity, and premature decay.

8. Weak Blood Vessel Walls

As the collagen levels decrease, so does the strength of the blood vessels walls. You may experience, dry eyes, headaches, breathing problems, skin rashes and more.

It’s worth noting that all the above symptoms may also signal other health conditions so do consult your trusted health practitioner.

How To Include Collagen in Your Diet:

  • Add a serve of powdered collagen to your regular smoothies. My favourite brands are: NutraOrganics Thankfully nourished and Nutraviva

  • Consume bone broth. Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones (such as beef, chicken, or fish) for an extended period of time. This allows the collagen and other nutrients to be released from the bones and into the broth. Drinking bone broth is a tasty way to include collagen in your diet as a nourishing drink or in soups, casseroles. You can make your own or purchase it, ready to use. My favourite brand is this one.

Stay young and healthy friends!

Lou 🌸🤗🌸

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