Want to take your collagen to the next level? We've got you!
Most people by now have heard of the importance of supplementing collagen, especially us women in our 40's and above, but what does it actually do for us? As we age, our body loses strength, our skin loses elasticity, and our hair changes drastically, moving from soft to wiry, thick to thin, and colorful to gray. This is all normal! Some people may run out for botox at the sight of the first wrinkle, or a box of hair dye after seeing their first gray hair, but others may want to take a more natural approach. So this is the first thing we will discuss about collagen since it's so apparent in today’s society. But there are MANY reasons to take collagen; as an athlete for muscle recovery, a person in their 20’s-30’s struggling with gut issues, and also for general prevention for things like eyesight and joints. All that to say, this supplement is not just for women in their 40’s!!
Tons of new books are coming out on the importance of collagen from “Collagen is Life” to “The Collagen Cure” , and study after study proving the benefits of collagen use.
A sample, of one of the hundreds of studies, on PubMed can be read below.
"In the meta-analysis, a grouped analysis of studies showed favorable results of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation compared with placebo in terms of skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles. The findings of improved hydration and elasticity were also confirmed in the subgroup meta-analysis. Based on results, ingestion of hydrolyzed collagen for 90 days is effective in reducing skin aging, as it reduces wrinkles and improves skin elasticity and hydration."
Collagen contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body, including 8 of the 9 essential amino acids, collagen does not contain tryptophan, making it an incomplete protein. It creates some tough polypeptide chains that protect and create structure for us though. And fun fact, gram for gram type 1 collagen (the kind that is 90% of the collagen in our bodies) is stronger than steel. That collagen is made from ingesting protein or supplementing.
What kind of collagen should we be taking and HOW should we be taking it?
There are many kinds of collagen on the market, most coming from an animal source like bovine, porcine, or marine. The kind you choose is up to you and your dietary needs and restrictions. You may also notice a taste difference and choose based on what is the most palatable for you. I find most of my clients are more apt to choose a marine based collagen and this is what we chose to use in our Radical Beauty adaptogenic wellness shot.
As far as how to take it, I take an ayurvedic approach being that that is my wheelhouse of knowledge and background. This means keeping it as close as possible to the actual food itself. Choosing Hydrolyzed, meaning it becomes over 90% easily absorbed by the body, and then preparing it with a healthy organic food base. Watermelon juice seemed the perfect choice for us, with its hydration properties and taste, it’s a great vehicle to deliver collagen.
Skin, Hair and Nails: In skin, collagen reduces wrinkles, increases hydration and elasticity, decreases cellulite and helps provide a healthy glow. (We talk about ayurvedic skincare over here on this blog)
Collagen naturally thickens hair, prevents or reverses grays and encourages new hair growth by providing the amino acids; proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline.
Studies have shown that collagen boosts fingernail growth and strength, preventing chipping while promoting better growth. The reason this is all interesting from an Ayurvedic prospective is that collagen works to protect bone tissue (Asthi Dhatu) and the waste products of that tissue are hair and nails; meaning that if the bone tissue is healthy enough to pass on nutrients to the hair and and nails, the hair and nails will be strong also.
Muscle recovery: Collagen is what makes up connective tissue, so things like tendons are built on collagen. Taking collagen within an hour after your workout can help aid in the recovery process and build muscle mass.
Joint and bone health: Supplementing collagen can help prevent injury. By strengthening the tissues and increasing joint mobility. If you’re an active person, you’ll keep your machine well oiled and collagen helps tremendously.
Gut health: Collagen for gut health? Heck Yeah! Collagen soothes the gut lining. The amino acids found in collagen repair and strengthen the digestive tract. Better digestion and less bloating? Yes please! And I don’t need to remind you that all disease starts in the gut, do I? Protecting our gut is more important than people tend to give it credit for.
Healing after surgery or trauma: If you’ve recently had a surgery or some kind of accident, collagen can help in the recovery process. Sewing and knitting you back into health a stitch at a time.
Why do we mix collagen with adaptogens?
Stress breaks down collagen in the body, making our cells age and depleting our vitamin storage. We’re no fans of stress around here, well not the kind that makes us look and feel old anyway! Adaptogens are known to help us mitigate stress, so carefully and curatively, we put them in everything, including our collagen! This is an important aspect in maintaining collagen levels. Lowering stress, or at least the bodies response to it is imperative to the conversation of collagen production.
Adaptogens help with oxidative stress, like from sun exposure and toxins ingested, making them the perfect pair with collagen for things like skin rejuvenation and ridding the body of toxins.
Adaptogens help us sleep by realigning our bio rhythms and their neuroprotective properties. This gives our bodies a good opportunity for cellular repair and growth, enhancing a glow from the skin and reducing dark circles and fine lines in and around the eyes. Speaking of eyes, both collagen and adaptogens help with eyesight, making aging easier as well.
Adaptogens contain vitamins and minerals that help us assimilate collagen in a useful way. Think vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc, etc. Goji berry alone contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc, everything needed to make good use of that collagen supplement. Simply putting a scoop of collagen in your coffee may not have the same benefits as coupling it with foods (and superfoods) that increase the assimilation or, as the trend states, absorption rate. Our body recognizes it as food and breaks it down as such, making it incredibly bioavailable. The goal here is not just to supplement collagen, but to also help our body make more of its own by providing the necessary building blocks.
A healthy diet, supplementation and lifestyle can all benefit your beauty regimen. Gone are the days of topical face creams, it's time to glow from the inside out.
In good health,