Greetings House of Buckle Faithful! I hope this blog entry finds you healthy and being extra vigilant in taking care of your body! Speaking of which, I am firm believer that the three pillars of good health are proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and good microbiome (gut) health. I believe if these three things are all in order, than generally we will be healthier and happier. Don't get me wrong, vitamins, minerals, herbs, and any other natural supplements are all great, but a supplement by definition is something that completes or enhances something else when added to it. With that, I wanted to take some time today to talk about a super popular supplement, collagen.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a hard fibrous protein that makes up one third of the protein found in the human body. It is found throughout the body but is especially found in bones, skin, and connective tissue.
The body makes its own collagen by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids. By eating a balanced diet of protein rich foods (various types of meat, nuts, legumes, grains, fresh product), you get the specific building blocks for collagen. I want to especially call out a diet high in fresh fruits/vegetables as these allow the added benefit of providing antioxidants, which protect the body from oxidative stress that can degrade collagen.
As we age, we naturally produce less collagen. This is seen in the declining structural integrity of the skin, wrinkles, and weakened joint cartilage. Additionally, poor diet (especially too much sugar), excess sun exposure, smoking and poor diet can also inhibit collagen production!
What does it do?
Collagen provides strength to your bones and gives skin structure and elasticity, among other things. Collagen molecules are packed together forming fibrils that anchor cells to one another. Collagen gives our skin the ability to be both strong and flexible. In the dermis, aka the middle layer of skin, collagen helps form fibroblasts (a fibrous network of cells). The fibroblasts play a role in replacing/restoring new skin cells. It also plays a role in replacing and restoring dead skin cells.
Types of collagen:
There are 28 types of collagen but there are only five we will highlight here:
- Type I: Promotes skin elasticity and skin health. Found in bone broth, bovine collagen supplements, eggshell membrane collagen.
- Type II: Builds cartilage; helps range of motion/flexibility. Found in chicken collagen.
- Type III: Promotes skin, major component of extracellular matrix that makes up skin and organs. Found in bovine collagen, eggshell membrane collagen.
- Type V: Helps form hair, cell surfaces, and placenta in pregnant women. Found in bovine collagen, eggshell membrane collagen.
- Type X: Aids cartilage formation, new bone formation and supports synovial joints and bone strength. Found in chicken collagen, eggshell membrane collagen.
Benefits of taking collagen:
As we have already said, our bodies produce collagen. But as we age that slows down and so turning to a collagen supplement is not a bad idea.
Some of the top benefits of taking a collagen supplement are:
- help skin/hair/nails health
- prevent bone loss
- help relieve joint pain
- boost muscle mass
Garden of Life and Vital Proteins are a couple companies I would suggest that make high quality collagen supplements.
I also want to stress again the necessity of eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of good sleep and watching your gut health. If any of these pillars are not in place, just taking a supplement will not yield the best results alone!
A word of caution:
Collagen supplements are generally considered safe for most people, but if you have food allergies and/or dietary restrictions (no pork, etc.) make sure and read the label carefully to understand where the collagen is sourced. Different collagen supplements come from different sources: bovine, pork, chicken, shell fish, eggshells, etc.
Well that's all for today, folks. Thank you for stopping by! I hope you are safe and smart and until next time, remember, that the best wealth is your health! Good day!