What's the deal with collagen?
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Almost everyone of you has heard that collagen is great for your skin, right? Collagen is a protein found in more than just your skin.
You can also find it in:
and other connective tissues!
As you can see, collagen is a very important building block in your whole body!
Glowing really does come from the inside, and by supporting your natural glow, you also give your gut and other parts of your body a boost.
What's not to like!?
Things to know about collagen.
As you age, collagen levels tend to drop. This is what can cause wrinkles or leave your skin look like parchment paper.
As you've just seen collagen is everywhere in your body, it can also cause other issues such as:
stiffness in your joints and a reduction in flexibility
loss of strength and/or shrinking of your muscles
digestive issues this 'odd' side effect is due to the thinning of your gut, which happens when you have less of the building blocks (collagen) to use.
Apart from time, other factors can also speed up the decline of your collagen levels:
UV damage. This damages the cells that regulate collagen, and it produces free radicals
Smoking. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your cells, which slows down healing
A diet low in protein. As collagen is a protein, diets low in protein don't give you the needed amounts.
Pro-inflammatory foods (especially sugar). These foods activate the immune system and slow down cell healing.
There's more... Stress also has a big influence on your collagen levels. Surprise surprise! All you have to do is look at any American president before and after the 4 years they've been in office... Apart from promoting inflammation, stress releases specific acids in your body. This goes back to when we were cavemen, and our fight or flight response meant we were in danger, most likely to be eaten by a tiger. The higher acid levels in our system would make us less palatable for the predator. So, if something like stress does all that damage to your skin and make you look 'worn out', imagine what it does to the inside of your body!
How collagen supports your gut.
You might wonder by now, why I'm so passionate about collagen for gut health, here's how collagen supports your gut.
Supports digestion: collagen is hydrophilic, meaning it binds to water and acids when ingested, creating the right environment to break down your meal.
Repair of the gut lining: your body uses protein synthesis to repair and rebuild new gut wall cells, especially during cell renewal.
Protects from leaky gut: collagen has the amino acids glutamine, which can help with providing a protective layer in the gut.
Balances stomach acid: This helps regulate digestion. It prevents overproduction of stomach acid, reducing the risk of stomach ulcers, heartburn. The amino acid glycine indirectly balances the nervous system (especially in times of stress)
How to get more collagen into your body?
Food sources of collagen: As I'm a food-first kind of gal, I love eating lots of chicken bone broth! But any kind of bone broth will do. Just make sure you have vitamin C rich foods with it. Such as peppers, carrots, or leeks.
Other sources of collagen are: meat, fish, eggs & dairy.
If you're vegan, (and if you generally want to boost collagen production) focus on antioxidant rich foods. So eat the rainbow!
Supplementation: If you choose to use a collagen supplement, always go for an organic grass fed source. And opt for one that has Vitamin C added to it. This supports the absorption. Choose for hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides, this is also better absorbed.
There are lots of ways to use collagen. Mix into your coffee, soups, smoothies or stews. Or use in baking, such as in my tahini cookies.