Today I want to share 10 reasons to take a collagen supplement! I’ve been taking collagen on and off for a little over a year now and have definitely noticed differences when I do take it versus when I don’t take it! Collagen is super important because it is the main component of our connective tissue and it basically holds us together! Collagen also contains 19 out of 20 essential amino acids which our bodies need for building protein and are essential for most of our bodily functions! Collagen is in our bones, muscles, tendons, and skin. After age 25, the collagen in our bodies slowly starts to diminish by around 1% per year, (Why does it have to be age 25? That’s so young! Haha) and we don’t get nearly enough in our diet these days which is why its so helpful to take it as a supplement!
Many years ago when most people raised their own animals or hunted their meat, people would use the entire animal, bones and all! Nothing ever went to waste so people consumed plenty of collagen. Nowadays people more commonly get their “broth” from a can or from a little cube of powder so we aren’t consuming much collagen! And of course I’m talking in general, as a society. I know there are still people who use actual bones to make broth. Bravo to those folks! Collagen is also in foods containing gelatin, but I don’t really want to eat jello and pudding and bone broth everyday so a collagen supplement is a great solution! 🙂
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I personally love Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate and have been buying this one for the past year or so. It is relatively tasteless and dissolves in any liquid! (Although I wouldn’t recommend putting it in water, it would definitely still have a flavor, but you don’t notice it in any flavored beverage!) The recommended dosage is 4 tablespoons a day, but I rarely take that much! I usually just pour 1-2 tablespoons in my coffee and drink that and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my skin and hair growth especially! Its hard to measure the other stuff, but I don’t doubt that it would be helpful for all 10 of these things! My hair definitely started growing faster which I noticed about a month of consistently taking it!
Collagen vs. Gelatin:
Gelatin and collagen hydrolysate are both great choices for adding collagen to your diet, but it can be confusing at first to know which is the best choice for you. The main difference between the two is that gelatin will make things gel. Its found in things jello or pudding, or gummy candy. Collagen hydrolysate is a more processed form of gelatin, which sounds bad but actually isn’t. Simply put, collagen hydrolysate has been “either heated to a high temperature or enzymatically treated to reduce the ‘Molecular weight’ which limits its ability to congeal.” (gel) (source) Sounds complicated, but in my understanding, they hydrolyze the gelatin which makes it easier to digest, and also makes it so that it will not gel up when mixed with a liquid. This is the best part for me since I usually add collagen to my coffee! (I don’t want to drink gelled coffee…that sounds disgusting.)
Curious to see what this will do for you? Here are 10 things collagen supplements will help with!
- Hair Growth- Our hair is made up of 91% protein (source)! And as I said above, our bodies need those essential amino acids to make protein, so taking a collagen supplement is excellent for hair growth! This is actually one of my main reasons for taking collagen. I love my long hair and have honestly noticed a difference in how fast my hair grows when I’m taking a collagen supplement versus when I slack off. For years my hair would grow to around my chest and just kinda stop around there and never get any longer. In the past year since I’ve started taking collagen regularly (and also quit shampoo and hair products), my hair has grown several inches past where it would normally stop! Collagen will also strengthen your hair.
- Skin Tightness/Elasticity- Many people will use face creams and lotions that contain collagen because they know collagen is supposed to help tighten your skin and reduce wrinkles. I hate to break it to you, but these creams are a complete waste of your money. Collagen is too large to be absorbed by our skin, so the only way to get more is by consuming it! Collagen is great for anti-aging, tightening your skin, preventing and reducing wrinkles, and even preventing stretch marks by promoting elasticity in your skin! If your skin has more elasticity it won’t leave behind those marks when stretched! This makes it great for women planning on having kids. (Fingers crossed for this one!) Here’s a scientific study backing up these claims.
- Cellulite- This kind of goes hand in hand with the above comment but I thought it deserved its own point. This is the other main reason I started consuming a collagen supplement. 90% of all women have cellulite. A main reason is due to the way our connective fibers are structured. Have you ever wondered why so many women have cellulite (even skinny/strong/fit women!) but men rarely have it? Its because our connective collagen bonds are structured differently. Its really fascinating actually! (And so unfair. Haha) Check out this article by my favorite fitness blogger Cassey! She describes this in much more detail and has diagrams to show you the differences in men’s and women’s skin. Its definitely worth reading. These collagen bonds start to break down as we age (especially women) so taking a supplement will help strengthen these collagen bonds and create firmer skin because there will be a stronger foundation there. There are lots of other natural ways of reducing and preventing cellulite (like using a homemade leg cream I wrote about!) so I’m planning another blog post about that, so stay tuned and subscribe if that interests you!
- Digestion- Collagen is great for gut health and has been known to help conditions such as leaky gut, IBS, and more. The collagen helps promote the production of stomach acid, making your food easier to digest. It also helps pull the acid from the stomach walls and in towards the food to speed up digestion. It also decreases gas and bloating! (source)
- Metabolism- “Collagen helps regulate the body’s metabolism by providing pure protein of low molecular weight that is quickly absorbed in the digestive tract.” <—That quote came directly off of my can of Great Lakes Gelatin collagen powder! Consuming amino acids in the form of collagen also helps improve thyroid health which directly affects our metabolism. Who wouldn’t want a more effective metabolism?! I’ve been blessed with a relatively fast metabolism but I have noticed as I’ve gotten older that it is gradually slowing down because its a bit easier for me to gain weight now than it was when I was much younger. I’m sure it will continue to slow down as I age.. Luckily there are a number of foods that give your metabolism a boost, and this one doesn’t take much effort to add to your diet at all!
- Joint Pain/Arthritis- Collagen is a great remedy for people suffering from arthritis or joint pain. Just like collagen promotes elasticity in your skin, it also does so in your joints, making them less stiff. It can also reduce inflammation which can be another source of joint pain. There have been several studies that prove collagen to be a great remedy for joint pain, so if this is you, give it a shot! If its not you, it’ll still help in preventing it from happening if you consistently take it!
- Faster Healing- Do you scar or bruise easily? Do your wounds take forever to heal up? Adding collagen to your diet will help speed up the healing process by providing your body with the building blocks it needs to heal itself!
- Hormone Balancing- When we consume muscle meat only, we’re only consuming some of the essential amino acids, meaning what we’re getting is off balance. Having a good balance of these essential amino acids is important for hormone production as well as metabolism which I touched on above. When we consume collagen we’re filling in the missing amino acids to achieve a more balanced diet which is overall great for hormones! Read more about this here if you’re curious!
- Better Sleep & Less Stress- Collagen is very high in the amino acid “glycine” which helps promote natural sleep and decrease feelings of stress. Many people recommend taking collagen or gelatin right before bed because of these benefits in falling asleep faster. I haven’t tried taking this before bed yet though because I usually add it to my coffee which naturally wakes me up. Haha! I imagine it would be a great addition to some nighttime lavender tea to help you fall asleep though! I will try it next time I’m having trouble falling asleep! Which is pretty rare for me actually…I usually have no problem falling asleep. Haha!
- Great Source of Protein- Collagen is pure protein so its great to take it after a workout and gives you lots of other benefits that traditional protein powders don’t. One serving of collagen hydrolysate has 11 grams of protein. Not bad! Especially if you add it to something that already contains protein. I’ve occasionally made myself a protein chocolate milk or protein latte. (Sounds weird I know..) 🙂 Milk is a great source of protein so making a yummy milk based beverage and adding the collagen is a great post workout drink and doesn’t taste nasty like some protein powders.
As you can see, collagen is AMAZING and will benefit your body and health in so many different ways! I hope that didn’t get TOO scientific.. I try to learn and make sense of things in a way that would allow me to explain them easily so hopefully I succeeded a little bit. I like to know whyyy something will help me and not just count on someone’s word or a random blog that says so. 🙂 Check out my sources for more in depth info on how amino acids and everything works together in your body!