Collagen has become one of the fastest growing categories of functional foods and is viewed by many people as a fountain of youth. By now you've likely, at the very least, heard the word collagen or have seen collagen supplements stacked on shelves of health food stores, but do you know exactly what collagen is? Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and is a crucial component of your connective tissue. In simple terms, it's a major building block of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair and nails and it works like glue holding all of these things together. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies naturally start reducing collagen production and we start to see signs of this such as wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity and stiff joints. Rest assured help is on the way! We would like to share 4 health benefits of increasing collagen consumption whether through foods or supplements as directed by a health care practitioner.
Skin health is the most researched benefit of taking collagen. Collagen is a major component in strengthening skin and is what keeps our skin from sagging, giving us that plump, youthful look. When collagen levels are high, the skin is hydrated, soft, and smooth and firm. Hyaluronic acid is an important compound for collagen in the skin and can be found in foods high in amino acids such as beans, root vegetables and soy. Including these foods in your diet can easily help boost collagen levels.
Due to ageing and repetitive movement, that firm, rubbery material that covers the end of bones in joints, known as cartilage, starts to wear off and tendons and ligaments stretch, causing bones to rub against each other. This is as painful as it sounds and many of us with joint pain issues can relate. Boosting collagen intake through supplements or by diet has been shown to provide support and elasticity to connective tissues such as cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments. If sustaining an active lifestyle is a life long journey for you, then adding collagen to your diet may be just what you need. Speak to your health care practitioner to find a collagen routine that works for you.
Collagen and calcium are the two main substances in your bones. As we age our collagen levels drop naturally and this can impact your bone density. For bones to be strong and healthy, you need to maintain a healthy level of bone mineral density to prevent conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteopenia. Peptides found in collagen have been suggested to boost calcium absorption, improve bone mineral density and maintain bone strength. In fact, collagen may not only increase bone density but, prevent bone loss in the first place. Speak with a health care practitioner if you are interested in collagen supplements to inhibit bone breakdown.
Between 1-10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. Since collagen levels decrease as we age, many people suffer from age-related muscle mass loss. Collagen contains the amino acids arginine and glycine, which are important building blocks for creatine. Collagen is necessary to keep your muscles strong and functioning properly. If you find that your weight lifting routine includes multiple repetitions, boosting your collagen intake can benefit you in the long run and assist with experiencing less joint pain during exercise as well.