From bone broth to protein bars, collagen is quickly becoming a popular supplemental nutrient for many consumers. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in the body; there are at least 16 different types, helping to make up the structure of skin, bone, cartilage and muscle. While collagen is most renowned for preventing wrinkles, the nutritional benefits of collagen are many.
How do you know if you need collagen?
It’s quite common for the body to produce less collagen with the natural aging process. Yet age isn’t the only antagonist of collagen production. Stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and gut imbalance can all contribute to an inability to produce this nutrient. Additionally, environmental factors such as pollution and overexposure to sun can play a role in depletion. Decreased absorption or deficiency in certain vitamins such as vitamin C can also lead to collagen deficit.
How does it help?
Collagen is a fantastic gut-healing, immune supportive and anti-inflammatory agent. It protects gut from harmful bacteria, can soothe and prevent ulcers and helps to decrease inflammation in the gut.
Studies have found that women who take collagen supplements saw a significant decrease in wrinkles and improved skin elasticity. Additionally, collagen has shown promising benefits in reducing sun spots and the promotion of wound healing when taken regularly.
Collagen has also been shown to promote healthy cartilage and reduce pain in osteoarthritis patients. Athletes who put a lot of pressure and strain on their ligaments, muscles, and bones can experience a reduced risk of joint deterioration with optimal collagen levels.
Glycine also plays a crucial part in the function of your brain. Research has shown that glycine has been associated with alleviated insomnia and more mental acuteness during the day. Taking collagen not only helps your ability to fall asleep, but it can also improve memory.
How can you build your collagen stores?
One of the most popular ways to increase collagen stores is bone broth. Beyond bone broth, collagen is available as a tasteless powder or in capsule form. Look for grass-fed, pesticide-free, hormone-free, non-GMO collagen. Vitamin C rich foods include tomatoes, citrus fruits, kiwis, papayas, bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale cauliflower and other leafy greens.
Start the Healing
Try mixing a collagen powder into your morning coffee, smoothie, or favorite bedtime tea!
Submitted by Kaley Burns, ND
Graduate of National University of Health Sciences (IL)
Vis medicatrix naturae, or healing power of nature, is one of six foundational principles of naturopathic medicine. Voice of the Vis Blog provides a platform for integrative health professionals to speak on the healing power of nature, and on other relevant topics of interest.
Contributions to Voice of the Vis Blog are courtesy of naturopathic doctors and naturopathic students attending accredited naturopathic colleges, and other integrative health professionals, including Medical Doctors (MDs), Osteopathic Medical Doctors (DOs), and Chiropractors (DCs).